|“||Their reign begins.||„|
|“||Long live the king.||„|
— Alternate tagline seen on a S.D.C.C exclusive poster.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a 2019 American science fiction monster film produced by Legendary Pictures. It's the third entry in the MonsterVerse, following the 2017 MonsterVerse film, Kong: Skull Island, and the sequel to the 2014 MonsterVerse film, Godzilla.
The film is directed by Michael Dougherty, produced by Thomas Tull, Brian Rogers, Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia, and written by Max Borenstein, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields. The film continues where the 2014 film left off, and introduces Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah to the MonsterVerse.
This new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed monster King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's existence hanging in the balance.
In 2014, Dr. Emma Russell, her husband Dr. Mark Russell and their daughter Madison are in the ruins of San Francisco looking for their son, Andrew, but he is nowhere to be seen. Then they hear a loud growling noise, look towards the source and see the mighty Godzilla walking towards the ocean. Five years later, Emma continues her work for the cryptozoological organization known as Monarch to track down and study the Titans, giant God-like monsters that once dominated the earth. They travel to an excavation site in China, where they witness the birth of a giant larva moth named Mothra. Madison grows attached to Mothra while Emma calms the creature using the "ORCA", a sonar device that is capable of emitting frequencies that only Mothra and other Titans can hear. Mothra becomes docile, until an eco-terrorist group, led by former British Army colonel Alan Jonah, raid the site, kidnapping both Emma and Madison. Mothra manages to escape and cocoon herself underneath a waterfall miles away from the site.
Meanwhile, Monarch's scientists and soldiers led by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and his assistant Dr. Vivienne Graham ask Mark to help them rescue Emma and Madison. Though Mark is bitter about working with Monarch since his son's death during Godzilla's battle with the MUTOs, he reluctantly joins the team.
Monarch and Godzilla travel to Antarctica where the team realizes Jonah's intentions to free a Titan encased in the ice called "Monster Zero", believed by Monarch based on their limited data to be a rival apex predator to Godzilla. Once there, Jonah's team ambushes the Monarch soldiers. Mark finds Emma and Madison but Madison refuses to leave with him, and Emma frees and awakens the Titan herself before leaving with Jonah's men. Monster Zero begins rampaging until Godzilla emerges through the ice. The two Titans fight, and Graham is killed in the mayhem. Godzilla drives Monster Zero off, and he flies away, leaving the Monarch team to regroup.
Monarch finds out that Jonah's next target is Isla de Mara, Mexico. They are contacted by Emma, who reveals that she's been working with Jonah all along and she intends to free the Titans to cull the human population and restore balance to the world. Unable to reason with her, Monarch focuses on evacuating the city but before the evacuation is complete, Jonah orders Emma to use the ORCA to wake up Rodan, a Pteranodon-like Titan. After Rodan escapes from his containment chamber, the Monarch team uses their air squadron to lure Rodan to fight the approaching Monster Zero, who quickly defeats Rodan.
After Rodan is beaten, Monster Zero targets the Monarch warjet, but Godzilla emerges from the ocean and engages Monster Zero, successfully tearing off one of his heads. During the battle, the military launches a missile known as the Oxygen Destroyer towards them, seemingly killing Godzilla, who sinks into the ocean. Monster Zero survives the missile unscathed and regenerates his missing head, and a recovered Rodan acknowledges the new alpha. Monster Zero lets loose a roar which awakens all the dormant Titans and furthermore directs them to actively attack human cities, leading to mass destruction in their wake. Horrified of what her mother had caused as she believes restoring the natural order had been a lie all along after observing the Titans wreaking havoc, Madison disowns Emma for her role in the destruction and countless deaths caused by the Titans since she originally wanted her mother's plan to gradually release them one at a time and restore balance to the world as Emma told her earlier they were doing it in Andrew's memory in which then Madison asks Emma if he would approve of what they've done. In the wake of the apocalypse, Monarch contemplate Monster Zero's numerous unnatural characteristics, and Dr. Chen pieces together from mythological texts that Monster Zero, named Ghidorah by the ancients, is actually an alien invader whose goal is reshaping the Earth to his own liking instead of healing the ecosphere.
