Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel to Godzilla, the 2014 reboot of the original 1998 film.
The tepid response to the 1998 original, a re-imagining of the Japanese Toho Godzilla franchise, forced the production company TriStar to shelve plans for a trilogy.
However, the 2014 reboot was much better received, raking in more than half a billion dollars at the box office. The success spurred the current effort to create a sequel, and plans for a trilogy.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third film in Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse media franchise that also includes Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017).
With filming having been completed in Atlanta, Georgia, and the movie set to premiere in 2019, here is everything you need to know about Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters, including release date, trailers, cast and movie plot.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters release date
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is set to hit theaters in the U.S. on May 31, 2019. The film will be distributed in 2D, 3D, Dolby Cinema and in IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures.
However, it will be distributed in Japan by Toho co., Ltd., the Japanese film company that originally created the Kaiju monster films, featuring Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was originally scheduled to come out on June 28, 2018, but the date was later moved to March 22, 2019.
The current release date of May 31, 2019 was announced in May 2018.
King of the Monsters details
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty. Dougherty is best known for having written the screenplay for X2: X-Men United (2003), Superman Returns (2006), and Trick ‘r Treat (2007).
Legendary Entertainment first announced the title for the sequel to Godzilla (2014) as Godzilla: King of the Monsters in December 2016.
Max Borenstein was first announced in September 2014 to be returning to write Godzilla 2, but he later dropped out. Borenstein has played a major role in the MonsterVerse franchise. He wrote the script for Godzilla (2014) and the screenplay for Kong: Skull Island (2017).
Dougherty was hired in October 2016 to re-write the script for the movie with Zach Shields after Max Borenstein left.
Dougherty and Shields had previously worked together on the comedy horror film Krampus (2015). The horror background of the two writers could lead to the infusion of an element of horror to Godzilla: King of the Monsters. However, an element of horror is what we may fairly expect of a film that features King Ghidorah, a three-headed, 520-feet monster that has massive wings capable of creating hurricane force winds and disrupting the Earth’s stratosphere.
Dougherty took over as director in January 2017 after Gareth Edwards, who directed the 2014 Godzilla movie, left.
It was originally planned for Edwards to return to direct Godzilla 2 after directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), but in May 2016, he announced he would no longer direct the film as he would rather focus on smaller projects.
Filming of Godzilla: King of the Monsters began in June 19, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, and ended on September 27, 2017. Some of the scenes were shot at the Historic Center of Mexico City in August 2017.
— Mike Dougherty (@Mike_Dougherty) September 26, 2017
The crew will likely be using the time after the filming ended on September 2017 and before the release date on May 31, 2019, to work on the CGI and reshoots.
In October 2015, Legendary Entertainment announced plans to bring Godzilla and Kong together in an epic third installment of the MonsterVerse series titled Godzilla v. Kong. According to the announcement, it was planned to create a shared franchise “centered around Monarch” that will bring “Godzilla and… King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new.”
Godzilla v. Kong, directed by Adam Wingard, is currently scheduled for release on May 22, 2020.
Godzilla: King of Monsters first-look photo, teasers and trailers
On July 12, 2018, Warner Bros. Pictures unveiled a first-look image, showing Godzilla shooting his deadly atomic breath into the sky.
A second teaser clip released on July 18, 2018, showed Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown as her Godzilla 2 character Madison Russell, Dr. Emma Russell’s daughter. Madison is attempting to contact Monarch but she is disturbed by a mysterious noise.
Warner Bros. Pictures unveiled the first official trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters on July 21, 2018, during its San Diego Comic-Con panel.
Fans were captivated by the stunning visuals and enchanted by Debussy’s Clair de Lune soundtrack.
Director Dougherty revealed in July 21, 2018 that Bear McCreary will compose the score for the movie and that the classic themes from Akira Ifukube’s scores from previous Godzilla films will be adapted for Godzilla 2.
The trailer reveals that the three kaijus, Mothra, Rodan, and the fearsome King Ghidorah, will return to cause mayhem.
Madison Russell is shown standing on a rooftop, anxiously looking at the skies as if anticipating the appearance of a flying monster. Her mother, Emma Russell, played by Vera Farmiga, provides the voice over, warning the world about an impending mass extinction.
“The mass extinction we feared has already begun, and we are the cause,” Dr. Russell says. “We are the infection.”
Dr. Russell is later shown addressing a gathering of anxious looking scientists and military personal. She appears to be saying that the Titans need to be brought back from thousands of years of hibernation to save the the Earth.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters cast
Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi.
Vera Farmiga, who played the leading role of Lorraine Warren in supernatural horror film series The Conjuring, will portray Dr. Emma Russell. Russell is paleobiologist working for Monarch, the group charged with the task of tracking the Titan monsters. Emma and her daughter, Madison, are kidnapped by a clandestine organization which has a secret plan to control the monsters and use them to wreak havoc. We know that Russell has devised a way to communicate with the monsters, making her potentially able to control them.
Ken Watanabe, who appeared as Katsumoto in The Last Samurai (2003), will play Monarch scientist Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, while Sally Hawkings, who portrayed Ginger in Blue Jasmine (2013), will play Dr. Vivienne Graham, another Monarch scientist.
