Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, despite its appearances, is neither a Transformers prequel nor a follow up to Hollywood’s countless Godzilla movies. But we can understand why you’d believe that Del Toro’s blockbuster belongs to the same family tree that created said franchises. In fact, one of my first thoughts after a recent Rim screening was, “How the hell is Gareth Edwards going to top this with his planned Godzilla reboot in 2014?”
Why beat ‘em when you can join ‘em? Adam Frazier, a writer for Geeks of Doom, shared an excellent idea after our Rim screening – combine the rebooted Godzilla series with Del Toro’s new Rim universe for an Avengers-style mash up of monsters and Mech heroes. Could it work? Frazier and I discuss in a lengthy and informative Rim dream scenario.
Sean: So, Adam, my first thought after our Pacific Rim screening is that Gareth Edwards needs to pull the plug on his planned Godzilla reboot (due in theaters in 2014), because after seeing Guillermo del Toro unleash creature hell on major cities of the globe, I just can't see the point of a Godzilla movie trying to live up to this. Rim is too massive in scope, with Godzilla-like creatures emerging from the seas to attack our cities. We have skyscraper-sized robots to fend them off! How can a few jets and Bryan Cranston compete? But you have a different theory, which I found interesting. Why do you still think Edwards' movie can work in a post-Rim world?
Adam Frazier: Well, I think there's definitely room for a potential Pacific Rim / Godzilla crossover. Warner Bros. is looking to establish a bigger universe to combat Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we all just assumed it would be DC's Justice League. But maybe Warner Bros has been looking in the wrong place? Maybe the answer is a massive universe of big-ass robots fighting big-ass monsters!
We get the sense that, through ozone depletion and pollution, we have essentially terraformed our planet for the Kaiju. Godzilla also is the product of man tampering with nature - and both films have a tie to nuclear radiation. So if Legendary Entertainment wanted to move forward with a crossover, there's a valid explanation for Godzilla's existence in del Toro's universe. Sean: Interesting. Do you think, then, that Edwards and Team Godzilla are working with a blueprint that could connect to Pacific Rim? Or do you think this is a happy coincidence for Legendary Pictures (which, BTW, recently took its ball over to NBC Universal)? Because a Godzilla reboot seemed like an out-of-left-field choice when it was announced at Comic-Con. And yet, when paired with Pacific Rim, it all of a sudden makes more sense.
Adam: I think it's a happy coincidence for everyone involved. A Godzilla re-boot might seem like an out-of-left-field choice but after Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to give the King of Monsters a Batman Begins-style re-imagining. Yes, Legendary went to Universal, but both Pacific Rim and Godzilla are at Warner Bros, and del Toro has expressed interest in a crossover, which I think Gareth Edwards (who previously directed the great little indie genre film Monsters) would be equally interested.
There are tons of crossover opportunities between the two franchises, too. In the Godzilla films, there's the Earth Defense Force, a global task force who create sophisticated, technologically-advanced weaponry (including MechaGodzilla) to protect Earth from Godzilla and other monsters. Sounds a lot like the Pan Pacific Defense Corps from Pacific Rim, doesn't it? I could totally see a MechaGodzilla Jaeger - maybe even something crazy where it's more of a cyborg (utilizing some of Hannibal Chau's black market Kaiju organs) - showing up in a crossover.
Sean: All of this sounds amazingly cool, but let me ask you -- and it might be tough to answer until we see Edwards' Godzilla -- but where would it fit. It's not a spoiler to reveal that the bulk of Rim takes place in 2020 and beyond. I believe the new Godzilla is set in present day. Would a Godzilla-Pacific Rim merger take place after Godzilla but before Rim? In the early stages of what Del Toro calls The Kaiju War? I think that could work ...
Adam: Totally. There are 28 Godzilla films, not including Roland Emmerich's 1998 film. In most of those films, Godzilla survives and retreats to the sea, only to return to fight monsters once more. In 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla is frozen in Arctic Ice where he's later awakened by the Earth Defense Force to fight an entire roster of monsters. Maybe Godzilla is awakened by our heroes from Pacific Rim, or a new inter-dimensional breach...
So Godzilla's origins could be set in motion during the early stages of the Kaiju War (maybe he's initially confused as a Kaiju, and only later his real origins are understood?). Early rumors indicate that there will be other monsters in Gareth Edwards' Godzilla movie, so both films seem to exist in a universe where big monsters are rampaging cities.
Another element that constantly pops in the Godzilla films are extraterrestrials who have created giant monsters like King Ghidorah (Godzilla's three-headed nemesis) and Gigan as Weapons of Mass Destruction to decimate the Earth's population. Sound familiar?
It would be great to see Ghidorah and Gigan emerge from the sea as new Kaiju threats, sent through the inter-dimensional portal by their extraterrestrial overlords... forcing MechaGodzilla and Godzilla to team-up to fight them! [head explodes]
Sean: Would you want anyone but Del Toro directing this mash up? Because after seeing Rim, I'd only want him at the helm of such a potentially massive feature.
Adam: I think we might be looking at a TinTin scenario, with del Toro and Edwards working together, possibly co-directing or taking turns on potential sequels and crossovers. Of course, this all relies heavily upon the box office success of Pacific Rim and Godzilla.
Sean: And there's the rub. The potential of this franchise merger exists, and when you step back to see the world Del Toro has constructed in Rim, he clearly has been influenced by the Godzilla legacy. Hell, he dedicates his film to Godzilla director Ishir? Honda. But if these films don't make money, the studios will have no interest in pursuing this merger any further. We'll see if the support is there for Rim by Monday. And we'll track Godzilla into next summer. But if audiences don't bite, then we'll be forced to chat about Grown Ups 3 ... coming to a theater near you in Summer 2015!
Adam: Hahaha. Kill yourself. Well, what if these movies are big overseas? Edwards' Godzilla is going to be released in Japan under the Toho banner, and it will be the first Godzilla movie to be released in 10 years... which is a pretty big gap for the franchise. If both movies are huge in Japan and other overseas markets, maybe there's hope!
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.