Gareth Edwards’ 2014 take on iconic movie monster Godzilla (opens in new tab) was grounded and gritty, and helped erase the memory of the much-maligned 1998 movie. It also laid the foundation for Legendary and Warner Bros’ ‘MonsterVerse’, an expanded cinematic universe that also includes Kong: Skull Island (opens in new tab).
The most anticipated upcoming movies (opens in new tab) of 2019 and beyond
The next step in that growing universe is sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which pits the title character against three of his most famous foes: Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. The giant moth-like creature, prehistoric bird, and three-headed dragon aren’t the only new characters this time out though. King of the Monsters also introduces the Russell family: scientist Emma (Vera Farmiga), estranged husband Mark (Kyle Chandler), and their daughter Madison (Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown).
Emma discovers a way to communicate with the emerging Titans, which is of interest to some particularly unsavoury types, as well as the suits at Monarch, the mysterious research agency that has been tracking the monsters.
You can take a look at some of the new characters in the exclusive Godzilla 2 images below, courtesy of our sister publication, Total Film magazine (opens in new tab). Featuring Godzilla facing of against his arch-nemesis Ghidorah, as well as a shot of Ghidorah rearing up for action. There’s also a new look at Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown, and a behind-the-scenes look at Ken Watanabe’s Monarch scientist, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. Check them out below:
This expanded world that’s being created (and will eventually lead to 2020’s Godzilla Vs Kong) does have a precedent in the original movies. “I’m a huge fan of that concept,” director Michael Dougherty tells Total Film (opens in new tab). “When you think about it, Toho [the Japanese studio behind the original Godzilla franchise] started building these cinematic universes back in the 1960s and ’70s. Really, the ’50s, if you want to go back further.” As Dougherty goes on to point out, Rodan had a solo movie in 1956, two years after Godzilla’s debut. Mothra then had a standalone launch in 1961. Crossover ‘versus’ movies started to appear throughout the ’60s.
As for what the existing MonsterVerse movies meant for Godzilla: King of the Monsters in terms of the style and tone – Godzilla being more sombre and slow-burn, Kong: Skull Island being bigger, broader, more bonkers – Dougherty calls it an evolution. “What I loved about Gareth’s approach was that it was very grounded and very real,” he says. “It felt like something you would see if you looked out your window. And then Jordan [Vogt-Roberts] pushed that further, and brought a lot of colour and vibrancy into his frames.
“I wanted to continue that evolution,” continues Dougherty.“You know, portraying the creatures as very realistic, but at the same time embracing the colour that they could bring – especially when you had a three-headed dragon that shoots lightning. You sort of have to embrace a more fantastical element when you bring in a giant moth, or a giant bird born out of a volcano. You try to keep it as grounded as you can, so that it feels real. But at the same time, you’re talking about very fantastical creatures.”
Godzilla: King of the Monsters opens on May 31, 2019, and you can read all about it in the new issue of Total Film magazine (opens in new tab), which hits shelves this Friday, March 8. For much more from Dougherty, Farmiga, Chandler and Brown, check it out.(opens in new tab)
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