Underworld (film series)

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Underworld
UnderworldFranchiseLogo.png
Logo
Directed by Len Wiseman
(Underworld and Underworld: Evolution)
Patrick Tatopoulos
(Underworld: Rise of the Lycans)
Måns Mårlind
Björn Stein
(Underworld: Awakening)
Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Len Wiseman, Skip Williamson, David Coatsworth
Written by Danny McBride, Kevin Grevioux, Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain, Len Wiseman, J. Michael Straczwinski, Allison Burnett, John Hlavin
Starring Kate Beckinsale
Scott Speedman
Michael Sheen
Rhona Mitra
Bill Nighy
Music by Paul Haslinger, Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts, Simon Duggan, Ross Emery, Scott Kevan
Edited by Martin Hunter, Nicholas De Toth, Peter Amunson, Jeff McEvoy
Distributed by Screen Gems (2003–2012)
Release date(s) 2003–present
Country United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Hungary
Language English
Budget $177,000,000
Box office $458,247,092

Underworld is a series of action horror films directed by Len Wiseman, Patrick Tatopoulos, Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. The first film, Underworld, was released in 2003, and the second film, Underworld: Evolution, in 2006. The third film, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the prequel to the series chronicling the origins of the vampire-lycan war was released on January 23, 2009. The fourth film, Underworld: Awakening, the sequel to Underworld: Evolution, was released on January 20, 2012.

Films[edit]

Underworld (2003)[edit]

Blu-ray cover art of Underworld: The Legacy Collection, which includes all four films.

Underworld tells the story of Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a Death Dealer bent on destroying the Lycans who allegedly killed her family. She discovers that the Lycans are pursuing a human, Michael Corvin, for experimentation; Selene captures Michael herself to find out what the Lycans are up to. Along the way, Selene not only discovers a mutinous plot to destroy the Vampire Elders, but also a shocking revelation about her father figure Elder, Viktor.

The vampires, werewolves, and Lycans are not supernatural creatures, but rather the product of a virus.

It is revealed in the film that Alexander Corvinus is the first of the vampire and Lycan lines. He was the only survivor of a plague that wiped out his village. Somehow, his body was able to mutate the virus, mold it to his own benefit. He had three sons, two of whom inherited their father's immortality and were bitten, one by bat and one by wolf, creating the vampire and werewolf lines. Corvinus' third son, who did not inherit immortality, also carried the Corvinus Strain as an exact duplicate of the original virus, hidden away in his genetic code and passed along to his human descendants through the centuries. This, according to Singe, is the key to creating a hybrid.

Underworld: Evolution (2005)[edit]

In Underworld: Evolution, Selene takes Michael to a vampire safehouse and plans to return to Viktor's estate to awaken Marcus, the last Vampire Elder. Before she can return, Marcus confronts her, having been awakened by the blood of the Lycan scientist, Singe, after he was killed. Marcus does not seem keen to help Selene and wishes to steal her memories for information. While on the run from Marcus, Selene and Michael discover that Marcus is the first vampire, and that he plans to free his imprisoned brother, William, the first and most savage werewolf.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)[edit]

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a 2009 American film directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. It is the third installment (chronologically the first) in the Underworld series, focusing primarily on the origins of some characters and the events leading to the vampire–Lycan war, depicted in the previous films Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.

As shown in the film, the original werewolves were uncontrollable beasts, unable to retake human form once bitten. However, there was a single werewolf who gave birth to a human-looking child. This child carried a mutation of the original virus, permitting him to alternate between human and werewolf form. He was Lucian, dubbed by Viktor as "the first of the Lycans".

The vampires used the Lycans as slaves to be the guardians of their lairs during the daylight hours and labor during the night. However, Viktor's daughter, Sonja, and Lucian fell in love and she became pregnant. Lucian, the Lycan leader, led a revolt after Viktor killed Sonja to prevent the blending of the species. Later on, Kraven would strike an arrangement with Lucian, in which Lucian would fake his death to permit Kraven to advance, with the goal being the death of the vampire elders and the end of the war. However, that fell through due to mistrust and duplicity by both men.

