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Godzilla Vs. Kong Works Around A Decades-Old Godzilla Rule

Few movie characters have had quite as rich and varied of a screen history as Godzilla. Indeed, the king of movie monsters has been brought to life on the screen numerous times in the decades since his original 1954 film debut. The character has been created through various different visual effects techniques over the years and even been used in movies made by different countries.

Right now, Godzilla is enjoying yet another moment in the spotlight with the long-awaited theatrical and HBO Max release of Godzilla vs. Kong this week. The film features the same version of Godzilla that was introduced back in 2014's Godzilla and sees the iconic kaiju facing off against the version of King Kong that was first introduced to audiences in 2017's Kong: Skull Island. However, while the versions of King Kong and Godzilla that appear in the film are specific to their current, respective franchises, they still bear many similarities to previous screen iterations of the characters.

In fact, it turns out that there was one specific, long-standing Godzilla rule that Godzilla vs. Kong had to tackle with its depiction of the iconic film character.

How the Godzilla vs. Kong director tackled a specific Godzilla issue

Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard recently revealed one of the running notes that Toho Studios — the studio responsible for Godzilla — had for him and the rest of the film's creative team. Speaking on the Reelblend podcast, Wingard revealed that Toho was adamant about not wanting Godzilla to emote in the film. According to Wingard, the studio views Godzilla as a "god-like force of nature," so to have him "reacting in a normal way to things" would be "out of character."

As a result of the rule, Wingard revealed that he and the Godzilla vs. Kong creative team had to get "clever" about creating Godzilla's personality and conveying his emotions in the film. Wingard revealed that there are "always ways around" the rule and that he believes "Godzilla is more emotive in this film than he has been in any of the MonsterVerse movies." Wingard says that the team had to "do certain things, and present it to them [Toho] just right," in order to achieve what they wanted, but that Toho ultimately gave them "plenty of leeway." Wingard went on to say that there are a few moments in the film when he thinks Godzilla is "smiling and laughing," but that the character's emotions are still "interpretational" even in those instances.

In other words, it looks like Godzilla vs. Kong did manage to somewhat sidestep Toho's Godzilla rule by giving the character moments where it at least looks like he's reacting in some way. The catch is that those moments are open to viewers' own individual interpretations rather than being explicit.