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Godzilla Vs. Kong Release Date, Cast And Story

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In 2021, the Earth will shake as two of cinema's most celebrated monsters clash on the big screen once again. That's right — Godzilla vs. Kong is coming. Though they've fought each other before in a film released long ago, the King of the Monsters and Skull Island's Eighth Wonder of the World will meet again, this time under the banner of Legendary Pictures' ever-growing MonsterVerse, with the help of a blockbuster-sized budget and a massive team of talent. 

The fourth film in Legendary's MonsterVerse series — following Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the MonstersGodzilla vs. Kong will feature not just the two headliners gearing up for a fight but an all-star cast that includes both returning stars and newcomers, all under the direction of an acclaimed horror filmmaker. Here's everything we know about the showdown so far, from who's in it to how this monstrous struggle could end.

What is the release date for Godzilla vs. Kong?

Godzilla vs. Kong was originally set to open May 29, 2020, almost a year to the day after Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Then the studio pushed things up a week to May 22, ostensibly so the flick could take advantage of Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, that release date put the film against some heavy hitters. For example, the ninth Fast & Furious movie was also supposed to debut that weekend, so Warner Bros. pushed things up yet again to March 13, 2020. Even after that release date was set, chatter from Warner Bros. head Toby Emmerich suggested that the release date remained flexible as the studio figured certain things out. It turns out we were right to be skeptical that the March date would hold. 

In November 2019, Warner Bros. announced that the film's place on the release calendar was shifting yet again, this time more drastically. The date was eventually moved to November 20, 2020 ... but how could anyone know what the world had in store? After COVID-19 came along and thoroughly messed up Hollywood's plans, no one knew exactly when the two kaiju Titans would duke it out. But then, in December 2020, we got some pretty monumental news. Warner Bros. announced that it would be simultaneously releasing all of its 2021 films in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max. It was a monumental decision ... and one that was good news for monster fans, as we now know that the battle of the beasts will commence on March 31, 2021.

Who's returning to the cast of Godzilla vs. Kong?

Godzilla vs. Kong will pick up after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which set the stage for a new status quo with Godzilla as the recognized alpha among the resurrected Titans. With that in mind, we can expect a lot of familiar faces from that film to show up during the showdown with Kong. 

So far, the confirmed returning cast for the film includes King of the Monsters stars Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell and Kyle Chandler as her father, Mark Russell. The Russell family played a key role in the rise of Godzilla as the alpha after his battle with King Ghidorah, and the loss of Madison's mother, Emma (Vera Farmiga), in the struggle only brought father and daughter closer together amid the wreckage of the Titan battle. 

It also seems like we might see Zhang Ziyi, who played dual roles in King of the Monsters as twin Monarch scientists, Dr. Ling Chen and Dr. Ilene Chen. King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty set the Chen sisters up in that film to be a new version of the Shobijin, Mothra's twin priestesses, giving them a deeper connection to the Titans in general — and Mothra in particular — than perhaps any other human characters. However, while sources like Flickering Myth have reported that she's in the film, her name is missing from IMDb, so we'll just have to wait and see if she actually shows up.

New faces joining the Godzilla vs. Kong cast

The world of the Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse is a constantly expanding one, and that means Godzilla vs. Kong will have plenty of new faces to go along with its established stars. Fans of True Blood and Big Little Lies will be happy to know that Alexander Skarsgård is playing Nathan Lind. As the actor explained to The New York Times, "[Lind is] a geologist and works closely with Kong. And what I liked about my character was he's terrified, he's not brave, he's not equipped to be a leader or a hero, and he enters this adventure very reluctantly."

Demian Bichir of Alien: Covenant and The Hateful Eight will show up as Walter Simmons, the CEO of a mysterious corporation called Apex — one that has an axe to grind against the Titans. However, in real life, Bichir loves the monsters just as much as anyone else. In an interview with Looper, Bichir explained that, "I'm a Kong man. ... Kong is a lot more like me, you know what I mean? I identify with that guy, because he is more like us humans. He is very sensitive. He's raw and fantastic."

And we're really crossing our fingers that Danai Gurira of The Walking Dead and Black Panther will appear in the film. According to a Deadline report from 2018, she was in talks to join the cast in an undisclosed role. However, there haven't been any updates since then, and her name is missing from Godzilla vs. Kong's IMDb page. But even if she doesn't pop up, the film will feature several other new faces, including Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2) as Madison Russell's BFF, Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3) as a scientist with connections to Kong, and Brian Tyree Henry (Eternals) as a disgruntled Apex employee. Plus, we've also got Lance Reddick (John Wick), Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver), and newcomer Kaylee Hottle, who will play an incredibly important part in the film.

The MonsterVerse story so far

The story that will lead us to the titular showdown in Godzilla vs. Kong began not with King of the Monsters but Kong: Skull Island, the earliest-set film in the MonsterVerse so far. That story featured a group of Monarch researchers heading to the titular island and discovering the giant ape known as Kong. When we last left the big ape, he was still on his island, having defeated the Skullcrawler monsters who also dwelled there. 

Skull Island is set in 1973, while the first two Godzilla films take place in the present day, at a time when Monarch is trying to learn as much as possible about the giant monsters called Titans, of which Godzilla is one. This escalates when a fringe group begins triggering an accelerated awakening of Titans around the world in an effort to cleanse the planet. In the process, they release the alien Titan known as King Ghidorah, the giant guardian moth known as Mothra, and the massive flying creature Rodan. 

The climax of King of the Monsters finds Ghidorah and Godzilla engaging in combat to determine the alpha of the Titans, and with Mothra's help, Godzilla ultimately wins the fight. It's here, in the wake of Godzilla's victory, that Kong will enter the picture once again. At the end of King of the Monsters, we learn that some of the Titans have begun moving to Skull Island, and that ancient drawings reveal that Kong and Godzilla have faced off before.

