How Godzilla vs. Kong May Affect The Monsterverse
Now that Godzilla vs. Kong has been released, where do we go in the further adventures of Godzilla and Kong after their climactic duel?
With Godzilla vs. Kong now in the MonsterVerse’s rear-view mirror, the franchise finds itself at a crossroads. The big event it was leading to is now done, getting mostly positive reviews when it was released apart from breaking pandemic box office records. Nothing earth-shattering, but certainly a much better result than many fans were expecting after the poor reception Godzilla: King of the Monsters got.
So, things could end here. With Kong finding a new home, Godzilla going back to the ocean, the rest of the Titans sleeping, and no post-credits scene, there are no loose ends that need to be addressed with another movie.
But there’s certainly an interest for the MonsterVerse to keep going. Fans got the “#ContinueTheMonsterVerse” hashtag trending for several days and Godzilla vs. Kong was successful enough to justify at least one more film. There are rumors of a number of ideas being under consideration and talks of the possible return of director Adam Wingard (though that remains to be seen, considering he’s got a lot on his plate, with Face/Off 2 and Thundercats being just two of the other projects he’s attached to).
I thought it could be fun to think of a few scenarios the MonsterVerse could possibly use for future installments. Nothing too detailed, but I’ve put some thought into it. Hopefully, they sound exciting or interesting enough to be made into movies!
Though he has only fought Godzilla once, unlike King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla, Destoroyah is still considered a major antagonist and his fearsome, demonic look is recognizable for fans and non-fans alike with his large size, four leathery wings, blade-like horn, and body full of spikes and pincers.
He was created to be Godzilla’s final opponent in the Heisei series in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and he looks the part.
The detonation of the Oxygen Destroyer in Godzilla: King of the Monsters already set up everything for his possible MonsterVerse inclusion. In the Toho movies, it was the use of that weapon that caused a colony of prehistoric crustaceans to mutate and eventually combine into a single, malevolent entity.
But what would make Destoroyah worthy of joining the MonsterVerse is more than his cool design. First off, it’d be the first major enemy that doesn’t have a history with Godzilla: no ancient rivalry, no relation whatsoever. An entirely brand-new threat with no obvious weaknesses. That alone makes for an interesting premise.
Secondly, the fact he’s got several “stages” of evolution and is able to switch between forms would also be a first for the MonsterVerse and a major opportunity for artists and filmmakers to get creative in how to present them and choreograph the fight sequences.
And third, his creation would be – yet again – the result of human beings tampering with the natural order. The military believed they would be able to get rid of both King Ghidorah and Godzilla when deploying the Oxygen Destroyer, but ended up creating a new, bigger menace for the world. It is cohesive with one of the major themes from the previous films and also proves Ishiro Serizawa, one of the MonsterVerse’s most beloved human characters, right once more.
Keeping with the environmental themes of the MonsterVerse, Biollante and Hedorah are monsters that feel like no-brainers.
Biollante was a genetically modified hybrid in the Toho film Godzilla vs. Biollante, but could be given a natural origin in the Legendary series: a Titan waking up as a consequence of deforestation, for example.
Hedorah is an alien lifeform that arrived on Earth in a comet and it can be kept that way, or its origins could be left ambiguous. What’s important is that it feeds on humanity’s pollution, that’s what makes it grow bigger and stronger.
It may seem heavy-handed, but kaiju movies aren’t exactly subtle. Monsters are usually humanity’s mistakes coming back to haunt us, so a sentient “trash bag” (so to speak) isn’t any more silly than the symbolism one can find in other kaijus.
I have a soft spot for Hedorah, and with it being the creation of veteran Japanese filmmaker Yoshimitsu Banno (who sadly passed away in 2017), someone who championed the MonsterVerse, in his sole Godzilla film Godzilla vs. Hedorah. As such bringing it to the big screen in a MonsterVerse movie would be a great way to honor his legacy and important contributions to the franchise we love.