Meanwhile, Mothra emerges from her cocoon underneath the waterfall and flies to a facility in the Bermuda Triangle where it can communicate with Godzilla, who had survived the detonation and is recuperating underwater. Monarch uses the communication frequency to locate Godzilla. Deciding to use a nuclear warhead to revitalize Godzilla, Mark, Serizawa, and a Monarch team board a submarine. A vortex pulls the submarine into an undersea tunnel that leads to Godzilla's home: an underwater city irradiated enough to recharge him. Unfortunately, the team realizes the natural process could take years to recharge Godzilla. Ultimately, the team decides to detonate the nuclear weapon, but due to earlier damages the submarine suffered from a vortex, the weapon system is offline. Serizawa volunteers to manually detonate the weapon, and travels into the air pocket Godzilla is resting in. He can say farewell to the Titan before the warhead detonates. The detonation revives Godzilla and increases his power, making him stronger than before.
In Boston, Massachusetts, Emma realizes that the destruction Ghidorah and the other Titans will bring is far worse than what humans could inflict, but Jonah refuses to back down. Madison overhears this, steals the ORCA, and escapes, intending to carry out her mother's idea of stopping Ghidorah. Traveling to Fenway Park, Madison broadcasts a frequency that attracts all the Titans to its location.
Ghidorah arrives at Boston in an attempt to destroy the ORCA. Madison sacrifices the device but is still targeted by Ghidorah. Before he can kill her, Godzilla appears with Monarch's assistance to engage it. The Monarch team learns that the warhead's radiation overcharged Godzilla: while it made him stronger, he will overload and emit a thermonuclear explosion. Mark leads a Monarch team to rescue Madison and escape the city before Godzilla overloads. Mothra arrives to support Godzilla but Rodan arrives in defense of Ghidorah and fights her, preventing either from helping their respective alphas. Mothra defeats Rodan, but Godzilla is injured and overpowered. A badly injured Mothra sacrifices herself to shield Godzilla from Ghidorah; she is disintegrated by Ghidorah's lightning, but her ashes rain down onto Godzilla and transfer her energy to him.
Mark, Emma, and Madison are reunited and repair the damaged ORCA to lure Ghidorah away from Godzilla. As they are evacuated, Emma drives away with the ORCA to continue luring Ghidorah so Mark and Madison can escape, sacrificing herself in the process. Godzilla recovers and unleashes thermonuclear blasts, bombarding Ghidorah with atomic pulses that destroy him for good. Rodan and the other Titans then converge on Godzilla, bowing to him as their new "King of the Monsters".
As the film ends, it is revealed that Monarch has divulged its information on the Titans to the public. News clippings show a newly discovered Mothra egg, Titans beginning to converge on Skull Island, a mysterious forest blooming at the Sahara Desert, 14 animals have been removed from the endangered species list, Titan waste is believed to be viable energy source, and ancient paintings displaying Godzilla battling Kong.
In a post-credits scene, a fisherman reveals one of Ghidorah's decapitated heads to Jonah, restarting his eco-terrorism plot.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Michael Dougherty
- Screenplay by Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields
- Story by Max Borenstein, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields
- Produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Brian Rogers, Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia
- Executive Producers Zach Shields, Barry H. Waldman, Hiro Matsuoka, Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Yoshimitsu Banno (posthumously), and Kenji Okuhira
- Casting by Sarah Halley Finn
- Music by Bear McCreary
- Director of Photography Lawrence Sher
- Film Editors Roger Barton, Richard Pearson, and Bob Duscay
- Production Designer Scott Chambliss
- Special Effects Supervisor Guillaume Rocheron
- Costume Designer Louise Mingenbach
- Art Department
- Sound Designer Erik Aadahl
- Motion Capture Consultants
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Gareth Edwards stated that he wanted Godzilla to work as a standalone film with a definitive ending, and opposed suggestions that the ending should leave the film open for a sequel. While Edwards wasn't against the possibility of future sequels, his main concern was delivering a satisfying experience with the current film; "I want a story that begins and ends, and you leave on a high. That's all we cared about when we were making this; just this film. If this film is good, the others can come, but let’s just pay attention to this and not get sidetracked by other things."
