More Kaiju, More Problems

The newest entry in the Monsterverse series aims to be the greatest one yet, this time introducing yet more lore to the franchise.


Legendary Pictures

A screenshot from the teaser trailer for the newest entry in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse series, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. This particular part of the trailer left quite the impression on viewers, indicating that there may be an even stronger Titan in the franchise than either Godzilla or Kong.

Ishan Pahwa, Staff Writer

   On Apr. 19, American animation studio Legendary Pictures posted a teaser trailer for the newest entry in their Monsterverse series of kaiju (monster) films: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. 

   The new film is a direct sequel to the previous film, Godzilla vs Kong, which was released in 2021. A 35-second teaser trailer was released by Monsterverse series creator Legendary Pictures on their Youtube and Twitter accounts, which hint at another creature entering the Monsterverse, possibly one that could rival, if not outclass, the two current Alpha creatures Godzilla and Kong, according to Variety News

   Upon further analysis of the trailer, it can be seen that a monster (called a “Titan” in the Monsterverse series) has made their home on a throne-like seating arrangement, and in front of them lie dozens of skeletons of other Titans from the Monsterverse, with the final two skulls appearing to belong to both Godzilla and Kong. The final scene of the trailer reveals a sneak-peak of the newest Titan, who resembles an orangutan based on physical features (orange fur, cheek fur), and has glowing, blue eyes. 

   Members of the cast from the previous film, Godzilla vs Kong, make a reappearance in the newest film, and Dan Stevens (who starred in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast) makes his debut appearance. In addition, Adam Wingard, director of Godzilla vs Kong, returns to direct the new film. Godzilla vs Kong grossed $470 million at the worldwide box office, a sum that indicates interest in the Monsterverse series is still quite strong. 

   The concept of Godzilla and Kong being featured in a film is not a novel one. Indeed, the first time the two faced off was in 1962, with that film being titled the same as the one released in 2021. Up until recently, there was a rumor that there were two endings to the 1962 film. In the American release, King Kong won, and in the Japanese release, Godzilla won. However, this was later proven to be false, with Toho even stating in promotional material for the film, “A spectacular duel is arranged on the summit of Mt. Fuji, and King Kong is Victorious.” Many speculate that this is because King Kong would never stand a chance against his counterpart, due to his lack of strength, height and overall abilities. 

   Godzilla was created by Toho Company Limited of Tokyo, Japan in 1954 under the name “Gojira,” which is derived from the Japanese words “Gorira” (meaning “gorilla”) and “Kujira” (meaning “whale”). The name refers to the fact that the creature is powerful, like both a whale and a gorilla, and the fact that he is both an aquatic creature (like a whale) and a terrestrial creature (like a gorilla). He has appeared in 38 films, 33 of which were produced by Toho in Japan, and five which were produced by both Tristar and Legendary Pictures, respectively. The Tristar film, Godzilla (1998), is considered to be the worst film in the entire franchise because the creature in the film has no similarities to his namesake (i.e, he is not Godzilla, because he lacks the key characteristics of the creature). Godzilla is often credited with being the first “kaiju,” or Japanese monster and is a metaphor for the dangers of nuclear war. That is, he was originally a dinosaur but was mutated by the American Castle Bravo atomic bomb tests on his home island near Bikini Atoll, near Japan. 

   King Kong was created by RKO Radio Pictures in 1933 and was co-directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack. It is known as a “pre-code” film, as it was created prior to censorship guidelines for Hollywood films (in regards to fitness of clothing, blood and gore, and anti-hero protagonists). The film takes place on Skull Island, the home of the titular gorilla, and features a film director named Carl Denham travelling to the island from his home in New York City in order to shoot a film there. In the process, he shows a romantic interest in the lead role of Denham’s film, a woman named Ann Darrow. Despite being inferior to Godzilla in every single category when the two faced off in both of their respective altercations (with the exception of speed), King Kong is fairly strong in his own right. For instance, on Skull Island, he managed to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex by ripping its jaw open with his bare hands, a scene that has since been replicated in the 2005 Peter Jackson remake of the classic film.