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Original workUnderworld (2003)
OwnerSony Pictures Entertainment
Print publications
  • Underworld (2003)
  • Blood Enemy (2004)
  • Evolution (2005)
  • Rise of the Lycans (2008)
  • Underworld (2003)
  • Red in Tooth and Claw (2004)
  • Evolution (2005)
  • Rise of the Lycans (2008)
  • Blood Wars (2017)
Films and television
Short film(s)Endless War (2011)
Video game(s)The Eternal War (2004)

Underworld is an American action horror film series created by Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Danny McBride. It follows characters who are caught up in a war between vampires and werewolves (called "death-dealers" and "lycans", respectively, within the films). Most of the films star Kate Beckinsale as Selene. The first film, Underworld (2003), introduces Selene, an elite vampire-warrior who defies her orders, and Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), a human who gets caught up in the war. The second film, Underworld: Evolution (2006), follows Selene and Michael as they are hunted by their enemies. The third film, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), is the prequel to the series, chronicling the origins of the vampire-lycan war. The fourth film, Underworld: Awakening (2012), is the sequel to Underworld: Evolution. In this film, humans have discovered the existence of vampires and lycans, and are trying to eradicate both species. A fifth film, titled Underworld: Blood Wars (2016), focuses on Selene who tries to stop a new war between vampires and lycans.

The series received generally negative reviews from critics, but amassed a strong fan following and grossed a total of $539 million, against a combined budget of $207 million.[1]


Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers
Underworld September 19, 2003 (2003-09-19) Len Wiseman Danny McBride Len Wiseman, Danny McBride & Kevin Grevioux Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi & Richard Wright
Underworld: Evolution January 20, 2006 (2006-01-20) Len Wiseman & Danny McBride Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright & David Coatsworth
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23) Patrick Tatopoulos Dirk Blackman, Danny McBride & Howard McCain Robert Orr, Len Wiseman & Danny McBride Len Wiseman, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi & Richard Wright
Underworld: Awakening January 20, 2012 (2012-01-20) Björn Stein & Måns Mårlind Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, Allison Burnett & J. Michael Straczynski Len Wiseman & John Hlavin
Underworld: Blood Wars November 24, 2016 (2016-11-24) Anna Foerster Cory Goodman Kyle Ward & Cory Goodman David Kern, Len Wiseman, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi & Richard Wright

Underworld (2003)

Main article: Underworld (2003 film)

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 and lycans are not supernatural creatures, but rather the product of a mutation of the Plague.

It is revealed in the film that Alexander Corvinus is the first of the vampire and lycan lines. He was the only survivor of the plague that wiped out his village. Somehow, his body was able to mutate the pathogen, mold it to his own benefit. He had three sons, two of whom inherited their father's immortality and were bitten, one, Markus, by a bat, and the other, William, by a wolf, resulting in the vampire and werewolf lines. Corvinus's unnamed third son, who did not inherit immortality, also carried the Corvinus Strain as an exact duplicate of the original pathogen, 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 (2006)

Main article: Underworld: Evolution

In Underworld: Evolution, Selene takes Michael to a vampire safe house and plans to return to Viktor's estate to awaken Markus, the last vampire Elder. Before she can return, Markus confronts her, having been awakened by the blood of the lycan scientist, Singe, after he was killed. Markus does not seem keen to help Selene and wishes to steal her memories for information. While on the run from Markus, Selene and Michael discover that Markus 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)

Main article: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans focuses primarily on the origins of some characters and the events leading to the vampire–lycan war, depicted in the previous films.

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 pathogen, 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.

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Main article: Underworld: Awakening

Vampire death dealer Selene 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.[2] 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.

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

Main article: Underworld: Blood Wars

On August 27, 2014, Lakeshore Entertainment announced plans to reboot the franchise. Cory Goodman was hired to write the script for the first film. Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi would be producers.[3] Later it was confirmed not to be a reboot but another entry in the series.[citation needed] The fifth film, originally tentatively titled Underworld: Next Generation, was in production with Kate Beckinsale reprising her role as Selene and Anna Foerster set to direct the fifth film in Prague in October. Theo James was set to reprise his role as David from the fourth film as the new lead, but said that "[his] involvement in it is... I think it's going to be very difficult to do that with these Divergent movies, and my other commitments." James however remained in the film to fulfill an option agreement.[4][5][6] In August 2015, it was reported by Deadline Hollywood that Tobias Menzies was cast in the film.[7][8] In September 2015, Deadline reported that Bradley James, Clementine Nicholson, and Lara Pulver were also cast.[9][10][11]

The film was released internationally on November 24, 2016, and in the United States on January 6, 2017.


