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Unravelling the Future of the MonsterVerse

Three years on from Avengers: Endgame and the culmination of one of cinema’s biggest and longest story arcs, the popularity of the combined franchise universe – or ‘verse’ – seems to be fading away. By now, most studios have realized that what Marvel did with Iron Man and Thor (etc.) is a bit like catching lightning in a bottle. Rival brand DC failed at it, as did Universal, with its Dark Universe brand.

Still, being able to grab five or six vaguely related characters and combine their fanbases into one hulking cash cow will always be an attractive idea for producers. Just recently, Universal began pondering whether to stage a few crossovers with horror brat Chucky and some of its retro monsters, like Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s Monster. This would probably resemble Freddy vs. Jason rather than the Avengers, though.

MonsterVerse

One expanded universe that has been quietly monster-ing on behind the scenes is Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse, which is the current home of Toho characters Godzilla, King Kong, King Ghidorah, MUTO, and Rodan. The most recent movie outing for these oversized creatures was in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong but more is planned from the MonsterVerse in the future, including two TV shows.

Of course, this universe is older than most of the people reading this article, given that the first Godzilla film debuted in 1954 (King Kong first appeared in the US in 1933), and there have been plenty of movies and merch done outside the current MonsterVerse. 1998’s Godzilla is a good example, as is Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic King Kong. In fact, the entire idea of the gigantic monster is now a saleable idea in all genres of entertainment.

J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield turned the concept on its head by keeping the monster off the screen and filming in a first-person style. A homage to King Kong can also be found on the PlayStar casino online in New Jersey, where the slot game Primate King can be played alongside other primate-themed titles like Silverback Gold. Then, there’s Pacific Rim, which borrowed an awful lot from Toho’s giants.

Anguirus

The next installment in the MonsterVerse is due out in 2024. It’ll be the 38th Godzilla film and the 13th King Kong movie, a tally that demonstrates our seemingly unending lust for rampaging beasts. While the new movie doesn’t have a title yet (early speculation says Godzilla and Kong), it will see the eponymous titans team up once again to overcome a nebulous evil that’s already on the earth somewhere.

So, who could this villain be? Currently, the spike-nosed lizard Anguirus looks like a shoo-in for the role. Appearing in 1955, Anguirus served as Godzilla’s first-ever opponent. The monster is known for his great speed and agility, largely due to the size of his brain. Much like Mechagodzilla, who was Godzilla’s and Kong’s enemy in the 2020 movie, Anguirus is a sometimes-ally of the duo.

Granted, 2024 is still a fair way off but it’s still nice to see the continuation of an action movie franchise that has thrilled fans from many different generations.

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