Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse brought Godzilla, King Kong, and various other monsters (kaiju) created by Toho Co., Ltd into the same fold. There have been four feature films, plus the animated series Skull Island, which debuted on Netflix earlier this year, and Apple TV+’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which debuted last month and picked up where the 2014 film Godzilla left off. (The season finale will air on January 12, 2024.) And now we have the official trailer for the next film installment—Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire—unveiled during CCXP in Sao Paulo, Brazil, over the weekend.
(Spoilers for Godzilla vs. Kong below.)
Directed by Adam Wingard, Godzilla x Kong picks up sometime after its 2021 predecessor. Godzilla vs. Kong showcased not only a major showdown between its titular titans—in which Godzilla emerged the victor—but also the two teaming up in the climactic finale to take out Mechagodzilla, a telepathically controlled creature with the severed head of Ghidorah. Ghidorah’s consciousness took over when Mechagodzilla was activated, and it took both Kong and Godzilla (plus some timely help from humans) to defeat him. (Kong got the final honors, although Godzilla charged the killing ax—made from one of his dorsal plates—with his atomic breath.)
Wingard has the distinction of being the only Monsterverse director to make two films in the franchise. “As soon as the [last] movie came out and the audiences started to see it, I was like, ‘You just can’t separate these two guys again,’” Wingard told IGN. ‘It’s too exciting having them in one movie.” So Godzilla x Kong develops their relationship a bit further by having them team up again to take out a common foe. Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Kaylee Hottle reprise their 2021 roles as Dr. Ilene Andrews, Bernie Hayes, and Andrews’ adoptive daughter, Jia. Dan Stevens joins the cast as a new character named Trapper. The cast also includes Fala Chen, Alex Ferns, and Rachel House.
Per the official premise:
This latest entry follows up the explosive showdown of Godzilla vs. Kong with an all-new cinematic adventure, pitting the almighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence—and our own. The epic new film will delve further into the histories of these Titans, their origins, and the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped forge these extraordinary beings and tied them to humankind forever.
The trailer opens with ominous signs of seismograph activity picking up as desert sands start to shift and a giant ape hand bursts out from below. “For most of human civilization, we believed that life could only exist on the surface of our planet,” Andrews says in a voiceover. “What else were we wrong about? This world has more secrets than we could possibly imagine.” Cut to Skull Island, where Kong encounters what appears to be a young orphaned ape.
Meanwhile, Andrews and her team stumble across giant red hand marks that she insists are not the work of Kong. The discovery of ape skulls in the Hollow Earth makes it clear that trouble is on the horizon in the form of a giant red Titan ape (as yet unnamed). Not content to take over Skull Island, he’s out to trample human civilization as well. Kong, mighty though he is, just can’t handle this one on his own. Fortunately, “He won’t be alone.” Godzilla rises in typically spectacular fashion to come to his frenemy’s aid, and the usual monster mayhem ensues.
Godzilla’s scales and atomic breath are now pink-hued as opposed to blue, and in one scene, Kong seems to have acquired a kind of power glove in addition to his trusty ax from the previous film. Wingard told IGN that for Godzilla x Kong, he incorporated longer CGI sequences focused on the monsters so they could “tell their own stories in a visual, nonverbal way.” He also brought back fan-favorite “Titanus Doug,” a reptilian kaiju in Hollow Earth that briefly appeared in just one Godzilla vs. Kong scene but soon went viral.
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire hits theaters on April 12, 2024.
Listing image by YouTube/Warner Bros.