The Mummy Returns... Again

Brendan Fraser signs on for threequel

News reaches us, courtesy of, that Brendan Fraser has signed on to star in an as-yet untitled third instalment of The Mummy series, with filming set to start next year for a 2008 summer release.

Intriguingly, though, Stephen Sommers - who wrote and directed the first two instalments, 1999's surprise hit The Mummy, and its blunderbuss sequel The Mummy Returns in 2001 - will not return, with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the dudes behind Smallville, penning the script, while Joe Johnston is reportedly in negotiations to direct.

No word yet on whether the likes of Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, the utterly badass Oded Fehr and the ever-shining chrome dome of the Mummy himself, Arnold Vosloo, will also return. But Weisz has an Oscar and a hot career now, so we're guessing that Fraser's laconic adventurer, Rick O'Connell, will be cracking wise and fighting CG creatures without his lady wife, Evelyn.

If you detect a note of cynicism, it's perhaps because we've got our cynicism-o-meter turned up to 11 on this one. Don't get us wrong - both Mummy pictures are fine, fun blockbusters, filled with nice effects and the odd bit of clever humour (Fraser's character, in particular, is a nice pisstake of macho Indiana Jones-type heroes), although The Mummy Returns did suffer from Too Many Cooks syndrome to the extent that it has become synonymous with budgetary excess and a story that just doesn't know when to quit - a bit like this sentence.

But the main concern is: do we really need a Mummy 3? In 2001, when The Mummy Returns had swept to a $433 million worldwide gross, it seemed certain that a third part of an unintentional trilogy would soon follow. Instead, we got the Rock-starring spin-off, The Scorpion King, while Sommers went off to direct Van Helsing instead, and after that movie’s failure, he’s spent the last three years flirting with a succession of projects. That none of those was The Mummy 3 speaks volumes.

In Hollywood, seven years is a long time, and it’s hard to imagine that by 2008 audiences will be flocking to a movie continuing a franchise they’d long assumed dead. It’s understandable that Fraser has signed on, though – we love the guy, he’s a good actor, combining leading man looks with dramatic chops and a nice line in irony, but his career since The Mummy Returns has faltered somewhat with good turns in the likes of Crash, The Quiet American and a tear-jerking recurring role in the godlike sitcom, Scrubs. But star roles and big hits have not been forthcoming.

So, just because we’d like to see the big fella have another shot at the big time, we hope The Mummy 3 turns out alright. But we’re not exactly holding our breath…