Underworld: Awakening (2012)[edit]

A fourth film, Underworld: Awakening, shot in 3-D, was directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein and released on January 20, 2012.[1] Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as Selene[2] and screenwriter John Hlavin stated prior to the film's release that it will not be like any of the previous films.[3] Production began in March 2011 in Vancouver with Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, and Len Wiseman producing.[citation needed] On April 4, 2011, the title of the film was announced and the following plot synopsis was given:

Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire death dealer Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.[4]

Selene also learns that she has a hybrid daughter born while she was imprisoned, who has the ability to see through her parents' eyes. The same goes for Selene, who has the ability to see through the child's eyes and uses it to find her daughter several times in the movie.

Characters[edit]

Vampires[edit]

Their transformation is not nearly as startling as their Lycan counterparts. When they transform, their eyes turn a shade of electric blue or bright gold, while their canine teeth lengthen to become pointed fangs. At all times, the lateral incisors on all Vampires are elongated and come to a sharp point. Biologically immortal transgenics, the vampires of Underworld display most of the prominent superhuman physical prowess commonly seen in popular culture. They do not possess any of the mystical weaknesses of mythological vampires (crosses, holy water, garlic, stakes, etc.); however, they are highly vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. In the post-production of the film, the pale pallor of the vampires was achieved via D.I.. As explained by Selene in the first Underworld film, a bite from both a Lycan and a Vampire is lethal, but Michael's bloodline allows him to survive and become a combination of both species.

Amelia[edit]

Amelia is one of the three Vampire Elders in the Underworld series. She appeared briefly in Underworld and appeared in a flashback sequence in Underworld: Evolution. She is portrayed by Zita Görög. Amelia was likely bitten by the first vampire Marcus. She was turned in order to help control the chaos created by Marcus's brother William, the first werewolf. William was unable to return to human form after his transformation and his bite caused even the dead to turn to werewolves. Amelia had supported locking William within a coffin-like prison, in a remote place where Marcus could not find him. The capture of William would not have happened without Amelia's help. As one of the three Vampire Elders, alongside Marcus and Viktor, she allied with Viktor who sought to undermine Marcus' authority. She did not keep control during her last reign, allowing Lucian to work deals with Tanis for weapons to kill Vampires. She was killed by Lycans led by Raze during an attack on her train.

Andreas Tanis[edit]

Andreas Tanis is a character in the 2006 movie Underworld: Evolution and in the 2009 movie Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. He is portrayed by Steven Mackintosh. Tanis is a vampire of considerable age (estimated at over 1000-years-old at the time of his death), he was at one point the official scribe and Historian of the Old World Coven. An ambitious man, Tanis knew things about other vampires and kept the things he knew secret until it was of use for him. Coveting a rise in status to a member of the Vampire Council, Tanis enters into a covert alliance with Sonja and Lucian, aiding them in exchange for his silence and Sonja's seat on the Council; his part in Sonja's and Lucian's plan remained a secret after Sonja's execution, and later after Lucian's faked death. However, over 300 years prior to the events that occurred in the first and second installments, the Vampire Elder, Lord Viktor, in his bid to rewrite history, turns on Tanis and orders his banishment, citing that Tanis had been recording "malicious lies". The order of banishment was carried out by Selene, who escorted him to an abandoned monastery on Viktor's orders. Over three hundred years later, Selene would learn the truth about Viktor and realize that what Tanis had recorded years earlier was, in fact, true. Tanis is later killed by Marcus after being drained of blood.

David[edit]

David is a character from the 2012 movie Underworld: Awakening. He is portrayed by Theo James. Although never trained as a Death Dealer, and in contrast with his father, David is not a coward and would fight when situations demanded it. Fascinated by Selene's past as a Death Dealer, he brought her back to the vampire coven with her hybrid daughter, Eve, in hope she would teach some of the members so that they could become what she used to be, as there are not any left within the coven. David died and was revived by Selene using her Immortal blood. During the final assault on Antigen, David, displaying similar abilities as Selene, joins her fight and killing several Lycans.

