With Kong rampaging through theaters and the box office this weekend and the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, in active pre-production, Legendary is now turning their eye to what will be the fourth film in their MonsterVerse franchise – Godzilla Vs King Kong. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that producers have opened up a writer’s room for the project and have stocked it with some rather interesting names.
Heading up the room is Terry Rossio, perhaps best known for co-writing with his former writing partner Terry Elliot the original Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy for Disney. Rossio also brings with him some expertise in giant monsters with him having also co-written with Elliot a draft for a US Godzilla remake back in the 1990s with Jan De Bont was scheduled to direct. Unfortunately, that draft was jettisoned after De Bont left to go do Twister and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich came on board. Their resulting film, which starred Matthew Broderick, was not as good as the film promised by the Rossio-Elliot draft.
Also working on hammering out the film’s plot points are Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, co-writers on Star Trek Beyond and the upcoming Star Trek 4, Lindsey Beer, currently at work adapting author Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicles for Lionsgate, Cat Vasko, who is working on the period circus love story Queen Of The Air which has Margot Robbie attached, Maze Runner franchise and Pacific Rim 2 scribe T.S. Nowlin, Jack Paglen, who worked on the upcoming Alien: Covenant, and J Michael Straczynski, creator of the TV series Babylon 5.
While all these names seem like good choices with solid experience in genre films to have participating in this conversation, the one that excites me the most is Straczynski’s. I am a long fan of Babylon 5 and consider it one of the finest achievements not only in genre storytelling on television but outside of its genre categorization as well. Additionally, his rejected drafts adapting Max Brooks zombie novel World War Z hewed much closer to the spirit and tone of the source material than the final film did. Additionally, Straczynski has credits on a number of varied genre offerings from the first of Marvel’s Thor films to Underworld: Awakening his collaboration with the Wachowskis on the Nextflix series Sense8.
As interconnected franchise films become more of a standard for studios, it is interesting to see that they are adapting the television model of the writer room. Paramount has already done this with both their Transformers franchise and the series of movies they hope to make based on a number of other toy properties from Hasbro. Universal also had a writers room dedicated to plotting out the story arc that will run through their own Monsters franchise that kicks off with this summer’s The Mummy.
As is becoming the standard for these writers room, after everyone helps to hammer out the story beats for Godzilla Vs King Kong, one writer will be selected to work on the actual screenplay draft.
Currently, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is set for a March 22, 2019 release with Krampus director Michael Dougherty helming and also co-writing the screenplay with Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island scribe Max Borenstein. Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown are set to star.
Godzilla Vs King Kong is set for release on May 29, 2020.