The director of Kong: Skull Island, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, wants to make a prequel to his giant ape movie, and it’s not the kind of big budget extravaganza you might imagine.
Kong: Skull Island is the second film in the MonsterVerse franchise. The Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures collaborative project, which is looking to build its own cinematic universe in the vein of Marvel, also includes 2014’s Godzilla, the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters due out in 2019 and Godzilla Vs. Kong, slated for a 2020 release.
There’s no director currently named for Godzilla Vs. Kong, but it’s unlikely to be Vogt-Roberts who has ruled himself out. Instead, it’s a more low-key prequel to his 1970s-set re-boot of the King Kong story that Jordan Vogt-Roberts is far keener to work on.
If you don’t want to know plot details for Kong: Skull Island, look away now! Consider this your SPOILER ALERT.
“I don’t know if I am the guy to make Godzilla Vs. Kong,” he said when we interviewed him ahead of Kong’s release. “I would much rather make a $30 million prequel to this that’s John C. Reilly fighting monsters with Gunpei [the Japanese soldier he’s marooned with on the island] and what their story is, what their friendship is and what their relationship with the Iwi is. That’s actually the movie that I’m more interested in making.”
In Kong, the team exploring the island, which includes Tom Hiddleston as ex-SAS man James Conrad and Brie Larson's 'anti-war' photographer Mason Weaver, runs into WWII fighter pilot Hank Marlow (Reilly). He's been stranded on the island since crash-landing there 28 years ago, alongside enemy pilot Gunpei Ikari.
The pair were involved in an intense aerial battle. Hand-to-hand combat continued on the ground, with both prepared to fight to the death – until Kong showed his massive face and the two united. Marlow then came across the island’s indigenous population, the Iwi, who believe Kong is a god, and found a way to integrate with them.
A prequel focusing on the unique bond that builds between the two former enemies would be hugely entertaining – John C. Reilly as Marlow is one of the film’s highlights. The character is extremely funny, and charming too.
Crucially, he also brings pathos. Not only is the backstory of these two touching, but Marlow also leaves behind a wife and son when he's cast away that he was never able to meet. Although Vogt-Roberts doesn't indicate he'd explore this aspect, it nevertheless gives Reilly's character depth and tees him up as a sympathetic main protagonist.
Whether the film ever sees the light of day remains to be seen, but Vogt-Roberts is certainly happy to remain a part of the MonsterVerse in some capacity.
“If they ask me to help them – be like a bit of a brain trust – I would be all for it,” he said.
Kong is a character that’s clearly close to Vogt-Roberts’ heart and he wants the franchise to save something special for when Kong shows up again in 2020’s Godzilla Vs. Kong.
“I just hope that they hold something back,” he said. “It would be very easy to throw everything into the Godzilla sequel. But I just hope that they continue to elevate the genre.”
Whatever happens with the slated films, Marlow was definitely one of our favourite things about Kong: Skull Island, so we’re right behind Jordan Vogt-Robert’s prequel idea.
'Kong: Skull Island' is out in the UK from March 9 and the US from March 10.