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What happens in the Godzilla and Kong MonsterVerse movies?

Get up to speed with Godzilla and King Kong’s long-running beef before seeing Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla and Kong in Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire
Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is the latest film in the MonsterVerse. (Warner Bros.)

Watch Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

Our collective fascination with big beasts battling it out on screen is set to continue with Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, the latest installment of the ever-growing MonsterVerse.

Directed by Adam Wingard, the movie is a direct follow-up to the filmmaker’s 2021 release Godzilla vs. Kong, a film that was already the fourth in an interconnected story where giant creatures known as Titans take centre stage.

In The New Empire, two of the franchise’s biggest names, Godzilla and King Kong, must put their differences aside in order to team up and defeat a new subterranean threat that has its sights set on destroying both humans and Titans.

Read more: Why Godzilla is enjoying a resurgence

Wondering how we got to this point? Don’t worry. We’ve pulled together a quick recap of every MonsterVerse installment so far that’ll help bring you up to speed just in time for Godzilla and Kong’s latest punch-up.

Godzilla in the 2014 film of the same name
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was released in 2014. (Alamy)

The MonsterVerse series first landed on the scene in 2014 with Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. Set some years after a nuclear meltdown event in Japan, the film finds a group of scientists tracking two large mutant monsters who feed off of Nuclear energy and are destroying the local countryside whilst trying to breed.

Known as Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms – or MUTOs for short – these creatures have been known to authorities for some time and their existence has been covered up by relabelling their movements as natural events like earthquakes.

As scientists hunt these creatures, we learn that nuclear tests in the 1950s awakened the biggest of the MUTOs, Godzilla, whose attention is piqued by the arrival of the two insectoid monsters. After a brief battle, Godzilla defeats the MUTOs and returns to the sea.

Edwards’ first film also introduced us to Monarch, the secret organisation that monitors these giant creatures which they sometimes refer to as Titans.

King Kong in Kong: Skull Island
The king returned in Kong: Skull Island. (Legendary Pictures)

Released in 2017 and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island was the second film in the MonsterVerse and this time featured King Kong as its lead Titan.

Set in 1973, it follows a group of explorers and military veterans who embark on a journey to the mysterious Skull Island where they encounter a whole ecosystem of giant creatures. At their centre is the island’s biggest inhabitant Kong – a Titan that is believed to be the last of his species.

Starring the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson, the island visitors are forced to battle evil reptilian creatures known as Skullcrawlers which are believed to have killed Kong’s family. If left to their own devices, they’ll eliminate all life from Skull Island, forcing Kong to step up and save the day.

During the movie’s end credits sequence, we learn that Kong is not the only giant creature knocking around, with Monarch operatives sharing footage of Godzilla battling the multi-headed Kaiju King Ghidorah.

Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released in 2019. (Warner Bros.)

Two years later, audiences got Godzilla: King of the Monsters by filmmaker Michael Dougherty which delivered on the scenes glimpsed during the end credits of Kong: Skull Island.

When eco-terrorists release King Gidorah - who in turn awakens a host of other huge Titans across the globe – Godzilla is forced to return and work alongside Mothra to beat Ghidorah and the winged Kaiju known as Rodan.

During a climactic final battle, Mothra sacrifices itself and transfers its nuclear-powered energy to Godzilla to help it reach a higher state of power and beat Ghidorah, saving humanity from further destruction.

When the dust settles, Godzilla’s new ultra-powerful state sees him claim the title of alpha Titan. This third film in the MonsterVerse officially renames its monsters from MUTOS to Titans, in addition to introducing the existence of a whole host of new creatures.

Godzilla battles Kong in Godzilla vs Kong
Godzilla and Kong finally squared off in 2021. (Warner Bros.)

The MonsterVerse’s main event arrived in 2021 when Godzilla and Kong finally went face-to-face.

Directed by Wingard, the movie finds Godzilla embarking on a series of mysterious rampages that have caught the attention of Monarch. Their research into why these are taking place takes their scientists into a mysterious place known as the Hollow Earth – AKA homeland of the Titans.

With Kong as their guide, the group embark on a quest deep into this alien world where they uncover details of an ancient war between Kong and Godzilla’s ancestors. Meanwhile, an underground facility in Hong Kong is found to be secretly working on a mechanical Mechagodzilla which attracts the real creature to the city.

Following a brief battle that sees Godzilla emerge victorious over Kong, the pair later regroup and work together to beat Mechagodzilla after it is taken over by the consciousness of King Ghidorah. By using an ancient axe found in the Hollow Earth, the pair manage to defeat their mechanical foe before departing as frenemies.

As the credits roll, Monarch reveals that Kong has relocated to the Hollow Earth where he currently reigns as its king.

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire will be available to buy and rent from 13 May