There are two interesting changes apparent in Alex Kurtzman’s version of the classic Universal monster: the Mummy is a woman, and the character has a much darker-looking design than what we’re used to. The reason for a lot of that, apparently, is because of what Apocalypse looked like in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Speaking to Cinemablend, Kurtzman said that he had originally had a design for the Mummy that “had been born with a skin pigmentation that at the time would have made him really sort of an outcast.” Kurtzman thought that creating a version of the character that had been bullied was “topical” and would help make the Mummy “relatable, understandable, and that spoke to issues that we’re dealing with now.”
But then Kurtzman went and saw the latest X-Men movie:
I was going down that road, and then I saw the end of Days of Future Past. And they had the character that Oscar Isaac wound up playing as a boy, and it was, I kid you not, the exact same design. And I was like, “Oh, man! That is not good!” And actually it was the catalyst, it was the moment of, “Okay, not only is this not going to be different enough, Bryan Singer just did it, I definitely don’t want to go down that road.” I had had that voice in my head for some time to make it a woman, and that was the moment where, the minute I saw that post-credits scene, I went, “We have to start over.” I don’t want to mess around even remotely with anything that feels familiar or feels like it’s been done. I have to go in totally new territory.
Kurtzman decided to make the Mummy a woman, which then let all the other story pieces fall into place. And, you know, avoided having two hero-menacing blue Egyptians out there in the cinematic world.