The Greatest Unmade Monster Movie Could Reveal a Wild Godzilla x Kong Twist

The new monster might be an Easter egg going back to the 1950s.

The sequel to 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong has a title: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. And with that title reveal, comes a tantalizing teaser that tells us nothing, but may actually reveal more about the plot of the monster movie than it intends.

In the title reveal teaser for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, a shadowy ape-like figure sits on a stone throne surrounded by bones. As the camera pans out, the graveyard of bones reveals two very familiar skulls — that of Godzilla and Kong. It’s clear that Godzilla and Kong, after duking it out and coming to a wary truce in the 2021 film, have a frightening new enemy to contend with.

So who is this new enemy? In the synopsis for Godzilla x Kong, the two monsters are pitted against “a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence – and our own. The epic new film will delve further into the histories of these Titans, their origins and the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped forge these extraordinary beings and tied them to humankind forever.”

In Legendary’s MonsterVerse, the Titans are the giant kaiju scattered around the world, many of them in deep hibernation since the dawn of time. But humankind has advanced, and the Titans have begun to awaken, revealing the two kinds of Titans: the benevolent “protectors” (Godzilla, Mothra, Kong, etc.) and the malevolent "destroyers” (King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, the Skull Devil). Conveniently, many of the “destroyers” lived on Skull Island, which appears to be where Godzilla x Kong will take place. And judging by the graveyard of bones surrounding the ape on the throne in the teaser, it appears a new Titan has taken Kong’s spot as the king of Skull Island. Now, it may be time for him to take it back — with the help of his new bestie, Godzilla.

Though our knowledge of the plot is still very slim, one detail from the teaser may give us a clue as to who this new Titan is. The ape has unusually long limbs, at least more so than Kong. It’s a feature that this Titan shares with the antagonist of the greatest unmade monster movie, King Kong vs. Frankenstein.

The King Kong Movie That Never Was

Concept art for King Kong vs. Frankenstein, otherwise known as King Kong vs. Prometheus.

RKO Pictures

King Kong vs. Frankenstein, also known as King Kong vs. Prometheus, was originally conceived as a sequel to 1933’s King Kong, based on a treatment written by animator Willas O’Brien, the original animator behind the stop-motion Kong. The film is exactly what it sounds like: King Kong fights a giant monster created by Frankenstein’s grandson.

Set in San Francisco, King Kong vs. Frankenstein would’ve seen Karl Frankenstein, the grandson of the original doctor, creating a giant version of Frankstein’s monster out of dead animal parts (including elephants, rhinos, and seals). He creates a stage show around the monster, earning the attention of Carl Denham, the filmmaker who first brought King Kong to New York. Denham and Frankenstein Jr. head back to Skull Island to pick up Kong, pitting the two monsters against each other in downtown San Francisco.

O’Brien would bring the concept to RKO Pictures, where it would land in the hands of independent producer John Beck. When Beck couldn’t find an American buyer for the story, which had now been fleshed out by screenwriter George Worthing Yates and retitled King Kong vs. Prometheus, he sold the project to Toho Studios, which was independently looking to make their own Frankenstein project with Godzilla. The project would eventually become the iconic 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla — O’Brien’s contributions sadly all but forgotten.

But maybe they could live on in Godzilla x Kong, a movie that is just screaming for a wild twist like “Godzilla and Kong fight Frankenstein’s monster.” Previous MonsterVerse movies haven’t shied away from bringing in manmade creations (see: Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong), so why shouldn’t the Big Bad of Godzilla x Kong bring in one of the most iconic manmade creations of all time?

Godzilla x Kong opens in theaters March 15, 2024.

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