Underworld TV show: Could the franchise return in a new medium?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04: Actress Kate Beckinsale visits AOL HQ on January 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by J. Kempin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04: Actress Kate Beckinsale visits AOL HQ on January 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by J. Kempin/Getty Images) /
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Is it possible that an Underworld TV show could revive the franchise?

Could an Underworld TV show work in this day and age, despite the movies being mostly in pop culture’s collective rearview mirror? The last film was released in 2016, and since then, we haven’t heard much from creator Len Wiseman on the franchise’s potential revival.

The collection of horror-action films followed the secretive war between Lycans and vampires, complete with an immersive backstory, one focused primarily on Kate Beckinsale’s vampire character Selene.

Is there a demand for an Underworld TV show?

Finding a new home on television for Underworld became a compelling premise to Wiseman as early as 2016 when he told Collider he found it to be an “attractive space.”

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Nothing has come from his statement, but he did clarify that he was wary of putting “a date on it because then that’s going to be printed and it might not happen in that timeframe, but it is a thought.”

It would seem Wiseman has mostly moved on from the franchise, but not from television as a medium. He serves as both a director and producer on the former Fox, now Netflix, series Lucifer and also helped develop DC’s short-lived Swamp Thing.

Since the franchise ended, Wiseman and Beckinsale have divorced, and it is hard not to wonder if their split could have played a part in his decision to move on from the franchise.

In 2018, Beckinsale told Variety she wouldn’t return to Underworld as she felt she’d done “plenty of those.”

Does the show need Beckinsale to continue? The actress and her catsuits were a big part of the draw. Yet there is precedent for her not requiring to be part of the story. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel film that did not feature her in a starring role.

The next question is as to whether or not an audience would respond to an Underworld TV show. While the franchise has grossed over $500 million worldwide, the box office numbers began to dwindle with the later films with Underworld: Blood Wars making the least out of the five main films.

That said, the series has a devoted fan following. It never garnered anything but negative critical reception, but the bad reviews never stopped people from coming out to support it in theaters.

Even if it hasn’t been on the forefront of fans’ minds, the buzz surrounding a potential television spin-off — if the premise is interesting enough — could reignite their passion.

What would be the plot of an Underworld TV show?

If an Underworld television show were to happen, a prequel would be the most viable option, perhaps one focusing on a young Selene or Alexander Corvinus and his three sons.

Wiseman speaks at length about the amount of lore he and his co-writers have created for the franchise in several behind-the-scenes featurettes on the film’s DVD extras. It is clear he has a passion for the story and has more stories to tell about this world.

And, as we mentioned above, Underworld has already made a prequel in the past. The film chronicled the events directly leading to the Lycan-vampire war. That was not the prequel I would have chosen the filmmakers to tell, but it doesn’t mean a prequel going further back in history wouldn’t be a good fit.

On the other hand, even if Beckinsale doesn’t return, Selene still could. Those who don’t want to see her recast could hardly argue with a younger actress playing her as a teenager if the series were to begin with her family’s massacre and induction into the coven.

Where should it air?

The franchise is known for its gratuitous violence and gore, so unless they wanted to severely water down the natural camp and bloody fun, it would probably need to air on a premium cable channel or a streaming service.

I would love to see the creators lean into the gore and over-the-top nature similar to shows like WGN’s Salem or HBO’s True Blood.

The films could receive a boost in popularity from streaming.

I tried to watch the Underworld movies for the first time last year and couldn’t find them on streaming, so I wound up buying them. Now, they are all available to stream between Netflix and Starz — except Blood Wars.

We’ve seen how old shows have relished a resurgence in popularity thanks to their immediate availability via streaming services many times in the past. Several revivals have occurred thanks to new fans finding old shows and suddenly clamoring for more.

It is possible that with Underworld‘s somewhat recent return to streaming, it could find new fans who would like to see the story continue.

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Would you like to see an Underworld TV show? What would you want the series to be about if it did come to fruition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.