Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire – The Epic Battle continues!

Legendary Pictures’ cinematic Monsterverse follows up the explosive showdown of Godzilla vs. Kong with an all-new adventure that pits the almighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence—and our own. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire delves further into the histories of these Titans and their origins, as well as the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond.

Once again at the helm is director Adam Wingard, The screenplay is by Terry Rossio (Godzilla vs. Kong the Pirates of the Caribbean series) and Simon Barrett (You’re Next) and Jeremy Slater (Moon Knight), from a story by Rossio & Wingard & Barrett, based on the character “Godzilla” owned and created by TOHO Co., Ltd.

“It’s exciting to have ‘Godzilla x Kong’ coming out on the 10th anniversary of the Monsterverse,” says Producer Alex Garcia “It’s been ten years since the 2014 ‘Godzilla’ film, and in this film we really get to spend more time in the POVs of the Creatures, particularly with Kong, as he goes into Hollow Earth and finds that he actually isn’t the last of his kind. It’s been really fun and gratifying to make these Monsterverse films. Anytime you’re working with characters like Godzilla and Kong, which are such classic cinema characters, we challenge ourselves to not only do things that feel like they really respect the foundations, the origins and fan bases of those characters, but that can propel them into something cinematically new, fresh and different every time. So that’s been a bit of a challenge, just making sure we’re delivering something fresh and different for audiences every time. I’m happy to say that Adam Wingard has done just that—brought some really fresh, big, fun visual energy into ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.’ Tonally, the movie is a lot of fun, but yet there are these big, massive worlds we get to explore with these two characters of Godzilla and Kong, and we really see more of the movie through their perspectives than we have before.”

“What I love about this franchise is the escapism,” says Producer Eric McLeod. “One of the biggest reasons people go to these films is to escape to another world. It’s not real; they know it’s not real, but they can just be immersed in these amazing worlds, especially inside a theater. We are always challenging ourselves to come up with new ideas, different creatures, different environments that really pull the audience in. I always want to make a film that not only I want to see, but I want people to go, ‘Oh, I just loved watching that, going to those places and seeing what can be done.’ I always love when people can say to me, ‘I let my life go for two hours and I really just enjoyed watching the film.’”

“The challenge with trying to find a heightened reality, a colorful spectrum and a very vibrant photographic base is to make the audience feel like this is a real place, these are real characters, both the monsters and the people,” says Director of Photography Ben Seresin. “How do you maintain that integrity? In my experience, and often my preferred approach photographically, is to have a mix of dark and light, of shadow and brightness, and a real cross-section of photographic approaches. Sometimes, when one brings in a very lively, heightened color element, one can have a real challenge bedding that into a photographic base. We decided that the best approach would be to find a sort of grittiness to the imagery that also had this vibrancy… and that can be a real challenge. When you’re looking to establish a deep photographic base, you want to use shadow, you want to use a type of subtlety that is sometimes harder to find when you’re going for imagery that is highly chromatic with high vibrancy.”

“One of the biggest challenges working on this movie with all this computer animation is that there’s so much storytelling without words… it almost was like working on a silent movie,” says VFX Supervisor Alessandro Ongaro. “And there’s so much told through these sequences with the Titans that carry over and bring the story from the beginning to the end that we really felt the need to get it right. So for me, it was very important that the performances of the creatures Kong, Godzilla, Scar King and Suko were something unique with the ability to convey emotion and tell the story. It’s a challenge working without words—subtitles were never an option. I remember when I first read the script, I would read a paragraph where maybe in three lines they would describe a five-minute scene. And then it was given to us and go and figure that out. It was a big challenge. Luckily, I was surrounded by an amazing team, and it turned out for the best.”

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is an explosive, action-packed adventure that follows Kong’s journey to find his family through an undiscovered layer of Hollow Earth—and what he uncovers inadvertently brings forth the most dangerous threat to mankind yet… one that can only be countered (and possibly conquered) by the combined forces of Kong and Godzilla, now evolved like never before. Featuring all-new characters, epic battle sequences and the ultimate Titan team-up, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is the latest supersized chapter of the Monsterverse—a high-octane, BIG scale, thrill ride of action, humor and a million reasons to go to the movies.

