A recent announcement at ComiCon from the guys working on the new Godzilla confirms that there will be at least two sequels to the Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla, but I’m expecting more if they’re going to turn it into another series of movies as with previous. Unless they’re aiming for a trilogy, in which case bringing the old monsters is outright stupid.
The returning monsters will be Rodan/Radon, Mothra and King Ghidorah. I hope that none of the returning monster will be in the same movie, or all of them will be in one big melee smash and the rest of the movies are left for the newcomers. They also revealed that a new King Kong movie named Skull Island will be made. I have a feeling that it will be a lot better movie than what Peter Jackson’s trainwreck was.
It’s understandable why Toho would want to push these monsters to the new movie lineup. Rodan is easy to integrate with the current ancient-monsters-from-ancient-Earth mythos the movies have going on and with CGI they’re able to make Rodan a complete airborne beast with little to no human characteristics. That’s a limitation of the suits, but then again, the Gamera trilogy movies managed to make the Gyaos look more like a flying ‘dactyl than Toho with Rodan.
Mothra is even more understandable. She is one of the few monsters that have beaten Godzilla fair and square and is the most popular monster with Japanese women. That, and the original Godzilla VS Mothra is one regarded as one of the best movies of the Showa era monster movies. Being magical in nature, Mothra is easy to adapt and use in whatever version they’re making of her, be it an agent of Gaia or a protector of magical people. Unless the new movies will step away from the tone and feeling of the first movie, Mothra would need to be changed into one of the ancient beasts that have slept underground. Basically, Mothra would have similar storyline as with the MUTO. Seeing that we’ll be seeing more MUTOs in the future, not naming the MUTOs properly in the 2014 movies leaves an awkward hole in the logic of the movies. It would be good if the MUTOs would be properly renamed in the sequel and just leave at that. As such, Mothra would need a complete rehaul, but they could make a new monster while they’re at it.
King Ghidorah was expected at some point. King Ghidorah is seen as the eponymous archenemy of Godzilla and a version was the final enemy in the Final Wars. This three-headed golden dragon stuck with the fans simply because of its presence and design. While I personally prefer Kaiser Ghidorah over the traditional two-legged one, I am worried how Monster Zero will be handled, much like with the previous two. Going with the ancient monster thing has been done with King Ghidorah in the Mothra Trilogy, but it seems most probable route. Then again, from a biological point of view, a three headed-dragon with a split tail makes little to no sense, unless you want to call it as another mutation. Heisei King Ghidorah was a mutant fusion brought in to the present by future people. Aliens have been the de-facto with King Ghidorah. Whether or not they are more in-line with the current mythos is up to personal views. With Mothra, the new lineup will either enforce the low-level grit the 2014 had going with it, or it will go to more fantastic and add mythological creatures and spirits. In the latter the aliens won’t feel out of place at all. If properly done, aliens origin could work well as long as they leave them into shadows and play with their mystery. Green ape aliens isn’t the right way to go, unless they’re aiming for that sudden tonal shift like in Showa.
Personally, I feel that bringing back these monsters is not the right way to go. Godzilla got a fresh start with a new opponent. While I get Toho’s stance on using old favourites because of their experiences during Heisei series, it shows that they have dropped the ball some time ago in terms of monster design and stories. When we look at the Heisei era’s new monsters, all of them have different levels of connection to Godzilla itself; Biollante was born when Godzilla’s DNA was combined with a rose’s that had human stuff inside it already, Space Godzilla is born from Godzila cells in another universe and Destoroyah was awakened when the Oxygen Destroyer was used in the original film. There’s also Battra, but Battra’s just an evil Mothra and is the laziest of the bunch.
Biollante was an interesting monster overall, as it offered something new to the franchise and become sort of fan favourite. The general public doesn’t really recognize its position and for a good reason; the movie isn’t all that good. Space Godzilla was met with distaste and to some extent it’s even hated. For some reason Toho really wanted to push the Godzilla VS Godzilla thing in the 90’s without realizing that has already been used in Mecha-Godzilla. It’s rather boring to watch two identical things going against each other on the screen, especially when the plot doesn’t back it up. Destoroyah was the second monster that was interesting in the Heisei era because how it stood apart from the previous monsters in visuals and tone. It’s also interesting to note how it was the military that ultimately brought down Destoroyah in the film.
The question is whether or not bringing these old guard favourites in is a good decision. This is a new era of Godzilla, and the 2014 movies was all about bringing it to the new generation. Using old monsters is like a step backwards and allows the studios to back down to more familiar points rather than challenge themselves in making new, exciting and wonderful foes and stories with them. I have no doubts that we will see new monsters as well, but I expect them to be even better and grandiose than that come before them. The 2014 Godzilla had a feeling of progress and evolution to some extent. Legendary will be having one hell of a time on updating the classic monsters to new cinema if they want to do something new with them, something that would make the previous incarnations obsolete.