The inclusion of either of these monsters could open the possibility of Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) and the ecoterrorist faction coming back and possibly getting some closure (maybe in the form of a definitive defeat). While not the biggest of deals, his absence from GvK was noted and it’s a bit disappointing that nothing more was done with him (purchasing the head of King Ghidorah only to resell it to Apex Cybernetics off-screen seems like a cop-out and doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jonah and Walter Simmons had fundamentally different goals, so what benefit the ecoterrorist leader would get from the extermination of the Titans is unclear at best).
Biollante and Hedorah have always been larger than Godzilla, but with the use of CGI, they could get a colossal size – and be visually striking, too, with the former being a living forest with snake-like vines and the latter a tadpole-like creature made of sludge and waste that can take different forms. It’s unlike anything we have seen before in the MonsterVerse.
My hopefully not-too-hot take is that they shouldn’t be killed. Not Biollante, at least.
Though Biollante is considered one of Godzilla’s foes, I don’t think she’s a villain per se. In Godzilla vs. Biollante, she becomes hostile because of the Godzilla cells that were a part of her. That violent side eventually took her over and she lashed out.
In the IDW comic Godzilla: Cataclysm, she is instead portrayed as a force of good, working together with Mothra to restore the environment and the beauty of an Earth that has been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. And when Mothra’s got your back, you must be doing something right.
And Hedorah, well – it wants to eat! And humanity provided it with plenty of food. While not actively malicious, its presence is disruptive and damaging to life on Earth, so Godzilla intervened.
My point is that I’d find it more interesting if they could be kept as a latent threat rather than a one-time freak occurrence. The ending of Godzilla vs. Hedorah implies that the arrival of a second Hedorah is entirely possible, considering pollution isn’t going away any time soon. Biollante could be calmed down and/or convinced to tolerate humanity a little longer, maybe even allow her to take a positive role like in Cataclysm, which is keeping with the idea of Titans having a healing effect on the environment.
With nuanced writing and deft directing, a film with either kaiju could have a message apart from the spectacle that feels sincere and timely without being corny.
The confirmation of King Ghidorah being an invasive species from outer space opened the door to more extraterrestrial threats, not only in the form of Titans but alien civilizations that may want to take control of Earth and/or its resources.
The bigger budget of a Hollywood production would allow the filmmakers to really go wild with the designs of a spacefaring species. You could use prosthetics and makeup like in Star Trek Beyond or go with digital eldritch horrors like the Precursors from Pacific Rim (which were designed by artists Keith Thompson and Wayne Barlowe).
The “Monsters going rogue” idea has already been used in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, when they were under the influence of King Ghidorah, but I don’t think any kaiju fan would complain about the Titans creating worldwide destruction one more time.
Since Ghidorah has already been defeated, the aliens could bring Gigan with them. The bird-like cybernetic monster is begging for a MonsterVerse redesign: with his large scythe-shaped arms, abdominal rotating buzzsaw, laser beam abilities, grappling hooks, and ability to fly without wings, he’s equipped with a large repertoire of weapons, so it’s not all punching and biting.
Plus, the idea of Godzilla shooting UFOs down with his atomic breath or Kong swatting at them as the 1933 classic monster did with the planes is really appealing to me.
A fun alternative to the alien invasion idea would be (stay with me here) taking the Titans to space. It’s something that has only happened once in the entire history of the franchise, in Ishiro Honda’s Invasion of Astro-Monster and honestly, the MonsterVerse has gotten campy enough (and I don’t say it like it’s a bad thing) that it wouldn’t be out of place.
Have some aliens “borrow” or outright take Godzilla, Mothra, and other monsters away from us, and then it’s up to Monarch to send a crew into space in order to rescue the Titans and bring them back home.
A love letter to the Showa era, classic sci-fi, and monsters overall.
Son of Kong/Godzilla
Together with reports stating that Legendary is in talks with director Adam Wingard for his return to the MonsterVerse, there’s a rumor about “Son of Kong” being a potential title. There’s already a movie with such a title, a sequel to King Kong (1933) that was quickly made to capitalize on the success of the original film.
The eponymous “Son of Kong” is a giant albino gorilla, believed to be Kong’s son by Carl Denham (played by Robert Armstrong). He’s found living in Skull Island, but there’s not much more to say about him – and that is because he’s not central to the story, despite what the movie’s title may suggest. King Kong was the star of the show, but “Little Kong” is very much an afterthought.