In September 2018, Beckinsale cast doubt on appearing in a sixth Underworld film.[12] By July 2021, however, she stated that she was not opposed to reprising the role.[13]

Cancelled projects

I, Frankenstein crossover

Main article: I, Frankenstein

A crossover with the film I, Frankenstein (2014) was planned by Kevin Grevioux, co-creator of the Underworld franchise and creator of the I, Frankenstein graphic novel. He stated in an interview that, in an early draft of his screenplay, Beckinsale would have made a post-credit cameo appearance as Selene and that there would have been Underworld easter eggs, but none of this was used.[14]

Blade crossover

See also: Blade (franchise) § Unproduced projects

In October 2016, Kate Beckinsale stated that a crossover film between Underworld and the Blade franchise, featuring Wesley Snipes reprising his role as Blade, had been in development and discussed with Marvel Comics the previous year,[15][16] but was declined after Marvel Studios regained the film rights to the character and planned to introduce him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[17]

Resident Evil crossover

Main article: Resident Evil (film series)

In October 2016, producer David Kern revealed that a crossover film with the Resident Evil film series had been considered.[17]

Short films

Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter Producers
Underworld: Endless War December 20, 2011 (2011-12-20) Juno John Lee Jon Schnepp Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi & Richard Wright

Underworld: Endless War (2011)

Main article: Underworld: Endless War

Underworld: Endless War is a 2011 animated film, which includes three individual short films beginning in 1890 and leading up to the events of Underworld: Awakening. The film follows Selene as she hunts down a group of three lycan brothers in three separate time periods.


In October 2014, Wiseman announced plans to expand the film series into a franchise with the possibility of spin-offs in addition to a television series.[18][19] In January 2016, the filmmaker confirmed that he is still developing the series though there is no timetable for when it will debut. He stated that the series will explore characters that tie into the film series.[20]

The series officially entered development in September 2017. Wiseman was announced to return to the franchise as executive producer. The filmmaker stated that the series will be a "pretty big departure from the films", specifying that the tone and character of the show will be different. The series will be a joint-venture production between Sony Pictures Television, Screen Gems, Sketch Films, Lakeshore Entertainment, and 20th Century Television.[21]

Recurring cast and characters

Main article: List of Underworld characters

Characters Films Animated film
Underworld Underworld
Rise of the Lycans
Blood Wars
Endless War
2003 2006 2009 2012 2016 2011
Selene Kate Beckinsale Kate Beckinsale
Lily Mo SheenY
Kate BeckinsaleA Kate Beckinsale Laura HarrisV
Viktor Bill Nighy Bill NighyA
Lucian Michael Sheen Michael SheenA Michael Sheen
Alexander CarrollY
Michael SheenA
Kraven Shane Brolly Shane BrollyV Shane BrollyA Trevor DevallV
Michael Corvin Scott Speedman Scott SpeedmanA Trent Garrett
Scott SpeedmanA
Mark OliverV
Erika Sophia Myles Sophia MylesA
Raze Kevin Grevioux Kevin Grevioux
Amelia Zita Görög Sveta Driga
Zita GörögA
Soren Scott McElroy Scott McElroyA
Sonja Jázmin Damek Rhona Mitra
Olivia TaylforthY
Kahn Robbie Gee
Singe Erwin Leder
Andreas Tanis Steven Mackintosh
Markus Corvinus Stand-in Tony Curran Tony CurranA
Alexander Corvinus Derek Jacobi
William Corvinus Brian Steele Brian SteeleA
Detective Sebastian Michael Ealy
Eve India Eisley India EisleyAS
David Theo James
Thomas Charles Dance
Dr. Jacob Lane Stephen Rea
Quint Lane Kris Holden-Ried
Marius Tobias Menzies
Semira Lara Pulver
Darius Trevor DevallV
Vregis Brian DobsonV
Krandrill Paul DobsonV
Lord Clovis Trevor DevallV