Erica[edit]

Erika is portrayed by Sophia Myles. She is a character in the Underworld film series as well as in the novelization of the film.[5] She is a vampire seductress, a social-climbing courtier in Viktor's mansion, obsessed with rising through the ranks of the vampire aristocracy. She is a high ranking maid who most recently began seeking the attentions of Kraven.

Kraven[edit]

Kraven is portrayed by actor Shane Brolly. The name "Kraven" is a derivation of the English word "craven", meaning "coward", a reference to Kraven's spineless nature.[citation needed] Kraven has a vainglorious personality and a highly inflated-but-extremely-fragile narcissistic ego: Kraven is a long-time suitor of Selene, a Death Dealer. Kraven fancies himself in a relationship with Selene, even though she spurns him at every turn, yet Kraven was so obsessed with Selene that the more she refused him, the more he wanted her. When it becomes evident that Selene has fallen in love with Michael Corvin, Kraven becomes insanely jealous and highly irrational, demanding Michael Corvin's head, and even shoots Michael multiple times with silver nitrate bullets, nearly killing him, only for Selene to revive Michael in time by biting him. In his quest for power, Kraven had entered into a secret alliance with Lucian in-order to overthrow the Elders, helping to set up the Lady Amelia into an ambush. After Amelia, Lucian and Viktor are all dead, Kraven goes to a slumbering Marcus and almost murders him, but Marcus surprisingly wakes as a Hybrid and massacres Kraven and his men. Marcus then bites Kraven and obtains his Blood memories, but although he stops before Kraven dies of blood loss, he then ignores Kraven's request to assist him and kills Kraven by beheading him.

Marcus Corvinus[edit]

Marcus Corvinus is the first vampire in the Underworld series. He is portrayed by Tony Curran. Marcus also appears in the novelization of the sequel.[6] Born sometime in the 5th century; Marcus was one of three sons of Helena and Alexander Corvinus, the first immortal, he was the twin brother of William Corvinus. He, along with William, inherited the immortality strain in its active form from their father. Together, Marcus and William both shared a bond as twins that Alexander never truly saw. Marcus was later bitten by a bat, thus making him the progenitor of what would become the Vampire species. His twin, William, was bitten by a wolf and went on to ravage the countryside of Hungary, infecting the populace with his highly infectious lycanthropy virus. In order to combat the growing werewolf threat Marcus approached Viktor, a dying warlord, to utilize his military genius and army (who became the Death Dealers) in exchange for immortality. Viktor accepted and became one of the Vampire Elders. After being revived by the blood of the Lycan Singe, Marcus awakens as a Hybrid and goes on a rampage to rescue William and turn him into a Hybrid too. He kills his own father and apparently Michael Corvin, but is defeated and killed by an enhanced Selene in a final fight when she stabs him through the head with one of his own wing talons and knocks him into spinning helicopter blades, dismembering him.

Selene[edit]

Main article: Selene (Underworld)

Selene appears in the films Underworld, Underworld: Evolution and Underworld: Awakening. Her lover is Michael Corvin, and together they now have a daughter, named Eve. Selene is portrayed by Kate Beckinsale, and by Beckinsale's daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, in Underworld: Evolution[7] in flashback scenes as a child. Selene was created by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Danny McBride. According to Kevin Grevioux, Selene is based loosely off of the Marvel Comics character of the same name.[8]

Sonja[edit]

