Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary are more than a month into production on the sequel to Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla. While director Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat, Krampus) has been teasing fans with behind-the-scenes images for some time, today's update reveals an image that should be particularly resonant with classic Godzilla fans, especially those who have seen the 1954 movie. Check it out.
That's the Oxygen Destroyer, a weapon of mass destruction that first appeared in the original 1954 Godzilla. Invented by eyepatch wearing scientist Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the Oxygen Destroyer made use of a fictional element called "micro-oxygen" with potential for a destructive power the likes of which the world has never seen.
While Godzilla may be a blockbuster movie star today, it's important to remember that Ishirô Honda's 1954 film offers a decidedly somber meditation on atomic power. Arriving less than a decade after the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the original film sees Serizawa torn as to whether or not his Oxygen Destroyer to defeat Godzilla. He's well aware that destruction begets destruction, but ultimately decides to use the device at a terrible cost. Having destroyed all his research, Serizawa sacrifices himself to activate the Oxygen Destroyer and stop the rampaging beast.
Following its 1954 debut, the Oxygen Destroyer has appeared and/or been referenced in several subsequent franchise entries. Although the device itself did not appear in Gareth Edwards' 2014 film, the original prop did have a hand in the movie's marketing. The decades old prop was a centerpiece display at Legendary's 2013 Comic-Con International Godzilla Encounter interactive fan experience.
It's also worth noting that, while no clear connection between the pair is established in the film, Ken Watanabe's character in the 2014 feature is named Ishiro Serizawa. Don't be too surprised if Ishiro Serizawa is revealed as a relative of Daisuke Serizawa. After all, Watanabe is among those returning for the new film.
Although it's currently without an official title, Godzilla 2 was originally announced as Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The cast is set to include, in addition Ken Watanabe, the returning Sally Hawkins. There are also new roles for Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds and Zhang Ziyi.
While continuity throughout the franchise can get a little strange at times (Even Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla has a place in the modern Japanese films), Michael Dougherty's Godzilla sequel will definitely adhere to the MonsterVerse continuity put forth in both the 2004 film and in Jordan Vogt-Roberts' recent Kong: Skull Island. After all, both Kaiju titans are set to clash on the big screen in director Adam Wingard's upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong.
Look for the Godzilla sequel to hit the big screen March 22, 2019 with the epic showdown planned to debut May 22, 2020.