Toho Announces First Japanese Godzilla Movie Since 2004

·UK Movies Writer
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Whilst we await developments on the planned follow-up to Gareth Edwards’ recent reboot of ‘Godzilla,’ the monster’s original home - Japan’s Toho Studios - has announced it is starting work on the first ‘domestic’ Godzilla movie in over a decade.

Japanese site Eiga.com (via Bloody Disgusting) broke the news that the studio, who have produced a staggering 28 movies featuring the King of the Monsters since 1954, will release the 29th in 2016.

Producer Tajii Ueda makes no secret of Toho’s determination to outdo the US: “This resurrection will be the centerpiece for ’16, and this is the force of our words.”

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Toho’s last Godzilla movie was 2004’s ‘Godzilla: Final Wars.’ from director Rhyuhei Kitamura (‘The Midnight Meat Train,’ ‘No One Lives’). As the name suggests it was a pretty full-on apocalyptic face-off between the Big G and all his most famous adversaries, which effectively closed the book on the series - but without killing off the title character (not that this has stopped them making more films before).

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Of the new film, Tajii says, “The screenplay is currently in development and we plan to start shooting next summer. We cannot announce cast or staff selections at this time.”

In what will surely be exciting words for devotees of the Toho films, the producer adds, “we’re still deliberating whether to bring Godzilla to life via CGI or man-in-suit.”

There are a great many hardcore fans of the series all around the world for whom the only real Godzilla is the Japanese Godzilla, as portrayed by men in rubber suits stomping around miniature landscapes.

This was certainly a key part of why not everyone was won over by the grandiose CGI spectacle of this year’s Warner Bros/Legendary Entertainment revival.

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Nor is this the first time Toho have brought back their iconic character in response to Hollywood. Whilst the Toho films had officially ‘ended’ with 1995’s ‘Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah,’ widespread disappointment with Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Hollywood ‘Godzilla’ prompted the 1999 Toho revival ‘Godzilla 2000: Millennium.’

The films that followed in the four years ahead (popularly known as the Millennium Series) featured more than a few stabs at Hollywood’s sub-par reboot, most notably with the American model doing battle with the Japanese original - and losing very, very quickly - in ‘Godzilla: Final Wars.’

On a related note, Dean Devlin - writer and producer of Roland Emmerich’s ‘Godzilla’ (as well as ‘Independence Day,’ ‘Stargate’ and ‘Universal Soldier’) - recently admitted in a Reddit AMA to mistakes made on the 1998 film.

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Devlin says, “There are 2 flaws, for me, in Godzilla, that really hurt the film. And both of those flaws I am responsible for. The first is we did not commit to anthropomorphizing Godzilla - meaning we did not decide if he was a heroic character, or a villainous character. We made the intellectual decision to have him be neither and just simply an animal trying to survive. This was a big mistake.”

The second mistake, Devlin says, was how they chose to present the central human characters, and “deciding to exposit the characters’ background in the middle of the film rather than in the first act (where we always do). At the time we told the audience who these characters were, they had already made their minds up about them and we could not change that perception. These were 2 serious mistakes in the writing of the film, and I take full responsibility.”

The sequel to this year’s ‘Godzilla’ - which, it has already been suggested, may feature more classic Toho monsters such as Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah - is scheduled to hit cinemas in 2018. In the meantime, director Gareth Edwards is working on an as-yet untitled ‘Star Wars’ spin-off movie set for 2016.

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Picture Credit: Warner Bros, Toho, Sony

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