Happy New Years, everyone! I hope all of you had fun as 2023 is over and 2024 has begun. 2023 has been a wild ride with Monsterverse news and content with the title reveal of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire that happened back in April and the trailer dropping during CCXP in December. As we get closer to the movie's release on April 12th it was expected to see articles about the film begin to drop, but I did not expect it to be so soon. The entertainment magazine Total Film has released their January 2024 issue showcasing Godzilla and Kong on the front cover looking ready to take on their next fight. This issue of the magazine goes into lengthy detail about what we can expect in the film in terms of story and the characters we will be following.
At the very beginning of the article, director Adam Wingard outlines this time around, Kong explores the Hollow Earth to a greater degree and discovers he is NOT alone after all. There is a whole tribe of Kong's species that he discovers, but there is a new threat that has claimed the crown as King of the Hollow Earth: SKAR KING. This Titan is much larger, leaner, and more agile than Kong and commands a whole army of the large ape Titans and rules over them with fear.
There has been a lot of speculation online as to how Skar King would be considered as a huge threat. Some thought he would have some special ability he gained from absorbing the Hollow Earth energy, but we learn that is not the case. What makes Skar King threatening is because he has been planning this invasion or uprising of the ape Titans. It does not state this in the article and Wingard refused to elaborate on this Titan's motives, but it is implied based on what we can see in the trailer. He seeks world domination not just in the Hollow Earth, but also on the surface. We see Kong surrounded by others like him and we see them cowering away as Skar King made his appearance in front of Kong and seeing Skar King making his presence known roaring at the beach goers at Rio de Janiro.
The article also reveals the return of Dr. Ilene Andrews (played by Rebecca Hall), her adopted daughter Jia (played by Kaylee Hottle), and Bernie Hayes (played by Brian Tyree Henry) and the movie will not be split between two stories like Godzilla vs Kong. This is all one story following only one group of characters. However, we also follow Dan Stevens who plays Trapper, who is described to be like a veterinarian for Titans. The article states that if there is ever a Titan that is ill then Trapper is the guy to call.
So what we are going to find that Trapper is the guy that designs Kong's new gauntlet. It has been heavily speculated that Kong gets his arm broken by Skar King some point during the movie and Stevens's role as Trapper sort of confirms to be the case that he designs an arm brace for Kong that can enhance Kong's strength. The article even confirms that even the new tech Monarch uses in the movie was tech the originally came from APEX. All of the tech from APEX was absorbed by Monarch and reworked for Monarch's use and the gauntlet Kong wears could be part of that absorbed APEX technology.
One of the big take aways from the article is how the movie will have more non-verbal storytelling. Adam Wingard states, "We are breaking new ground with visual effects and non-verbal storytelling. We have large sequences, almost eight minutes sometimes, where the film just follows the monsters, and the monsters are telling their own story. It really works." He continues, "It's not like you're sitting there trying to figure out, "Okay, what are they thinking? What are they doing?" These monsters are emotive."
In other words, we are getting more and more closer to seeing these monsters become the main characters. He wants this movie to steer further away the focus on the human characters and allow the monsters to take more of the spotlight. We witnessed Kong has learned sign language in Godzilla vs Kong. What could stop Legendary to make a future Monsterverse film where the scenario shows Kong has taught this tribe how to communicate with each other with that same sign language? I think Legendary is trying to push further into those boundaries where the human cast has less screen time and to really push for more monster screen time.
When it comes to being more emotive, we have seen this with both Kong and Godzilla in previous movies. Kong is probably the most expressive with emotions as he is the closest monster to resembling a person. He can smile, frown, get angry, understand language. Godzilla can also express emotion, but how he communicates is limited. He can look angry, tired, intimidating, or calm, but he can't understand language. He doesn't communicate in a way like Kong or humans can. The only language he understands is submit or die. He is a force of nature that focuses more on keeping nature in balance. So it will be interesting to see how this will affect future movies if replacing the human characters with the monsters as characters is what Legendary is pushing for.
Speaking of Godzilla, he has a whole new design in this movie. Adam Wingard never got the chance to come up with his own interpretation in Godzilla vs Kong and wanted to stamp his own interpretation much like Gareth Edwards and Michael Dougherty has. However, his approach is quite different from how Edwards and Dougherty designed their Godzillas.
Wingard comments in the article, "One of the incredible things about Godzilla is that the character has existed in so many different tones and interpretations in the Toho films. I’m a huge fan of the whole spectrum, and I’ve always really enjoyed the late-Showa era. There are so many big ideas and they have such epic fun with these larger-than-life characters. In Godzilla vs Kong, we paid homage to that epic tradition, including a handful of Easter eggs for the hardcore fans, and while I don’t want to give anything away, we definitely work in a few things for the Toho fans in the new film as well, so keep your eyes open!"
He continues, "Whenever I was talking to the visual artists, what I told them was, 'I want the color palette of this film to resemble the experience of what it was like to walk down a toy aisle in the 1980s, when you had ThunderCats, G.I. Joe and Transformers.' There was just this orgasmic feeling. So many colors and textures. That’s what I wanted to bring to this movie. This new, heightened reality. I wanted to find out: 'can you take that over-the-top toy-aisle experience, but then find a way to ground that into a reality?'"
"Very specifically in the last film, I wanted Godzilla to have a continuity, to look the way that he had in King of the Monsters and the 2014 Godzilla. But then I didn’t get a chance at doing my version of Godzilla. So now I wanted to do different things with the spines, and try different colors. I didn’t want it to just be random; it’s part of the story."
With that, this is why Godzilla in this movie is designed the way he is. He wants Godzilla to look more toy like with the colors and more late-Showa era with the rest of the design. This is why Godzilla's new body is more human-like with a bulky chest, a slimmed down torso, and longer arms. Wingard is trying to make him look like cartoon character from the 80's. This really makes the movie sound like a toy commercial as a feature length film. Of course, trying to sell toys to kids were never out of the question. There will always be toys that will release for these movies. However, the way Wingard described the process of designing his Godzilla just sounds like he did it just to sell toys with a hint of inspiration of late-Showa Godzilla. I am all for anybody who takes on a Godzilla movie to come up with their own interpretation of the monster. Yet, I was expecting more than just "I designed it this way to make it stand out on toy shelves." I get that toys need to sell, but there has to be more in the design process than that. Maybe in the art book it will explain more in-depth detail of how this Godzilla was designed. For now, all I got out of was him saying he made it just to sell toys.
However, how Godzilla and Kong will interact will be very interesting. In the article, Wingard mentioned at the end of Godzilla vs Kong, the two monsters begrudgingly showed respect to each other. He describes the ending as Godzilla telling Kong, "All right, I will let you go this time. But I don't want to see you around these parts again, and if I do, there's going to be trouble." This says to me that there will be another fight between Godzilla and Kong when they first meet again. Just because Godzilla and Kong showed respect to each other in Godzilla vs Kong didn't mean they became friends. Their rivalry is still there. There just needs a third party to intercept them and get them to work together and Skar King and his army will probably get Godzilla to consider teaming up with Kong once again.
What are your thoughts on the article from TOTAL FILM magazine? Was there enough information to get you excited for the film? Were you hoping for more? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on the Godzilla x Kong article by TOTAL FILM. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.