Shared cinematic universes seem to be all the rage with big studios at the moment. What, with Marvel having built its for the better part of a decade and still going strong, Fox with the X-Men and now DC/Warner Bros. attempting to catch up as well. Following suit are the television counterparts with Marvel's Netflix shows and DC's CW shows all coexisting across multiple platforms.

The latest in this growing trend is none other than and its iconic library of monster movies. Universal has been a mainstay in the growth of the horror genre since it first grunted and howled onto our screens during the silent era of the early 1920s. Characters such as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy have become not only icons of the scary, but cornerstones of movie lore.

[Credit: Universal Pictures]
[Credit: Universal Pictures]

Since 2012, has been planting seeds to bring back these characters from the cinematic dead and re-introduce them to a modern audience. It started with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan doing the honors, whose combined credits include Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fast and Furious. The re-imaginings are reported to be more action-adventure based than horror, which will be disappointing for some.

In May 2017, It was announced that the shared universe will be called the 'Dark Universe', accompanied by a teaser comprised of clips from the classics, along with 's new score:

With a library of around 100 films in the last 100 plus years, the monsters making up this universe will be the main eight. With most of the rebooted films still in the early stages of development, details are currently scarce. Let's take a look at what we know regarding the characters in this new universe, and what you need to know about the originals.

The Mummy

'The Mummy' (1932) [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'The Mummy' (1932) [Credit: Universal Pictures]

First emerging from the un-dead gate is . For a lot of modern moviegoers, the first thing that may spring to mind when they hear "The Mummy" is the 1999 loose remake and its many sequels and spin-offs. They include The Scorpion King with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which spawned three sequels of its own. But before Brendan James Fraser was making waves in the graves, Boris Karloff was the man.

Karloff is synonymous with his role as Frankenstein's monster in 1931's Frankenstein and its sequel, but his contributions to cinema spanned over half a century, including introducing us to the mummy Imhotep.

In the original tale directed by Karl Freund, an ancient Egyptian mummy named Imhotep is discovered by a team of archaeologists and accidentally brought back to life by an ancient scroll, probably based on the actual ancient Egyptian funerary text, The Book of the Dead. Disguised as a modern Egyptian named Ardath Bey, the mummy searches for his lost love, whom he believes has been reincarnated into a modern girl.

Like the majority of Universal's monsters, The Mummy isn't necessarily evil; rather, he is misunderstood. All he wants is to find his princess and be happy. Problem is, they can only be reunited through death.

The Reboot

Unlike the original, this mummy is, in fact, evil, at least to some degree. The plot details her attempts to murder her own father in order to claim the throne of Egypt, and after her plan is thwarted, she is buried alive. After being discovered 2,000 years later by the American army, she emerges once again, and she is pissed!

Bringing the first female mummy to the franchise is , known for appearing Stark Trek: Beyond and for wearing the most lethal stilettos ever in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Regarding Boutella's casting, director Alex Kurtzman said:

"If you look at her eyes, and this is what I got from watching 'Kingsman,' there's a whole performance going on here. And in not saying anything but conveying that much to me, I thought oh my god, no matter how much prosthetics we put on her, no matter how much CG we put on her face, if I see this, she's going to convey something very emotional to me."

Expanding upon the star power of this film will be as Nick Morton, along with bringing his beautiful mind to introducing Dr. Henry Jekyll into this universe. The Mummy also stars , who will be familiar to some through her roles in brilliant British crime drama Peaky Blinders and The Conjuring spin-off, Annabelle.

The Mummy released on June 9th 2017 to less-than-expected box office numbers and a mostly negative response, receiving criticism for it's confusing narrative and "Lacking the campy fun of the franchise's most recent entries and failing to deliver many monster-movie thrills."

The Invisible Man

character hasn't been rebooted or re-imagined in film as much as his scary brothers and sisters. Sure, he's had appearances in other works such as Hotel Transylvania and even had his own short-lived television series on Syfy back in 2000, but it strayed away from the source material. Still, The Invisible Man has been appearing (heh) across various media over the years and remains one of the most iconic characters in horror.

Based on H.G. Wells's 1897 science fiction novella of the same name and directed by James Whale, the plot of the 1933 film follows Dr. Jack Griffin as he hopes of becoming rich and famous through his work to satisfy his future bride. He discovers an invisibility formula while testing a dangerous and rather obscure drug called monocane.