Sonja is the daughter of the vampire elder Viktor, introduced by flashback, in Underworld. The character is heavily featured in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and is played by Rhona Mitra.[9] She fell in love with the lycan slave, Lucian, despite knowing her father would disapprove. Without Viktor's knowledge or blessing, she eventually married Lucian in secret, and became pregnant with his child. For breaking the Covenant, Viktor executed her and her unborn child by exposure to sunlight, and her husband was forced to watch. Viktor viewed the child as an abomination and was acting to protect the vampire line's purity, although Sonja's death haunted him for the rest of his life. His guilt over this led him to spare Selene, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Sonja, from the slaughter of the rest of her family. Sonja wore a pendant, which was given to her by her father. After her death, Lucian took that pendant as a keepsake of his beloved wife. This pendant proved to be vitally important to the events that unfolded in Underworld: Evolution. Her death started the war between Vampires and Lycans that lasted for centuries afterward.

Soren[edit]

Soren, having a surprising lack of personal ambition for a vampire, was Kraven's janissary, and, being two of a kind, he was the rival/vampire counterpart of Raze before their deaths. He is played by Scott McElroy. Soren appears predominantly in the first film installment of Underworld, but is also referenced in the novelization of the sequel[10] and also appearing in the comic book prequel,[11] Not much is revealed about Soren's past; rumors surrounding him say that he is almost as old as Viktor himself (and was probably bitten by the Vampire Elder), Soren was originally Viktor's bodyguard, a position he may have held since before either were vampires. Later, he served as the head torturer in Viktor's employ. He proved to be very skilled in taming Lycan slaves with silver-edged whips, and even used them on Lucian at Viktor's request prior to Sonja's execution.

In the non-canon novel, Underworld: Blood Enemy, Soren lost his position in Viktor's good graces after he left Viktor's daughter Sonja, whom he was charged to protect, alone during an ambush by mortals who were hateful of vampires. He also remained ignorant of the fact that Sonja was in love with the Lycan Lucian until he was informed by a Lycan woman who had been obsessed with Lucian and resented him falling for Sonja. Soren informed Viktor, who then executed his daughter. Viktor blamed Soren for not protecting her.

Thomas[edit]

Thomas is one of the surviving Vampire Elders in Underworld: Awakening and the father of David. He does not trust Selene and openly discriminates against her daughter, Eve, who is a Hybrid. In contrast with his son, Thomas is a coward and ordered the coven to flee rather than fight, leaving David as de facto leader because of his demonstration of courage and intelligence, despite Thomas' status as an Elder. His arrogance made him fail to realize the necessity of Selene's presence or what she has become, until she used her blood to revive David from the critical injuries he received from Lycans. He is portrayed by Charles Dance.

Viktor[edit]

Viktor is a Vampire Elder. He is portrayed by Bill Nighy. Viktor was a Hungarian general and warlord born sometime in the 4th or early 5th century. As he was nearing the end of his life, Marcus Corvinus, the first true Vampire, offered immortality in exchange for Viktor's military expertise and army in fighting against the Werewolves, spawn of Marcus' own twin brother, William. When Marcus turned Viktor, the general became a Vampire Elder. The Death Dealers were created from Viktor's army. Viktor is a ruthless Vampire Elder with his armies loyal to him, he overthrew the original Vampire Marcus and set himself up in Vampire myth as the first Vampire. Viktor was the most powerful Vampire ever to have lived mostly because his manipulation, experience, and cunning far surpassed the other Elders. He is killed by Selene who cuts his head in half with his own sword.

Lycans[edit]

Werewolves in the Underworld films, like their vampire-counterparts, they are biologically immortal transgenics. Lycans display a number of greatly enhanced physical attributes in either form, although the werewolf-form is physically superior to the human one. However, while first generation Lycans sired by William Corvinus are permanently transformed and feral, second generation Lycans and those they convert can revert to their original human forms and retain their personalities. As explained by Selene in the first Underworld film though, a bite from both a Lycan and a Vampire is lethal, but Michael's heritage allows him to survive and become a combination of both species.

