About five years have passed in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (out May 31, 2019) since the events depicted in 2014’s Godzilla. Which isn’t nearly enough time for people to stop freaking out about the discovery that they share the planet with a gargantuan lizard.
“The world is reacting to Godzilla in the same way we would react to any other terrifying incident, in that we are overreacting,” says director Michael Dougherty, whose previous credits include the horror movie Krampus. Godzilla hasn’t been seen since that destructive finale, “but there’s paranoia and endless speculation about whether he is the only one out there or whether we’re threatened by others like his kind.”
King of the Monsters makes it enormously clear that there are other big beasts, notably the three-headed King Ghidorah, the giant insect Mothra, and another flying monster, Rodan, who in the original Japanese movies could create hurricane-force winds.
“Rodan’s been kind of a sidekick character, but I’ve always had a soft spot for him” says Dougherty. “In a lot of ways he’s more powerful than Godzilla. He’s like this winged A-bomb. I think we’ve done him justice.” But let’s not forget Godzilla himself, who reveals he has the ability to exhale “atomic breath.” Can Dougherty expand on that description? “Not without giving away too much,” he laughs. “But it takes place at a very key moment and it’s a sort of call to arms.”
The 2019 film’s human characters include Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), a scientist working for the beastie-hunting organization Monarch, and her daughter Madison, who is portrayed by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown. The pair are kidnapped by what Dougherty describes as “a mysterious organization, with their own plans for the creatures.”
The director cast Kyle Chandler as Mark Russell, Emma’s ex-husband and Madison’s father, who embarks on a rescue mission in cahoots with two more Monarch members, played by Godzilla veterans Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins. Given that Chandler also costarred in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong, perhaps he may stick around for the next installment in Legendary Entertainment’s “MonsterVerse”: 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong. Speaking of which, does Dougherty set up that face-off in his film? “It’s not like we’re bending over backwards to introduce Kong, but there’s definitely some bread crumbs,” says the director. Bread crumbs the size of boulders, we assume.
See exclusive first look images from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, above and below.