Other members of the cast include Kyle Chandler, who portrayed Patrick Denham in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). In Godzilla: King of Monsters, Chandler plays Mark Russell, the ex-husband of Emma Russell, who joins Serizawa and Graham on a mission to rescue his ex-wife Emma and daughter Madison, played by Millie Bobby Brown.
Brown was the first to be cast for the movie, her feature debut, in January 2017, while Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga were cast as her parents in February 2017.
Bradley Whitford, who appeared in Get Out (2017), will portray Dr. Stanton, while Thomas Middleditch, who portrays Richard Hendricks in Silicon Valley TV series (2014- ), will appear as Sam Coleman, a liaison between the government and Monarch.
Other members of the cast include Game of Throne’s Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister). Some sources speculate that he could be portraying James Conrad, the character from Kong: Skull Island, played by Tom Hiddleston.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) August 18, 2018
Dance’s character could be the human villain in the film, the leader of the terrorist organization that kidnaps Russell’s daughter, Madison.
Straight Outta Compton actor O’Shea Jackson will play chief warrant officer Barnes, a member of the G-Team, a special forces military group attached to Monarch.
Aisha Hinds will appear in the film in a yet undisclosed role. The actress appeared as Navigation Officer Darwin in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and played Harriet Tubman on WGN America’s Underground TV series (2016- ).
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) actor Zhang Ziyi will portray Dr. Chen. Anthony Ramos will portray Corporal Martinez and Jonathan Howard will appear as Asher.
Additional members of the cast include Elizabeth Ludlow and Randy Havens.
It was first announced in April 2018 that Jason Liles, Richard Dorton, and Alan Maxson, will portray King Ghidorah. They will perform the motion capture for the heads of the monster, while other actors will perform the body.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters plot
The events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters happen presumably five years after the events of the 2014 movie. Although Monarch and the government were able to keep the Skull Island incident under wraps, the events in Godzilla (2014) made the public aware of the existence of the ancient monster super-species.
Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters will focus on the response by Monarch and the rest of the wold to the terrifying events of Godzilla (2014). There is widespread panic following the discovery that the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) and the Titan monsters, previously considered only mythical monsters, actually exist. Experts around the world, including members of Monarch, are working to save human civilization from the scourge of the monsters.
Monarch has known about the existence of the giant kaiju monsters, such as Kong and Godzilla, since the end of World war II. The secret organization has been secretly tracking and cataloging the ancient super-species classified as Titans (Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah) since the World War II era.
Dougherty revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that although the world hasn’t seen Godzilla since the end of the terrifying events of the 2014 film, there is panic over the revelation that the monsters exist.
“The world is reacting to Godzilla in the same way we would react to any other terrifying incident, in that we are overreacting… paranoia and endless speculation about whether [Godzilla] is the only one out there or whether we’re threatened by others like his kind,” Dougherty said.
According to the official synopsis, Godzilla 2 will focus primarily on the efforts of the crypto-zoological agency, the Monarch group, to save the world as Godzilla faces off against other ancient kaiju super-species, including the moth-like Mothra, the reptilian Rodan, and Godzilla’s three-headed arch-nemesis, King Ghidorah.
Fans will recall that Godzilla unwittingly saved San Francisco from total destruction when the male and female MUTOs went on a deadly rampage in Godzilla (2014). The MUTOs, rather than Godzilla, were the villains in Godzilla (2014). Godzilla arrived just in time to face off against them and save the city.
Godzilla collapsed after the battle, but later revived and returned to the seas.
Godzilla may yet again save millions of human lives in Godzilla 2 by defeating the ancient super-species monsters, including Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, and the paleobiologist Dr. Emma Russell, who discovers a way to communicate with the monsters, could play a role, probably using Godzilla to defeat the other three monsters.
Farmiga revealed that her character will be able to use sonar to communicate with Godzilla and the other Titan monsters, suggesting she may be able control them.
“I play a paleobiologist. She has figured out a way to communicate with the creatures and potentially control them using their bioacoustics on a sonar level,” Farmiga said. “So she is like a DJ for the monsters.”
Farmiga said that the film is about “saving the environment.”
Fan were excited when it was first revealed that the 520-feet-tall Ghidorah, also known as Monster Zero, is part of MonsterVerse. King Ghidorah is Godzilla’s most powerful enemy. Monarch discovered the monster frozen in the Antarctic ice, according to the Monarch Sciences website.
According to a fan theory, the movie will start with Ghidorah as the king of the monsters and Godzilla will have to earn the title of the King of the Monsters by defeating Ghidorah.
Another fan theory suggests that it may take the combined power of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan, to beat Ghidorah, who first appeared as a space monster in the 1964 Japanese kaiju film Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster.
Ghidorah, capable of emitting powerful gravity beams and deflecting Godzilla’s atomic fire breath, could prove too powerful for Godzilla to destroy alone, and it could take the combined powers of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan to defeat it.
Although Dr. Russell suggests in the trailer that the Titans have to be brought back to save the Earth, it seems clear that this is not a wise suggestion. She might have been forced to mislead the scientists and the military officials by a mysterious terrorist organization that kidnapped her daughter. We know that when the Titans return they will nearly destroy the whole of human civilization.
It remains to be seen exactly how Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters will help to tie Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017) to Adam Wingard’s Godzilla v. Kong (2020), which follows the events of Godzilla 2.