Warner Bros. Pictures has a big presentation planned for San Diego Comic-Con 2016. In addition to its DC Extended Universe, the studio will be promoting the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, a re-imagining of the King Kong mythos that takes place in the same universe as the studio’s 2014 Godzilla reboot; and thus, lays the groundwork for the franchises to cross-over in 2020.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) is directing the film based on a screenplay co-written by such names as Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Max Borenstein (Godzilla (2014)), and John Gatins (Real Steel). Vogt-Roberts has already teased that his Skull Island movie will feature the biggest version of King Kong depicted on the big screen yet – one that stands at least 100 feet tall – and has now further elaborated upon that point.
EW debuted a new official Skull Island image (see below) and Vogt-Roberts used the photo to illustrate his meaning about Kong’s size in the film:
“From the size of the skull, you can tell that things on this island are much bigger than audiences are used to with traditional Kong lore. Our Kong is by far the biggest Kong that you’ve seen on screen, and that translates to a lot of different things on the island.”
Vogt-Roberts went on to break down the sizes of the various King Kongs featured on film over the decades since the original King Kong was released in 1933:
“In terms of actual size, our Kong is by far the biggest Kong. Peter Jackson’s Kong was around 25 feet. The ‘33 Kong ranged between 25 feet and 50 feet, I want to say he was 50-plus feet when he was on the Empire State Building. He varied in size dramatically! The ’70s Kong was somewhere between them.”
Skull Island takes place in the 1970s, at a time where the Vietnam War in particular is fresh on everyone’s mind. As Vogt-Roberts explained to EW, the idea was that this decade was “a time where it was believable that we could still be confronted with myth. And there was still unknown in the world.” He then explained how the ’70s backdrop informs the reactions of the film’s human characters to the mythos of Kong and his world:
“The thing that most interested me was, how big do you need to make [Kong], so that when someone lands on this island and doesn’t believe in the idea of myth, the idea of wonder – when we live in a world of social and civil unrest, and everything is crumbling around us, and technology and facts are taking over – how big does this creature need to be, so that when you stand on the ground and you look up at it, the only thing that can go through your mind is: ‘That’s a god.’”
The Skull Island cast includes Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Conrad (a former British SAS tracker) and Oscar-winner Brie Larson as a wartime photographer (last name Weaver) who has “seen all sorts of terrible, terrible things,” according to Vogt-Roberts. However, the director promises that Larson’s character will not be part of a Beauty and the Beast-inspired storyline involving Kong like in previous King Kong films, having told EW that “The original is a classic, the ’70s version is great for what it is, and [Peter Jackson’s] version is a great retelling of the 1933 film.”
Rounding out the Skull Island cast are such names as Straight Outta Compton costars Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as key members of the expedition to Skull Island. Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan), John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane), Thomas Mann (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four (2015)) play supporting roles in the film too, as people involved with carrying out the journey to Kong’s mysterious home. Kebbell in particular pulled double-duty by providing facial references for the computer-animated Kong, on top of his human role.
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.