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SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains light spoilers for Kong: Skull Island. If you haven't seen the film yet, and don't wish to know any details about it before doing so, please bookmark this page and come back after your screening!
Legendary Pictures is carving out a pretty straight-forward path with their growing MonsterVerse. It all started with 2014's Godzilla, and this weekend saw the addition of Kong: Skull Island -- but in the next few years there are blockbuster plans that include Godzilla: King of Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Kong. These are certainly exciting developments... but if it were up to Kong director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the franchise would go in a completely different direction. Rather than focusing on major monster clashes, the action would instead remain centered on John C. Reilly's character and his experiences being trapped on Skull Island.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts and I got to talk a bit about the future of the MonsterVerse franchise when we sat down for an interview a few weeks back at the Kong: Skull Island Los Angeles press day. We were discussing the post-credits tag his blockbuster includes, and what it means for the future of the series -- but he explained that he has an idea for a project grown out of Kong that entirely separate from what's being planned. Said the director,
I mean, all people are fucking excited about the idea for Kong and Godzilla and Rodan and all those creatures clashing. I don't exactly know where the world's plans are. In fact, I keep joking that personally I'm more interested in doing a $30 million version of young John C. Reilly on the island. Just some weird, the odd-ball monster comedy with him and Gunpei. So I don't really know where they'd take it from here.
Audiences meet John C. Reilly's character, Hank Marlow, within the very first minutes of Kong: Skull Island's opening, as he is dogfighting with a Japanese pilot during World War II (actor Will Brittain playing the young Hank). Both he and Gunpei Ikari (Miyavi) crash land on Skull Island, and within moments jointly discover that they have entered a whole new world full of terrifying and fascinating creatures. We learn later in the film that Hank and Gunpei spent years together surviving and formed a lasting friendship as a result. It's not hard to see how this material could make for a fun blockbuster.
The nice thing about this idea is that none of the actual plans for the MonsterVerse franchise that currently exist negate it. Being a prequel means that the material is shielded from anything that happens within the continuity post-1973, so it should be safe from Godzilla vs. Kong (though it is worth noting we don't know the setting of that particular project just yet). If Legendary Pictures is looking for potential Kong stories to explore after the 2020 crossover movie, perhaps they could go back to Jordan Vogt-Roberts and let him execute his own designed narrative.
For now, the most significant details we know about the future of the MonsterVerse are release dates. Godzilla: King of Monsters, directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty, will be in theaters on March 22, 2019, and it will be followed a little over a year later by Godzilla vs. Kong on May 29, 2020. Stay tuned for more updates, and in the meantime check out Kong: Skull Island in theaters now.