Is It Time for Godzilla Jr to Join the MonsterVerse?

    The next Godzilla and Kong Monsterverse movie needs Godzilla Jr. involved to give the Atomic Monsters better dramatic stakes.

    The Monsterverse is breakout hit for Warner Bros. Pictures – despite the common criticisms that come with each installment of the franchise. At the time of writing this, the latest installment, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has earned $380 million at the worldwide box office ater two weeks in theaters. It’s also been announced that the Monsterverse TV spinoff Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is getting renewed for Season 2, with additional spinoff shows in the works. 

    While the Monsterverse franchise is currently in “good condition” heading into its next phase, it’s not free of criticism – and some of them are perfectly valid.

    One of the biggest challenges facing the Monsterverse right now is how bring more balance (in terms of screen time and “character” to the version of Godzilla we get in this franchise. Ever since his solo films (Godzilla (2014), Godzilla: King of the Monsters) gave way to the crossover events with King Kong, Godzilla has been noticeably marginalized; The New Empire is calculated to have ten minutes or less in terms of screen time for the Atomic Kaiju – and that needs to change! 

    It’s understandable why Godzilla/Kong movies have been leaning more on Kong: the giant Ape can convey a more “human” persona and intelligence, while his interactions with human characters create a dynamic that helps both connect viewers with Kong and make (some) human characters relevant to the story. On the other hand: Godzilla is a force of nature who does not have (or does not care to indulge in) social interactions with humans. Even at his best (Godzilla: Minus One) the King of the Monsters is more a metaphor for destruction, fear, and trauma than he is a “character,” per se. 

    Godzilla vs Kong and Godzilla x Kong director Adam Wingard has said he wants to put Godzilla back in the spotlight in the next installment ( “I think that the next movie will be the Godzilla version of what we did with this movie, kind of pushing deeper into his story… I would want to hit that kind of emotional resonance with Godzilla as a character this time”), but how to do that? 

    Well, one good way would be to finally expose Monsterverse audiences to something Godzilla actually cares about – besides retaining his crown. 

    The Monsterverse Needs Godzilla Jr. 

    (Photo: Warner Bros. / Toho)

    Indeed, Godzilla is that John Wick-style action hero whose reputation precedes him and whose emotional backstory is never really all that necessary to make his films work. But, in the long line of Toho Kaiju films we have seen softer sides of Godzilla – especially when it comes to being a parent! 

    Godzilla x Kong gained a fan-favorite knew dynamic when Kong met his ‘Diddy Kong,” in Suko, a young giant ape from Skar King’s subterranean tribe. Kong’s ‘daddy era’ shenanigans with Suko were charming: giving Godzilla his own young ward would not only help create more compelling story for the giant lizard – it would also create a daddy-dynamic between Godzlla, Kong, and their “kids” that would be an event-level first for Kaiju movies – and equal parts hilarious and harrowing for fans. 

    Who Is Godzilla Jr.? – Also known as “Baby Godzilla” then “Little Godzilla”, the offspring of Godzilla (or his species) started appearing in Toho Godzilla movies in the mid-1990s. He was featured in a trilogy of films (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah) which tracked how Godzilla finds the young hatchling, lives with him, and fights beside him. In the battle with Destoroyah, Godzilla is fatally injured, and Jr. is killed; however, Godzilla Sr. gives his remaining radioactive life essence to revive his “son,” transforming Godzilla Jr. in a full-fleged successor for his “father.” 

    Adam Wingard has already hinted he has eyes on Godzilla vs. Destoroyah as inspiration for the next installment of the Monsterverse movies. Based on those comments, and his pronounced desire to bring more of an emotional arc to Godzilla, it seems like Godzilla fostering his own legacy with Jr. is the way to go. Toho has been meticulous about what WB can and can’t do with Godzilla – and having a successor for him may be the only way to truly give Godzilla a big dramatic final act that has big stakes and emotion – kind of like Minus One. 

    Godzilla Jr. can not only get us there – he can carry the future of the franchise thereafter. 

    Godzilla x Kong is in theaters. The other Monsterverse content is streaming on Max (films) or Apple TV (Monarch TV series). 

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