The biggest, baddest ape of all-time, King Kong, is returning to the big screen next year, and with principal photography having just wrapped, Legendary Pictures has released their first look at the film. Shot in Hawaii, Vietnam and Australia, Kong: Skull Island, looks to explore the great ape’s home in a brand new reboot that will ultimately pair him with another giant beast that recently got its own reboot as well, the King of the Monsters, Godzilla. (Interestingly, Godzilla is the English version of the Japanese name, Gojira, which is derived from their words for gorilla and whale.)
Of course, Kong: Skull Island needs a worthy cast befitting the Eighth Wonder of the World, and that is certainly the case here. Tom Hiddleston (Thor‘s brother, Loki, Crimson Peak) has been attached to the project since the beginning and he heads a stellar lineup that includes this year’s Oscar-winner, Brie Larson. While Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons had to back out of the film due to scheduling conflicts, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman have been added to give Kong some worthy adversaries. Also appearing are Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins, the latter also portraying Heath on The Walking Dead. The film is directed by Jordon Vogt-Roberts, who helmed the acclaimed The Kings of Summer. While Universal was initially set to release the film, Legendary moved it over to Warner Bros. where they can eventually do a Godzilla/Kong mashup (though the size differences between the two mega-beasts is definitely something which needs to be addressed).
As you’ll learn from the featurette, the film takes place during the 70’s Vietnam war era, unlike the original King Kong (1933) and Peter Jackson’s remake (2005), which took place in the Depression-era 30’s. (The 1976 version, starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, upped the tale to modern times.) While little of the plot is known beyond this on location look, it does appear that the bulk, if not all of the movie takes place on the island, unlike the other versions which saw Kong brought back to the mainland and New York City, where he could be displayed for audiences to enjoy and get stomped on. This bodes well for the story as the best part of the Kong films have always been the time spent on the island, where we get to see the great ape interact with a plethora of other prehistoric beasts (except for the ’76 film, which opted to only give Kong a giant snake to tangle with.) It will be difficult to top the original’s or Jackson’s amazing dinosaur action, but hopefully we’ll be given some cool creatures for Kong and the cast to go up against.
So, follow the link below for your first look at Kong: Skull Island (courtesy of MTV, which aired it during their Movie Awards), coming to cinemas on March 10, 2017. The Legendary Godzilla follow-up is set for 2018, and the ultimate clash of the mega-beasts is looking to roar into theaters in 2020. May God help us all.
Though Universal isn’t involved with releasing the film anymore, they are still connected with the mighty ape in other ways. Universal Hollywood has had their King Kong 360 3-D attraction since 2010 (the previous Kong ride, King Kong Encounter, was a victim of fire in 2008.) And now, Universal Orlando is unleashing Skull Island: Reign of Kong this summer. While the Florida park had their Kongfrontation ride with the park’s opening in 1990, this will mark the giant simian’s first return to the Sunshine State since 2002. It promises to be a much more immersive experience, featuring Universal’s first ever “trackless” ride. The Gore 4 will have more to report once the attraction gets closer to its opening. Until then, here’s a sneak peak: