Kong: Skull Island, while technically a sequel, is laying the groundwork for a much larger and connected universe. With Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures behind the Kong franchise, there’s talk of getting a new age Kong vs Godzilla onto the big screen. In October of 2015, Warner Bros. announced a slate of features through the year 2020 that included Godzilla 2 in 2018 and Godzilla vs Kong in 2020.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island is set in the 1970s and takes place after King Kong, the 2005 Peter Jackson vessel. It centers around a group of adventurers and soldiers, led by former SAS Captain James Conrad (Hiddleston), on an expedition to the famed island. Before they ever come face-to-face with the 100-foot King Kong, they run into all manner of other unexplained beasts while fighting to stay alive and make it off the island in one piece.
Warner Bros. will already have a very large presence at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year, and it is to be expected that Legendary Pictures would do the same. Tom Hiddleston famously “snuck” into SDCC in 2013, dressed as Loki, where he crashed the Thor: The Dark World panel. This year, however, Hiddleston has an invite, and according to Deadline, will be part of the Kong: Skull Island panel. In addition to massive fan-favorite Hiddleston, Hall H will be visited by major Kong cast members John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane), Brie Larson (Room), John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Mr. Hollywood himself, Samuel L. Jackson.
Other cast members that have not been confirmed for the panel include Toby Kebbell (who also did a bit of mocap for Kong), Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins (both from Straight Outta Compton), Shea Whigham and John Ortiz (both of Silver Linings Playbook), and Tian Jing.
Larsen introduced a sneak peek at the film in April during the MTV Movie Awards that includes some behind the scenes footage. Earlier that same month, Hiddleston declared Kong: Skull Island to be a “reconception of the mythology,” implying that the focus will now be to setup the shared universe instead of re-imagining the existing mythos.
Universal also has plans to open a new attraction at Universal Studios Orlando this summer — Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The ride is a combination of live-action while in a moving vehicle (think Universal Lot Tour) and immersive video/movement (like their Back the Future or Harry Potter rides).
Kong: Skull Island will be released on March 10, 2017; a Godzilla sequel (the follow-up to the 2014 film) is expected in 2018; director Steven DeKnight is hard at work on Pacific Rim 2, which has a potential 2019 release; and Godzilla vs Kong is supposed to bow in 2020.