Lucian[edit]

Lucian was the very first of the second-generation Lycans. He was the leader of the Lycan horde in the movie Underworld and appears in its prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. He is portrayed by actor Michael Sheen. Lucian was born the son of a captured female werewolf, who was killed when Lucian was a newborn. He was branded with Viktor's mark signifying that he was put into slavery under one of Viktor's early reigns. Being born of two werewolves, he was a pure-blood Lycan. Lucian was once a Lycan servant to Viktor's clan. His relationship with Sonja began when they grew up and it was eventually revealed later that Sonja was pregnant with his child, making their child a Lycan-Vampire hybrid; but, Sonja was executed, preventing the birth of the child. He starts a war with Viktor as a result and fakes his own death with the help of Kraven, planning to become a Hybrid in order to kill Viktor. His plan fails, but he holds Kraven off long enough for Selene to turn Michael Corvin into a Hybrid. With Michael's turning and the death of Viktor at Selene's hands, his will is seen through regardless.

Raze[edit]

Razahir "Raze" Khemse is an older Lycan who is the right hand man of the Lycan leader Lucian. He was born in Sudan in East Africa during the 14th century. Raze was the son of a powerful Sultan but his family's lands were taken during a period of wars that spread into Africa. He was forced into slavery and taken to Hungary to be given as payment to Viktor the Vampire Elder. He joins Lucian's civil war and after believing Lucian to be dead, launches a suicide attack on Viktor who snaps his neck and stabs him with a sword.[12] He is played by Kevin Grevioux.[13]

William Corvinus[edit]

William Corvinus is the first and only Lycan Elder. Portrayed only in his transformed state, he is played by Brian Steele, but prior to his being a werewolf, he would have been identical in looks to his brother, Marcus. Born sometime in the 5th century, William was one of three sons of Helena and Alexander Corvinus, the first immortal, and the twin brother of Marcus Corvinus. He, along with Marcus, inherited the immortality strain in its active form from their father. Marcus and William both shared a bond as twins that Alexander never truly saw. William was later bitten by a wolf, thus making him the progenitor of what would become the Lycan species, (his twin, Marcus, was bitten by a bat). Unlike most later Lycans, his fur was white. William was unable to transform back into human form and had little more than ferocious savagery, nor is he ever shown in human form in any of the films. His lycanthropy virus was much more potent than Marcus' vampire virus, even allowing dead victims to transform. William went on to ravage the countryside of Hungary, infecting the populace with his highly infectious lycanthropy virus. In order to combat the growing lycan threat Marcus approached Viktor, a dying warlord, to utilize his military genius and army (who became the Death Dealers) in exchange for immortality. Later, William was successfully captured and contained by the combined forces of Marcus, Amelia and Viktor and used by Viktor to keep Marcus in line. After Viktor is killed, Marcus releases William, hoping to turn him into a Hybrid and restore his sanity. Despite his bestial nature, William is shown to recognize his brother. In the fight that follows, Michael Corvin rips William's head in half with brute strength, killing him.

Dr. Jacob Lane[edit]

Dr. Jacob Lane is a ruthless and amoral Lycan, he betrayed his own coven and reveals the existences of both Vampire and Lycan races so he can covertly experiment on both in order to create a new and powerful Lycan race by heading the research company Antigen, in hope of domination over human, vampire, and werewolf races. Using the blood of the Hybrid Eve, he enhances his own Lycan form, but not to the same degree as his son. During Selene's attack on Antigen, he battles Detective Sebastian and Eve and is killed when Eve rips out his throat. He is portrayed by Stephen Rea.

Quint Lane[edit]

Quint Lane is the son of Dr. Jacob Lane, who is as corrupt as his father. After the public discovered him as a werewolf, his father faked his death in order to continue his experiments upon him. He becomes a fearsome and powerful Lycan, larger and stronger and has the ability to rapidly heal and is partially immune to silver, and is sometimes called a "super-lycan". He is killed by Selene who stuffs a silver nitrate grenade into an open wound on his abdomen, which quickly heals, preventing him from removing the grenade before it explodes. He is portrayed by Kris Holden-Ried.