Following his discovery, Dr. Griffin decides to continue his research alone, and after continuously injecting himself with the formula, he realizes that he, in fact, does not know how to reverse it. The frustration and maddening side effects of monocane drive Dr. Griffin insane as he attempts to carry out a plot to take over the world with "invisible armies." Dr. Jack Griffin is probably as close to a legit bad guy as the Universal Monsters get. Sure, he is driven insane by a drug, but he still commits horrible acts for the sake of personal gain.

The Reboot

There isn't really much to tell regarding the reboot at the moment. The information that we currently have is that Men in Black screenwriter Ed Solomon is working on the script, and that is set to play the character. (Universal Pictures certainly isn't holding back on star-power!) It is uncertain as of yet whether The Invisible Man of the new universe will be Dr. Jack Griffin or somebody new.

A release date is yet to be announced.

Frankenstein's Monster

'Frankenstein' (1931) [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'Frankenstein' (1931) [Credit: Universal Pictures]

The most famous of the bunch and the most iconic movie monster of all time, Mary Shelley's novel was first adapted for the big screen in 1910 with Charles Ogle as the creature. It wasn't until Boris Karloff's portrayal in 1931 that the character would receive the status it carries today. Since then, there have been countless adaptations of the story.

Also directed by James Whale, the original film is the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature. Victor and his assistant dig up corpses in order to build a man animated by electricity, but he is accidentally given an abnormal, murderous brain. Once again, the creature appears evil but is vastly misunderstood. After all, he has just been randomly brought to life and left without guidance or direction, as his creator deems him unfit for society and ultimately attempts to murder him — a strange prospect all by itself.

The film was a favorite with both audiences and critics, going on to spawn multiple sequels and is now arguably the most iconic horror film of all time. Since Karloff, another 65 men have taken on the mantle across film and television. But no matter how many other Frankenstein monsters there are, when one hears of the character, Karloff comes to mind.

The Reboot

Although the most well-known of the Universal Monsters, a Frankenstein movie has not been officially announced yet. There is going to be a Bride of Frankenstein film though, and this seems like a film should precede it. Because of this, there are currently no writers or directors attached to a project at the moment.

Though we aren't yet quite sure where the character will be appearing in this universe. will be the one bringing him back to life (literally). This definitely seems like a sensible choice following his BAFTA-nominated performance as Raoul Silva in Skyfall (2012).

A release date is yet to be announced.

The Bride Of Frankenstein

'Bride of Frankenstein' (1935) [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'Bride of Frankenstein' (1935) [Credit: Universal Pictures]

1935's builds upon a subplot of Mary Shelley's original story: Victor is convinced by his Creature to create a female partner to give purpose to his existence, as he is unsure why he came to be. Victor reluctantly complies but fears it will eventually lead to an entire race of creatures that could plague mankind, and Victor destroys his unfinished creation.

Following on immediately from the 1931 hit with Boris Karloff reprising his role, this movie imagines what would have happened if the female creature was born. Though the titular character appears only briefly in the film, Elsa Lanchester's performance remains iconic. Her portrayal of the newly born creature is innocent and naive, her bird-like head movements and scared screams are just like that of a baby experiencing the world for the first time.

Bride of Frankenstein was considered revolutionary for the time. Today, it is widely regarded as one of James Whale's masterpieces.

The Reboot

Details are pretty slim on this one. We know that the reboot is being written by David Koepp, whose credits include Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible and 2002's Spider-Man. While talking with Collider, Koepp said that "It's one of my favorite scripts I've written in years." It's also been stated that the film will be a liberation story, with the character being very intelligent in this version. Bill Condon, director of Gods and Monsters (a film based on director James Whale, for which he also won an Academy Award), has begun negotiations to direct the film.

An actress is unconfirmed as of yet but Universal is reportedly looking at Angelina Jolie for the role, potentially adding more major star-power to this universe. This is great, but I'd love to see Billie Piper reprise a version of the role that she absolutely nailed in Penny Dreadful.

A release date is yet to be announced.

The Wolf Man

'The Wolfman' (1941) [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'The Wolfman' (1941) [Credit: Universal Pictures]

Everybody knows this story. Before Taylor Lautner was running around topless, Lon Chaney Jr. was Larry Talbot, a man bitten by wolf and at full moon, turning him into a killing machine. While wasn't the first werewolf movie, it was the movie that gave us the werewolf mythology that continues to be widely used to this day. The genre has taken on many forms through the years but the basics remain the same.