Additional crew and production details

Film Crew/Detail
Composer Cinematographer Editor(s) Production
Running time
Underworld Paul Haslinger Tony Pierce-Roberts Martin Hunter Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
Subterranean Productions,
Screen Gems,
Sony Pictures Releasing
121 minutes
Underworld: Evolution Marco Beltrami Simon Duggan Nicholas Del Toth Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
Vancouver Film Studios
106 minutes
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans Paul Haslinger Ross Emery Peter Amundson & Eric Potter Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
Sketch Films
92 minutes
Underworld: Endless War Lauren Hecht Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 18 minutes
Underworld: Awakening Scott Kevan Jeff McEvoy Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
Sketch Films
Screen Gems,
Sony Pictures Releasing
89 minutes
Underworld: Blood Wars Michael Wandmacher Karl Walter Lindenlaub Peter Amundson Screen Gems,
Lakeshore Entertainment,
LStar Capital,
Sketch Films,
Stillking Films
91 minutes


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.[22]

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.[23]

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 film 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."[24] The following October, actor Michael Sheen, who portrays Lucian in the film series, expressed interest in being part of the prequel.[25]

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, scribes Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain were brought on board and delivered a draft on November 3, mere days before the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[26] 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.[27]

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.

In a 2009 interview, Underworld co-creator Kevin Grevioux revealed that he had named the Selene character after the Marvel Comics character of the same name.[28]

Filming for Underworld: Awakening began in March 2011 at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Underworld: Awakening was the first film to be shot using RED EPIC digital cameras in 3D.[27]


Box office performance

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Reference
North America Other
Worldwide All time
North America
Underworld September 19, 2003 $51,970,690 $43,737,767 $95,708,457 #1,382 $22 million [1][29]
Underworld: Evolution January 20, 2006 $62,318,875 $49,021,926 $111,340,801 #1,122 $45 million [1][30]
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans January 23, 2009 $45,802,315 $45,282,848 $91,085,163 #1,582 $35 million [1][31]
Underworld: Awakening January 20, 2012 $62,321,039 $97,791,632 $160,112,671 #1,121 $70 million [1][32]
Underworld: Blood Wars January 6, 2017 $30,353,973 $50,739,340 $81,093,313 #2,499 $35 million [1][33]
Total $252,766,892 $286,573,513 $539,340,405 $207 million [1]

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[34]
Underworld 31% (162 reviews)[35] 42 (34 reviews)[36] B+
Underworld: Evolution 17% (104 reviews)[37] 36 (21 reviews)[38] B+
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 29% (78 reviews)[39] 44 (14 reviews)[40] B+
Underworld: Awakening 26% (76 reviews)[41] 39 (17 reviews)[42] A−
Underworld: Blood Wars 21% (96 reviews)[43] 23 (17 reviews)[44] B+

In other media

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


IDW Publishing has published a number of Underworld comics, which included adaptations of Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and the original Underworld: Red in Tooth and Claw, serving as a prequel to Underworld featuring the character Lucian.[45] It is a 3-part comic book series featuring Kevin Grevioux's character, Lycan-enforcer, Raze. Darkstorm Comics also published an adaptation of Underworld: Blood Wars.


Pocket Star Books published novelizations of Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans' written by Greg Cox, in addition to an original novel by Cox titled Underworld: Blood Enemy; written before Evolution, it depicts an alternate origin to the war, based on such details as Sonja's initial portrayal as a blonde in flashbacks.

Video games

A Half-Life mod titled Underworld: Bloodline was released in 2003.[46] An action game based on the first film titled 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.[47]


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  4. ^ Ford, Rebecca; Youn, Soo (September 11, 2014). "'Divergent' Actor Theo James to Star in Fifth 'Underworld' Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Emma Dibdin (March 10, 2015). "Theo James drops out of Underworld sequel Next Generation". Digital Spy.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (May 14, 2015). "Kate Beckinsale Returning for 'Underworld 5'". The Holoywood Reporter.
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  14. ^ Philbick, Jami (January 21, 2014). "IAR Exclusive Interview: Kevin Grevioux Talks I, Frankenstein, A Possible Sequel and Crossover with the 'Underworld' Franchise". I Am Rogue.com. Rogue. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
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