The first installment of the horror-action film franchise, Underworld, was directed by Len Wiseman and released in 2003. It presented new mythology for Lycans, often known as werewolves, and their demonic counterparts, vampires. The werewolf and vampire franchise, which now includes five films and a video game, is known for its unique take on the genre.
The struggle of the vampires against the Lycans continues in the first film, and the actual origins of the vampires are revealed. The series’ growth, which stars Kate Beckinsale as the lead vampire Selene, reveals how radically different the Lycans and vampires in it are from anything else in horror history. Let us learn more about these frightening and enigmatic imaginary creatures.
The parent strain of the Vampire and Lycan Strains – Corvinus Strain
The Corvinus Strain, which is the parental Strain of the Lycan and Vampire Strains, is a rare hereditary aberration that, when acquired in its active state, grants its bearer eternal life and supernatural powers, as well as the capacity to undergo another stage of transformation when exposed to gene-fusion.
As a result, the Corvinus Strain is the only one that can tolerate and contain both viruses borne by Lycans and vampires. This anomaly is the only known gene capable of merging traits from both the Lycan and Vampire strains, which would ordinarily destroy themselves on contact owing to incompatible components at the cellular level.
When this recessive Strain mutates with the DNA of one or more of any other species, it becomes active. The Lycan and Vampire Strains are the only documented post-mutation instances of the Corvinus Strain.
When it is transmitted in its dormant state, it has no engagement with the host and consequently no sign of its existence from a third-party standpoint. There is still the possibility that the dormant Strain will experience another phase of transformation, but this can only happen if the Strain is pulled to its active state by an external source.
Because of their dominance, the Corvinus Strain in its post-mutation state, that is, the Lycan or Vampire Strain is one such source. A merger of both of the post-mutation strains could give highly potent and similar outcomes to the active form, resulting in a Hybrid. The dormant and active forms of the Strain appear to be two distinct mutations of the Strain since they respond differently with both the Lycan and Vampire strains, yet they may be the same.
The origin story of this Strain is fascinating, to say the least, and adds quite a bit of spice to the movie franchise.
In the earlier parts of the fifth century, Alexander Corvinus was a warlord in Hungary who was currently in power, as the legend goes. He ascended the throne just as the entire kingdom was thrown into the clutches of a horrifying plague, the origins of which were unknown at the time. This plague caused an odd trait that caused the affected individual’s body to divide cells in a way that caused them to mutate past the body’s genetic maximum limits.
Unfortunately, the king, Alexander, was the only known survivor of this plague, and this was due to the fact that his body, interestingly enough, contained a gene mutation that had somehow altered the virus fundamentally, causing it to stop cell deterioration entirely and this is what led him to become the very first Immortal and also the true carrier of this particular Strain. He and his lovely wife Helena later sired three children, and out of them, two twin sons inherited the virus Strain in its active state.
The first of the two was named Marcus. He was bitten by a rabid bat, but instead of succumbing to the infection, the Corvinus strain in his blood mutated with the DNA of the bat and made him the very first Vampire in existence. The second son, William, was somehow bitten by a rabid wolf, and this, in turn, caused the Strain in his blood to mutate with the DNA of the wolf due to the fact that it was rabid.
This made him the very first Werewolf in existence and the very first Lycan too. He then became utterly incapable of taking human form ever again, which led to him having an uncontrollable amount of rage. This turned him into a cruel and ruthless werewolf-type beast while at the same time maintaining some of his human-like features.
Due to his blinding rage, William went berserk, infecting everyone he encountered. Even those who were murdered by William were resurrected as the consequences of William’s mutant Corvinus Strain were potent enough even to bring back the dead, transforming them into the very first generation of Werewolves, also known as the Lycans. Those infected turned into rampaging monsters, spawning armies of unrestrained Werewolf creatures across Hungary.
Marcus sought the aging warlord Viktor, offering him life as a Vampire in exchange for his troops and military experience in capturing William. His army was then contaminated with the mutated virus by Marcus, giving rise to the Death Dealers. He was ultimately caught after numerous battles with William and his enraged descendants. Viktor, on the other hand, abandoned Marcus and commanded that William be imprisoned for the rest of eternity inside a special prison. The location of this prison was, for some reason, kept a secret from Marcus.