On May 18, after Godzilla's successful opening weekend, a sequel was officially given the green light from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. Edwards was confirmed to be directing the sequel but it was unknown if any of the previous cast would be returning. In a previous interview with Gareth Edwards, he said that if the film were to have a sequel that he would like to do a Destroy All Monsters-like film.
A piece of "Classified Monarch Footage," a teaser for Godzilla 2, was shown at Comic-Con 2014. According to eye-witnesses, it looked like it was put together in the 1960s, with audio of John F. Kennedy talking about threats and dangers. Text comes on the screen saying that there was one more secret: "There were others." A pterosaur-like shadow and "CODENAME: RODAN." An extreme close-up of a giant moth creature and "CODENAME: MOTHRA." Then a silhouette and quick cuts around a dragon-like shape figure and "CODENAME: GHIDORAH." Finally, "THREAT ASSESSMENT: CONFLICT INEVITABLE," followed by "LET THEM FIGHT.
On Thursday, August 14, a release date of June 8, 2018, was set for Godzilla 2. The four-year gap between Godzilla and Godzilla 2 was due in part to Gareth Edwards directing the film Star Wars: Rogue One and as a result being unavailable to begin work on Godzilla 2 until 2016.
On December 8, Toho announced production of a new Japanese Godzilla film for 2016. Then, on August 18, 2016, Toho announced the production of another Japanese Godzilla film for 2017. Despite being released between Legendary's Godzilla films, the new films, Shin Godzilla and the 2017 anime trilogy will not be connected to Legendary's series, being a part of their own series, and will not affect the production of Godzilla 2.
On July 9, Legendary Pictures' spokesperson at Comic-Con, Barnaby Legg, told Dread Central that Legendary was aware of fans' complaints about Godzilla's lack of screentime in the 2014 film and that the sequel would give fans "exactly what you're hoping for."
In an interview with Collider conducted in early August 2015, writer Max Borenstein revealed that he is currently writing the script for the film, and promised that the sequel would do "bigger and even better things" than the first film. Borenstein also expressed his excitement for the film, and enthusiasm for working with Gareth Edwards once again.
On October 14, Legendary Pictures officially announced the production of a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla titled Godzilla vs. Kong set for release in 2020. The film will follow both Godzilla 2 and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island.
On May 10, an article revealed that the release dates of both Godzilla 2 and Godzilla vs. Kong had been changed to March 22, 2019, and May 29, 2020, respectively. Only three days later, it was reported that Gareth Edwards had left the film to pursue other projects.
On October 20, after a few months after the loss of Gareth Edwards, an article revealed that Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields (the writers of Krampus) would be writing the script for Godzilla 2.
On December 14, the official title of the film was revealed. The film's title was announced to be Godzilla: King of the Monsters, however, it is not related to the 1956 film bearing a similar title. 
On January 8, it was reported that Godzilla: King of the Monsters will film in Atlanta, Georgia as well. On January 17, 2017, it was reported that Thomas Tull (who founded Legendary Entertainment) resigned from the company but will remain as producer for Legendary's Godzilla and King Kong film series, which was revealed to be officially titled "MonsterVerse". On January 23, 2017, Michael Dougherty was officially confirmed as the director for the sequel.
On May 26, Randell Havens had joined the cast of the film.
On May 31, Thomas Middleditch had joined the cast of the film.
