It has already been nearly three years since director Gareth Edwards successfully brought Godzilla to American audiences with his 2014 take on the legendary monster. The movie was a bit divisive, but a success nevertheless, which has left many to wonder what is going on with the sequel. It is definitely happening and it has just taken a major step forward by officially hiring director Michael Dougherty to helm Godzilla: King of Monsters.
Variety broke the news that Michael Dougherty has nabbed the job to direct Godzilla 2, which recently got the official title of Godzilla: King of Monsters. The Trick 'r Treat and Krampus director has been attached to the project for quite some time but now Legendary Pictures has made it official and named him as the guy to further the story of this new Godzilla and lead him to his upcoming duel with King King. Gareth Edwards announced last year that he would not be returning to do Godzilla 2 and that opened the door for Michael Dougherty to come in and take the job.
Michael Dougherty and Zack Shields were previously hired to write the script for Godzilla 2, which lead many to speculate that Legendary had also found their director. That wasn't confirmed until now, but Michael Dougherty was also brought on by the studio to head up the writer's room for their "MonsterVerse," which added fuel to the fire. Apparently Legendary Pictures liked the work he did there.
Legendary has a long history with Michael Dougherty, since he wrote and directed the cult hit Trick 'r Treat, which was one of the first movies they ever released. The movie didn't do much at the box office but has found a very big audience in the years since. In 2015, he wrote and directed Krampus, which made $61 million on a relatively small $15 million budget, which made some money for the studio. That, coupled with the work he did in the MonsterVerse writer's room, he seems like a very logical choice for Godzilla 2. He has never done anything on the level of 2014's Godzilla, which had a reported budget of $160 million, but neither had Gareth Edwards. In fact, his biggest movie prior to that was Monsters, which was a much smaller movie than Krampus and that worked out just fine. Good enough to get him a job directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, anyway.
Godzilla made a pretty impressive $529 million worldwide and was a dramatic improvement over the last American attempt to bring Godzilla to the big screen in 1998. That encouraged Legendary to assemble a cinematic universe around the monster that will continue this year with Kong: Skull Island, which is set for release on March 10. Godzilla: King of Monsters will probably be gearing up for production at some point this year, with the movie currently slated for release on March 22, 2019. That will be followed by an epic rematch in the form of Godzilla Vs. Kong, which is set to debut on May 29, 2020. It is doubtful that Michael Dougherty will direct that movie as well, since the release date is so close to Godzilla 2, but it isn't impossible. If the studio decides to shoot them back-to-back it could work, though, that would mean they have quite a bit of confidence in Michael Dougherty. We'll have to see how the rest of the MonsterVerse shakes out, but now we know that the next Godzilla movie is on track and in seemingly good hands.