Legendary’s MonsterVerse has given us a mixed bag to date, starting off strongly with Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island before last year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters failed to shift tickets as well as Warner Bros. would have hoped.
Almost immediately, however, the attention has turned to one of the most mouthwatering team-ups you could hope for in an action movie – Godzilla and Kong will share the screen for the first time in almost 60 years.
One of them will emerge as the true monarch of monstrosities – but what can we expect when a king fights a god?
Godzilla vs. Kong is now pencilled in for a May 2021 release.
This slot had originally been intended for the fourth film in The Matrix franchise, but the global pandemic has forced numerous films to be pushed back including the fourth film in the MonsterVerse.
This is not the first time Godzilla vs. Kong has been delayed either, with previous release slots ranging from March to November this year.
Godzilla vs. Kong is coming… in 2021
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The film is a direct sequel to the previous two films in the series, and will likely see Kong rise up as the most serious challenger to Godzilla’s title as king of the monsters, an honour he earned by vanquishing King Ghidorah.
Exactly what Kong has been up to in the 40-odd year time gap between Skull Island and King of the Monsters is unknown, but as the credits sequence to last year’s film teases, he is quickly garnering attention.
Meanwhile, the shady organisation known as Monarch will embark on a perilous mission to discover the origin of the titans as the two biggest beasts on the block slug it out.
A number of characters from King of the Monsters are returning for the sequel, including the father-daughter pairing of Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and Madison (Millie Bobby Brown).
New faces in the cast include Alexander Skarsgård, Julian Dennison and Rebecca Hall.
The fourth film in the franchise also sees a fourth different director in Adam Wingard, who – like his predecessor Michael Dougherty – is best known for his horror movies.
Most recently, he worked with Netflix on their Death Note film.
Adam Wingard is directing Godzilla vs. Kong
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Speaking in 2017, Wingard stated that he has two key goals for his film that might suggest how Godzilla vs. Kong will play out.
Firstly, he wants audiences to be emotionally invested not just in the people, but in the creatures – “I want there to be an emotional drive to it,” as he told Screen Crush.
He has also confirmed that his film will see a definitive winner emerge, a divergence from the cult classic and spiritual predecessor King Kong vs. Godzilla from 1962, released by Toho Studios in Japan.
One of the biggest questions has to be the size difference.
Kong is no small fry at 100 feet tall, but that still makes him more than three times smaller than Godzilla.
Wingard has cited a small detail from Skull Island where they mention that Kong is still growing, and that was more than forty years ago – so who knows how tall he could be by the time he tees up against the big lizard?
What we do know is he will be an older, rugged and more chiselled Kong – perhaps more akin to what we say in Peter Jackson’s 2005 take on the original King Kong.
A suggestion of how much older Kong is can be seen in the first posters released last year, that seem to show Kong sporting a pretty unruly beard.
A brief look at the new Kong was seen when footage from the film was leaked online in December last year, reportedly showing the great ape taking a swing at his rival.
Needless to say, Godzilla would have felt that.
Who will win the battle: Godzilla or King Kong
As for who wins, this has always been a sore question since the 1962 Toho release.
In both the American and Japanese versions of the film (although less so in the latter), it is implied that Kong eventually wins the fight after some truly bizarre circumstances – including being flown into the fight on balloons, Up style.
Only Kong emerges from the water, although it’s never said with any certainty that Godzilla is truly down for good.
This indecisiveness is something Wingard wants to avoid, and as he told Entertainment Weekly, “I do want people to walk away from this film feeling like, Okay, there is a winner.”
Asides the exact details of the plot, a lot of questions and possibilities are unaccounted for.
First of all, as the credits sequence in King of the Monsters tells us, Skull Island has become a busy place, drawing in kaiju from far and wide. But why?
Has Godzilla come to learn of Kong’s existence and decided to head on over? Or is it something else?
There is a mysterious new monster being introduced in the new film known only as Warbat, but tantalisingly the newspapers that flash up during the end to King of the Monsters also makes reference to a “mechanised giant” reportedly being developed by Monarch.
This has got Godzilla aficionados immediately thinking the same thing – Mechagodzilla, who in this film may be the end result of some shady defence experiments.
A robotic version of Godzilla, he was originally designed as an extraterrestrial being, but is more commonly portrayed as a man-made abomination designed to protect the world from Godzilla’s atomic wrath.
If Mechagodzilla does indeed make an appearance, there’s little telling of how much destruction will play out.
What will Monarch be up to now?
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Another possibility is the mechanised version of Ghidorah, a possibility teased at the ending of King of the Monsters when one of Ghidorah’s severed heads falls into the hands of eco-terrorists led by Alan Jonah (Charles Dance, who has not been confirmed as a cast member in Godzilla vs. Kong).
Logic would tell you though that this would involve Jonah somehow teaming up with Monarch, which given the events of King of the Monsters seems unlikely.
Nonetheless, when asked about whether he was setting Mecha-King Ghidorah up for an appearance, Michael Dougherty was delightfully evasive of the question – so never say never.
Not all of Mecha-King Ghidorah’s heads are robotic either – at least two have always been organic, as the mechanised version is in the original Godzilla features made from the remnants of the defeated King Ghidorah.
At this point, we can only speculate as to what all of these clues and hints may mean, although one thing is for sure – it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
King Kong vs. Godzilla was the film that convinced Toho to run with Godzilla as a fully fleshed franchise in its own right, giving birth to one of pop culture’s most iconic figures.
Warner Bros. will be hoping that Godzilla vs. Kong similarly helps the MonsterVerse to take one giant step forward in an increasingly cut-throat blockbuster market.
In a time increasingly dominated by superhero movies, it’s time to give the likes of Marvel and DC some giant-sized competition.
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