Every time America tries to co-opt Godzilla for our its own franchise pantheon, Japan always steps up and says, “Not so fast!” Understandable, as Godzilla maybe Japan’s biggest cultural export – literally and figuratively – but with the success of last year’s latest attempt to Americanize Tokyo’s favorite perennial tourist, the originator of the King of the Monsters, Toho Studios, is planning for a Godzilla comeback on the other side of the Pacific Rim. That news was announced earlier this year, but to back that up, Toho has now announced that the new film will have not just one, but two directors! And on top of that, we now have a vaguely evocative image to tease fans the world over.
So according to Variety, Toho has tapped Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi to co-direct Godzilla 2016, the first Toho-made Godzilla movie since 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. Anno worked on Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaa in the Valley of Wind, and directed several episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion where he worked with Higuchi who also directed the feature films Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean and The Sinking of Japan.
“Ever since Hollywood announced that ‘Godzilla’ was to be resurrected, the expectation for another Japanese Godzilla grew. And if we were to newly produce, we looked into Japanese creators who were the most knowledgeable and who had the most passion for Godzilla,” said Toho in a statement.
Fair enough, but Final Wars only collected $12 million at the worldwide box office. It’s worth-noting though that Godzilla 2000, the first Godzilla film made by Toho after the release of Roland Emmerich‘s 1998 America Godzilla (or GINO – Godzilla In Name Only – as its known in some quaters) made $25 million worldwide in 1999, making several million more than 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, the supposedly last Godzilla movie. In total, Godzilla has appeared in nearly 30 movies.
Godzilla 2016 will likely begin shooting later this year for release sometime next year. In the meantime, Warner Bros is still aiming for a sequel to the American Godzilla in the Summer of 2018 under the direction of Gareth Edwards.