Marcus then went on to swear revenge on Viktor and all of those faithful to him, but he was unable to do anything concrete because Viktor’s army, the Death Dealers, really were only staunchly devoted to Viktor. As the army evolved into the very first Vampire Coven, the official Chain was devised, a system in which only one Elder reigned while the rest of them rested and hibernated.
Viktor, with the help of the Vampire Council and Amelia, undermined Marcus’s authority at every point, guaranteeing that he would never be able to rescue his brother. As a result, Viktor remained the ultimate leader of the Vampires, even going as far as to refer to himself as the “oldest and strongest” of all.
In its latent condition, the virus strain was also being carried by Corvinus’ other descendants. Alexander’s unidentified third son was the first to acquire the Corvinus virus Strain in its dormant state. The Corvinus virus Strain was able to maintain its unadulterated form thanks to him, and it was later down from generation to generation to a man who was named Michael Corvin. Because of the Corvinus virus Strain’s capacity to pass from parent to child, everyone who is biologically connected to Corvinus’ third son is a potential carrier of the Strain.
Immortals – The One Who Carry An Extremely Rare Virus
Now I’m sure many of us are wondering, “Who are immortals, and what do they have to do with all this?” Well, worry not, we’re here to tell you all about them! Immortals, at least in the Underworld movie franchise, are superhuman creatures that have an incredibly uncommon virus running through their blood that enables them to live forever. They can, however, die if they have been harmed beyond their fast healing ability to recover.
Broadly speaking, this can apply to both Vampires and Lycans; however, an actual Immortal possesses the immortality virus and none of the animalistic genetic traits. So far, the only real Immortal seen or referenced in the Underworld universe has been Alexander Corvinus along with his two sons, William and Marcus, from which all other varieties of Immortal are derived. Marcus and William went on to become the first vampires and werewolves, respectively.
Unfortunately for us, not a great deal is known about the abilities of an immortal, but of course, many fans have quite a few noncanonical theories, and none of them have been confirmed. We do not know if the immortals are capable of biting and infecting humans like many of the popular vampires in fiction, take, for example, the vampires from Twilight or even the Lycans and Vampires in the movie itself. What we do know is that the main protagonist, Selene, gains an amazing roster of new and extraordinary strength and supernatural abilities when she drinks Alexander’s blood.
In the movies, we see Alexander show us a great deal of his wise, crafty, and resourceful side, which is very likely due to the fact that he is quite advanced in age. He has extensive and possibly complete knowledge about the war of the Vampires versus the Lycans.
He also somehow manages to recruit and train his personal army and keep the truth about his condition as well as the conflict between the two immortal species under wraps and far, far away from humanity. He also seems to have a certain level of superhuman senses, and they are sharp enough to help him hear radio frequencies even when they are quite a few meters away.
Alexander may have been a more superior, pure kind of Immortal. William and Marcus, while being the first of their kind, retained their vulnerability to silver and sunlight, in contrast to the Hybrids born of the Corvinus strain who had their vulnerability eliminated and their superhuman skills augmented after utilizing Alexander’s Strain. It is interesting to note that Marcus and William’s mother was a typical human, which might suggest that they inherited a less potent strain of Corvinus.
It is also uncertain whether an Immortal has ever had any healing abilities. Alexander appeared gravely hurt after being stabbed in the abdomen, which may have suggested that he was on the very brink of death. It is uncertain if he could have rapidly healed the wound; however, he demonstrated some resilience by losing a large amount of blood and not passing out; this might suggest he had been unable to heal his numerous wounds or just chose not to.
It is widely known that the virus that produced the Immortals is responsible for the shared features present in Vampires and Lycanthropes. These characteristics included the ability to access memories and the transmission of transforming genetic material by blood consumption or transfusion, and also possessing an infinite lifetime. The one skill not common among all immortal creatures is the capacity to physically change their form at will or impulse, which is most probably due to genetic instability in the original founders of the Werewolf and Vampire species, which spread to others of their species in question.
