If you see Kong: Skull Island this weekend (and you should), stay through the credits. There’s a sweet tease for the next film in this universe, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And now, work has started on the film coming after that one—the biggest daddy of them all.
The Hollywood Reporter says that a team of writers have just been assembled to come up with a story for Godzilla vs. Kong, the massive showdown film that tentatively has a release date of May 29, 2020. The film will follow the events of 2014's Godzilla, the current Kong: Skull Island, and the forthcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is due out March 22, 2019.
Terry Rossio, who penned a number of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, is the team leader. He’s joined by Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne (Star Trek 4), Lindsey Beer (The Kingkiller Chronicles), Cat Vasko (Queen of the Air), T.S. Nowlin (Maze Runner, Pacific Rim 2), and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Sense8). Those are some bona fide credentials, but you have to wonder why seven writers are needed to pull together a script that’s really only about one thing: a smackdown between two big-ass monsters.
Whether or not a Godzilla vs. Kong film ends up working, the way Legendary and Warner Bros. have handled this franchise has been smart. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla stood alone, as does Kong: Skull Island. Presumably, Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla sequel will as well. But there have been just enough hints to remind audiences that there’s a shared universe being built here. For example, besides the credits scene in Kong: Skull Island, there are a few lines of dialogue, almost throwaways, that made me sit up in my seat and think, “Oh, so that’s how they’re going to explain that.” But most people won’t even think about that until 2020 when they go back and see how all the pieces were laid out for them. These days, watching a shared universe film that you don’t know is one is a treasure. It’s just too bad it’s unlikely Pacific Rim could cross over at some point anymore.