‘Godzilla’ Reboot Director Talks Creature Design; Sequel Ideas Inspired by ‘Destroy All Monsters’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 27th, 2013 at 12:19 pm,

Godzilla Reboot Creature Design Godzilla Reboot Director Talks Creature Design; Sequel Ideas Inspired by Destroy All Monsters

It’s been nearly three years since Monsters director Gareth Edwards was announced to helm Legendary Pictures’ modern Godzilla reboot. However, while the writer/director/special effects guru managed to deliver a thought-provoking and beautiful film with Monsters, a big budget Godzilla film comes with a lot of additional challenges (and unforgiving fan expectations).

Despite bringing in just shy of $400 million at the global box office, Roland Emmerich’s 1998 attempt to update the iconic monster with big budget CGI spectacle was mostly panned by critics and moviegoers alike. Fans were especially hard on the radiated iguana design of the 1998 creature and, coupled with Emmerich’s over-the-top third-act horde of baby Godzillas, the film was cemented as a bungled-start to a “more believable” franchise adaptation. Nevertheless, Edwards believes that his approach to the material will strike a better balance for fans and casual moviegoers alike – relying heavily on the classic films that made Godzilla an international brand while also ensuring that the film doesn’t lean entirely on giant monster versus monster CGI spectacle.

The director and cast were all on-hand at Comic-Con 2013 for an off-site Godzilla experience as as well as Hall H panel – where they debuted new footage from the film. After they took the stage, the filmmaker (and stars) met with press behind-closed doors, opening-up about Godzilla – and the lessons they learned from prior efforts (both good and bad) in the franchise.

Godzilla Reboot Concept Art New 570x224 Godzilla Reboot Director Talks Creature Design; Sequel Ideas Inspired by Destroy All Monsters

According to Edwards, the key was approaching every scene, whether epic CGI action or moments of human reflection, from an “emotional point of view“:

“I think the trick is not to think of the special effects or anything – and just think that this is really happening and there are giant monsters. Ask, ‘What would be the best story to tell that always involves humans?’ I don’t separate the two in my mind. You just picture the movie. What was so refreshing was that we would shoot scenes that sometimes had the creature in it and sometimes didn’t, but we would desperately try to make it work from an emotional point of view. Then, in the evenings, I would go to review things with the effects companies who are starting to put the visual effects in, and you’re like, ‘I completely forgot there’s a whole other layer to this!’ We have been painstakingly worrying about the characters and their journey and on top of that is this spectacle embedded in the whole film – and it makes you feel really good.”

Still, despite an all-star cast of accomplished performers including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), the real draw of the film for many will still be the titular monster. Knowing that Emmerich’s 1998 creature was too-far-removed from the Godzilla fans know and love, Edwards promises that the classic 1950s version of the creature was always at the heart of the design process – asserting that they merely sought to make the monster “real“:

“In a way we approached it was, imagine in 1954 (when the first Godzilla movie was made), that this creature really existed and someone saw him from Toho, the Japanese studio, and went running back to the studio and said, ‘I’ve seen this creature and it kind of looked like this.’ And they tried to draw it and they tried to make a suit and they did a very good job of it but then, when you saw the real creature, you go ‘Okay, I totally understand how you got that suit from that creature but now I see the real thing. Oh my God, I totally believe that it’s completely real.’ And that’s how we approached it. We went through hundreds of designs, and never stopped playing really until the last minute and got to the point where it was like, ‘Is there anything else that we want to change about this design’? And I was like, personally no, I’m very happy with it. And Toho was very much a part of the approval process. So it’s a Toho approved design as well.”

Comic Con 2013 Godzilla Poster Godzilla Reboot Director Talks Creature Design; Sequel Ideas Inspired by Destroy All Monsters

Several outlets have mistakenly reported that the creature design from the Godzilla Encounter (along with other concept mock-ups) at Comic-Con actually depicted the official film design. However, on-site PR reps asserted that they’ve yet to unveil the final creature – stating, instead, that the Encounter monster is simply “pretty close.” Still, anyone who was able to check out the off-site Encounter is likely to agree this is encouraging news – because the creature profile is a match for Edwards’ approach: a classic take on the character with added detail and realism in its appearance and movement.