Considering that both Kong and Godzilla are the last members of their respective species, I can only think of a way to give either of them a son: finding him in Hollow Earth.
It’s not impossible to imagine that another giant ape from the same species as Kong may have survived and is currently hiding somewhere in the Hollow Earth. That would imply that the parents were killed not that long ago, which may be too similar an origin story to Kong’s, but also something the larger ape can relate to. Having endured the traumatic experience of losing his family when he was little, surely Kong would want to protect the orphan and be a role model, to provide what life took away from him.
The problem with the idea of big apes running around Hollow Earth is that, given how sensitive Godzilla is to any disturbance in the order he keeps, you’d think he would take notice of it and rain fire on his ancient enemies from above, like an angry god.
There are few other alternatives. The younger ape could be found encased in ice like King Ghidorah or in some other form of stasis that preserved his body and kept him from aging. Or he could just show up with no explanation – an easier time for the writers, but kind of unsatisfactory for the audience.
Godzilla provides a simpler solution: an egg. The advantages of not being a mammal!
In a similar fashion to Son of Godzilla, the egg doesn’t need much backstory. It could be found either intact or close to hatching – by Monarch, Godzilla, or even Kong.
However, on the Kong side of things, there’s a possible roadblock. Jia (Kaylee Hottle) already exists. Unless there’s a time skip in which she has already grown up and is perhaps working with Monarch alongside Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) or is somehow absent from the story, her character would feel somewhat redundant, as she’s already an orphan under the protection of the ape-like Titan. It’d be a shame if that character dynamic is pushed aside or entirely discarded.
With Godzilla, parenting would be a new facet for the MonsterVerse version of the character, and there are a number of things you can do with a baby Godzilla, as long as he’s not treated as merely an adorable prop. You can have him interacting with the human cast in a way that’s not possible with the Big G, and his smaller size would allow for practical effects like animatronics or even suitmation if the director feels confident enough.
I’d also like if Baby Godzilla was given a bit of an edge. You can still have him being cute and gentle, but making clear that he’s capable of fighting if necessary.
Lastly, Baby Godzilla being discovered by Kong could help to further bridge the divide between the two species. What better way to illustrate how Godzilla is the key to coexistence.
Rebirth of Mothra/Battra
I think it’s hard to guess how branching out would work for the MonsterVerse, but if Legendary decided to take that gamble, a Mothra spin-off would be one of the better bets. She’s not only one of the most popular Toho kaijus, but one of the few female ones and totally deserving of a movie of her own.
It’s common to see people suggesting that if a woman director joined the MonsterVerse, then she should direct a Mothra film. I’m fully on board with the idea of a woman directing, but I want to make clear that, from my point of view, any of the suggestions on this list (or whichever idea the Warner/Legendary suits decide to go with) is an option as well. Godzilla, Kong, any other Titan should be available for women directors, not just the female monsters.
Mothra is different from other monsters because of her gentle, benevolent nature. She’d rather not take part in a fight unless there’s no other alternative – partly because she’s not as impervious to damage as other Titans.
What the Queen of the Monsters doesn’t have in physical strength, she’s got in character. She’s fearless, selfless, and won’t think twice about putting herself in harm’s way, even if it means dying, to protect those she cares about or turning the tide of battle.
That said, if you’re gonna make her the protagonist of a spin-off, it’s valid to make Mothra a bit stronger. Not going fully Mothra Leo, but taking some pages from the Japanese films playbook: such as the carapace of Armor Mothra, the ability to shoot beams (something Mothra could do in Godzilla vs. Mothra back in 1992), and reflecting attacks back at her opponents by using the scales from her wings.
A team-up with Rodan could serve as a celebration of both characters. They started with movies of their own before becoming a part of the Godzilla franchise and it’s past time they were given a chance to shine after decades of being under Godzilla’s shadow. The Rebirth of Mothra trilogy doesn’t really count, as the main character was Mothra Leo and not his mother.
And where would Godzilla be, one could ask. It’d be up to the screenwriters to find a reason for him to be out of the picture, perhaps having him temporarily incapacitated by either a Titan or a villainous human faction so now the fate of the world depends on Mothra.
