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Shin Ultraman And Shin Godzilla's Shinji Higuchi Won't Be Doing Any Film Crossovers - Exclusive

Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno have seemingly made it a mission to leave their marks on all of the most iconic Japanese science fiction franchises from their childhood. The two filmmakers co-directed "Shin Godzilla," the 2016 hit that returned to Godzilla's darker horror origins while modernizing the allegory to address the Fukushima disaster. 

The similarly stylish but more light-hearted "Shin Ultraman," a reboot of the influential "Ultraman" tokusatsu franchise, is the most financially successful Japanese film of 2022 thus far. Anno is currently working on another tokusatsu reboot, "Shin Kamen Rider," without Higuchi due to the latter director being busy finishing post-production on "Shin Ultraman," but Higuchi did visual designs for a separate "Kamen Rider" project, "Kamen Rider Black Sun."

It was recently announced that "Godzilla," "Ultraman," "Kamen Rider," and Anno's own original anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion" would be receiving crossover merchandise under the name of the "Shin Japan Heroes Universe." While the Western press picked up on this announcement with comparisons to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thus far, there have been no indications these crossovers are every intended to extend beyond merchandise. Looper got the chance to speak with Higuchi at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival and ask him about the possibilities for the Shin Japan Heroes Universe.

Higuchi is happy with one film per character

While there are intertextual references throughout Anno and Higuchi's works, such as composer Shiro Sagisu remixing background music from "Neon Genesis Evangelion" for "Shin Godzilla," and a "Shin Godzilla" title card appearing right at the start of "Shin Ultraman," there is no indication any of them were planned to share a cinematic universe. They all work as standalone stories that wouldn't make sense sharing a canon. They're also owned by different companies, making crossovers even more difficult to pull off. While a non-canonical crossover could potentially be fun, Higuchi is not interested in being involved in one himself.

When asked whether there was any consideration to extend the Shin Japan Heroes Universe beyond merchandise into crossover films, Higuchi answered, "No, we don't have any plans for it. It's all we can do to make one movie for one character right now." Given the work each of these films takes, it's understandable that Higuchi would prefer to always keep moving onto the next new project rather than stay stuck trying to build a cinematic universe.

International release plans for "Shin Ultraman" have yet to be announced.