As a result, with a focus on emotional character drama set in a world of believable mega monsters, Edwards appears poised to succeed where Emmerich fell short – presenting a film experience that could win-over critics, casual moviegoers and Godzilla die-hards alike. So, what would the director like to do in a potential sequel? A Destroy All Monsters-inspired multi-creature movie certainly sounds cool:

“With the exception of the 1954 original, I would say my second favorite film is Destroy All Monsters. I just love the idea of a monster island. Having a world with these creatures in it. I find that fascinating and would like to treat that realistically. I wouldn’t want to limit it to one other foe, I think it’s more fun to – this question will come back to haunt me if we ever do a sequel – but I think multiple creatures make better movies in terms of the image of Gojira.”

Based on what we’ve seen of Godzilla so far, it already sounds as if the iconic monster is going to go toe-to-toe with more than one creature combatant or, at the very least, a creature that changes and takes multiple forms. Yet, even if Edwards has already toyed with a multi-enemy monster formula in Godzilla, there’s plenty of room for the director to up-the-ante with a batch of fan-favorite combatant creatures such as Mothra, Gigan, Rodan, and King Ghidorah in the sequel.

Godzilla Header Image Godzilla Reboot Director Talks Creature Design; Sequel Ideas Inspired by Destroy All Monsters

Obviously, Mechagodzilla would be another fun enemy but, after Pacific Rim already played the giant robots fighting giant monsters card, it’s likely that Edwards will keep the focus on grotesque creatures (at least for the time being) in future entries.


Godzilla is expected to hit theaters May 16th, 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Godzilla as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

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  1. A “realistic” King Ghidorah would be the most epic thing ever.

    • yes, that and a Pacific Rim cross-over, Then they could add in Mechagodzilla!

    • I LOVE Monster Zero!

    • YESSS!!! I think the sequel to this Godzilla movie (if ever it succeeds) should be based on King Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster original movie.

  2. Let’s just hope this next Godzilla ain’t an iguana or gecko or bearded dragon like the last stupid movie. SO many Japanese were disgusted that they committed hari kari. Even Harry Carrey committed hari kari and he’s dead now.

      • +1

      • LOLOLOL “so the Japanese commited curry day”? LOLOLOL

  3. I saw Monsters… and let me just say, while we barely saw any of those “Monsters”, the final reveal was something magical and, romantically unexpected and poetic. The drama was there, it may have dragged it feet, but it still was an enjoyable film to watch. I’m looking forward to the film because I KNOW that Edwards and co are goin go t make the American Godzilla film we’ve been waiting for for over 16 years now.

    • Poetic and Romantic from the Monsters point of view, not the actual lead characters themselves……

  4. the real draw of the film for many will still be the titular monster. Knowing that Emmerich’s 1998 creature was too-far-removed from the Godzilla fans know and love, Edwards promises that the classic 1950s version of the creature was always at the heart of the design process – asserting that they merely sought to make the monster “real“:

    Seems some have learned their lesson and Marvel would do well to heed this advice before its too late.

    • What’s that supposed to mean

    • Before its too late? Before they have another massive blockbuster? Kind of off topic in a Gidzilla article talking about how successful Marvel Studios is at the moment.

      • @acathla

        Exactly what I’m thinking.

        Bit weird to bemoan Marvel making cool and surprising decisions that bring them billions of dollars when we should be talking about what could be the first good monster movie since Cloverfield (I don’t count Pacific Rim as a monster movie).

  5. There are some Godzilla movies out of Japan through the 1990′s and 2000′s that are actually pretty good. I was hoping there would be a Godzilla cameo or recognizable monster in Pacific Rim but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

    • I’m still convinced that I thought I heard the Godzilla roar in the opening montage at the start of Pacific Rim.

