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Forget Godzilla And Kong - The Titan That The MonsterVerse Truly Needs Is Gamera, Guardian Of The Universe

Is there a higher art form than giant, rubbery monsters smacking the ever-loving mess out of each other on the big screen? The longevity of the "Godzilla" franchise suggests there isn't. While Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' "MonsterVerse" films have swapped out the rubber suits and puppets of yore for cutting-edge CGI, they still carry many of the kaiju genre's same beloved benchmarks — city-spanning battles, absurd sci-fi worldbuilding, and entirely forgettable human characters.

After the 2021 release of "Godzilla vs. Kong" — the triumphant culmination of every MonsterVerse movie up to that point — there was, for some time, no official word on if the franchise would continue. Where do you go after sending King Kong to the center of the planet to discover an ancient memorial to his ancestors' war with Godzilla? How do you top a begrudging team-up between cinema's two greatest beasties against a giant reptilian robot? Fortunately for fans, a follow-up was officially announced, which will premiere in 2024, and there's also an Apple TV+ series on the way. 

So, the odds look great that the Monsterverse will continue stomping over moviegoers. However, those big questions still remain. Where is left for the series to go after such a climactic last chapter? 

Well, to start, Godzilla and Kong aren't the only famous movie monsters of the scale required for the MonsterVerse. If the series really wants to keep demanding big box-office bucks, it needs help from the Guardian of the Universe himself: Gamera, the giant flying turtle.

The MonsterVerse has depleted its stock of famous Titans

With a few notable exceptions, like the original "Gojira" and 2016's spectacular "Shin Godzilla," kaiju movies and their derivatives are made or broken on the strength of the headlining match. Think of them like WrestleMania bouts. In the red corner, the lizard with the heart of nukes; in the blue corner, the three-headed dragon from space. This formula has worked pretty well for the genre over the years, and the MonsterVerse is no different.

While 2014's "Godzilla" and 2017's "Kong: Skull Island" pit the two titular Titans against relatively forgettable foes, 2019's "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" ups the stakes by bringing in a bunch of fan favorites. Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah all enter the fray in the franchise's third film, and all are left bowing to Godzilla by the movie's ending. "Godzilla vs. Kong" features plenty of battles between the series' two protagonists, but it also introduces a new version of Mechagodzilla for them to team-up against.

Here's the problem: The MonsterVerse has now used up most of the famous kaiju from the "Godzilla" and "King Kong" franchises. Mechagodzilla, Mothra, Ghidorah, and Rodan are easily Gojira's most recognizable opponents, and Kong has generally been a solo act. You could bring in a less famous repeat offender like Gigan, or an iconic one-off foe like Destroyah (who actually killed the Japanese Godzilla back in 1995), but that's iffy. Both kaiju rely on big interstellar storylines that don't really fit with the MonsterVerse's current "Hollow Earth" lore. That's where Gamera comes in.

Gamera fits perfectly within the MonsterVerse lore

Originally positioned as a competitor to Godzilla in the then-massive kaiju genre landscape of 1965, Gamera has many things in common with his more-famous cousin. He's reptilian, loves the water, breathes fire, and owes his resuscitation to nuclear weapons. In the original "Gamera, the Giant Monster," the titular turtle Titan is a prehistoric creature who's awakened from an ice-induced coma by the explosion of a nuclear bomb in the Arctic. 

However, that backstory is rebooted in the 1995 film "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe," in which the kaiju is revealed to be a creation of (get ready for it) the Atlanteans, who designed Gamera to protect the Earth. This version of the "Gamera" story would be right at home in the MonsterVerse, where ancient civilizations, underwater cities, and retro sci-fi stylings are the law of the land. With just a few tweaks, Gamera could be easily connected to the preexisting history between Kong's race and Godzilla, and he could be the perfect way to provide a bit more exposition as to Godzilla's actual origins.

There's also the fact that, unlike most of the remaining "Godzilla" kaiju yet to appear in the MonsterVerse, Gamera has real pop-culture clout. He's starred in 12 films since 1965, including one as recently as 2006. Plus, the flying turtle is set to make a big comeback in the near future, with a new anime series titled "Gamera: Rebirth" coming to Netflix in 2023.

Just think of the possibilities that Gamera has in the MonsterVerse!

How would Gamera fit into the ever-more-bizarre fabric of the MonsterVerse? The possibilities are nearly endless. His previous cinematic history would make him work just fine as another Hollow Earth denizen. Alternatively, the genetically-engineered origin story from his Heisei era of films could also be brought to bear in a fun way. We know that the next MonsterVerse film will have Godzilla and Kong join forces again against a major threat, so it seems that they'll be allies for the foreseeable future. Throwing Gamera into the mix, presumably as a third wheel of sorts, could help keep some tension in the core group.

In a strictly literary sense (and the MonsterVerse is nothing if not Shakespearean), Gamera is the perfect middle-ground between Godzilla and Kong. Like the giant ape, he's a friend to humanity who's been known to bond with children in particular. And like Gojira, he's a giant lizard. Gamera can show Godzilla the kaiju he could be — a less self-serious soul who doesn't insist on being such a loner all the time. And he can show Kong that he and Godzilla might not be so different after all.

Okay, to be fair, that might be a bit of a stretch for a franchise about kaiju slugfests, but there's an undeniable fun factor that Gamera can bring to the MonsterVerse. He flies around in a giant spinning turtle shell for crying out loud. Isn't there room in the series for a comic relief kaiju? A turtle-shelled Gimli to Godzilla and Kong's Aragorn and Legolas?

Is a Gamera and Godzilla crossover possible?

Hopefully it's clear by now that a "Gamera" crossover with the MonsterVerse is not only a good idea, but absolutely essential. It's hard to imagine Hollywood moving forward any other way. But how realistic is the big terrapin's inclusion actually? Well, that's another story.

For starters, Gamera is owned by Kadokawa Daiei Studio, not Toho, who owns Godzilla and all of his adjacent kaiju. That means that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' current licensing deal with Toho wouldn't have any effect on a Gamera cameo, and that a whole new deal would need to be struck.

That's totally feasible, but it also may not be a high priority for the studios. Though fans have frequently made their desire for a Gamera appearance known, there's been no official word on it actually happening. To this day, even the Japanese versions of Godzilla and Gamera have never had an official crossover. However, they do share some DNA — and not just of the radioactive variety. For example, the small-time kaiju Baragon — an occasional enemy of Godzilla — is strikingly similar in both name and horned appearance to Barugon, who battled Gamera in 1966.

Will we ever see Gamera and his winged nemeses, the Gyaos, in the MonsterVerse? For now, all fans can do is hope. But consider this a plea to the powers that be — the studios, rights-holders, and monster movie writers of the world. The movie industry and the people of Earth are in desperate need of more giant, flying turtles.