Warner Bros. intends to have King Kong and Godzilla cross paths once again (this time, with the assistance of modern CGI) in 2020, with Godzilla vs. Kong. However, before that happens, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will re-establish The Eighth Wonder of the World on the big screen with Kong: Skull Island. In addition, several other famous Kaiju that have battled Godzilla over the years in various films released by Toho (the company that created the Godzilla franchise in the first place) are expected to appear in Godzilla 2.
Giant creatures such as Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah were among those teased for the Godzilla sequel back at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, with Godzilla (2014) film reboot director Gareth Edwards lined up to call the shots on the followup for a 2018 theatrical release date. However, not only has Godzilla 2 now been pushed back a year, Edwards is no longer set to be the filmmaker who oversees the next throw-down between Godzilla and his fellow Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms a.k.a. MUTOs.
The news that Godzilla 2 had been shifted from 2018 to 2019 by WB broke earlier this week (at the time of writing this), but Deadline is reporting that Edwards had already stepped down as director prior to the release date change. Edwards is currently in post-production on his Star Wars spinoff film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and has reportedly decided that he would rather work on one of the smaller-scale projects he has been developing after Rogue One is done, rather than move from helming one tentpole onto another. Godzilla 2, in fact, would’ve been his third big-budget feature in a row released within the span of five years, following after the first Godzilla and Rogue One.
Godzilla screenwriter Max Borenstein (who also co-penned Skull Island) wrote the current Godzilla 2 script draft, though it remains to be seen if another writer is recruited to revise the screenplay once a new director is hired for the sequel. WB and Legendary Pictures are approaching the Kong/Godzilla series as (essentially) a shared universe, so it stands to reason that Borenstein has been including connections between the Kong and Godzilla movies with his own script drafts. A different writer may be hired to better shape Godzilla 2‘s narrative to fit its new director’s vision, but the movie will still build up to Godzilla vs. Kong – possibly by introducing a giant monster-populated island (a la Destroy All Monsters), as Borenstein and Edwards had originally intended to do in the Godzilla followup.
It remains to be seen how different Godzilla 2 feels compared to its predecessor, which had more of a traditional Godzilla movie structure (read: two narrative acts of steady build-up that pay-off with a monster brawl in the third act). Edwards’ 2014 reboot is something of a polarizing installment in the larger Godzilla franchise for that reason; some longtime fans appreciated his Jaws-inspired approach to unveiling the King of Monsters in full, while others just felt it tediously substituted giant monster spectacle for flat human drama. Whether or not the sequel will change things up for that reason, though, is another matter.
Regardless of who signs on now, Godzilla is now yet another Legendary-backed creature franchise that has gone through a director switch between installments, following after Pacific Rim 2 (now being directed by Steven DeKnight) and Jurassic World 2 (which has Juan Antonio Bayona calling the shots). Feel free and let us know in the comments section if you already have a replacement for Edwards on the Godzilla sequel picked out.
Kong: Skull Island opens in U.S. theaters on March 10, 2017, followed by Godzilla 2 on March 22, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong on May 29, 2020.