‘Invisible Woman’: All the Surprising Facts We Know about the Next Universal Monsters Movie

Audiences should get ready to see the Invisible Woman soon.

The Universal Monsters are true trendsetters. The group includes Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. And in the 1930s and 1940s, it singlehandedly created the concept of a shared cinematic universe.

Now that The Invisible Man is one of 2020’s most financially successful and critical hits, fans are wondering which project will come next. Universal already has a few monster movies in development, including a Dracula reboot. But one of the most intriguing is the Invisible Woman project the studio has in the works. Here’s what we know about it so far.

Elisabeth Moss at 'The Invisible Man' premiere
Elisabeth Moss at ‘The Invisible Man’ premiere | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The movie is disconnected from 2020’s ‘The Invisible Man’

Contrary to what it sounds like, Invisible Woman isn’t expected to connect directly to 2020’s The Invisible Man. Even though director Leigh Whannell’s movie ends with a tease of something more to come, it doesn’t have any concrete sequel plans just yet. Instead, Invisible Woman draws its inspiration from a very different place.

In 1940, Universal released The Invisible Woman. Although the film is technically the second sequel to 1933’s The Invisible Man, it embraced a drastically different tone. The Invisible Woman was more of a comedy than a straight-up horror film. And despite its disconnection from its predecessors, it was financially successful enough to continue the series.

That’s clearly the hope for the upcoming reboot. Considering the lack of brand recognition with the 1940 film, the new Invisible Woman will probably bear little resemblance to the decades-old film with which it shares its name.

Elizabeth Banks will star in and direct ‘Invisible Woman’

Back in November 2019, reports revealed Elizabeth Banks is spearheading the new Invisible Woman. According to Variety, Banks will produce, direct, and star in the new film. And no plot details are available. Still, like the 1940 Invisible Woman, there reportedly will not be a tie-in to Whannell’s The Invisible Man. That’s one of the few things about the movie that’s clear.

Erin Cressida Wilson — who wrote 2016’s The Girl on the Train — will handle script duties. At this point, it appears Banks will be playing the lead character in the film. However, if Banks’ most recent project, 2019’s Charlie’s Angels, is any indication, she could take on a supporting role instead. In that 2020 release, Banks produced, directed, and stars as the Angels’ handler.

A lot could still change during the movie’s development

Speaking of Charlie’s Angels, that film could adversely affect Banks’ work on Invisible Woman. When news of the project was announced, Charlie’s Angels had only been in theaters for a couple of weeks. But that film became a box office disappointment, earning only $73 million worldwide. It was only Banks’ second directorial effort after Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2.

Since Invisible Woman is reportedly based on Banks’ own pitch, it will be interesting to see how its production pans out. Universal might be shaken by the relative failure of Banks’ previous film and take back more creative control. Likewise, the release of The Invisible Man — which made $123 million against a $7 million budget — might change their perspective too.

The plan right now appears to be for Banks’ Invisible Woman, as it is for Whannell’s, to be a standalone story. But if Universal wants to leverage its recent success, the studio could aim to have the two films be at least tangentially linked. After all, Universal has been trying for years to reunite its Universal Monsters a la the Dark Universe. This could be its best chance.