Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a 2009 American action horror film directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. It is the third (chronologically, the first) installment and the prequel to the Underworld film series, focusing primarily on the origins of the characters and the events that lead up to the Vampire–Lycan war, depicted in the previous films Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution (2006).
The film tells the story of Lucian, the first werewolf born capable of taking human form and the first to be called a Lycan. Viktor, a vampire elder, raises the child, and envisions a race of Lycan slaves that could guard the coven's fortress during the day and be used as laborers by the vampires at night. The forests and the countryside are indeed filled with savage werewolves born from William's rampage, and human nobles have taken to asking Viktor for protection against the beasts, protection Viktor grants in exchange for a tribute of silver, with which to keep his slaves under control. As Lucian grows up, he and Viktor's daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) fall in love and begin a secretive intimate relationship in their adult years. Sonja is reckless and insubordinate, and one night Lucian escapes and rescues Sonja from his werewolf brethren. Viktor, despite acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, cannot forgive the escape and locks Lucian away.