In the movie Underworld: Evolution, we see Selene, the main protagonist, says that due to the fact that Alexander is the only one older and stronger than Marcus, which is why he could have defeated the first Vampire, even though he was a hybrid. This bold claim was never one that was denied by Alexander, but he was clearly uncomfortable and unwilling to kill his own biological son, so we never know the actual limits
of his vast powers. We see the immense power he holds after Selene drinks a little bit of his blood and, in turn, ingests a little bit of the virus strain running through his veins. This leads to a considerable upgrade to her current set of abilities and enhances them to never before seen levels while at the same time getting rid of her vulnerability to ultraviolet light. Any Vampire or Lycan that has somehow ingested Alexander’s Strain through Selene’s daughter Eve, or even Selene herself, is shown to have upgraded their powers to a great extent.
Lycans The Second Breed Of Werewolves
Lycans are a kind of Werewolf that was created in the 13th century and are descendants of William Corvinus’ Werewolf lineage. They were formerly regular humans who were contaminated by the primordial Lycan or another one of his victims, and they differ from the first breed in that they maintain their human personalities when changed, sort of like the werewolves we see in popular fiction today, as well as the ability to adopt human shape.
Due to their unfortunate historical status as downtrodden slaves who always received the short end of the stick, Lycans are continuously at odds with Vampires, and the Vampires were on a mission to eradicate the whole species when the Lycans organize an uprising that almost eliminates the entire Vampire race in the 15th century.
In the Underworld movie franchise, the Werewolves and the Lycans have the right genetics to be virtually immortal, unlike pop culture demons, who are immortal due to mysterious supernatural forces. However, they do share some similarities with these demons, and just like them, the Lycans of the Underworld are also carnivorous by nature and regularly depend on meat to survive. We also see them being depicted as having disturbingly cannibalistic traits, and they have also been shown to feed off both, Vampires and humans despite the fact that their DNA and genes closely match those of the two species.
In this particular case, Lycans are quite similar to the canines on earth. They are warm-blooded and have body temperatures that are higher than that of an average human being. They are also shown as being colorblind in their werewolf forms in the novel, which was not the case in the live-action film. They are also extremely sensitive to silver, so sensitive, in fact, that their eyes cannot even stand the glare of light off a surface made of silver.
Just like all the other Immortals we’ve seen, Lycans upgrade their skill set with age, becoming massively powerful and gaining an immense amount of physical strength as they advance in age, both socially and physically. The other factors that affect their strength include their intake of food.
Lycans are insanely powerful and not just for show; they are crazy fast and have the agility, reflexes, speed, and endurance of their Vampire brethren. It is highly probable that they are able to enter a period of hibernation and endure for centuries without blood or oxygen.
They have improved senses of smell and taste, sight, and hearing that are superior to those of wolves as well as humans, and they can detect Vampires in close vicinity to themselves.
Besides their large and seemingly ever-growing roster of supernatural abilities, the Lycans also have a very interesting history that we’re about to dive into.
Lucian was birthed by an unknown female werewolf being held captive, who was most likely pregnant at the time she was turned into a werewolf, and so the werewolf gene was inherited by the growing fetus inside her. Viktor, Lucian’s Vampire owner, meant to kill the newborn when he was birthed in human form but changed his mind when he recognized in Lucian the promise of producing a new species of slaves – a new generation of Werewolf: Lycans. Viktor murdered Lucian’s mother, branded him with Viktor’s mark, and reared him as his personal pet. Lucian rose through the ranks, becoming the Lycan leader under Viktor’s supervision.
Lucian is proven to have an ability that has never before been seen in other Lycans at the time of Underworld: when hit with bullets made of pure silver, he is miraculously able to throw them out of his body by forcing his body to make a quick transformation. In theory, Lucian had developed a surprising resistance to silver over a period of many years owing to higher exposure than his contemporaries, just like humans might develop a resistance to arsenic over time.
Likewise, Lucian’s position as the very First Lycan may provide him with a genetic metamorphic edge over his successors, providing him with limited immunity to silver. This did not, however, prevent blood poisoning from occurring after many doses of silver nitrate immersion into the circulation, culminating in Lucian’s death.
Lucian led to the creation of the modern Lycan, all of whom were his descendants. Lucian was forced by Viktor to create a large number of Lycans so that he could have a free, utterly subservient slave working population to do him and the rest of the Vampires’ bidding.
The Strain of virus that ran through Lucian’s bloodstream also slowly spread to humans, which led to the birth of a considerable number of extremely powerful Lycans capable of taking both wolf and human forms. Even then, these Lycan half breeds had a scent akin to their ancestors, which is why the Lycans accepted them as their kind even when they walked around in their human bodies.
