Godzilla vs Kong will be a mismatched “David vs Goliath” style battle, with the 104-foot ape relying on his intelligence to match up with the 350-foot lizard in the 2020 film.
Director Michael Dougherty whose film Godzilla: King of the Monsters - a sequel to both 2014’s Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island - arrives in cinemas this Wednesday (29 May), co-wrote Godzilla vs Kong and he says the beasts will be fairly well-matched by the time they meet on screen.
Speaking to Bloody Disgusting, Dougherty explained that King Kong will have grown in size since the last time he appeared on screen in the 1970s-set Skull Island.
“We’re looking at an almost David vs. Goliath situation. Because everyone, the moment you say Godzilla’s going to fight Kong, your first reaction is Kong doesn’t stand a chance. Godzilla’s got his radioactive breath, et cetera, et cetera.”
Read more: Early buzz for Godzilla 2
“But then if you really take the time to look at Kong as a character, it’s like, okay, in Skull Island he was an adolescent, so he was still growing. So who knows how big he is since the 1970s when they first met him?” Dougherty said.
While David wasn’t a physical match for Goliath in the biblical tale, he was able to outwit the Philistine giant with his tactical nous, which is something Kong will also rely on in the 2020 film.
“Kong is extremely intelligent,” the director shared. “As a primate, he’s a tool-user. So he’s got speed, he’s got agility, he might have some good size.”
“And I like a good underdog battle. You know, it’s like watching Rocky go up against Ivan Drago [in Rocky IV]. It seems like it’s unfair but clearly, this means the underdog might have a few surprises.”
As to why they’ll battle, it’s currently unclear. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it looks Godzilla will be working with humans to battle rogue titans, so perhaps Kong is just the next job on the lizard’s titan-busting docket.
“I think there’s something primal in human beings to want to see a fight like that,” Dougherty said. “It’s just part of who we are as a species. Half the reason I think people watch the Planet Earth nature specials is to watch animals going up against each other, to see crocodiles going up against water buffaloes.”
“So there’s that, but it just seems like it’s written in the stars for this to happen. It’s no accident that Kong was a direct inspiration for Godzilla, that the Japanese filmmakers watched King Kong and were hugely inspired by him and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and came up with Godzilla as an answer to that. So it just seems like it’s destiny.”
King Kong has changed size many times since the character was first shown on screen in 1933 as a 24 foot tall ape. Back in 2017, Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts admitted to Yahoo that Kong had been scaled up in anticipation of his forthcoming showdown with Godzilla, who was at least 350 feet tall in Gareth Evans’ 2014 film.
“A lot of people want to say ‘he’s just big because you want him to fight Godzilla’ and it’s funny because yeah, sure there’s ultimately some truth in that to some degree, but one of my first mandates was ‘I don’t want him to be a big gorilla, I don’t want him to be anatomically correct, I want him to be a biped again.’
Read more: Toy Story 4 plot hole?
“I wanted to turn him back into that classic movie monster, but then I also wanted to make him bigger because I wanted you or I to be able to look at him and not just say ‘oh, that’s a big gorilla or a big ape’, but to have your first reaction, your very first one, your fundamental response, instinctually, the first synapse in your brain to fire and say ‘that’s a god. I’m looking at a god.’”
In 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, Kong emerges victorious from a closely-fought battle atop Mount Fuji.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is in cinemas from Wednesday, 29 May. Godzilla vs Kong will come to cinemas, March 2020.