      • I definitly hear his roar in the openning scene but it was a different monster

        • Even if it wasn’t him, that would’ve been a cool little easter egg if it was intentional.

    • Pacific Rim was heavily influenced by Godzilla, so that kind of counts, right?

  6. I saw video from the ”Godzilla Encounter”

    The design (though not final but is close) def looked like Godzilla. Thick, Tall, Powerful, dark grey/blackish skin color. Tree-Bark skin texture.

    It was def Godzilla, so Edwards has kept his word there. Now if he can provide solid performances from his already stellar cast this will undoubtedly be an amazing monster feature.

    I look forward to seeing the first trailer.

    • I downloaded that video just in case it was taken down so I can watch whenever I like and if that wasn’t the finished design then damn, they’re pretty close already.

  7. LONG LIVE THE NEW “AMERICAN” GODZILLA!(*approved by Toho,of course) :)

    • ‘Murica!!!

      • *waits for the expected vitriol against Godzilla as an illegal immigrant and how Obama is being pressured into changing the law to instantly deport Godzilla’s kind once on US soil to help fix the economy and employment issues*

        Godzilla’s eyes are red, that makes him a freakin’ Commie.

        • There goes the “special relationship” lol

  8. Since reading about this movie on Screen Rant and hearing you guys talk about it on the podcast, I have to say I am very much looking forward to this movie next summer. Right now, it all sounds really good. I like the cast and Edwards seems to have a firm grasp on what he’s doing. Hope we get to see a trailer soon.

  9. 2014 The King of Monsters Returns. GODZILLA!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Monster Island!!!

  11. OK, I’m not a huge Godzilla fan, although I did grow up with the classic movies and loved them as a child… that being said (and my justification for saying this), the sequel should be Godzilla vs. King Kong. The little boy inside my head loves the idea — don’t know anything of who owns rights though.

    • @Greg.

      I love Godzilla vs King Kong.

      But in reality
      Orignal King Kong was 24 feet tall.
      Remake of King Kong he was 40 feet tall.
      The latest King Kong is 25 feet tall.

      So basically, King Kong would come up to Godzilla’s Shin.

      • Plus I have to admit, I’ve seen it a few times and it’s good for a full on cheesefest but the size difference between the two (steady now) and the actual script and monster costumes…can’t think of any monsters that would fit the bill.

        King Kong vs Mr Stay Puft could work though, couldn’t it? They’re about the same height I think.

        Godzilla vs Baby Clover could be a cool fight though.

  12. This movie sounds awesome. The thing that will ruin it is I bet Godzilla will be nothing but CGI overkill. It will be an over juiced Pacific Rimjob

    • I dunno man, if they go the Pacific Rim route (and the apparently unfinished Godzilla looks cool, look up the user “King Godzilla” and the video “I’m back b*tches” on youtube to see him), he’ll look better than some movie monsters and definitely real and not noticably CGI.

    • Im not trying to pick a fight when saying this but why does everybody hate cgi so much? It’s way better than a guy in a costume or a robot.

      Ppl keep complaining about how man of steel had too much action & cgi at the end for example, how else do they make superman fight another powerful being?

      • I don’t understand it either, but my guess is that CGI is an overused effect, it’s cheaper to use, because it’s not really there, I’m saying this in their point of view. The thing with practical effects’ like rubber suits and/or animatronics is that it’s something that’s really in front of the camera, looking real and more believable to say “Oh yeah, i believe it’s there”. Though if you ask me, every special effect has it’s flaws, while practical effect are real and in front of the camera, they are a bit difficult to work with and you have to fix them up every time to film one scene, and there are somethings practical effects can’t do that only CGI can, though it’s good to see preactical effect aren’t completely obsolete; with CGI, there are a lot of things it can do that practical effects can’t, however, the flaw is that it’s not there, you can tell it’s something that was animated on a computer, it’s not really in front of the camera. But really, who the f**k cares about the smoke and mirrors? If people goes to see a movie JUST for the effects, then they really don’t give a crap about the movie in anyway, in Godzilla’s case, people should be grateful that the monster will be done correctly and won’t be anything like TriStar did, the monster looks like Godzilla this time, sounds like Godzilla, acts like Godzilla, it’s freaking Godzilla, that’s all it matters.