House of Corvinus[edit]

Alexander Corvinus[edit]

Alexander Corvinus (Hungarian: Corvin Sándor) is the first true Immortal in the Underworld movies and is the father of Marcus Corvinus and William Corvinus, as well as an ancestor of Michael Corvin, who is a descendant of Corvinus's third and mortal son. He is portrayed by Derek Jacobi.[14][15]

Alexander was a Hungarian warlord who lived in the early 5th century. He ascended to power just in time to watch his village ravaged by an unknown plague. Alexander was the only survivor of the plague. His body had adapted to the virus, and through some unknown means consequently made him immortal.

Years later, with his wife Helena, he fathered three children, two of whom inherited the immortal strain in its active form: twin brothers Marcus and William. Marcus was bitten by a bat and became the first vampire. William was bitten by a wolf and became the first werewolf. William became a savage beast that was unable to ever assume human form again, something Alexander attributed to his uncontrollable rage. Only Alexander's third son (who inherited the immortal strain in its inactive form) remained a mortal human. Marcus and his vampire army (led by Viktor) captured his brother William and locked him in a secret prison for over 800 years, the location of which was kept from Marcus. When Viktor ordered his vampire daughter executed for becoming pregnant by a Lycan, he inadvertently touched off a centuries long war between lycans and vampires. Alexander chose to keep the war contained from ever spilling into the mortal realm. He hired humans to clean up after the battles and to help conceal their existence from the normal human population. Alexander states in Underworld: Evolution that he believes he and his sons were oddities of nature, and that the world is not theirs to conquer but belongs to the humans. Despite not displaying any powers of his own, he is referred to by Selene as the strongest of the immortals and the only one capable of killing his sons, indicating he does possess some abilities.

At the time of Underworld: Evolution, Alexander was operating under the alias of Lorenz Macaro, and ran his operation from the ship "Sancta Helena". He meets with Selene and Michael, who beg his help to destroy Marcus and William. He reveals that no matter what they have become, he cannot help Selene and Michael against them, for they are his own sons. Alexander has come into possession of Viktor's body (and Viktor's half of the prison key that holds William Corvinus). Alexander is visited by Marcus, who impales him with his wing talon, takes Viktor's half of the key and leaves him for dead.

As Alexander lays dying, he calls Selene to him to drink some of his pure immortal blood. The blood, he tells her, will make her "the future" and is her only hope of being strong enough to destroy the Corvinus brothers. After Selene and Michael leave, Alexander detonates a case of explosives on his ship, obliterating it in the harbor, along with killing himself. His blood enhances Selene's powers, making her equal to the Hybrid Marcus in strength and giving her an immunity to sunlight, ultimately allowing her to defeat him.

Michael Corvin[edit]

Main article: Michael Corvin

Michael Corvin (in Hungarian: Corvin Mihály), bitten first by Lucian and later by Selene, became a Lycan/Vampire Hybrid. Being a hybrid, Michael can regenerate new cells and muscle tissues as well as internal organs even when he is dead, as long as his body stays intact (Michael came back to life when Marcus killed him by plunging a hole in his chest). Counting the unborn child of Lucian and Sonja, Michael is the second Lycan/Vampire Hybrid. In Underworld: Awakening, he was labeled "Subject 0". He is portrayed by Scott Speedman.

Eve/Subject Two[edit]

Eve is the hybrid daughter of Selene and Michael Corvin, through whom she is a descendant of Alexander Corvinus. In Underworld: Awakening, she tells Selene that her name is Subject 2. She was born without her parents' knowledge during their 12-year captivity in Antigen. The scientists in the facility told her that her mother was dead and never heard anything about her father. After her escape, Selene discovers that she had given birth to Eve during her unconscious state. Being pursued by both humans and Lycans because of her unique origin, and despite Selene's attempts to shield her from the dangers around them. She is later recaptured by Antigen, but is rescued by Selene and Detective Sebastian during an attack on the facility. Eve joins the fight herself and kills Doctor Lane. She is portrayed by India Eisley. Although never referred to as "Eve" in the film, the credits listed India Eisley's character as "Eve" rather than "Subject 2".

