Why Kong: Skull Island Is Set During The Vietnam War, According To The Director

King Kong

There have been seven King Kong movies released in the United States and Japan since 1933, but the time period most notably associated with giant ape's stories is the early 1930s, as seen in the original movie and the 2005 remake. The upcoming Kong: Skull Island will be one of the outliers, as this reboot will take place during the 1970s as the Vietnam War still rages. As it turns out, that wasn't the original time period that the movie was set in, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts later changed it to increase the weirdness factor. He explained:

The script I first read took place in 1917. But when I started talking to the Legendary [Entertainment] guys, I was thinking, 'What weird King Kong movie would I want to see?' So I pitched them the Vietnam War connection, literally thinking they were gonna laugh me out of the room. And to Legendary's credit, they said, 'Cool. Let's figure it out.' The aesthetics of that time mixed with King Kong makes for an incredible genre mash-up.

Along with providing an exclusive Kong: Skull Island image, Empire spoke with Jordan Vogt-Roberts about the movie's temporal setting, where he revealed that it was originally supposed to be set near the end of World War I. However, once he looked through the script and received Legendary's approval, he opted to move the action to the Vietnam War era. While this won't be the first time a King Kong movie is set in the 1970s, the connections to the Vietnam War are all-too clear in the previews that have been released so far, from the soldiers firing their guns to the flaming jungles.

On the one hand, Kong: Skull Island being set in 1917 would have been an interesting approach. I'm a sucker for period pieces, and it would be cool to see men and women armed with World War I weaponry battling the giant ape, striking a similar tone as next June's Wonder Woman. However, that would only place the movie 13-16 years before the traditional King Kong time period, so there would have still be an air of familiarity. Moving the insanity to when the Vietnam War is still going on helps differentiate this movie from its predecessors. Plus, that means there will now only be a four-five decade gap between this story and when Kong clashes with Godzilla in 2020 rather than an entire century.

Kong: Skull Island will follow a team of soldiers and explorers sent to venture through an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean, unaware of the terrors that await them within, including the island's "king", Kong, and "skull crawlers." The main cast includes Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Conrad, Samuel L. Jackson as Packard, Brie Larson as Weaver, John Goodman as Bill Randa, Tobey Kebbell as Chapman, John C. Reilly, Jing Tian, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and Shea Whigham.

You can catch Kong: Skull Island in theaters on March 10, 2017.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.