The Underworld franchise revolves around Selene, a vampire who’s at war with the Lycans, a race of werewolves. The films present a conflict between the two factions that dates back to the Middle Ages. But if you want to follow this narrative from beginning to end in chronological order, it’s not as simple as watching the movies in release order and calling it a day. There are spinoffs, time jumps, and other wrinkles that make it difficult to watch the series in chronological order. Here is our guide on how to watch all five films in order:
1. Underworld (2003)
Underworld is a 2003 German-Canadian horror film directed by Len Wiseman. It stars Kate Beckinsale as Selene, the protagonist, and Scott Speedman as Michael Corvin. The film focuses on the conflict between vampires and Lycans (werewolves) and is the first installment in the Underworld franchise.
The film was produced by Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment with Wiseman’s production company Synthetic Cinema International handling the visual effects. Filming took place from October 2002 to March 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Released on September 19, 2003, Underworld had an initial budget of $35 million and grossed $53 million in North America and $113 million elsewhere for a worldwide total of $157 million.
Underworld opened at number two at the box office behind The Matrix Reloaded during its first weekend of release with $15 million from 2,832 theaters. The film went on to gross over $53 million domestically (surpassing its production budget) and $113 million internationally for a total worldwide gross of $157 million.
The success of Underworld led to three direct sequels: Underworld: Evolution (2006), Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), and Underworld:
2. Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Underworld: Evolution is the sequel to this action film, and it’s also the third in its franchise. It was released in 2006 and stars Kate Beckinsale as Selene once again. This movie takes place after the events of the first film, so it’s important to watch them all in order if you want to understand how Selene came about her vampire/werewolf hybrid powers.
The director for this one was Len Wiseman, who went on to direct Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and Total Recall (2012). If you like Underworld: Evolution, he also directed its follow-up Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) with Michael Sheen as Lucian.
3. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
Naturally, the first movie in this franchise is a prequel, which means it’s set before any of the others. Rise of the Lycans is set during medieval times in France and tells the story of Lucian (Michael Sheen), who becomes the first Lycan after being bitten by one. The movie jumps back and forth between flashbacks that tell us how he became infected with lycanthropy, as well as current events where he works with his master vampire to save his wife and child from imprisonment.
While most of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans takes place outdoors in medieval France and Germany, there are a few scenes inside castles or manors along with some nighttime fight scenes and some brief nudity from Kate Beckinsale’s character Selene (the title character).
4. Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Underworld: Awakening is the fourth entry in this franchise, which means it’s chronologically placed right after Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
Underworld: Awakening sees Kate Beckinsale returning as Selene and Michael Ealy as David (the son of one of Selene’s past lovers). It also introduces us to a new cast member, Theo James who plays Lucian—a vampire leader who no longer believes in keeping humans as pets.
5. Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)
Underworld: Blood Wars (2016) is an American fantasy and action film written, produced, and directed by Anna Foerster. It is the fifth installment in the Underworld franchise and stars Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, and Charles Dance. The plot follows Selene, who finds herself in an intricate battle between Lycans and vampires while attempting to end the eternal war between both races.
The film was released on January 6, 2017, in 2D and 3D by Screen Gems. It received generally unfavorable reviews from critics and grossed $59 million worldwide against its $35 million budget.
Selene (Kate Beckinsale), having taken up residence in a castle owned by Semira (Lara Pulver), is training her new protégée, Eve (India Eisley). Selene is worried that Semira has been plotting against her; when Selene confronts Semira about it, Semira admits that she had been planning to take over as leader of the coven but has abandoned those plans after learning that Selene has not been sharing information about the vampire-Lycan war with her students. Later that night, Selene kills an assassin sent by Marius…
You can watch the entire “Underworld” franchise in chronological order, from “Underworld” to “Underworld: Blood Wars.”
Here’s an overview of the franchise’s chronological order:
- “Underworld” (2003)
- “Underworld: Evolution” (2006)
- “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” (2009)
- “Underworld: Awakening” (2012)
- “Underworld: Blood Wars” (2016)
We hope this guide helps you make sense of the Underworld franchise and prepares you to watch all five movies! If you’re interested in watching other movie franchises in chronological order, check out some of our other guides.
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