On June 2, director Michael Dougherty tweeted out that Godzilla "is evolution in the flesh" in response to a user asking if the classic monster would receive a redesign for the sequel. That same day, it was reported that Bradley Whitford had joined the cast of the film.
On June 8, Zhang Ziyi is cast in a significant role within the covert Monarch organization established in Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, and she’ll no doubt appear in future entries in this cinematic universe.
On June 18, Collider engaged in an interview with Sally Hawkins about returning for the sequel. Hawkins expressed how it was nice to be asked back to play a part in the film, and spoke on how Dougherty seems smart and excited about the film. She also spoke on how she didn't know if she'd make the final cut for the film.
June 19 marked the date of the beginning of principal photography. With that came a press release for the film which provided a new synopsis for the film, as well as an updated cast list, which officially confirms Ken Watanabe's presence in the film. Principle photography is to take place primarily in Atlanta, Georgia.
It was also on this day that the film's working title of Fathom was revealed, as per director Michael Dougherty's Twitter.
On June 26, the director released a call sheet for the film on his Twitter account, revealing the names and statuses of the various kaiju. Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and Rodan are listed with an "R", referring to "rehearsal", meaning the monster will be working on the set, but not filmed in this case. Mothra is listed with an "SW", referring to "start work", which means it's the character's first day of work.
On July 3, some images from the film's production were leaked onto the internet. According to bystanders of the shoot, there were sound effects for the monsters playing, and overturned cars and flames were present as well. The shoot occurred in and around Inman Village Parkway in Atlanta.
July 8 provided more leaked images of the film's production. In this case, however, a temple set was revealed and photographed. A video was posted as well, however, it was blocked shortly after by Warner Bros. Entertainment on the grounds of copyright infringement.
On July 28, a teasing image of the set for King of the Monsters was shared on Instagram by Thomas Middleditch.
A casting call for the film went out on July 30. The call requested extras that could act as military members, scientists, mercenaries, and janitors for shoots that will begin in August.
On August 11, Thomas Middleditch was photographed on the set of King of the Monsters.
On the 13th, it was noted that King of the Monsters may have potentially been shooting in Atlanta City Hall, following reports of a film crew barricading the downtown area off shortly after signs for Fathom were seen.
Additionally, a casting call for the film went out for the same date. The shoot was to recreate Japan, with the set-piece itself being a noodle shop. The casting call itself called for Japanese individuals. Wardrobe fitting was to be on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, with filming commencing on the 13th. A tweet from Atlanta Filming on Twitter was vague, but also confirmed the shoot.
August 14 began with a chilling tweet by director Dougherty, who tweeted an image of the famous Oxygen Destroyer. Later, it was implied that the Oxygen Destroyer would either make a cameo in the film or could be a potential plot device, as per an article by Ain't it Cool News. Neither was explicitly confirmed. It was later confirmed by Dougherty that the Oxygen Destroyer will indeed appear in the movie as an integral plot device, rather than as a mere cameo.
On August 15, an announcement for a three day shoot in Mexico was confirmed in a presentation.
August 17 began with some prep for shoots in Mexico City, beginning on the 19th, or Saturday, and ending on the 22nd, or Tuesday. Props seen included that of an aircraft's hangar bay. Fans of the franchise were spotted sporting figures of the 2014 incarnation of the monster, taking shots of, and standing by the sets. Around 700 extras were utilized for the shoots around this region.
One shoot was described as "terror and screams" in the historical center of Mexico City, where extras were seen running, amidst smoke and screams.
Another shoot on the 20th had an estimated 700 extras seemingly running from a monster in Plaza de Santo Domingo.
An interesting few photos were taken of groups of civilians pointing and looking up at something unknown.
Some videos of the Mexico shoot were also taken. One video includes a large crowd running in terror, and then standing in awe as a crew member improvises the roar of one of the film's monsters. Another has military members and civilians running into the cargo bay of an unknown, docked aircraft.
