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Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More

We break down what it's about, where it takes place, who's in it, and what we might see... if we're lucky.

by | February 29, 2024 | Comments

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It’s all coming up Titans. Legendary’s Monsterverse is a surprisingly successful take on the Toho kaiju creations of Japan. And Godzilla is seemingly more popular than ever before with a well-received TV show (Monarch: Legacy of Monsters) and Godzilla Minus One – Toho’s own addition to its mainline Godzilla series. But for Legendary, moving the Monsterverse forward is a priority, and the latest installment is the upcoming Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

But where do you go after Godzilla vs. Kong? Are the pair finally allies? Will Kong leave his throne in the Hollow Earth long enough for a good fight? Will Toho’s Space Godzilla make an unlikely appearance? And what does it mean for this cinematic universe to continue when it changes out cast and characters on the regular? Let’s take a look at everything we know about the film to see if we can’t determine a surprise cameo and how the world might continue to expand.

The New Story

GODZILLA and KONG in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE (2024)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Godzilla vs. Kong ended with Kong settling in the Hollow Earth, the long-fabled realm in the center of the Earth that Monarch has been searching for since the 1950s (as revealed in Legacy of Monsters). The group also set up research facilities there to monitor Kong and learn more about his new kingdom, which was previously ruled by his ancestors. Godzilla, meanwhile, returned to the sea after he and Kong defeated a Mechagodzilla powered by one of King Ghidorah’s severed heads.

According to Legendary and Warner Bros., Godzilla x Kong will see the pair reunite as a new threat emerges from somewhere within the Earth to imperil the Titans and all of humanity. It will be up to the duo (and a handful of human characters) to stop this new antagonist force – be it a new Titan, a mysterious signal, or a group of antagonistic giant apes. Additionally, more of the origins of the Hollow Earth, the Great Apes, and the Titans themselves will be revealed.

Image from Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Going by the trailer, the Iwi who originally migrated to the Hollow Earth, and then Skull Island, may be involved. The preview seemingly offers a glimpse into their more advanced civilization deep underground, suggesting not all of their tribe were wiped out by Camazotz (as revealed in Godzilla vs. Kong). Or, perhaps, it is all a flashback to highlight how and why the Iwi allied with Kong’s species.

The possibility of greater clarity regarding the Hollow Earth might be the most compelling element of Monsterverse world-building, considering the effort expended across four films and a television series to tie Skull Island, the Hollow Earth, and Toho’s Kaiju characters together. A concrete answer at this point would be welcome. Also, the lore has avoided the extraterrestrial origins of some of the monsters (other than Ghidorah). Will this be the film to really add an alien component to the story, or will it stick with its Edgar Rice Burroughs-inspired concepts?

Oh, and just for flavor, the most recent trailer makes it clear that Kong has a power glove.

The New (Old) Setting

The Hollow Earth from Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Like a few other cinematic universes, the Monsterverse has a pretty expansive setting: the Earth and its hollow realm at the center. That means action can take place anywhere, from San Francisco to Tokyo, or from Skull Island to Hong Kong – although we imagine the latter will still be rebuilding after the Titan fight in Godzilla vs. Kong. One location teased in a film poster is Buenos Aires, bringing the monster mayhem to South America. The trailer also prominently features the Giza pyramids and an arctic environment as the the new threat makes its way to the surface, but it is unclear if these are just cutaways to denote the scale of the problem (a la Independence Day) or featured locations.

And if the Hollow Earth’s origins truly matter to the plot, we may spend a lot of time there learning the why of it all. Also, since we’re always hoping for a little bit of the Showa Era wackiness, we wouldn’t mind a visit to Planet X. Granted, the aliens from that planet would need to be radically redesigned for the Monsterverse aesthetic.

The New (And Returning) Cast

DAN STEVENS as Trapper, REBECCA HALL as Dr. Ilene Andrews and KAYLEE HOTTLE as Jia in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE (2024)

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/©Warner Bros.)

Traditionally, there is very little continuity between casts from Godzilla film to Godzilla film, but the Monsterverse works a little bit differently. As evidence: the cast of Godzilla x Kong features a few prominent returning characters surrounded by a new cast.

Rebecca Hall reprises her role as Dr. Ilene Andrews, whom she played in Godzilla vs. Kong. As a Kong expert who adopted a surviving Skull Island inhabitant, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), she has a vested interest in making sure Kong remains secure in the Hollow Earth. Hottle also returns as Jia, who has a special bond with Kong, as does Brian Tyree Henry as Titan conspiracy podcaster Bernie Hayes – although, we imagine his public image has changed since he turned out to be right about everything.

Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/©Warner Bros.)

Joining them are new cast members Dan Stevens, Alex Ferns, Fala Chen, and Rachel House. Stevens plays a character named Trapper. Based on the trailers, he’s the latest visitor to Skull Island and possibly a Monarch pilot familiar with the journey to the Hollow Earth. It is unclear if he’s another Monarch agent or another unwitting civilian drawn into the Titans’ path. The character is also said to be the lead of the film, although the trailer centers Hall’s Dr. Andrews. Ferns, Chen, and Houses’s characters, meanwhile, are undisclosed.

Curiously absent are Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell, Monarch’s deputy director of special projects, and Millie Bobby Brown as his daughter Madison, who helped uncover the Mechagodzilla scheme last time, as well as other various other Monarch characters. It is always possible they may appear in cameos or, at least, end up handwaved in a line of dialogue to explain their departures from the series.

The Established Creators 

Director Adam Wingard and stars Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall filming on location for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

(Photo by Daniel McFadden/©Warner Bros.)

Godzilla x Kong represents a new status quo for the Monsterverse: a consistent director. While the previous films in the cycle were directed by, in order, Gareth Edwards (the 2014 Godzilla), Michael Dougherty (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), and Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island), both Godzilla vs. Kong and the new film are helmed by Adam Wingard of You’re Next fame. Although he admitted the films were always leading up to the title bout between the two monsters, he told the press after the release of Godzilla vs. Kong that he had some ideas where to go next.

The ideas were then crafted into a screenplay by Terry Rossio (returns from Godzilla vs. Kong), Jeremy Slater, and Simon Barrett, while Rossio, Wingard, and Barrett share a story credit. Additional crew include director of photography Ben Seresin, production designer Tom Hammock, editor Josh Schaeffer, and composer Tom Holkenborg (as Junkie XL), all of whom return from the previous entry in the series. Joining them is costume designer Emily Seresin of 2020’s The Invisible Man. Filming took place in 2022.

The New Premiere Date

Godzilla in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Like many other Warner Bros. Pictures films, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has slid up and down the release calendar, although it always occupied a spot in the spring 2024 window. The film is expected to launch in the US on March 29, 2024, and it debuts in Japan on April 26.

After that, though, it is unclear what happens next for the Monsterverse. Rumors of a Son of Kong film sparked in the immediate wake of Godzilla vs. Kong, but these never came to pass – although a child of Kong’s species is glimpsed in the new film’s trailer. Nevertheless, the original Son of Kong, the sequel to 1933’s King Kong, saw the destruction of Skull Island, a plot point that could pop up in the Monsterverse at any moment. Then again, there’s always the alien angle ignored since King of the Monsters. Aliens have featured prominently in various Godzilla cycles (see: Godzilla: Final Wars for a more recent example), but it has yet to truly happen in the Monsterverse. Of course, Godzilla x Kong may yet pick that thread up. Like so much surrounding Godzilla and Kong, it remains to be seen.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024) opens in theaters on March 29, 2024.

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