Copyright: © 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Director Adam Wingard with Dan Stevens during the filming of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Copyright: © 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Godzilla and Kong team-up…

“Once you’ve seen Godzilla and Kong have the most ultimate battle in Godzilla vs. Kong, what’s next? And the obvious answer is: the team-up. I remember even as we were completing the last movie, that was the thing in the back of my mind. ‘Where do you go from here?’ But the idea, though, of Godzilla and Kong teaming-up, you can’t make that too easy.

These are two monsters, and they’re very territorial, and so I took a lot of influence from my favorite filmmaker, John Carpenter, and he did a movie called ‘They Live,’ and in that movie, two of the main protagonists fight over putting on these sunglasses, which is a major plot moment.

I like the idea of two people who are actually on the same team fighting because of a misunderstanding. The characters—now that they’ve fought together, they’ve been in movies together—it’s pretty hard to imagine doing another movie without them. Once you put Godzilla and Kong together you can’t take them apart, but they’re never gonna get along really all that well. They both have too big of egos, and so what’s fun about them is that even when they do team-up, there’s always gonna be this sort of uneasy truce to it all. They’re a buddy-cop duo—they’re two different characters. They don’t see eye-to-eye all the time, and for me, that’s what we’re playing with… it’s that team-up that’s always going to be temporary, no matter what.”

The Titans are evolving…

“Just like all the actors, if you’ve worked with them before, you develop a rapport, and it’s really no different with Godzilla and Kong. To understand how to shoot them, what their angles are, is something that you can only learn from doing an entire movie with them, because shooting creatures 300-feet tall can be a mental challenge sometimes. But also what’s cool about it is that Kong and Godzilla are both evolving, too, just like the rest of the characters in the movie.

“In Godzilla vs. Kong, it was really important to me to make sure that there was continuity between the other movies—that Godzilla felt like the Godzilla that we had established in the Monsterverse, and Kong also felt like the same character. But for me, I was looking forward to having my opportunity to update the character, to give him a new look, and I didn’t want it to just be something that was just a random thing. In a lot of these type of movies, they tend to update characters and in the next movie the character looks different… but nobody really talks about it. I wanted it to be driven by the story, and so I knew even at the early development phases, that I wanted to give Godzilla a new look, but I wanted to make sure that it was also motivated by something going on in the movie and that we would actually see the evolution happen within the film.

“And it’s just one of those things where my favorite color’s pink. Pink and blue are my favorite colors, actually, so it was only natural that I push Godzilla in that direction. Originally, I thought about Godzilla shedding his skin, but the story went a different direction, but in this, Godzilla does change his skin. He becomes a new thing in this movie and this new design allowed us to push Godzilla a little bit into that Showa era absurdity. I always loved in those movies how he’s flying around and doing dropkicks—he even dances, too. We’d get a little backlash, I think, if Godzilla started dancing, but that Showa kind of madness was something that was an influence. So the question became, ‘Can you make that Showa absurdity feel grounded, and can you make an ‘80s cartoon vibe feel grounded?’ And that’s basically what I was trying to do. I always wanted to be on the edge of absurd and real, and the movie’s constantly playing with that—Godzilla’s new design does that.”

What Godzilla and Kong are up against…

“When you have a movie called ‘Godzilla x Kong,’ you can’t just have another run-of-the-mill kind of situation for them to be in. You have to come up with something that is going to require a team to take it down. We wanted to go with a villain story that was more multifaceted than just ‘here’s a monster, and it wants to do these things, and it’s bad for the planet.’ It’s like normally when you’re doing a Godzilla or Kong movie, humanity is usually the biggest threat, the biggest problem, and they’re the one causing the problems. That’s important to the lore of Godzilla and Kong, because both of them are, in a lot of ways, characters about humanity destroying the planet and being a threat to nature. Because of the humanity within Kong’s character, we were able to come up with a villain like the Skar King—it opened the door where we could tell that same ‘evil side of humanity’ story, but from the monster perspective, and that means creating an even bigger threat that the Skar King is in control of. In the way that humans have armies and weapons of mass destruction, the Skar King’s got his version of that, and it’s gonna take all the hero monsters in the world to band together to be able to stop him.”