Appearances[edit]

Characters Film
Underworld Underworld:
Evolution
Underworld:
Rise of the Lycans
Underworld:
Awakening
Selene Kate Beckinsale Kate Beckinsale (voice and archive footage) Kate Beckinsale
Viktor Bill Nighy Bill Nighy (archive footage only)
Lucian Michael Sheen Michael Sheen Michael Sheen Michael Sheen (archive footage only)
Kraven Shane Brolly Shane Brolly (voice only) Shane Brolly (archive footage only)
Michael Corvin Scott Speedman   Scott Speedman (archive footage only)
Erika Sophia Myles  
Raze Kevin Grevioux   Kevin Grevioux  
Amelia Zita Görög   Mentioned  
Soren Scott McElroy   Scott McElroy (archive footage only)
Sonja Jázmin Dammak   Rhona Mitra  
Kahn Robbie Gee  
Singe Erwin Leder  
Andreas Tanis   Steven Mackintosh  
Marcus Corvinus   Mentioned Tony Curran   Mentioned Tony Curran (archive footage only)
Alexander Corvinus   Mentioned Derek Jacobi     Mentioned
William Corvinus   Brian Steele   Brian Steele (archive footage only)
Lida   Sandrine Holt
Detective Sebastian   Michael Ealy
Eve/Subject Two   India Eisley
Thomas   Charles Dance
David   Theo James

Development[edit]

In September 2003, shortly after the release of Underworld, production companies Screen Gems and Lakeshore planned to release a prequel as the third film following Underworld's sequel, Underworld: Evolution. Kate Beckinsale, who portrayed Selene in Underworld, expressed interest in reprising her role for the sequel and the prequel.[16]

In December 2005, Underworld: Evolution director Len Wiseman explained that the Underworld franchise was originally conceived as a trilogy. Wiseman said: "We sort of mapped out an entire history and story... a massive collection of ideas and stories that we're putting out at certain times." Wiseman anticipated creating a third installment for the franchise based on the audiences' reception of Underworld: Evolution, which would be released the following month.[17]

In a June 2006 interview, Wiseman said, "The third film is going to be a prequel. It will be the origin story and we find out things we didn't know about Lucian; he'll have a much bigger part in it. It will be about the creation [of the races] and what started the war. It will be a period piece. The movie will also focus for the first time through the Lycans' point of view." The director also shared, "In terms of the writing, a lot of the writing has been done. We've been developing Underworld 3 for a while. I won't be directing Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; I'm just going to be producing and writing." When asked if Kate Beckinsale would reprise her role as Selene in the prequel, Wiseman said, "It will be in the time period before, but it will overlap into the creation of her as well. We're in the process of seeing how far we go with that."[18] The following October, actor Michael Sheen, who portrays Lucian in the film series, expressed interest in being part of the prequel.[19]

The Hollywood Reporter announced that the film would be written by Danny McBride and mark the directorial début of Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the creature effects for all three Underworld films. Len Wiseman would produce, and contribute to the writing of this film, but would not direct, nor would Kate Beckinsale reprise her lead role of Selene nor would Scott Speedman reprise his role of Michael. In late September 2007, Outlander scribes Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain were brought on board and delivered a draft on November 3, mere days before the Writers Strike of 2007.[20] Pre-production began shortly thereafter.

"It's like putting your wedding dress on, or putting your school uniform on, it's like a time-warp feeling."

Kate Beckinsale, about her return as Selene.[21]

The prequel film was shot in Auckland, New Zealand and in Roxboro, North Carolina. There is a brief pickup shot of Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park as well.