All of the second generations of Lycans are capable of transforming from and back from Werewolf to human when the moon is full. Older Lycans who have been existing for centuries have the power to transform at will due to the fact that they have learned how to channel their immense rage over the course of the centuries. They are similar to first-generation Werewolves, although their faces are shorter and less wolf-like.
They also have much less fur than previous Werewolves. Except perhaps Lucian, who has the same type of fur as first-generation Werewolves, they are generally hairless, save for a thin plume of hair running down the middle of their backs. Following the purge, some of the remaining second-generation Lycans went on the run, and without feeding, they became much weaker and also lost a great deal of hair and weight.
The third generation Lycan variation is physically far more robust and bigger than any prior generation, including William and Lucian. Furthermore, Lycans of this era have at least a slight immunity to silver, enabling them to be stabbed and shot with silver weapons without serious effects or repercussions and recover almost instantaneously.
Later, using Michael Corvin’s blood, the new Lycan commander Marius transformed himself into an enormously strong augmented Lycan. Still, he needed Eve’s blood to cement his change and had to drink tiny vials of blood from Michael’s to keep his mutation intact. Selene murdered him when she obtained heightened abilities from the Nordic Coven.
Hybrids – Half Vampire… Half Lycan… but stronger than both!
So if Lycans are such immensely powerful beings, what about the Hybrids? Hybrids are a combination of two superhuman species: Vampires and Lycans.
Becoming a Hybrid requires a very specific gene from the Corvinus virus and also needs to have originated from the Corvinus bloodline. Michael, William Corvinus, Marcus, and Eve Corvinus are all heirs of the bloodline of Alexander Corvinus, and hence they turn into hybrids. Despite not being blood-related to the Corvinus family, Lucian and Sonja may have had a Hybrid child who might have been a neutral hybrid, a whole new immortal species that had never existed before; nevertheless, Sonja was assassinated at the hands of her very own father.
Technically speaking, all Lycans and Vampires carry the Corvinus strain that is mutated with the DNA of an animal, but the existence of the authentic Strain leads to greater strength and evolution of the existing Strain, which means that any and all physical abilities and greatly multiplied and all weaknesses become nonexistent.
There are three known types of hybrids, with the first being Lycan Dominant Hybrids. A Hybrid who has a prominently Lycan side possesses many physical similarities to a Lycan. The eyes are entirely black, and the faces are really only slightly enlarged, the rib cages are somewhat stretched, there is little to no fur, and the skin is a dark blueish color. This species of Hybrid possesses the claws, fangs, and animalistic stance of a Lycan.
They also have the Lycan’s distinctive roar. Michael Corvin is the very first and the only Lycan-Vampire Hybrid known to exist. This hybrid variant is totally resistant to both silver and sunlight, unlike its Lycan counterpart. This species of Hybrid, like any other Vampire, must feed on blood and will become unwell if they take solid food. The boundaries of this kind, like those of other Hybrids, remain unknown.
Secondly, we have the Vampire Dominant Hybrids. A Hybrid who had initially been a Vampire, on the contrary, has more physical characteristics that reflect its chiropteran “heritage.”While they possess black eyes, claws, and musculature like their Lycan counterparts, a Vampire dominant Hybrid has bat-like ears flattened onto its skull, a bat-like snout, no hair, bluish skin, and taloned, retractable wings.
The Hybrid, just like vampires, must feed on blood. Marcus Corvinus is the very first and the only Vampire-Lycan Hybrid known to exist. However, because Marcus is the first Vampire and the strongest of his type, it is possible that not all predominantly Vampire-Hybrids will have the same skills as Marcus.
Lastly, we have neutral hybrids. Someone who is naturally born as a combination of a Lycan and Vampire union may exhibit a unique set of features. Sonja, who is Viktor’s Vampire daughter, falls in love with Lucian, who is a Lycan, and subsequently becomes pregnant with his kid. This form of Hybrid is mentioned in sequences where Lucian and Sonja discuss Sonja’s pregnancy amongst themselves. Eve, the child of Selene and Michael Corvin, is also shown.
Hybrids are incredibly powerful, and as Singe emphasizes, they have the combined skills of both or even more of that of their parent races, making them so much more powerful than both.