The story to come

Godzilla: King of the Monsters established that the only way forward for humanity seemed to be some kind of co-existence with the Titans. While the creatures cause rampant destruction early on in the film (at Ghidorah's urging), once Godzilla takes control as alpha, the ecological benefits of Titan rule begin to reveal themselves. With Godzilla vs. Kong, this strange relationship between humanity and a group of giant monsters will be explored further, with Monarch trying to dig deeper into exactly what the Titans are, even as two of the greatest among them start to do battle. Here's the official synopsis:

"Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two Titans — instigated by unseen forces — is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth."

We also know that a mysterious corporation called Apex will be playing a part in the story, most likely as an organization with some nasty plans in store for our oversized characters. And based on the plot synopsis, promotional images, and the film's trailer, it looks like we're going to get a glimpse of Kong inside the Hollow Earth. And, oh yeah, somewhere along the way, the big guy is going to get himself an axe. We're definitely looking forward to that.

Who's behind the camera on Godzilla vs. Kong?

While other franchises might attempt to hang on to a single filmmaker or production team to handle several films in a row, the MonsterVerse has so far favored a slightly more diverse approach, drafting a different director for each installment in the series. The franchise kicked off with Gareth Edwards on Godzilla, continued with Jordan Vogt-Roberts on Kong: Skull Island, and most recently featured the talents of director Michael Dougherty for Godzilla: King of the Monsters

This time around, Adam Wingard — best known for his work in the horror genre on films like You're Next and The Guest — will be in the director's chair, taking on the biggest film of his career yet (another common theme among these projects and their directors). Joining Wingard behind the camera is Terry Rossio, who has a story credit on the film. Rossio is no stranger to blockbusters thanks to his time working on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise at Disney. And as for the actual screenplay itself, it was penned by Max Borenstein and Eric Pearson. Borenstein wrote 2014's Godzilla, and he also worked on AMC's The Terror. As for Pearson, he's been busy in the MCU, writing scripts for features like Black Widow and TV shows like Agent Carter.

Godzilla and Kong have a history

When we think about giant monsters in movies, Godzilla is often viewed as the most ubiquitous because, well, he's the one with the most movies. He's appeared in film after film over the 60-plus years since his big-screen debut in Japan, and many of the most famous giant monsters in movies are best known through their association with Godzilla. 

King Kong has his own brand of cultural ubiquity, mostly thanks to his first appearance all the way back in the 1933 film classic that bears his name. The image of Kong climbing the Empire State Building, swatting away planes, is seared into pop culture forever, making him almost as famous as Godzilla, despite appearing in far fewer films. 

Even Kong, though, can't escape his association with Godzilla because the two have already met on the silver screen. In 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla, Japanese studio Toho created their own variation on Kong, with the added ability to absorb and then redistribute electricity. But while the new film isn't the first time they've clashed, we definitely shouldn't be expecting a remake of the original.

Yes, there will be a winner

In Toho's original King Kong vs. Godzilla, the two monsters duke it out in spectacular fashion at the summit of Mt. Fuji, and for a little while, it seems like Godzilla really has Kong on the ropes, even trying to burn his body at one point. But Kong's ability to absorb electricity comes in handy when a bolt of lightning hits and revives him, and the fight again picks up intensity, culminating in both monsters falling into the ocean. At the end, only Kong emerges from the water, but no one ever says that Godzilla actually died, and of course, the legendary kaiju popped up again just two years later in Mothra vs. Godzilla

With this in mind, director Adam Wingard has already promised audiences that his film will definitely deliver the kaiju fight goods, and that Godzilla vs. Kong will actually declare a victor. "I do want there to be a winner," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. "The original film was very fun, but you feel a little let down that the movie doesn't take a definitive stance. People are still debating now who won in that original movie, you know. So, I do want people to walk away from this film feeling like, 'Okay, there is a winner.'"

(Of course, if you ask our Godzilla expert, he'll tell you that Kong definitely won that original fight, fair and square.)

Is another legendary monster joining the fray for Godzilla vs. Kong?

The Legendary MonsterVerse has unfolded in such a way that each subsequent installment ups the ante on the overall mythology, and each new film does that in an exponentially more ambitious way. We went from only vague hints about what else was out there in 2014's Godzilla to greater indicators of ancient connections in Kong: Skull Island to flat-out underwater civilizations worshiping the Titans in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It stands to reason that Godzilla vs. Kong will also take some really big swings to deepen the monster mythology ... but perhaps not in the way we expect. 

In January 2020, the website Godzilla-Movies reported that its sources had divulged that Mechagodzilla, the legendary robotic kaiju that first appeared in 1974, would be making an appearance in Godzilla vs. Kong. And ever since the first trailer dropped in January 2021, fans have been going crazy over glimpses of what appears to be some sort of robotic monster. The same steely beast reappeared in a teaser released in March 2021, adding fuel to the Mechagodzilla fire.

Deepening the mystery, Collider reported in February 2021 that they'd visited the film set in 2019 and spotted something very unusual. As film critic Matt Goldberg wrote, "We walked on to the set, and there was a gigantic Ghidorah skull that had been wired up and made technological. ... It looks like they had taken the organic matter of Ghidorah and mechanized it into some new kind of mechanized creature." So, will Ghidorah's severed head be repurposed as Mechagodzilla's? Or will we actually get to meet that other robo-beast, Mecha-King Ghidorah? We'll know when Godzilla vs. Kong hits screens on March 31, 2021.