Last year's Comic-Con teaser trailer for Legendary Pictures' King Kong prequel Kong: Skull Island got a lot of people in Hall H excited, right up until the point they realized that they weren't watching a trailer for Jurassic World. With newcomer Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) set to direct and a screenplay by John Gatins (Real Steel) and Max Borenstein (Godzilla), the movie is a prequel about the origins of the movie monster who was first seen in Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's 1933 film King Kong.
So far Kong: Skull Island has seen three moderately big names added to its cast: Marvel Studios' Loki, Tom Hiddleston; J.K. Simmons, who is known for playing J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies and more recently for his Oscar-winning role in Whiplash; and Michael Keaton, who recently gained renewed popularity for his role in Birdman. Now it looks like Hiddleston will have to fend for himself on Skull Island (for the moment), as both Keaton and Simmons have left the project.
This report comes from Deadline, and states that scheduling conflicts are believed to be the main reason for both departures. This may have something to do with Keaton and Simmons getting more offers in the wake of their success at the Oscars, but the main cause is probably that Kong: Skull Island is expected to be a lengthy shoot and has had its production start date pushed back by several months. This presumably caused the clash in the two actors' schedules.
The good news for Kong: Skull Island is that Hiddleston is still attached. The actor can be seen later this year in Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror film Crimson Peak, and is expected to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Ragnarok, which is set for release in late 2017.
Deadline also reports that Legendary is quickly seeking to find replacements for Simmons and Keaton, and that the planned start of production at the end of 2015 isn't expected to be delayed any further. Keaton and Simmons are both great elements in any ensemble cast, however, so Legendary will need to find some equally solid replacements.
Legendary hasn't officially said that there will be another tease for Kong: Skull Island during the studios' Comic-Con 2015 presentation, but it's fair to speculate something will be brought along as a special surprise for attendees. Obviously there's no actual footage from the movie yet, but there could be some concept art, an appearance from those involved, or perhaps another CGI teaser. Stay tuned to Screen Rant on Saturday 11th July for details.
Kong: Skull Island is scheduled to premiere March 10th, 2017.