“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” director explains Kong’s journey and that surprise return

"Everything has been leading to this," says Adam Wingard.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, now in theaters.

Ever since 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, the heroic great ape at the center of the new MonsterVerse films has gone by one name and one name only. But over the course of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Kong finally discovers his kingdom: A heretofore-hidden civilization of great apes living in the deepest reaches of Hollow Earth. Unfortunately, these apes are oppressed by the iron rule of Kong’s new nemesis, the Scar King.

“There's a very mythological feel to this movie in terms of Kong's journey,” director Adam Wingard tells Entertainment Weekly. “He literally travels to the underworld and meets this devil character.”

<p>Warner Bros</p>

Warner Bros

On first contact, Kong’s brawn is outdone by the Scar King’s brains — or his magic crystal keeping an even more powerful Titan under his control. Not even unifying with his old enemy Godzilla is enough to beat the new enemy. Thankfully, the two titular characters aren’t alone in their climactic battle.

When it’s time to take the fight with the Scar King to the surface world, Kong and Godzilla find a third Titan on their side. That’s right, Mothra returns! The Titan queen, last seen in 2018’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, brings her unique powers to bear in the climactic showdown, which ends up involving five different Titans. The plethora of combatants was Wingard’s way of paying homage to his favorite of the classic Japanese kaiju films.

“My favorite movie of the original Shōwa films is Destroy All Monsters. I just love the battle royale component of that movie,” the director says. “I'm a very lucky director in the sense that I've now done two movies with Godzilla and Kong sharing the screen thing. So then bringing in Mothra really gives it that crazy Destroy All Monsters vibe. That’s really what I'm hoping to conjure with that.”

So, with help from both his frenemy Godzilla and his new ally Mothra, Kong overthrows the Scar King — and finally claims his crown.

<p>Warner Bros.</p>

Warner Bros.

"The MonsterVerse version of Kong has very notably just been ‘Kong.’ The trajectory of him as a character throughout this series has always been to crown him as King Kong,” Wingard says. “That’s what this film is about. It’s the culmination. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Kong found his home, but he had no subjects. He was alone. This is the one where he finds his people, and he has to earn the right to be their leader. For this version of Kong, everything has all been leading to this.”

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is in theaters now.

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