Alongside the news and reveals of the Mexico shoot, a bid for a visit to the Godzilla set was announced. Winners of the bid would be able to meet Kyle Chandler and get an exclusive behind the scenes visit of the set for the film in September. Dates for the visit ranged from the period of the 11th to the 19th. Winners would be able to take a photo, bring something small to sign, and as the event was valid for two people, would be able to bring someone with them.
Money given to the bid was donated to the World War II Foundation, and the estimated value of the event was put at $5,000. The bid ended on August 31.
In an interesting twist, a casting call released on September 15 called for two Korean twins who will take part in a "very featured role". It was also noted that said casting would be done for the film's final week of filming, sometime around the end of September.
On September 18, another casting call went out for the film. It called for photo doubles, military, and medical members, and pilots, among other potential roles.
On September 22, director Michael Dougherty tweeted out the first official image of Godzilla on his Twitter. The image was a low-resolution reference for an actor to view whilst sitting in the nearby vehicle prop seen in the same image.
On September 26, Michael Dougherty tweeted once more. The tweet said nothing but "Last day", essentially confirming principal photography ended on the date.
Legendary posted a congratulatory message on their official Facebook page following Dougherty's tweet, alongside an image of the Fathom clapperboard.
|“||In the last scene between Godzilla and King Ghidorah, I promise you, you will never forget it, in your life... as a nerd, I am foaming at the mouth to get like in the editing room... Godzilla will be the number 1 movie.||„|
— O'Shea Jackson Jr.
He would then go on about the conflict, stating:
|“||The way that him [Godzilla] and Ghidorah fight... man... Kong better bring some shit.||„|
— O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Following this news, on the 7th, early reactions to the film implied similarities between it and 2017's Kong: Skull Island, noting that the monster fights were epic, while human characterization took a backseat. Overall, it was compared more to Skull Island than to its 2014 predecessor. According to a Redditor known as Preskomesko12345, 40 minutes of the film with unfinished effects were shown. Answering questions about the footage from other Redditors, Preskomesko12345 mentions several points: Godzilla's design change appeared to be only slight with some red being visible on his skin, Godzilla and the other monsters have a lot of screentime, the detail in the colors and fur on Mothra's wings were standouts, the return of Mothra's pollen dust, the film has more action, it's more colorful and feels more fun than the original, and that it ties into Skull Island.
On the same day, a leaked CGI design of King Ghidorah was reportedly accidentally shown to the public in a montage video released by Amalgamated Dynamics, the studio responsible for the 2014 Godzilla's visual effects. This was confirmed to be false by the studio and director Mike Dougherty.
On April 26, it was announced that Jason Liles, who starred in Rampage would be joining the cast of King of the Monsters for motion capture purposes regarding Godzilla's arch-nemesis, King Ghidorah. He will be one of several actors mo-capping the monster. It was later clarified that Jason will portray Ghidorah's middle head, with Alan Maxson playing the right, and Richard Dorton portraying the left, while unnamed colleagues play the monster's body.
On May 18, a vague tweet was posted by director Mike Dougherty, who posted an image of a snake with a boom mic set up nearby. The tweet simply reads "Just another day at the office."
On the 22nd, Mike posted a new tweet, reading "Today’s weather." The image alongside the tweet has a large hurricane present on thermal imaging, with the bold text "Monster Zero" above it.
News of another shift in release dates came on May 23rd, which saw King of the Monsters shift from a March 22nd release, to May 31st.
In late May, the Licensing Expo 2018 event occurring in Las Vegas possessed some new stills for King of the Monsters, including a silhouette of Godzilla and a brighter version of King Ghidorah's silhouette.
On July 5, Michael Dougherty confirmed that the film's first teaser will head to Hall H at SDCC 2018.
