Deadline is reporting that Legendary’s Untitled Skull Island King Kong Project is moving from Universal to Warner Bros., with Legendary head Thomas Tull overseeing the transfer. While the production company left WB for Universal not long ago, Tull still has ties to the Brothers Warner via the Godzilla franchise. Legendary is set to produce sequels to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 hit film, as is Toho, the Japanese company who owns Godzilla.
Why the move? It’s quite simple. Warner Bros. still retains full ownership to Kong. Universal simply licensed the rights from them for Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic, as did Paramount decades earlier for their own two-film series: King Kong (1976) and King Kong Lives (1986). It seems that WB isn’t keen to license the character out again and would rather have him back in house, so to WB he returns! Legendary latched onto the Skull Island Kong film as soon as they moved over to Universal and will remain on board the project, helping to quickly facilitate its move. The cast and creative talent on the project should remain intact and the move isn’t expected to delay it too much.
Why does Warner Bros. want Kong back so bad? Because it’s not just one film they are getting. It’s at least two. Toho is also involved with this deal and the endgame here is to include the newly-revived Kong, fresh off of his upcoming Tom Hiddleston-starring film, in the studios third Godzilla movie. It’s already known that Toho loved Gareth Edwards’ take on Godzilla last year so much that they happily licensed WB the rights to use King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan in a sequel. While it’s never been outright stated, most expect all three to pop up in Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla 2 (2018).
How do you follow-up such a giant monster smackdown? By having the King of the Monsters face off against the Eighth Wonder of the World in his third adventure. Yep, Warner Bros., Toho, Legendary, and (I’m assuming) Gareth Edwards all want to make Godzilla 3 a modern update of the 1962 kaiju classic King Kong vs. Godzilla. That’s one hell of a way to cap off a trilogy, if the studio indeed only wants to make three of these.
I don’t know about you, but they already have my ticket. Let’s just hope we get a nod to this bit of cinematic joy when the time comes (2020 or 2021?)…