With the release of Kong: Skull Island, Legendary officially solidified its shared cinematic universe, dubbed the "MonsterVerse." King Kong will one day share the screen with Godzilla, the two most iconic movie monsters in the biz on track to beat the snot out of each other in Godzilla vs. Kong. Skull Island wasn't just responsible for giving us our first new take on Kong in the last 12 years -- it also had to establish a connection to 2014's Godzilla to pave the way for a shared mythology. The movie did this in a few ways, but most prominently through one character who knew a bit more about monsters than he was letting on.
Bill Randa (played by the constantly reliable John Goodman), sparks the events of the movie when he goes to Washington D.C., pleading for authorization to launch an expedition to an uncharted island in the South Pacific recently found by Landsat. Ancient myths from various cultures call it Skull Island, a really spooky name that does little to impress a government official. Only thanks to Cold War paranoia is Randa able to assemble a team of soldiers, scientists, and one intrepid reporter to scout out Skull Island. Randa claims this is just an expedition mission, but it's clear he's hoping to find something more. That "more" ends up being a 100-foot tall monkey man who decimates their fleet of helicopters and leaves them stranded.
As Randa later reveals to a pissed off Samuel L. Jackson, he works for Monarch, a (at this point) failing division of the government that believes that the Earth does not belong to humanity, but to ancient monsters -- or MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), as they are sometimes called -- that hide beneath the surface. The name "Monarch" should strike a spark; it was heavily featured in Gareth Edward's Godzilla as an organization that specializes in giant monsters. Think of it as the MonsterVerse's answer to S.H.I.E.L.D., serving as the most obvious connection between Godzilla, Kong, and any future MonsterVerse films.
Randa has spent the last 30 years of his life trying to prove the existence of monsters, after the naval ship he was stationed on was attacked under mysterious circumstances. This was the inciting incident for Randa's beliefs, and the monster that attacked his ship could very well be none other than Godzilla.
Earlier in the film, Randa presents his case to Richard Jenkins's Senator character, using a picture of a ship with what looks like claw marks gouged deeply into its side. When Randa confesses to Samuel L. Jackson's Packard, we learn that he was in fact ON that ship, and saw something he couldn't explain attack and sink the boat. What sea dwelling monsters with sharp claws are we already familiar with in this MonsterVerse? Godzilla, of course!
It's true that some other random monster we haven't seen could have been the culprit, but what's the point of that? This movie is partly creating a shared mythology so it doesn't make sense to throw away a perfectly good connection to the other pillar of this shared universe. Godzilla could have easily done this attack -- either with his claws or his pointy back -- before he disappeared following the 1954 nuclear "tests" that were meant to kill him -- an event directly referenced by Randa, by the way.
At one point in the film, while trying to convince Richard Jenkins' Senator to send Monarch to Skull Island, Randa (John Goodman) mentions Castle Bravo, a series of real-life nuclear tests in which the United States launched the most powerful bomb in its history on the Marshall Islands near the equator. As Randa tells us:
In 2014's Godzilla, it's revealed by Ken Watanabe's fellow Monarch agent that those 1954 tests were a cover up, and the government was, in fact, trying to kill Godzilla. The King of the Monsters disappears, the feeble humans thinking they've destroyed him. There's little question that Bill Randa is referring to this specific incident.
If Godzilla was indeed the monster Randa saw, then that means that Godzilla is at least partly responsible for the events of Kong: Skull Island. Randa wouldn't have wanted to go to Skull Island had Godzilla not destroyed his ship, creating a domino effect that eventually led to Kong's entrance into the fold.
We may never know for sure that Godzilla was responsible for sinking Randa's ship (or why he did it in the first place) but still, it's a pretty cool thought to think about as Legendary tries to further place these two cinema icons on a collision course.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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