Even newly conceived Hybrids have strength comparable to or somewhat more significant than even a transformed Werewolf or Lycan and even that of a Vampire Elder. Michael was capable of combating Viktor just after transforming into a Hybrid and before his very first feeding.
He is also capable of bending steel with his grasp and kills the eldest Werewolf by ripping the top part of his skull off immediately after resurrecting from the dead. Eve hurls a cabinet into the air, smashing it; tears apart a lesser Lycan, and battles Jacob Lane, who is an enhanced Lycan, on level footing before killing him by tearing out his throat a short while after coming off an extremely strong anesthetic.
Marcus, a Hybrid, can raise the doorway to his brother’s prison, which is an admittedly massive door made of stone, without using a key, and pull on a cord hard enough even to bring a helicopter tumbling down from the sky, and combat hand-to-hand against Selene, an enhanced Vampire who has strength exceeding that of a Vampire Elder. The exact maximum limits of hybrid power are unknown, but even if they have one, it is very definitely relatively high.
A Hybrid’s speed exceeds that of both a Lycan and a vampire, and their movements are the quickest of any immortal creature. Hybrids can travel from one location to another quicker than the human eye can see. They can also withstand gunfire, being stabbed, and steep falls. They can also resist assaults, blows, and other wounds from any of the other superhumanly powerful beings while giving back as good as they get. Hybrids may also be able to hold their breaths for many minutes at a time while remaining calm in challenging or unpleasant conditions.
Vampires and Lycans both have a lower level of dexterity than hybrids. They can smoothly transition from one move to another, skillfully evade assaults, swing from items, sprint, do backflips, and perform a variety of other gymnastic, athletic, and martial techniques with little effort on their parts.
Their regeneration powers are far greater than those of conventional Lycans and Vampires, enabling them to repair wounds considerably faster and making them immune to the common sensitivities to silver and UV radiation. Hybrids, as demonstrated by Michael, may even recover from death if their body is still intact. However, in instances of dismemberment, this enhanced healing element is worthless.
The senses of vision, sound, contact, and scent in hybrids are substantially superior to those of other species. They can see perfectly from a long distance, perceive the most negligible differences as well as track objects too quickly for the human eye, hear properly through solid walls, and even sniff out anything across long distances. Some of these mythical creatures also have the ability to identify danger and detect the presence of others. Hybrids, like Lycans, have the capacity to transform and turn into a more formidable and lethal beasts.
The transformations may be initiated at any time and are practically immediate, implying that the Hybrid does not need to go through a learning curve in order to manage it. The appearance of the Hybrid varies greatly, frequently resembling more of their dominant race and the sorts of strains present in their bloodstream while also being entirely resistant to both ultraviolet radiation and silver in all forms.
Lycan hybrids have extendable nails that sprout at will from the tips of their fingers, which are usually employed for offensive purposes. They can rip through lesser adversaries, crawl walls, and even cut cleanly through solid structures with their razor-sharp claws.
Vampire-Corvinus Strain Hybrids may also resurrect the dead by putting blood straight to the heart of the victim. All hybrids are also resistant to aging and disease, and they can go on to live for thousands and millions of years.
When compared to other films in the genre, Underworld presents its characters in a unique way. The franchise digs into the origins of its werewolves in a wholly independent film, giving its elaborate backstory the screen time it deserves. In contrast to classic monster pictures such as The Wolf Man and more current werewolves favorites such as David in An American Werewolf in London, The Lycans in Underworld do not have too many human-like characteristics.
Additionally, they are the embodiment of violence fuelled by fury. Werewolves in this genre have a reputation for being unpredictable and impulsive rather than fully cognizant and deliberate lycans.
Unlike any vampire influenced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the eternal vampiric characters in Underworld are gun-wielding combat individuals who work to safeguard their coven. They may satisfy their thirst for human blood by devouring rats as well as other small mammals, just as the individuals in Interview With The Vampire. Despite this resemblance, there are certainly no vampires like those found in the Underworld.
The intelligent vampires and their individuality become evident as the franchise unfolds. Dracula, as well as The Wolf Man, are two of the genre’s most known and iconic characters, but Underworld questions what fans understand about the well-loved creatures via its elaborate and complicated mythology.