“The Shield” writer John Hlavin has been hired to pen the fourth installment in Screen Gems/Lakeshore’s Underworld franchise, writes the Heat Vision Blog. Len Wiseman, who directed the first two films in the vampire-vs.-werewolf saga, is producing with Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg and Richard Wright of Lakeshore. Kate Beckinsale, who starred in the first two movies, has not cut a deal to return to the series (which we’ve confirmed is absolutely untrue); the third pic, a prequel, starred Rhona Mitra, who also has no deal. The fourth film does not have a director attached. Hlavin said the plot is under wraps, “but I can tell you it’s not a prequel.” He added, “It will satisfy old fans and excite new audiences, meaning that we don’t want to redo the first three movies, so steps are being taken to honor what fans have loved but at the same time introduce fresh elements.” The horror-action series has been successful for Screen Gems and Lakeshore, scaring up nearly $300 million worldwide. The sequel is set to hit theaters January 21, 2011 in 3-D.