When Roland Emmerich‘s 1998 depiction of Godzilla came out, Japanese fans of the radioactive reptile were a little put out to say the least by the fact that the film seemed to be about Matthew Broderick having a romance with an enormous velocaraptor. With that in mind, it was a relief to see the seal of approval from Toho – the original Japanese company that started the franchise – on Garth Edwards‘ $200 million reboot last year. Was this because Legendary Pictures was in partnership with Toho during production, or because Edwards‘ representation was more faithful to the original rubber-suited building-tosser? Probably a bit of both. But in any case, the new American reboot and its considerable success has clearly sparked the Japanese company into action, with news from Variety that Toho will be relasing a domestic Godzilla film, a whole ten years after their last release!
While Toho is still involved in a contract with Legendary for the franchise but, as an employee of Toho explained to THR, “The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions.” So there’s really nothing standing in their way. The timing is also ideal, as the employee went on to explain: “This is very good timing after the success of the American version this year: if not now, then when?”. This is a good point, especially considering that Japan will be hosting the Olympics in 2020, which is a decent reason to start increasing global appeal.
The last Godzilla film released by Toho was Godzilla: Final Wars, released in 2004 on big G’s 50th anniversary, and was the 29th film in the company’s hefty catalogue. The movies go all the way back to 1954 when the original Godzilla was released, directed by Ishiro Honda with Effects Director Eiji Tsuburaya. The pair would release four more in the franchise together and even more separately.
Producer Taichi Ueda will be at the helm of the project, scheduled for production in the summer 2015 for a 2016 release. Ueda explained that Toho would not be spending $200 million as Edwards and Legendary reportedly did, and that “The time has come for Japan to make a film that will not lose to Hollywood.” Ueda added that the character would hopefully “represent Japan and be loved around the world”.
So what’s more exciting: Edwards’ Godzilla sequel or Toho’s?