  13. I’m sorry but I don’t go to these types of movies to see great character drama. If there is character drama, I hope it comes the fear and aw that they feel when witnessing these giant creatures. Give me giant monsters bringing destruction in glorious special effects and if I want a fully realized character drama then I’ll go watch Hurt Locker or something else.

    • How much do you actually know about Godzilla anyway?

      • I’m a HUGE Godzilla fan

    • How much do you actually know about Godzilla?

  14. Love Cranston but I think you’re using the term all-star cast loosely, no?

  15. The Reboot that got panned so badly was not that bad IMHO, My main annoyance was the Human Element and largely due to the Silly Girl Child Reporter…
    The story behind the Creature was more realistic and it’s appearance did not offend me…

    However I feel this version will fair much better and hopefully the Human Element does not overwhelm the Creature element… I grew up with Godzilla, take my word, I did not watch them for the human element… Nor did most people of that time..

    • I watched Godzilla primarily to see how they advanced in removing the wires.

  16. Can’t wait for Godzilla to be unleashed once more! Just think of it, it will have been 10 years since the last Godzilla movie, Final Wars (which is already as close a remake to Destroy all monsters as you can get).

    Seems fitting that this film is coming out on the tenth anniversary of that movie.

    I hope this inspires Toho to re-ignite their Godzilla franchise as well.

  17. Bring back The Smog Monster!!!

    • Smog + Ebirah double teaming Godzilla – I can see that happening!

  18. I was hoping a Pacific rim crossover would be in the film as the film’s ending does reference to Godzilla’s origin in the original film, he was created by a nuclear explosion. It would be great to see a jaeger square off against the “Big G”.

  19. Yes this all sounds good but will it be genuinely scary? Will we see how the radiation effects people, laid up in the hospital With lymphedema in in their limbs ready to burst from the after effects of being too close to the monster and escaping with their now temporary lives. What about Godzilla scooping up people and snacking on hundreds? Will we see the human blood on his teeth? Will we see a brave soldier try shooting him in the eye with a 66mm LAW or a Javelin rocket at near point blank range just before the brave soldier bites it?

    What about Godzilla’s morphology in this picture? At least GINO had a structure that was somewhat scientifically relatable. Did they give Godzilla armor plating to perhaps explain his ability to survive at great ocean depths or a hail of explosive ordinance? Could something living make use of depleted uranium incorporated into an armored shell? What about the famous Godzilla cells? Who’s got the better healing factor now Wolverine or Godzilla??

    • Wtf?

    • “At least GINO had a structure that was somewhat scientifically relatable.”? Zilla’s (which is the official name, so you can drop the GINO acronym) structure is far from being “scientifically relatable” seeing he’s an iguana, iguanas stand on all fours, not two. Godzilla’s upright structure is better because it’s more intimidating, plus it’s based on an old T-Rex model that used to be portrayed upright. Why do people want scientific accuracies in a kaiju movie? Kaijus are scientifically impossible to begin with, so why expect that crap?

  20. I’m sorry “…the film was cemented as a bungled-start to a “more believable” franchise adaptation”?! It’s the opposite, TriStar’s screw up is a more UNbelievable adaptation with a lot of scientific and physical inaccuracies that no one will buy.

  21. Bring in Jet jaguar and King ghidorah With a cool look!!!!

  22. Mothra and Manda are definantly in it because of the aquarium and the wooden blueish dragon head that showed up in the movie. They shuld have a robot in it as human defense And KING GHIDORAH at somepoint maybe for number 3.