An Underworld film without Kate Beckinsale? Blasphemy! We all saw how that worked out in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and that had the considerable talents of Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy at the forefront. However, it looks like Underworld 5 might do away with Kate's character, and instead focus on Eve, who was actually played by India Eisley in Underworld 4.
Underworld 5 [reportedly titled Underworld: New Generations] will reportedly cease the focus on Selene, who has been the focal point of all the Underworld movies set in present tense. Rise of the Lycans was set in the past and focused on Lucien's history, so it could be forgiven for taking a different route. However, New Generations will reportedly focus on the vampire offspring instead of the characters we've come to know and love.
Granted, the franchise did survive the departure of Scott Speedman, but he was nowhere as integral to the project as Kate Beckinsale is. Without her, the franchise loses its leading lady and biggest box office draw. In fact, the first Underworld film was what established Kate Beckinsale as a solid action star, and each film has just gotten bigger than the last.
Budget constraints and the studios' aversion to risk might be forcing them to play a different card for their next Underworld film, and they might just be hoping that audiences show up for the brand name. After all, Underworld has had five movies to build up its credibility now, and with or without Kate, it'll have to prove its box office mettle. The only question is - will audiences go to watch an Underworld movie without Kate Beckinsale or Michael Sheen?