Filming for Underworld: Awakening began in March 2011 at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Underworld: Awakening is the first movie to be shot using RED EPIC digital cameras in 3D.[21]

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Budget Reference
Domestic (U.S. & Canada) International Worldwide
Underworld September 19, 2003 $51,970,690 $43,737,767 $95,708,457 $22,000,000 [22]
Underworld: Evolution January 20, 2006 $62,318,875 $49,021,926 $111,340,801 $50,000,000 [23]
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans January 23, 2009 $45,802,315 $45,282,848 $91,085,163 $35,000,000 [24]
Underworld: Awakening January 20, 2012 $62,321,039 $97,791,632 $160,112,671 $70,000,000 [25]
Total gross revenue $222,412,919 $235,834,175 $458,247,092 $177,000,000

Critical reaction[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Underworld 31% (157 reviews)[26] 42 (34 reviews)[27]
Underworld: Evolution 16% (101 reviews)[28] 36 (21 reviews)[29]
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 30% (77 reviews)[30] 44 (14 reviews)[31]
Underworld: Awakening 33% (66 reviews)[32] 39 (17 reviews)[33]

In other media[edit]

There have been various spin-offs and tie-ins in a range of other media.

IDW Publishing has published a number of Underworld comics, including an adaptation of the third film Rise of the Lycans written by Kevin Grevioux which was published and released in 2009.[34]

In addition to the novelizations of Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, there is an original novel written by Greg Cox, published by Pocket Star Books in 2004, titled Underworld: Blood Enemy.

In September 2003, Sony contracted with Black Widow Games for the production of Underworld: Bloodline (a Half Life mod).[35]

An action video game based on the first film entitled Underworld: The Eternal War was scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles in 2004, but it only saw release for the PlayStation 2 in Europe, and was cancelled in all other regions.[36]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ Greg Cox, Kevin Grevioux, Danny McBride, and Len Wiseman. Underworld: Book 1 (Simon and Schuster, 2003). 61.
  6. ^ Greg Cox. Underworld: Evolution (Simon and Schuster, 2006). 121.
  7. ^ "Lily Mo Sheen". IMDb. Amazon.com.
  8. ^ "Kevin Grevioux talks about Selene".
  9. ^ "Rhona Points Her Sword in New 'Rise of the Lycans' One Sheet". Bloody Disgusting.com. December 15, 2008.
  10. ^ Greg Cox. Underworld: Evolution (Simon and Schuster, 2006). 54.
  11. ^ Jonah Weiland. "The war wages on: Kris Oprisko talks 'Underworld' prequel comic". Comic Book Resources. December 19, 2003.
  12. ^ Greg Cox, Danny McBride, Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman. Underworld: Book 1 (Simon and Schuster, 2003). 80.
  13. ^ "Wilson Morales". BlackVoices.com.
  14. ^ "'Underworld: Evolution' - Better than the first". The Jamaica Observer. February 10, 2006.
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  16. ^ Harris, Dana (2003-09-24). "Scribe Duo Sinks Teeth into Sequels". Variety. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  17. ^ "Wiseman Looking To 'Underworld 3'". Sci Fi Wire. 2005-12-12. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  18. ^ Elliott, Sean (2006-06-06). "Exclusive Interview: Underworld Director Len Wiseman Talks Die Hard 4 & Underworld 3". iFMagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2006-10-30. 
  19. ^ Edward Douglas (2006-10-20). "Exclusive: Michael Sheen of 'The Queen'". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on 2007-05-12. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
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  21. ^ a b "CCI | Underworld: Awakening Stakes Out New Territory". ComicBookResources.com. 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
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  25. ^ "Underworld: Awakening". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  26. ^ "Underworld". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
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  30. ^ "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
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  32. ^ "Underworld: Awakening". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  33. ^ "Underworld: Awakening (2012): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  34. ^ "CCI: Grevioux returns to 'Underworld'". Comic Book Resources (August 1, 2008). Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  35. ^ "Black Widow Games - Content". BlackWidowGames.com. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
  36. ^ "Underworld: The Eternal War". GameFAQs.com. Retrieved 2011-07-03.

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