Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla film brought Tokyo’s most feared reptilian terrorizer to the West with far greater success than director Roland Emmerich’s 1998 attempt, and it made a lot of money in the process. So, as is to be expected in Hollywood, a Godzilla sequel is already in the works as part of Legendary’s own cinematic universe, dubbed the MonsterVerse.
The release date is already set for Godzilla 2, titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and we’re already starting to wonder at what new city-destroying shenanigans he might get up to this time. Let’s review what we already know in anticipation.
1. The release date
The film hasn’t started shooting yet, but in keeping with the general trend among franchises these days, its release date is already scheduled for March 22, 2019, leaving a short period to wait for Godzilla’s triumphant return.
2. The rating
There’s no official word on the MPAA rating for the pending Godzilla sequel, but common sense dictates it will turn out to be PG-13 — a rating it will share with its predecessor and virtually every other big-budget action film being released today.
3. The director
Taking over directorial duties from Gareth Edwards, who recently helmed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is Michael Dougherty, whose career has dealt primarily in horror comedy with films like Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus. It’ll be interesting to see how much of his darkly comedic side shines through in such a big production, with easily the largest budget Dougherty has yet had to work with.
4. The crew
As with its predecessor, King of the Monsters will be among the few Godzilla films completely produced by a Hollywood studio. Dougherty is also credited as writer alongside Krampus collaborator Zach Shields and Max Borenstein, who penned the first Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island.
Godzilla‘s rather sobering screenplay wasn’t one of its strengths, so it may be good to see Borenstein paired with other writers who might bring livelier dialogue and more interesting characters to the table this time around.
5. The cast
It looks like none of the human characters we met in the first Godzilla will be returning for its sequel (which, frankly, is fine by me). Replacing them, will be a new cast of helpless primates, currently led by Kyle Chandler (Bloodline, Super 8, Argo), Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Conjuring), and Millie Bobby Brown.
All three are welcome presences — even Brown, who’s blowing up after her role as Eleven in Stranger Things — who will hopefully have more to do than Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the original.
6. The returning cast?
The only character from the first film who may return is Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Ishiro Serizawa — you know, the guy who said “Gojira” so dramatically? In the first film, Serizawa was a representative from Monarch, an organization studying terrestrial monsters like Godzilla, so it’s easy to imagine how he might figure into Godzilla’s second coming.
Though Watanabe is only rumored to return, he may soon become the connective thread in these films, as the MonsterVerse equivalent of Nick Fury.
7. Their relationships
You might have already (correctly) guessed that Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga will be playing Brown’s parents in the film, following a similar template of human characters employed in the first Godzilla. After all, throwing a child into the midst of a dangerous situation is a great way to generate audience interest.
8. The villains
Legendary Pictures obtained the rights to use several of Godzilla’s most memorable adversaries from the Japanese studio, Toho, so already we have some idea of what to expect in the way of monster battles. These new (read: old) threats include the mutated pterosaur Rodan (alternately an enemy and friend of Godzilla), the malevolent, hermetic butterfly Mothra, and the three-headed alien beast Ghidorah.
9. The plot?
Though little has been said about this sequel’s plot so far, that roster of villains lends itself to all sorts of speculation — Ghidorah in particular. In the beast’s first appearance, Godzilla required the assistance of both Mothra and Rodan to conclusively take down Ghidorah. If Legendary intends to follow this plot, it could mean that this new cinematic universe will be getting into the monster team-ups sooner than expected.
10. What’s coming next?
Next on the MonsterVerse schedule after Godzilla: King of Monsters‘ 2019 release, is the big team-up, currently titled Godzilla vs. Kong. If the MonsterVerse is following the template for cinematic universes pioneered by Marvel, audiences can expect some kind of appearance from Kong in the Godzilla sequel, even if it’s only a brief glimpse after the credits roll.
Follow Jeff Rindskopf on Twitter @jrindskopf
Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!