The first trailer for the Japanese Godzilla revamp has raised from the depths, showing a sinister but thrilling return to form for the King of Monsters.
Movie studio Toho's trailer gives the first clear look at the redesigned creature. Unlike 2014's American Godzilla, directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi have stuck with traditional suitmation for their take on the character, but it's no less fearsome.
Designed by Mahiro Maeda to Higuchi's brief of creating the "most terrifying Godzilla that Japan's cutting-edge special-effects movie-making can muster", the new-look kaiju is a snarling mass of scales and rage. The most notable design departure is a vastly elongated tail, which swoops menacingly through Tokyo in the preview. This new Godzilla is also the biggest yet -- officially stacking up at 118.5 metres tall, it eclipses the recent American Godzilla, who was a mere 107 metres.
The film's human cast is headlined by Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi, a government minister investigating the appearance of Godzilla; Satomi Ishihara as Kayoko Ann Patterson, a special envoy for the US President; and Yutaka Takenouchi as Hideki Akasaka, an aide to Japan's Prime Minister. However, Shin Godzilla is shaping up to be a major event for Japanese cinema, and will boast over 300 cameos from some of the country's biggest actors.
Although the film has the official English language title of Godzilla Resurgence, the Japanese title has some ambiguity to it. The film is known as Shin Godzilla in its homeland where, depending on the kanji used, "shin" can mean "new" or "true". However, the title is written in katakana, commonly used for loan words from other languages, leaving the meaning of whether this is merely a new version of Gojira, or the truest version of the character.
As the first domestic Godzilla movie since 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, a lot rides on Toho's ability to revitalise the radioactive lizard for domestic and international audiences. Some global appeal is absolutely intended too, as Ishihara's character is said to have much of her dialogue in English, and the the monster's appearance will have international impact. The film opens on 29 July in Japan, and while at present there are no UK distributors lined up, its release is inevitable.
A resurgent Japanese Godzilla franchise will likely co-exist with a western-lead take on the Toho Kaiju cast. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros are already developing a shared universe populated by Godzilla and King Kong "super species", following the well-received 2014 Godzilla movie directed by Gareth Edwards.
Kong: Skull Island, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, arrives next, in March 2017. With Star Wars: Rogue One wrapped, Edwards will return for Godzilla 2, set for release in June 2018. Then, the two titans will finally come to blows – again – in Godzilla vs Kong, currently set for 2020. A linking element across all films is said to be Project Monarch, the mysterious research organisation that was central to the 2014 film.
Legendary Pictures has also previously confirmed it has the rights to other classic Toho kaiju, including Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Rodan, and a western redux of 1968's Destroy All Monsters is potentially on the cards. Whether this forms the basis of Godzilla 2 remains to be seen though.