The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has naturally inspired Hollywood to leap on the bandwagon, as the new status quo for blockbusters is a vast, overarching narrative. While properties like DC and Star Wars are obvious inclusions into this model of tentpole filmmaking, a number of other contenders have emerged in an attempt to ride the wave. Transformers and Universal's monster movies are attempting to get on board the shared universe train, too. So far, however, one of the most successful non-comic book based shared cinematic universes is looking to be Legendary's MonsterVerse.
Beginning with 2014's Godzilla reboot, the MonsterVerse just gained its second installment with Kong: Skull Island. Taking place in the '70s, the film sets up the early days of this universe and the organization Monarch that serves as the connecting thread to Godzilla. The positive reviews and strong Thursday showing of the film make a sequel seem inevitable, and the sequel to Godzilla, titled King of Monsters, is already off to a strong start thanks to a number of high profile castings. Now, Legendary is beginning to look towards 2020 and the epic clash of the titans that will be Godzilla vs. Kong.
THR is reporting that a Godzilla vs. Kong writers room has been assembled and it features several genre alums, familiar with sci-fi and fantasy blockbusters. Joining the room will be Terry Rossio from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, writers of the initial script draft for Star Trek Beyond and the upcoming Star Trek 4; J. Michael Straczynski of Sense8, World War Z, and comics fame; T.S. Nowlin, writer of The Maze Runner movie series; Lindsey Beer, who is working on the upcoming The Kingkiller Chronicles adaptation; and Cat Vasko, who is working on the book adaptation Queen of the Air for Warner Bros. right now.
Writers rooms have become the way for studios to manage the complex, interlocking narratives and library of characters for their shared franchise. The Transformers writers room has planned out several sequels and spinoff for the franchise for years to come - with Michael Bay citing the Transformers writers' work as the reason that he decided to return to direct this year's installment, Transformers: The Last Knight. Meanwhile, the Lucasfilm Story Group has found much success already, in tying together the various Star Wars movies, TV shows, comics, novels, and video games into a cohesive overarching continuity.
Given how new the MonsterVerse is and the lack of baggage it carries (due to its various installments all being reboots right now), its writers luckily have a fairly clean slate to work with. Still, it'll be interesting to see if the two very different tones of Godzilla and Kong can be brought together in a cohesive and satisfying way. After all, just because two mega-popular characters are billed as fighting in a movie, doesn't mean it'll be worth watching. That said, it's almost guaranteed to make Legendary some major money for fans eager to see the two behemoths battle.
- Kong: Skull Island (2017) release date: Mar 10, 2017
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019