Variety informs us that monster designer Patrick Tatopoulos will be directing UNDERWORLD 3: RISE OF THE LYCANS, a prequel to the two UNDERWORLD films. The screenplay by Danny McBride will fill in details of the back story glimpsed in the previous films, depicting the origins to the feud between vampires and werewolves: a young Lycan leader rouses his wolfen brethren to cast off the shakcles of their undead overlords (sounds a bit Marxist, no?). Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, and Rhona Mitra will headline the cast.
“For the first time we will experience the ‘Underworld’ universe through the eyes of the Lycans,” [producer Len] Wiseman said. “Patrick has always played such an essential part in helping to create ‘Underworld’ from the start. … So I feel it is both exciting and fitting that (he) now takes the helm.”
The two UNDERWORLD films, which starred Kate Beckinsale, were modest hits, but the prequel story does not leave room for her character (who was unaware of the vampire-werewolf back story in the first UNDERWORLD). Without her presence to draw in the fans, theatrical prospects for the prequel seem diminished.