With Gareth Edwards exiting Godzilla 2, Warner Bros. currently needs to fill the director's chair, and there are some really great candidates who may be up to the challenge. Last week, Warner Bros. announced that they were bumping back the release date for Godzilla 2 nine months from June 8, 2018 to March 22, 2019. And very shortly after the date shifted, the studio announced that director Gareth Edwards would be exiting the project as a result. The split with Edwards and the studio was reportedly mutual and there are no bad feelings on either side of the table. Edwards went from working on Godzilla to directing the first Star Wars anthology film, the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One and has other offers on the table that are clearly too hard to pass up.

Though not everyone loved 2010's American Godzilla, the general feeling from fans and critics was that the movie was definitely a step in the right direction. And ever since Edward's' first film Monsters, it was clear he knew how to handle these types of stories. So losing him for the sequel is a bit of a set back. However, there are three years between now and the new Godzilla 2 release date, so Warner Bros. has plenty of time to find a new director, who they may want to keep on to direct Godzilla Vs King Kong as well, which is slated for release just over a year after Godzilla 2.

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The first Godzilla was a fairly big hit at the box office, managing to scare up $529 million worldwide and was seen as a dramatic improvement over the 1998 Roland Emmerich directed version, which never got a sequel due to poor critical reception. The upcoming sequel is said to feature some of the classic Godzilla rogues gallery creatures, such as Mothra and Rodan. So who should take the reigns from Gareth Edwards for the next installment in the monster movie franchise? Here are a few guys that make sense.

1Brad Peyton

Brad Peyton

Up until 2015, Brad Peyton looked like the kind of guy that only made family movies that parents had to take their kids to. But when San Andreas came out in 2015 it became clear that Peyton could do much more. Granted, San Andreas wasn't a high-concept film by any means but, it was a very entertaining and effective disaster movie with very good looking effects, and it didn't hurt that The Rock was in it. But looking through Peyton's IMDB page, it is clear that he has the tools to take on a big monster flick like Godzilla 2.

With his work on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and the fact that he is re-teaming with Dwayne Johnson for the video game adaptation Rampage, it is clear that Peyton can work with big creatures in a human environment. Mix that with the already Godzilla-esque citywide destruction displayed in San Andreas, and his credits essentially look like the perfect resume for this type of film. The only potential problem is that Peyton already has three major projects in the works, all starring Johnson, with San Andreas 2, Rampage and Journey 3, though none of them have official release dates as of yet.

2Matt Reeves

Matt Reeves

Matt Reeves made a big name for himself when he directed the J.J. Abrams produced found footage monster movie Cloverfield in 2010, which was essentially a Godzilla movie that just went by a different name. Reeves is currently in post-production on War of the Planet of the Apes and as of yet has nothing else announced. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a massive critical and financial success and really built on the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, so Reeves has already proven that he can step into a franchise of similar scope and not only do well, but improve upon the material. Warner Bros. could very possibly snatch him up for Godzilla 2, and he would seem to make perfect sense on paper.

3Guillermo Del Toro

Brad Peyton

This may seem like a very obvious choice, but there is a good reason for that. Guillermo Del Toro proved that he can handle giant monsters as good as anyone with Pacific Rim in 2013 and though he isn't directing Pacific Rim 2, he is still going to be heavily involved. That could, however, free him up to take over the director's chair for Godzilla 2. Warner Bros. handled Pacific Rim and worked with Del Toro on Crimson Peak, so he and the studio already have a well established relationship. As of right now, Del Toro is working on his as of yet untitled Cold War film for 2017 but beyond that, at least as far as directing is concerned, it looks like Del Toro could slip right into production on the Godzilla sequel after his Cold War movie should it come to pass that Warner Bros. decides to pursue him for it.

4James Gunn

Brad Peyton

Right now James Gunn is currently neck deep in the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Marvel Studios, but beyond that, his future is a bit uncertain. Gunn has said he doesn't know for sure if he will return or not for a presumed third installment of Guardians, but Marvel has talked with him about sticking with the studio. Even if he did decide to return, Vol. 2 comes out next year and Vol. 3 has yet to even be announced and wouldn't likely be until 2020 at the earliest, so that would leave time for Gunn to take on another project in the meantime, like Godzilla 2, for example.

Prior to Guardians Gunn's only work on big films was as a screenwriter, having written the Dawn of the Dead remake and both Scooby Doo films. But he had also directed smaller films like the dark superhero flick Super and the cult horror classic Slither. Couple the work on this grittier films with his work on Guardians and you have the makings of a guy who could really knock it out of the park with a big monster film, especially the rumors of a Destroy All Monsters remake being the case for the Godzilla sequel. The big question is, would Gunn even want to do a Godzilla movie in the first place? But there is no doubt he would be a solid and very likely popular choice.

5Alfonso Cuaron

Brad Peyton

This may seem like a bit of a long shot, but there is absolutely no doubt that Alfonso Cuaron has the tools to absolutely kill a monster movie like Godzilla 2, and he already has a well established relationship with Warner Bros. Cuaron hasn't directed a film since Gravity and as it stands, he has no film lined up, so his schedule is wide open. Gravity was a massive critical and financial success, but more than that, it was one of the most pure visual cinematic experiences moviegoers have been treated to in a very long time.

Cuaron also directed what many consider to be one of the if not the best of the Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which helped to shift the tone of those films for every director that followed in his footsteps. Curaon is a truly artistic filmmaker that knows how to mix story with spectacle, and this is exactly what Godzilla needs in order to be more than just loud popcorn cinema. If Warner Bros. can lure him to the director's chair for Godzilla 2, it would really help to ease the sting of Edward's leaving and make the longer wait worth it.

As of right now Warner Bros hasn't made any announcements about who might be in line to direct Godzilla 2, which was written by Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein, but at the very least rumors should start circulating soon and it would be hard to imagine one of these guys won't at least get a call. Godzilla 2 will be followed up by Godzilla Vs King Kong on May 29 2020 and Kong: Skull Island is set for a release next year. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates on Godzilla 2 as soon as more information comes in.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott