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2023: The Kaiju Renaissance Is Here



As 2022 comes to a close, it is that time again where we have our annual reflection on how the year itself went and what to expect looking forward. I have to say, we are really living the kaiju renaissance that we dreamed of and never thought possible.


I know that it sounds obvious to most of you now, but when you think back to all of your childhood years up to the present seeing the kaiju genre growing in popularity was all just a pipe dream. Movies about giant monsters is a niche genre and it still is since it is still not as popular as super heroes. And yet, we are beginning to see the super hero genre struggling. Back in 2021, nobody ever thought Godzilla vs Kong would be able to break even at the box-office and yet it did making over $400 million. In 2022, we saw a few kaiju stuff get released and a whole lot of updates on future projects.


In terms of films getting released this year, I was surprised that most of them were really good with the exception of one being a stinker, in my book. Starting back in January, I did a review for an indie film called Howl From Beyond The Fog, then the second season of Pacific Rim: The Black in April, Jurassic World: Dominion in July, the two short films: Godzilla vs Gigan Rex and Gigan Attacks in November, and then finally TROLL in December. Overall, 5 out of 6 of these films I actually gave high praises and definitely worth checking out even if three of them are short films and one is an anime series.


The biggest win this year is TROLL getting the #1 spot on most viewed movie on Netflix world wide. Of course, it only lasted the one weekend before Guillermo del Toro's version of Pinocchio nabbed it, but I still consider this as a win for the genre. This is the first time we have seen a monster movie on Netflix make the #1 spot meaning loads of people (including Guillermo del Toro himself) having watched the film. On top of that, this is the first monster movie in 12 years that was released from Norway. The first monster movie released from Norway was a found footage film that also had to do with trolls called Troll Hunter. Between TROLL and Troll Hunter, there are some similarities between each other. When Troll Hunter was released, it was two years after Cloverfield was released and during that time almost everyone was doing a found footage film. Same thing with TROLL, as it is made during this current era where Godzilla, King Kong, the Monsterverse, and Jurassic Park are gaining a lot of attention and everyone wanting in on the giant monster action.


While there was very little content that was released this year there is going to be quite a lot of content that was announced this year coming either 2023, 2024, or later. Currently, we have the untitled Monsterverse/Godzilla series for Apple TV+, Skull Island for Netflix, a Toho Godzilla movie, Gamera: Rebirth on Netflix, Disney's King Kong, "Cloverfield 2," Godzilla AND Kong, and the newly announced dinosaur film titled 65. Here is a list of what is expected in 2023.

 

65:



Starring Adam Driver, 65 is about a pilot that crash lands on what he first assumed was an alien planet and finds a little girl surviving on her own. He later discovers the planet he and the girl are on is Earth, but 65 million years in the past after encountering dinosaurs trying to hunt them. With the sci-fi mixed with dinosaurs and horror, this is actually the first dinosaur movie that I actually find myself excited for since Jurassic World was released in 2015.


Fallen Kingdom and Dominion were really disappointing movies and I have been dying for something original. It actually looks really fun and there is still some mystery left that makes me want to see this movie. How did they end up time traveling that far in the past? Is it really Earth that they're on or is it a planet that is similar to Earth, but just so happens to have dinosaurs on it? The questions will be answered when 65 releases in theaters March 10th, 2023.


Untitled Godzilla/Monsterverse Apple TV+ Series:



The untitled Monsterverse series under the working title "HourGlass" has no release date yet. However, it is being speculated the show will release in 2023 since the show has just wrapped up filming all 10 episodes this month. The show takes place right after Godzilla (2014), which explores the aftermath of the battle in San Fransisco as it follows the story of a Japanese family trying to figure out how one of their own is related to the secretive organization called Monarch.


The only big names attached to the show are Kurt Russell and his son Wyatt Russell, which they will be playing old and young versions of the same character. Their character has not been revealed just yet, but it is rumored they will be playing a character whose name is Shaw. This character has appeared in the graphic novel Godzilla Awakening which he was saved by Eiji Serizawa and the two worked together for Monarch studying Godzilla up to Eiji's passing. By then, Shaw recruited Eiji's son, Ishiro Serizawa, to continue his father's work. So maybe this family in "HourGlass" is related to the Serizawa family in some way and they track down Shaw for some answers.


This one is definitely a show I will keep my eye out for in 2023. I think in the Summer is a good bet to expect this show to release on Apple TV+.


I would like to thank KdM for always giving us updates on "HourGlass." He has been on the ball with behind the scenes photos, cast reveals, and all of the other production details behind the show since the beginning of the year. If KdM has information, he reports on it WAY ahead of any professional journalist like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, or Deadline. He even revealed this show was happening months before Legendary and Apple could make the official announcement. KdM is keeping tabs on Godzilla AND Kong, as well. So if you want to keep yourself updated on the productions of the movie and the Apple TV show, go check him out.

"Godzilla Zero":



Afterwards, there is a new Godzilla movie (currently being called "Godzilla Zero") coming out in Japan on November 3rd, 2023. This movie has been in production from Toho Co. since it was first announced back in February. Back then, we didn't know if this was a new Godzilla movie Toho is making or a new monster movie in general. All we knew at the time was that it was being directed by Takashi Yamazaki and the movie takes place after World War II. "Godzilla Zero" was officially revealed on November 3rd, 2022 during the Godzilla-Fest event.


Yamazaki is known for the Always: Sunset On Third Street movies, but he is also being recognized for his work on "Godzilla: The Ride" in the showa era themed park called the Seibuen Amusement Park.


This will be the first live-action Godzilla movie to come out of Toho since Shin Godzilla back in 2016. There is a rumor that Toho wants to start a new series of Godzilla movies starting with "Godzilla Zero," but they need to really make sure this movie successful before moving forward with a new series.


When we see "Godzilla Zero" get an international release, it will most likely be some time in 2024. I am guessing between May and July because Shin Godzilla got released in the U.S. six months after the movie's release in Japan and Shin Ultraman is getting released in the U.S. on January 11, 2023, which is eight months after that movie's release in Japan.


I hope it does do well and all I can ask for is to be a good movie. I have not been impressed with Toho's latest movies and Godzilla: Singular Point was a total snooze fest. In my opinion, Legendary Pictures understands Godzilla better than Toho Co. at the moment, which is sad since Toho is the owner of Godzilla.


Gamera: Rebirth:



Maybe with Gamera: Rebirth coming out worldwide on Netflix, it will give Toho a wake up call if the anime does well. It wouldn't be the first time Gamera had outstaged Godzilla. To give a quick summary, Gamera had a better run with just three movies from 1995-1999 than Godzilla did with seven movies from 1984-1995.


Gamera is one franchise that really needed a comeback after a long leave of absence. With demand for monster movies on the rise, there is no better time than now to bring back the giant, fire-breathing turtle. I am glad to see Kadokawa/Daiei is giving this monster another shot as the last time we saw Gamera, it was in the 2006 movie Gamera: The Brave. The movie was originally planned to reboot a new series of movies, but fell through after the movie underperformed and was met with mixed reviews. In 2016, there was a concept trailer for Gamera presented at New York Comic Con suggesting a new movie was in the works. However, it seemed like for a long time nothing ever came of the project and it lasted to the point where the Gamera movie was claimed dead. After years of thinking Gamera was done and never coming back, we get a surprise announcement on November 16th that Gamera is officially returning with an anime series releasing worldwide in 2023.


While there's no info about the story of Gamera: Rebirth, the monster's new design suggests this anime series will go back to the Heisei roots that made Gamera loved by fans in the first place. A monster designed to protect the planet, but could become a potential danger to the planet if his power kept growing and was left unchecked.


If Kadokawa can pull it off, then we could see Gamera outshine Godzilla again and this time in the realm of anime. On top of that, the potential for Gamera to get more movies and MAYBE Legendary considering to bring Gamera into the Monsterverse could gain more traction. For now, my biggest expectation for Gamera: Rebirth is to be a good series. However, Gamera: Rebirth might have competition next year with another Netflix anime that has been in the works.


Skull Island:



Skull Island has been in the works for Netflix ever since it was first announced back in 2021. We got our first look at the Monsterverse anime series in July showing a giant footprint that belongs to either Kong or one of his ancestors. The show is being worked on by the same people that did Castlevania, but there is not much else after that. It was rumored that the show would start airing in the Fall and now it's December. So that rumor is more than safe to say it was false.


On the other hand, we usually do expect to see a trailer shortly after we get our first picture or first few pictures from the show. So it really had made some people to expect Skull Island to premiere soon. It's hard to get excited for something when there is no set date and information. A blank page for the show is there on Netflix, so we can only say it will come out eventually. I can only hope we see something from this anime soon.