The original, released in 1941 and directed by George Waggner, follows Larry Talbot on his return home from America to Wales, visiting a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by a gypsy-turned-werewolf. Larry kills her but is bitten during the fight, causing him to become a werewolf every full moon.

The film has all the things that one would expect from a classic Gothic horror — dark, foggy forests, mansions and crypts with a raw and unsettling pre-CGI presentation. Werewolf stories seem a little less prominent these days, but The Wolf Man is what sparked people's interests in half-man half-wolf beings. Hopefully, the new film will do it once again. The Wolf Man would go on to spawn a sequel and would continue to appear in various movies in the original Universal Monsters universe.

The Reboot

The Wolf Man property was actually already rebooted in 2010 with a cast made up of Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt. Despite the star-studded cast, this version, while praised for its visuals, was heavily criticized. Ronald Meyer, president of Universal Studios, even considers it to be "One of the worst movies we ever made." Thankfully, it will have no connection to the reboot-reboot or the new universe.

Little is currently known regarding The Wolf Man reboot. We know that Aaron Guzikowski (writer of 2013's Academy Award nominated Prisoners) is penning the script and that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in talks to star as the character.

A release date is yet to be announced.

Dracula/Van Helsing

'Dracula' (1932) [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'Dracula' (1932) [Credit: Universal Pictures]

Dracula has appeared in more film adaptations than any other character in Universal's library. From horror to action, Dracula is the most famous vampire in movie history. In spite of this, he has not been confirmed for Universal's new universe; it's his arch nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing.

Technically, the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula was the 1922 silent film, Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror, though this version was unauthorized and the character based on Helsing appeared in only a few scenes. His first movie appearance as himself was in 1932's by Tod Browning.

Dr. Van Helsing is predominately portrayed as a vampire hunter, though he's also a professor, doctor, scientist and lawyer. Upon winding up with some patients in strange states and conditions, Helsing uses his many skill sets to confirm that there is a vampire on the loose. He dedicates his time to warding off Dracula, attempting to stop him from causing any further evil, while in general defeating the undead. Dracula and Van Helsing are, for all intents and purposes, the original Batman and Joker.

The Reboot

As mentioned, the characters have both appeared various times through the years. In fact, 2014's origin story Dracula Untold was originally going to be the launching pad for the rebooted universe, but those plans were confirmed to be cancelled by Alex Kurtzman in 2016. Arguably the most well known version aside from the original is Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 version with Gary Oldman as the titular character.

A Van Helsing-centric film was released in 2004, aptly titled , starring Hugh Jackman and the blood-sucking death dealer herself (though not in this film), Kate Beckinsale. The film had a few highlights, but was a bit of a mess overall.

The new take on the character will reportedly take inspiration from George Miller's Mad Max franchise. This Van Helsing will not have superpowers or abilities, but will be more of an everyday hero. It's also been said by one of its writers that the film will be as scary as possible.

You can't have one without the other though, so we assume that both characters will be rebooted. Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange, Prometheus, Passengers) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) are writing the screenplay, with no current information in regards to casting.

A release date is yet to be announced.

The Creature From The Black Lagoon

'The Creature From The Black Lagoon' [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'The Creature From The Black Lagoon' [Credit: Universal Pictures]

Unlike his brothers and sisters, The Creature has not appeared in a film since the original in 1954. Plans to reboot the character have existed since the '80s, with names attached to the various projects including: Breck Eisner, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. For one reason or another, none of them managed to follow through.

Another vastly misunderstood character — due to his frightening appearance — the Gill-man scares two geologist assistants as Dr. Carl Maia is researching fossilized evidence of similar creatures. In their fear, they attack Gill-man, and he responds accordingly — in fear and self defense, murdering them both. As the scientists become more persistent in their research, the Gill-man's attitude towards them becomes more aggressive, resulting in more deaths. Directed by Jack Arnold, is now considered a classic and went on to influence a number of similar films that succeeded it.

The Reboot

All we know regarding the reboot thus far is that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 writer Jeff Pinkner is handling the story, and Will Beall, screenwriter for DC's upcoming Aquaman, has signed on as screenwriter for the picture. Scarlett Johansson has also been offered to star in the film. It'll be interesting to see what a modern Gill-man ends up looking like.

A release date is yet to be announced.

The Future

Although we are already looking well ahead into the future, one has to wonder what all of this will amount to. Will we have ourselves a massive ensemble of monsters on the big screen all at once? Only time will tell.

Be sure to check back here as new details are released!