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Warning: Mild spoilers for Kong: Skull Island are at the beginning of this article. Look away if you don't want to know.
The opening of a movie can help set the tone for the rest of the film, and Kong: Skull Island had a pretty good one. The monster movie opened in World War II with two fighters pilots -- American Hank Marlow and Japanese Gunpei Ikari -- crash landing on Skull Island. The two engage in close quarters combat, chasing each other throughout the jungle before they are interrupted by the massive figure of King Kong. That's as solid an opening as they come, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' original pitch was way crazier. This was his initial idea that the studio had to shut down:
My alternate opening to that---I'm going to get in trouble for this---to the movie that I initially pitched. They said, 'You're crazy, we can't do that,' was WWII. I was like, 'Oh man, like a full squad comes to this beach. And their like just killing each other, just island warfare. Their battling each other and battling each other and suddenly this giant monkey that looked a lot like the monkey in the last Kong movie comes out of the jungle and they just kill it and it's dead.' You just sit there being like, 'Did they just do that, did they just kill King Kong?' Did they just kill the hero of this film?' And then you would hear this roar and see this much bigger creature that's our creature and would be like, 'Oh, that's this movie.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts shared this story with Empire, where he detailed how he originally wanted Kong: Skull Island to start. Instead of just two soldiers, it would have included a full squadron unleashing hell on each other on the beaches of Skull Island. The other and most notable detail is that there would have been a second King Kong, though much smaller and apparently much weaker. The soldiers would have killed it quickly, only to incur the wrath of the 100 foot tall Kong who stars in the film. This smaller Kong was meant to evoke the image of earlier Kong movies, and it's easy to see why the studio passed on the idea.
That's one hell of a way to kick-off your new King Kong franchise, but it's cooler on paper than it is in execution. For one thing, it's a major eff you to all the other Kong movies, especially the last one: Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong. It's basically saying all those other Kong's are chicken shit compared to this newer and cooler Kong, who isn't afraid to get into bar fights or wear leather jackets (cool people do that, right?). It would have been a misstep to begin a whole new series of Kong films by disrespecting the character's history. I'd say the opening they went with is much better.
You can see the opening the movie went with in Kong: Skull Island, in theaters now.