Late last year, Toho Studios announced that they would be making a new Godzilla film, following the success of the American-produced summer blockbuster released just a few months previously. Outside of the fact that Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Attack On Titan) will be co-directing the project with Anno providing the screenplay, there has been no real news on the film.
Now, though, one of the leading experts on the Godzilla franchise, August Ragone, is reporting that Anno and Higuchi could possibly be taking Godzilla back to his roots and making him a more frightening screen presence than he has been in decades.
[T]his is the information coming out of our sources connected to the production. If all of this news pans out to be true, we could be in for something not only fresh and original, but also truly scary; which as imposing and impressive the recent Godzilla designs have been, they all lacked the fear that the original invoked. According to one of the people close to the production, who wanted to remain anonymous, “(This new) Godzilla is based on the original (1954 version), but is going to be… frightening.”
Ragone states that according to his source illustrator Mahiro Maeda is the one behind the new design. Maeda’s credits stretch all the way back to 1982 and Super Dimension Fortress Macross and includes designing the monsters for director Shusuke Kaneko’s mid-1990s Gamera trilogy. He also served as an animator on a number of films from Hayao Miyazaki including Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984), Laputa, Castle In The Sky (1986) and Porco Rosso (1992).
Maeda’s designs are reportedly being brought into three-dimensions by designer and sculptor Takayuki Takeya, who has previously collaborated with co-director Higuchi on his two-film epic Attack On Titan and Attack On Titan: End Of The World (2015).
If this pans out, and if Ragone trusts his source that’s good enough for me, then this is pretty exciting news. While the last cycle of Godzilla films produced by Toho featured some nice designs for the Big G, as well as far more sophisticated storytelling than many of the films produced in the 1970s at the series’ nadir, for sheer terror, the series never equaled, let alone surpassed, its first entry, 1954’s Gojira. Hopefully, Anno and Higuchi will be bringing a similar weighty thematic resonance as well.
It appears that filming could be commencing soon, with Ragone noting a call for extras being needed for a production that will be shooting in September. I would suspect that we will hear more as that date draws nearer.