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Warning: SPOILERS for Godzilla: King of the Monsters are ahead!
In both real life and within the MonsterVerse, five years passed between the events of Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, with the latter showing the Titans wreaking even more havoc across the world. But we the audience didn’t go five years without getting another look into the MonsterVerse, as Kong: Skull Island came out in 2017 and showed Monarch’s first contact with King Kong in 1973.
Sometimes it’s clear when two movies are part of the same franchise, other times not so much. Not everyone who went to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters this past weekend necessarily knew that it exists in the same continuity as Kong: Skull Island, and to be fair, you don’t need to have seen that movie to follow King of the Monsters’ main beats.
However, if you have seen Kong: Skull Island, then Godzilla: King of the Monsters because a more enjoyable experience, and we’ve provided the reasons why below.
Kong And Skull Island Are Referenced Several Times Throughout King Of The Monsters
To anyone reading this who hasn’t seen Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it’s my duty to inform you that King Kong does not appear in the movie. Well, not in the flesh anyway. However, King of the Monsters does make sure that audiences know that King Kong exists in this world. He’s mentioned in a few sentences alongside other Titans and footage of him from Kong: Skull Island is shown on screen a few times.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters takes place 46 years after Kong: Skull Island, and while the general public knows now that the Titans exist, presumably they don’t know about Kong, as Skull Island isn’t the easiest place to reach. Monarch, on the other hand, has been keeping tabs on the giant gorilla in the decades since that fateful first encounter, as Skull Island is one of the many locations where the scientific organization has outposts set up.
It was probably for the best that King Kong didn’t show up in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as there were more than enough Titans to keep us entertained. That said, Kong is getting primed to make his big comeback, but we’ll discuss that more in a bit.
There’s A Fun Kong: Skull Island Cameo In King Of The Monsters
Last summer, Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty revealed that a Kong: Skull Island character would appear in his movie. At the time, it was speculated that Charles Dance’s character was an older version of James Conrad, who Tom Hiddleston played in Kong: Skull Island. However, that proved not to be the case, as Dance was instead playing a former British colonel-turned-ecoterrorist named Alan Jonah.
Instead, the character Michael Dougherty was referring to was Houston Brooks, who Corey Hawkins played in Kong: Skull Island and Joe Morton played in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Houston, a geologist who graduated from Yale University, worked under Bill Randa during his first years at Monarch and was one of the few who survived the Skull Island incident. Nearly five decades later, he’s still working for Monarch and was present to see Mothra emerge from her cocoon.
In addition to that cameo, Houston Brooks’ importance was increased in Godzilla: King of the Monsters because his Hollow Earth theory was finally proven true. After Godzilla was severely injured by the Oxygen Destroyer, it retreated to an ancient underwater city via a subterranean pocket, and the main human characters were shocked to discover that this and pockets like it actually existed. Now we know how the Titans are able to move so quickly around the world, and presumably Hollow Earth will play an important role in Godzilla vs. Kong and other future MonsterVerse entries.
Skull Island Looks Like It Will Become Even More Important In The MonsterVerse
In addition to King Kong never directly appearing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, we also never set foot on Skull Island. For all we know, after the events that unfolded there in 1973, things have been calm on Skull Island in the decades since… well, as calm as they can be when a giant gorilla and other monsters are roaming about. But evidently Skull Island is back to being a popular destination.
With King Ghidorah defeated, the Titans are back to their “usual” selves, and the Earth is even starting to be healed thanks to these beasts no longer being influenced by that three-headed, lightning-spewing monster. However, the credits revealed that now Skull Island has started to become unstable, and many of the “New Titans” have set up shop there. What the consequences of this will be is unclear, but it’s a good bet Kong will not be pleased about having so many new neighbors.
This is unquestionably set-up for Godzilla vs. Kong next year, because unless Kong is moved off his home turf before the events of that movie, we’ll need to revisit Skull Island. For those who’ve seen Kong: Skull Island, it will be interesting to see if the island has changed since 1973, if at all. After all, this isn’t a place known for technological advancement, so the human population could be living exactly the same way as they did nearly five decades ago. On the other hand, since Monarch has an outpost on Skull Island, maybe the organization’s scientists have had a lot of face time with the natives and have provided them with help.
As I said earlier, you can go into Godzilla: King of the Monsters without having seen Kong: Skull Island and still have a good time. But if you have seen Kong’s first MonsterVerse appearance, then catching those references and Easter eggs, as well as having a better understand of what’s to come, make King of the Monsters a little bit of a better watch. Even beyond all that, if you haven’t seen Kong: Skull Island, watch it just to get an idea of the gorilla’s fighting style in this universe so you can better imagine what his impending fight with Godzilla will look like.