Legendary is Quietly Building Its Own Kaiju Cinematic Universe

We’ve been throwing around the term “Kaiju Cinematic Universe” pretty jokingly lately, most recently to refer to a potential Pac RimGodzilla mash-up… so we were just as surprised as anyone when Legendary decided to actually make one.

According to a report on THR, Legendary and Warner Bros. have struck a deal to combine the current Godzilla mythos with none other than King Kong himself. The hope here is to eventually build up to a full-fledged crossover event featuring the two iconic monsters.

That doesn’t make any sense, didn’t Universal put out the last King Kong movie?

Yes indeed, but King Kong is actually in the public domain, so really anyone can use the character, or make their own version of the story.

So instead of using the 2005 Universal film as a base, this King Kong will be introduced in Legendary’s upcoming film, Kong: Skull Island.

I’m guessing Skull Island won’t canon with the Peter Jackson movie then?

Not explicitly. According to Legendary, Kong: Skull Island, “honors the foundations of existing King Kong lore, but places it in an entirely new, distinct timeline.”

This make sense given that the 2005 King Kong was a Universal production, and had nothing at all to do with Legendary. And, we also can’t forget the fact that the star kaiju would have died in the 30s if it were canon, while the new film takes place in the 70s.

What is Skull Island even about?

Details are scant so far. The movie was teased at Comic-Con 2014, but since then, we haven’t heard too much about it.

We do know that J.K Simmons will star, alongside Tom Hiddleston, and that the film will at least partly take place in 70s-era Detroit. Directing will be Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer), and writing the script will be John Gatins (Flight) and Max Borenstein, the latter of whom also penned the 2014 Godzilla script and tie-in comic.

This all feels very sudden and rushed. Is there even a real plan in place yet?

I agree that the news has seemingly come out of nowhere, but apparently, plans to link Kong with Godzilla have been in the works for quite a while now.

According to the report, Legendary and Universal had been butting heads over references in Kong to Monarch, an organization that played a central role in the 2014 Godzilla movie.

Remind me again, what’s the deal with Monarch?

As established by Godzilla: Awakening, a canon comic book prequel to the film, Monarch was formed in the 1940s as a joint effort between several governments. The aim of the organization was to research MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms).

Early efforts by Monarch included a run in with a MUTO called Shinomura, an extremely ancient monster that was reawokened by the bombing of Hiroshima. Shinomura was eventually killed in the nuclear bomb test at Bikini Atoll, which was actually a covert attempt to destroy both it and Godzilla, another recently discovered MUTO.

In the film, Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe’s character) is a Monarch operative, and the base where they briefly hold the unidentified MUTO is likewise a Monarch facility.

The organization is definitely set up as something central to the new Godzilla mythology, so it’s very interesting that Legendary was pushing hard for it to appear in Kong.

So how will this crossover work exactly?

Legendary and WB are planning a sort of three year cycle for this shared universe. First up will be Skull Island, followed by a Godzilla sequel, then a crossover of the two. Presumably if it all works out, the cycle will continue with another Kong, another Godzilla, and then… who knows, kaiju-vengers?

As for an actual story, that’s the tricky part when you actually consider the two monsters. Kong climbs up skyscrapers, while Godzilla is more or less the size of them. How exactly the two are supposed to interact, much less hit each other in the face for a while, is a mystery to me. But apparently, the team at Legendary is very aware of this, and are confident they can come up with a logical solution.

When is all of this happening?

Kong: Skull Island hits theaters on March 10, 2017.

The Godzilla sequel is in development right now, and is tentatively scheduled for June 8, 2018.

That would place King Kong vs Godzilla, or whatever title they actually come up with, somewhere in the region of 2019.

I think I know the answer already, but is there any chance it will involve Pacific Rim?

Sadly, no. While Del Toro previously stated that he’d love to see a Jaeger throwing down with Godzilla, he later clarified that he was only speaking hypothetically, that there were no current plans for that sort of crossover in place, and that even if there were talks, he wouldn’t be interested in pursuing that idea.

Plus, as Aaron pointed out last week, the two timelines really don’t line up at all.

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