I will be 50 years old three days before Godzilla vs Kong arrives in theaters.
Or at least, that”s how it appears things will shake out according to the new release dates that were set by Warner Bros. as they shift their schedule around again. Gareth Edwards, still hard at work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is still set as the director of Godzilla 2. He must be relieved to see that they”re moving Godzilla 2 to a new date on March 22, 2019, giving him a little bit of breathing room before these two giant films.
Meanwhile, Jordan Vogt-Roberts is working hard right now on Kong: Skull Island, which is set in the same film universe, and which will give us some idea about how we”re ever going to see the big ape go head to head with the traditionally-much-larger fire-breathing lizard. After all, they”ve already set up how Godzilla looks and how big he is, and if they”re going to end up creating a satisfying showdown between two of the most iconic creations in all of fantasy cinema, they”ve got to make us believe that there”s a chance that fight lasts more than two minutes, the same problem that was faced by the makers of Batman v Superman.
I”m curious how important an ongoing human cast is in these movies. Are we going to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson all show up when Kong and Godzilla rumble, or will the human stories change each time with the monsters being the constant? When Gareth Evans made his presentation at Comic-Con in 2014, it was very clear that they were planning to use Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra for the sequel, building on the mythology around Monarch, the shadowy organization whose website you can explore even now. I”m wondering if the survivors of that film will also make the jump to Godzilla vs. Kong. In the first film by Edwards, he played peekaboo the whole way through, only gradually giving us a good look at Godzilla himself. That first film cast Godzilla as a sort of angel of mayhem, smashing a whole lot of stuff while also fighting off a more malicious threat. Even the title of the film, Godzilla Vs. Kong, implies that Godzilla is the hero, but Kong has always been more misunderstood than monster, so I”m curious to see if that”s changed substantially, or if this is going to be a film where an initial clash leads to Godzilla and Kong fighting side by side against an even more pressing threat.
It looks like they slid several release dates around, something that”s been happening quite a bit over the last few weeks at Warner. It”s all little stuff, but it points out how silly all of this public puffery about release dates for untitled films that are four years away really is. I know they do this stuff internally, but the breathless coverage of the specific date of Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film for 2024 seems silly. March is arguably the best non-summer month to open a big event film at this point, and they”ve moved the big finish to the Memorial Day weekend, which has always been earmarked for giant summer spectacle. I”m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I”ll be turning half-a-century old three days before I join my monster-crazy kids (Toshi will be fifteen years old at that point, and Allen will be twelve) in a theater… provided they”re still monster-crazy, of course. Four years is an eternity in pop culture, and in the lives of kids. But for now, I like the thought of three more movies full of these particular icons, and I look forward to seeing who finally signs on as the director of the main event.
Kong: Skull Island is in theaters March 10, 2017.
Godzilla 2 arrives in theaters March 22, 2019.
Godzilla vs. Kong roars into theaters May 29, 2020.