On July 10, Vera Farmiga revealed new information about her character, Dr. Emma Russell, in an interview.
|“||She has figured out a way to communicate with the creatures and potentially control them using their bioacoustics on a sonar level. So she is like a DJ for the monsters...I play a paleobiologist.||„|
— Vera Farmiga
On July 12, the first two new official images of the film were revealed by Entertainment Weekly in a first look article. One notably depicts Godzilla firing his atomic breath into the sky.
July 18 featured a slew of new information with regards to the upcoming sequel. A Twitter, official, and tie-in site were properly launched. The film's logo was officially unveiled, alongside its tagline, the former being blue, over the 2014 film's red, with the tagline being "Their reign begins". Additionally, a 40-second snippet of the film was shown, with Millie Bobby Brown's character, Madison Russell, calling for Monarch over a radio. Just then, a roar of an unidentified monster can be heard.
Three days later, on the 21st, the first trailer for King of the Monsters dropped at San Diego Comic-Con. The trailer revealed the film's basic premise and teased all three new monster designs. Additionally, it was announced that Bear McCreary would score the film and use the classic Godzilla theme by Akira Ifukube.
Additionally, in an interview with IGN at Comic-Con, Michael Dougherty confirmed that there will be more than four monsters in the movie.
On September 6, a listing appeared on Amazon for an official prequel graphic novel to be released on April 16, 2019. It will be illustrated by Drew Johnson and written by Arvid Nelson, who previously wrote all four issues of Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, the prequel/sequel graphic novel series to Kong: Skull Island.
On September 18, Ken Watanabe revealed a theme that the film will focus on:
|“||It’s different because in ‘Godzilla: King Of The Monsters,’ the scientists play a central role, so rather than a story about how humans fight with the monsters, it is about how humans can coexist with them.||„|
On November 16, Michael Dougherty announced on Twitter that post-production on the film had wrapped.
|“||It is done. With love and gratitude to the thousands of talented people all around the world who helped make this lifelong dream a reality. In Godzilla we trust.||„|
— Michael Dougherty
On December 1, with Tokyo Comic-Con underway, a teaser reveal for the film took place, as did a reveal of the film's trio of new kaiju, and the redesigned Godzilla. It was also revealed that a trailer for the film would be released the following week.
The second trailer for King of the Monsters dropped on the 10th, alongside a new poster for the film, which showcased Godzilla's enormous size in comparison to the film's child protagonist, Madison Russell.
On March 21, new plot details were revealed by IGN, which reportedly features a terrorist organization searching for the "ORCA", a device that's used to speak with the Titans.
On April 25, two tracks from the soundtrack were released by WaterTower Music; both orchestrated by McCreary, "Old Rivals" and a cover of Blue Öyster Cult's Godzilla with vocals performed by Serj Tankian and members of Dethklok contributing. It was also revealed that McCreary incorporated Yuji Koseki’s Mothra Song into the film.
On May 31, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released in theaters.
- The first Godzilla film, either by Toho or a Hollywood studio to be released during Japan's Reiwa Period (令和時代 Reiwa jidai) and the reign of Emperor Naruhito, after the end of the Heisei era.
- The five-year period between the release date of Godzilla in 2014 and this film is the longest gap between the release of the first and second films in a new series of Godzilla films, with the five-year gap between the releases of The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante to start the Heisei period being the second-longest.
- The first American-made Godzilla film to include music originally composed by Akira Ifukube (not counting the 1956 American release of Gojira) and Yuji Koseki.
- The release date of the second trailer, December 10, 2018, marks the 5th anniversary of the release of the 2014 film's teaser trailer, which was released on December 10, 2013.
- This is the first sequel to a Godzilla film made by Hollywood.
- This marks the first time that Blue Öyster Cult's 1977 single, "Godzilla", is used in a Godzilla film.
- Originally the movie was supposed to be 2 hours and 40-45 minutes long but it was cut and dropped to 2 hours and 12 minutes.
- For the scripts, dialogue was written for some or all of the Titans to make their interactions more clear to the motion capture actors and the animators.
This is a list of references for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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