Godzilla AND Kong:



The last thing we can expect from the Monsterverse in 2023 is the official announcement for Godzilla AND Kong. We know the movie is releasing March 2024, but I think by Fall 2023 we could get our first trailer for the movie.


When Godzilla vs Kong was finally announced, it was two months before release, we were under lockdown, and Warner Bros. was pushing the same day theatrical/HBO Max release. Now, Warner Bros. is not going for that same day and date release anymore. Nobody is under COVID lockdown anymore. They can spread out the marketing for Godzilla AND Kong a little bit without having to cram four to five months worth of marketing into two months. They don't have to feel like they need to rush the movie out the door because of COVID causing constant delays.


On top of that, we have "HourGlass," Gamera: Rebirth, Skull Island (if it comes out in 2023), "Godzilla Zero," and 65 to keep all of our cravings for the movie in check and the wait more tolerable. We don't need so many trailers released almost a whole year before the movie releases, but we don't need the marketing to start so close to release. By spreading out the marketing for Godzilla AND Kong you can be excited for the movie and not feel bombarbed left and right for two months. With other movies and shows coming out in 2023, it helps make the time pass quicker and we won't have to keep wondering when we will see the first trailer for this movie.


Once fall roles around and Legendary releases the first trailer that is when we can start getting excited without exhausting ourselves from the wait. We will start seeing articles from Entertainment Weekly and other entertainment sources start posting pictures of the movie and giving us details on the story, TV spots, and merchandise reveals all leading up to the movie's release in March 2024. That is why I predict Fall 2023 is when we can start seeing the marketing for Godzilla AND Kong.


Gorgo:



Believe it or not, a new Gorgo project is in the works. In an announcement by toy developer Titanic Creations, they were given the okay to do a figure of the monster as well as graphic novels and, eventually, a new movie.


To give a bit of background history, Gorgo is a UK monster movie that was made by Eugene Lourie under the production company King Brothers Productions. It is about a fisherman that captures a sea monster called Gorgo after hearing about a local legend in a small Irish port. After bringing Gorgo back to Britain and put on display, he learns that the beast he captured is still an infant and the mother called Ogra is much bigger and is coming to save her baby. The movie was released in March 29, 1961 in the United States and October 27, 1961 in the UK and this was during the time that Godzilla was really starting to become a big name internationally. So Gorgo was actually the first giant monster movie that tried to rival Godzilla in the international market aside from King Kong.


It is unknown as to when this new movie will be releasing. All we know is that it is going to happen eventually. It is great seeing more European countries want to do a monster movie, especially after seeing TROLL having gained a lot of attention when released on Netflix. The original Gorgo movie was forgotten about after it was released in theaters in 1961, but it has gained cult status over the course of time. The movie even had comic books that were also forgotten and gained cult status over time. So I am hoping whatever comes out of the new Gorgo movie it comes out being great.


Cloverfield 2:



When it comes to "Cloverfield 2" there is no telling when we will see the first trailer or the marketing for the movie to begin. Producer J.J. Abrams likes to keep these movies very secretive and we just had the director announced months ago. So there is no telling how far along they are into production or pre-production. I don't even think we should expect any big announcements in 2023.


We may hear whispers about the movie. We might hear rumors about the movie's working title and filming locations. It wouldn't be surprising if we hear that Paramount and Bad Robot decided to grab a script that was sitting on a dusty shelf and use that for "Cloverfield 2." That's what they did for 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox. They took the easy way out and tried to replace pieces of the original stories with a story about aliens or a monster to make it fit. 10 Cloverfield Lane was received positively, but The Cloverfield Paradox was really given the boot with negative feedback by fans and the general audience and it was all because the story made no intelligible sense and J.J. left before post-production was finished. The main criticism for both movies are the monsters being inserted not fitting in with how the original script was telling the story.


Hopefully, it doesn't have to come to that with "Cloverfield 2." I want to believe Paramount does not want this movie to use scripts intended for other movies this time. If they didn't see that monster movies are becoming popular, then I think they wouldn't have announced a "Cloverfield 2." There could have been a different Cloverfield movie that would still have no connection to the first movie and would most likely be considered a quick cash grab already released by this point. It will be 2024 by the time we get to see the first trailer for "Cloverfield 2."


Disney's King Kong:



Same can be said for Disney's adaptation of King Kong. This show was announced to be in early stages of development for Disney+ back in August. James Wan and his production studio Atomic Monster Productions will be producing the show and Rings of Power producer Stephany Folsom will be writing the script.


We might hear about who will could direct the show and re