After Gareth Edwards brought Godzilla back into the fold with his 2014 movie, Legendary Pictures set out to build their own cinematic MonsterVerse. To that end, they had Jordan-Vogt Roberts helm Kong: Skull Island, setting both monsters on a collision course in 2020’s Godzilla vs Kong. Before we get there however, we have this year’s epic sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters to deal with. And director Michael Dougherty plans on continuing the serious nature of the 2014 reboot while giving fans plenty of monster-on-monster action.
In expanded interviews given to Empire Magazine and Total Film, Dougherty revealed tidbits about his approach to the movie as well as some plot details. The biggest challenge for Dougherty was to balance the seriousness introduced to the franchise with Edwards’ Godzilla, while also ensuring he gives fans a bigger payoff by not holding back on the major monster reveals until the end of the movie.
We’ve definitely increased the intensity. We have a lot of monsters. I think Gareth had a lot of fun playing cat-and-mouse and I love the slow-build he created. But we definitely take the gloves off for this film. No holding back.
That of course, doesn’t mean the movie won’t have its fair share of serious themes. If there’s one thing Toho’s original 1954 Gojira was known for, it was its use of metaphorical themes comparing Godzilla to the nuclear devastation the US had unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, showing imagery eerily similar to post-bombing Japan in an entirely new light. While the World War II era isn’t making a comeback, the Godzilla sequel’s plot does feature its share of somber themes and considers the humans as the villains who have been infecting and corrupting the planet whose rightful owners are these monsters. Dougherty refers to them as Gods.
These are the Titans. These are the source of all our legends about dragons; Leviathan, Behemoths, all the creatures from the Bible, from Ancient Greek mythology. The premise we’re going off here is that they’re not fairy tales – they’re real.
It wouldn’t be a true Godzilla film if you didn’t touch upon those things. Otherwise, you’re just making a big dumb giant monster movie. There has to be a sprinkle of it, otherwise you’re not being faithful to the original intent of the series. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan.
Speaking of fans, Godzilla fanatics are quite looking forward to the introduction of his most iconic antagonists. There’s Rodan, born out of volcanic eruptions, there’s Mothra, the moth-like creature with telepathic abilities and then there’s King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s primary nemesis, the three-headed dragon capable of shooting out lightning. Despite this ever-expanding focus on monsters, with each even getting their own signature roars, Dougherty is careful not to lose sight of the human characters. He’s accordingly given the mysterious organization Monarch a more prominent role, promising to dig deeper into its origins and intentions.
We definitely peel back the curtain more on Monarch than any of the other previous films have. We’ll actually go into the organization, we’ll see their facilities, we’ll see the expanse of their resources. They’ve definitely been preparing for the rise of these creatures for a very long time.
As for the core characters we connect with, the story follows a family comprising of a paleobiologist wife (Vera Fermiga), a zoologist ex-husband (Kyle Chandler) and their daughter (Mille Bobbie Brown), with the wife looking to find a way to communicate with the monsters. Godzilla actors Ken Watanbe and Sally Hawkins also return, hopefully in more expanded and meaningful roles this time.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters has an assortment of cast members as its plot centers around Godzilla and the organization Monarch combating the threat of three new creatures – Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah. It’s highly speculated that either of Rodan or Mothra might join forces with Godzilla in battling Ghidorah (possibly even both). The movie has received some intense and epic trailers, first at San Diego Comic Con 2018, and then at Brazil’s CCXP 2018 and has fans pumped up to see CGI recreations of some of the most iconic monsters in Toho’s Godzilla franchise.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters releases in theaters on May 31, 2019.