The studio responsible for creating Godzilla is planning to build a new shared cinematic universe around the monster. Toho will reportedly not be shooting a sequel to their smash-hit Shin Godzilla (also known as Godzilla Resurgence in the US), but following 2020’s release of Godzilla vs. Kong, they hope to place the King of the Monsters and his fellow Kaiju in a whole new world of possibilities.
Toho is the Japanese film and theater company that was founded in the 1930’s, being most famous for distributing Godzilla and the many Kaiju movies that have been made. The original film was released in 1954 and was famously a metaphor for weapons of mass destruction. Since then the huge lizard has appeared in 29 films produced by the company, as well as other iconic creations like Rodan and Mothra. The studio entered into an agreement with Legendary Pictures which led to Gareth Edward’s successful 2014 version of Godzilla. It also led to the birth of the Monsterverse, which included Kong: Skull Island. This laid the groundwork for the much-anticipated forthcoming sequels Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong, which will include King Ghidorah and other Toho monsters in conflict.
The last Toho monster film was Shin Godzilla. Released in Japan in 2016, it became the highest-grossing live-action Japanese film of that year, but the sequel was held back because of the US Monsterverse deal. However, after 2021 the studio will once again be able to film their own versions of the iconic creatures. According to the Japanese publication Nikkei Style (via Godzilla-Movies), they have some big plans for their creations. Toho executive Keiji Ota stated that the studio will be releasing a new Godzilla movie every 1-2 years. Not only that, but they’re basing their new films on the MCU, as he says;
“The future of the series and its forwarding developments are very conscious of the method of “shared universe”. Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, etc. could all share a single world view much like a Marvel movie where Iron Man and the Hulk can crossover with each other. It is said that each movie can be a possible film production where any one of them could lead a film of their own as the titular character.”
Unfortunately for fans of Shin Godzilla, it seems that particular story and origin will be a one-off. Ota indicated that any idea for a sequel was now defunct, saying that “instead of thinking of doing the obvious idea of making a Shin Godzilla 2, instead think about a world that can be used for a long time”. While Ota is citing the MCU as an influence, it also seems probable that Toho may be returning to the good old days of the films that had Godzilla regularly crossing claws with other outrageous creatures – or saw them living on ‘Monster Island’ and trashing cities together – an idea really not hugely different to how the company’s upcoming shared universe is being described.
Obviously 2021 is some kind of cut-off point for the US Monsterverse, and nobody yet knows the fate of that franchise after Godzilla vs. Kong. It certainly looks like there will be no end to the Godzilla movies from Japan at least, and hopefully Toho will seek out and obtain wide stateside distribution for each entry, so that western audiences can also go along for the ride with this new universe centered on the big G.