Humanity's response to the events of the 2014 Godzilla reboot will be an important part of the plot for next year's sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In fact, according to King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty, everyone is "overreacting" to the revelation that MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, for those who are a little rusty on their MonsterVerse terminology) exist by the time the film picks up - some five years after Gojira unleashed his holy atomic breath for the entire world to behold.
Gareth Edwards' Godzilla film established that, in the MonsterVerse continuity, an organization known as Monarch has been keeping a lid on the fact that giant monsters exists since it was founded shortly after WWII in 1946. Last year's Kong: Skull Island revealed a bit about the group's history and further illustrated the precautions Monarch has taken to ensure the general public stays in the dark, when it comes to creatures like Kong and Godzilla. Suffice it to say, though, the cat is out of the bag and running amok by the time King of the Monster's plot is set in motion.
In an interview with EW, Dougherty confirmed that Godzilla hasn't been seen since 2014 when King of the Monsters starts out. However, it sounds like the big guy's absence has done little to comfort people or calm their hysteria over what happened in Edwards' movie:
“The world is reacting to Godzilla in the same way we would react to any other terrifying incident, in that we are overreacting. [There’s] paranoia and endless speculation about whether [Godzilla] is the only one out there or whether we’re threatened by others like his kind.”
While Dougherty is new to the world of giant monster movies, his previous experience directing horror films (Trick 'r Treat, Krampus) and writing superhero movies (X-Men 2, Superman Returns) ought to serve him well on King of the Monsters, by the sound of it. The Godzilla sequel calls for some clever world-building, when it comes to imagining how people really would respond to the discovery that MUTOs exist and how terrifying that knowledge would be to the population at large. Dougherty has done a good job handling similar premises in his previous genre features and making their fantastical elements feel more grounded than cartoonish. As such, there's fair reason to think he will do the same with his MonsterVerse movie.
King of the Monsters should further benefit from Dougherty's know-how when it comes to franchise building. The film will serve as the bridge between 2014's Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong, so it has to work as more than just a standalone movie about people reacting to the knowledge that monsters are real. With Monarch also playing a central role in the story, one imagines the film shouldn't have too much trouble fulfilling its franchise obligations either, in that respect.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020