Two more things: I think Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling (Zhang Ziyi) should be the main characters when it comes to the human cast. It makes sense considering their bond with Mothra, but also, it’s only fair after her part was cut from Godzilla vs. Kong. I’d love it if Dr. Rick Stanton (Bradley Whitford) came back as well. I know he’s a divisive character, but I personally enjoyed his dry humor and interactions with Chen.
I’d love to see Mothra interacting with Godzilla in a peaceful context, as the only time they’ve been together on-screen was just before she sacrificed herself during the Boston battle. Ditto Rodan, as we need more kaijus doing things together apart from fighting.
One last thing, if someone wants to add Battra to the MonsterVerse, please do so. The moth god of destruction deserves more love.
The only way to top Godzilla vs. Kong as a kaiju event would be bringing King Ghidorah back into the MonsterVerse. In theory that sounds hard to do, considering the three-headed golden dragon is no more. Only a couple of his skulls remain. But as long as those aren’t turned to dust, there’s still a chance.
Godzilla’s ultimate nemesis should be hard to defeat for good, so coming back from the dead for a second time shouldn’t be impossible for Ghidorah.
In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Mecha-King Ghidorah was brought to life by “Future people,” or time travelers, from the year 2204 who used advanced technology to revive the comatose kaiju and turn him into a cyborg. I would prefer if the MonsterVerse avoided time-traveling as it’s often an unwieldy narrative resource that’s not really needed in this universe. After all, human beings can already build mechas.
Have someone (aliens, terrorists, a military organization) take hold of at least one of the skulls and the remains of Mechagodzilla, and you’ve got a starting point. The reasoning could be the need to create a weapon to either destroy or subjugate Godzilla. I know it’s not really original, yet human beings can be really persistent (or stubborn, if you prefer).
Mecha-King Ghidorah, it should be noted, isn’t completely a robot (or a mecha) but a cyborg: a living creature with cybernetic implants. His middle head and neck, wings, knees, and tail tips are mechanical. Redesigned for the MonsterVerse, I can imagine he’d look even more imposing than his Toho counterpart – with larger wings, a formidable selection of weapons, and possibly two robotic heads instead of one.
In exchange for the extreme makeover, Mecha-King Ghidorah should give up the ability to control the other Titans. He would be a semi-artificial being and probably be recognized as such by the other monsters: an even more false king. But I feel like it’d be really cool if he kept the power to create storms and mess with the weather.
Though it’s not my intent to compare with the MCU, as that universe is entirely different and plays with another set of rules (and has a much larger fanbase and the financial backing of Disney), I can picture an Avengers: Endgame-like showdown with Mecha-King Ghidorah: A party of monsters banding together to take down a common enemy in a similar fashion to Destroy All Monsters, only without Ghidorah being so wimpy, of course.
You could have Godzilla, Mothra, Kong, and Rodan, plus other Toho monsters (or original Titans made by the filmmakers), taking on the final boss in a big, bombastic battle sequence.
Would it be fanservice? Certainly. Earned? I believe so. If the MonsterVerse even gets that far, the least it could do is indulge us with the greatest monster brawl ever filmed.
A Universe Full of Monsters
Now, I hear you. Some are worried that the MonsterVerse will “devolve” into spectacle and nothing more, the human storylines becoming afterthoughts or mere excuses to keep things moving before the crowd-pleasing monster battles. I think it’s a valid concern and I agree that monster movies can be much more.
It would be my hope that, going forward, Warner & Legendary are able to find a proper balance between story and VFX extravaganza. I think Godzilla: King of the Monsters did it mostly right, but as we all know, not everyone agreed, the critics least of all.
Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings, and other beloved blockbusters are proof that rounded characters and well-written stories are far from being box office poison, but one should also consider that the kaiju genre is fairly niche and general audiences in the West tend to have little patience for fan favorites like Shin Godzilla (fantastic satire of Japanese political bureaucracy, but not summer blockbuster material).
Then again, when I think about such things, the words of Ratatouille’s character Anton Ego come to mind: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment.” And when it comes to the MonsterVerse, I for one, am hungry for more.