Director Gareth Edwards’ sequel to his recent Godzilla reboot may not be due until 2018, but that doesn’t mean cinema screens will be totally absent the King of Monsters. Original Japanese studio Toho has announced plans for a domestic return of the behemoth in the form of Godzilla 2016, which will be once again be set in Japan.
The new movie will be co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi. The relatively short production cycle — have a guess when it’s released — is typical of the Japanese movie industry, though an exact date hasn’t been announced for the premiere. An end of year release is likely though, maximising development time.
Both directors should be familiar to fans of anime and live action Japanese cinema. Anno is responsible for the groundbreaking Neon Genesis Evangelion and dozens of other series and movies. Higuchi got into the film industry working on 1984’s The Return of Godzilla, headed up effects on the 1990s Gamera trilogy — another monster, at rival studio Daiei — and has recently finished directing the upcoming live action Attack on Titan. The pair previously collaborated on the short Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo.
“Finally, the time has come — playtime is over,” Japanese site Cinema Today quotes Higuchi as saying. “Next year, I will deliver the greatest and worst nightmare to everyone.”
“Ever since Hollywood announced that Godzilla was to be resurrected, the expectation for another Japanese Godzilla grew,” said Toho, via statement. “And if we were to newly produce, we looked into Japanese creators who were the most knowledgeable and who had the most passion for Godzilla.”
Kaiju — giant monster — films have been a fixture of Japanese cinema for decades. Ichiro Honda’s 1954 nuclear panic-fueled Gojira is seen as the grandfather of the genre, as well as birthing the Godzilla series. When Godzilla does return, he’s set to be the biggest iteration on the character yet, with plans for him to tower over even Edwards’ 108 metre tall take on the monster.
Edwards’ film pulled in $528.7m (£358m) at the global box office, which seemingly reignited Toho’s interests in returning to the character. The studio’s previous effort, 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars was intended to be an all-out farewell, bringing in every kaiju in Toho’s library for one climactic battle that affected the entire world. Despite its ambitious nature, it only pulled in ¥1.4bn (£67,000) at the box office.