Two quests in Hollow Earth…

“The advantage that we had on this movie is that we have two concurrent main stories. One is Jia’s [played by Kaylee Hottle] journey to discover that there are others of her kind, the Iwi, that still exist in an amazing civilization in Hollow Earth. And on the flipside of that is Kong’s story. He’s also about to discover that there are others of his kind, but in his case, they’re toiling away in this subterranean kind of hellscape. We wanted to contrast the two different worlds, and show that Jia and Kong are going through a very similar struggle on their journeys. They’re both experiencing this somewhat existential crisis of being the last of their kind, and this movie’s really about them exploring the two different realities within Hollow Earth—it’s both of their stories together.

“I drew a lot of influence from the Showa films, in the underground realm that is experienced in those movies, with this trippy Technicolor vibe. I wanted to bring that same sort of heightened absurdity into this movie, but make you feel like it’s real. That’s one of the main things that was always my goal—taking a stroll down a toy aisle of the ‘80s, asking, ‘Can we bring that color palette and that level of stylization and make it feel grounded and real? Can we make a Monarch base with yellow-and-red-painted walls and things that are a little bit more heightened, and make it feel dirty, lived-in and realistic? Can we make 400-foot-tall crystal pyramids believable?’ And in Hollow Earth, anything’s possible. I think we always envisioned Hollow Earth as being history turned inside-out. It’s almost like everything started within the Earth and then worked its way outwards, which is why the Iwi civilization has direct access through these hidden portals that are underneath the Egyptian pyramids. This is our version of an Atlantean civilization. We’re saying Atlantis wasn’t on the surface—it was underground the entire time.”

Suko, the new “Mini-Kong”…

“Originally, there was a concept that involved a ‘son of Kong’ character, and that was always in the back of my mind. ‘Okay, there’s gonna be a son character, but how do you get there with Kong, and what would this character be like?’ I didn’t want it to feel like when ‘Star Wars’ brought in the Ewoks, and they became a cute, cuddly toy. I wanted this character to almost subvert your expectation of what a cute character could be. Suko is a tough little guy—he’s not just a cute, cuddly bear, even though he is adorable. Actually, in a weird way, this film is also about parents. You have Dr. Ilene Andrews [played by Rebecca Hall] with Jia on one side, and you have Kong discovering Suko on the other, and both of them are dealing with it in their own ways. And I have to say that Suko is one of the things I was most excited to see, because the only thing that I knew going into the development of him is that he needed to have really big, endearing eyes. I wanted to figure out, ‘Can we do something that’s both cute and tough at the same time?’ And so it became a thing that Suko actually knows he’s cute, and he uses that a little bit to disarm others around him. But, at the end of the day, he’s a tough little scrapper. When you look around, there are not a lot of apes his age. A lot of them don’t make it to that stage or beyond… so yeah, he’s a survivor.”

Enter the Skar King…

“The Skar King, he’s the quintessential evil dictator, [LAUGHS], and civilizations around the world and throughout history have their version of an evil dictator. I think the Skar King’s an ancient evil; he’s the representation of humanity’s darkest side. He’s basically taken over this tribe of apes in Hollow Earth, running the show down there, and he’s doing it in the most self-serving way possible. There’s even a moment in the movie in a shot of his throne room where you can see a little harem in the corner, along with little apes that are clearly mini Skar Kings. He’s been running the show for a long time, making all these apes toil under him. Basically, these apes live in hell—they are all lost souls—and he is the devil.”

