Godzilla vs. Kong: then what?
Godzilla will battle King Kong in 2020, but where does Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse go from there?
You’d think Godzilla vs. Kong would be the logical conclusion of Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse, after all, nothing could possibly top a clash between cinema’s two greatest giant monsters right? Yet the studio has assembled a writers’ room for the series, headed by Terry Rossio, who co-wrote a Godzilla film in 1994. So what could possibly be next?
More Godzilla films
Godzilla’s has starred in 29 films by Toho Productions since 1954, so it’s only natural Legendary would want their American series to keep up. After their first film in 2014, the studio also acquired the rights to Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah, who will all apparently tussle with Godzilla in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Legendary could keep acquiring more of Toho’s monsters for their Godzilla to fight, including but not limited to Anguirus, Biollante, Gigan, Destoroyah, Mechagodzilla and Godzilla Jr. (who knows if they need to clear anything to introduce progeny for Godzilla though). They may also want to develop spin-offs for the more heroic ones, like Mothra, who had her own film trilogy in the 1990s.
Godzilla vs. Kong will be the first contemporary appearance from Kong since 1986’s King Kong Lives, and Legendary may want to make more films about Kong in the present, similar to various animated series where Kong is the pet/bodyguard for a family of explorers running into other monsters.
Alternatively, Legendary could produce a prequel exploring the origins of Kong, similar to the book Kong: King of Skull Island. Admittedly, their backstory for King Kong was nowhere as rich and mysterious as that from the 1933/2005 film universe, which hinted at an ancient civilization that tamed the apes and dinosaurs on Skull Island, but it would be fun seeing say, a film about 18th century pirates shipwrecked on the island.
Other American monsters
Remember, Kong is not a Toho monster. If Legendary is seeking to make more standalone monster movies, they could bargain with distributor Warner Bros. for the rights to classics like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Them! They already co-produced the Clash of the Titans remake, though they could just as well introduce their own versions of beasts from Greek mythology, or ones from other cultures for that matter (the Kraken, who just made an appearance in The Lego Batman Movie — no really — was a Norwegian monster that Ray Harryhausen used as a substitute for the cetus.)
As the success of the Transformers films demonstrated, shared universes don’t necessarily have to make sense. The back-story and timeline of the Pacific Rim films are completely different to those with Monarch, but if Legendary wants Godzilla to help/hinder those Jaeger mechs, then so be it. Speaking of Guillermo del Toro, Legendary should consider stepping in to produce his abandoned adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, thereby adding Cthulhu and the Lovecraft Mythos to the Monsterverse.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Monsterverse moves much more slowly than other shared universes, with only two films in the span between 2014 and 2017. This may be to the key to its longevity, as ultimately Legendary doesn’t have to be in a hurry to reintroduce all these classic monsters.