What audiences can expect…

“For me, when I was a kid and I would watch the Godzilla movies, and, say, when Godzilla and Mothra would team up, along with Anguirus and all of them, I sort of understood what the monsters were communicating to each other. I didn’t need anybody to explain it to me, and frankly, I probably didn’t even pay that much attention to what the humans were saying in those old movies. What interested me were the monsters in their nonverbal reality and communication. That’s really what I wanted to dive into—that’s what was exciting. Making ‘GvK’ gave me the confidence that you can let these monsters tell their own story, let them just be characters. It was such an interesting experience, making a monster movie. There are skills that you just can’t prepare for. I came out of it with like, ‘Okay, [LAUGHS], now I know how to make a monster movie, and now I’m ready to do it again and take everything I’ve learned, apply it, and take it to the next level.’ Because ultimately, I wanted to make not just another Monsterverse film, but a thrill ride like you’ve never seen before. I wanted it to be a mic drop moment for monster movies. Whatever kind of movies I make in the future, as far as monsters go, I want this to say everything, and I want to be able to walk away knowing that we did everything… and the kitchen sink!”

Copyright: © 2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

ADAM WINGARD (Director / Story Writer / Executive Producer) is the celebrated cult filmmaker who most recently directed GODZILLA VS. KONG, for the cinematic Monsterverse. The blockbuster film starred Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall and Kyle Chandler. The film was a huge commercial and critical success and grossed over $470 million worldwide. Up next, Wingard is working with Paramount on a sequel to the much beloved action classic FACE/OFF; he is set to co-write and direct the project. In 2010 Wingard premiered his serial killer love story A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE at the Toronto International Film Festival; it later played at Fantastic Fest, where it received awards for Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. The following year, TIFF invited Wingard back to premiere his home invasion thriller YOU’RE NEXT; the film sparked a very enthusiastic response and was released by Lionsgate in August 2013. Sundance invited Wingard to their fest in 2012 and 2013 with his critically acclaimed genre films V/H/S and V/H/S 2. In 2014, Wingard had the Sundance premiere for his thriller THE GUEST starring Dan Stevens. The film quickly became a cult hit, receiving rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. It currently holds a 91% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Wingard’s additional directing credits include 2016’s BLAIR WITCH, the sequel to 2001’s found footage phenomenon THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and Netflix’s DEATH NOTE, a live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese horror crime-thriller manga. On the TV side, Wingard directed the pilot episode of OUTCAST, created by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. The horror drama series premiered on Cinemax in 2016. Currently, Wingard is developing a series based on the sci-fi horror film EVENT HORIZON for Amazon.

TERRY ROSSIO (Screenwriter / Story Writer) is a writer known for a diversity of works, including 2021 blockbuster “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Shrek” (2001) and “Aladdin” (1992). Most recent credits include “The Amazing Maurice” and the upcoming “Protocol-7” and “Aladdin: Live from the West End.” Additional credits for Rossio include “Shrek the Musical,” “Deja Vu,” “G-Force,” “Lovestruck” and “The Lone Ranger.” Rossio was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating from Saddleback High School in Santa Ana, California, he went on to study at California State University Fullerton, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with an emphasis in radio, television and film.

SIMON BARRETT’s (Screenwriter / Story Writer) writing credits include You’re Next (2011), The Guest (2014) and Azrael (2024), along with the successful V/H/S franchise. He’s directed segments for multiple V/H/S films, as well as the 2021 release Seance. Currently in development, Barrett is writing the feature adaptation of ThunderCats to be produced by Warner Bros., as well as Face/Off 2, a direct sequel to the 1997 film, for Paramount.

JEREMY SLATER (Screenwriter) is the creator and co-showrunner of THE EXORCIST on Fox. He also created MOON KNIGHT for Marvel and Disney+, and THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY for Netflix/UCP/Dark Horse. He is currently writing MORTAL KOMBAT 2 for New Line/Warner Bros. He most recently worked on JOHN HENRY AND THE STATESMEN for Netflix/7 Bucks, UPRISING for Netflix/21 Laps, OLD MAN’S WAR for Netflix, and Stephen King’s THE TOMMYKNOCKERS for Universal and James Wan.