We've come a long way since the days of guys in rubber suits stomping around on scale model cities and getting uncomfortably lifted around on wires. Both Pacific Rim and last year's Godzilla made impressive strides to bring the Kaiju back into a somewhat respectable light.
The Golden Age of Kaiju
Last year, both movies were given the greenlight on a sequel - with Pacific Rim 2 scheduled for a April 7th, 2017 release and Godzilla 2 set to do more damage on June 8, 2018. While little is known about these movies at this point - there are some facts that are known.
With Legendary Pictures in control of both of these properties there was some speculation that the two franchises could clash in some epic fashion. It might just be one of those fanboy dreams that Legendary hasn't completely ruled out - like a get out of jail free card they could pull out to avoid bankruptcy. But since the world of Pacific Rim is radically different from the world being established in Godzilla - complete with an alternate dimension that spawns the Kaiju, I wouldn't hold your breath.
Godzilla's New Playmates
Legendary Pictures did put on a great show at Comic-Con's Hall H though, and announced that they obtained the rights to Mothra, Rodan and Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster. Immediately, Kaiju fans went straight to thinking that Godzilla 2 could be a remake of the original Ghidrah movie from 1964 that featured all of these beasties in an epic battle royal. Sadly, but perhaps wisely, despite Edwards being enthusiastic about a Monster Island type set-up for the series, those who were at Hall H say Legendary seemed to be hinting that the intention was to savor these monsters one movie at a time.
Godzilla fans should expect more exploration of what Project Monarch is all about and if you were a betting kind of person, you might probably want to put some money on Mothra since there was that cool little easter egg in Godzilla that already hinted towards perhaps the most misunderstood of Kaiju. I wouldn't expect those tiny twins of Infant Island though.
Much more can be reported about Pacific Rim 2. Hopefully there will be an announcement about the proposed Pacific Rim animated series soon and we'll know a bit more - but not too long ago there was a brief interview with Pacific Rim 2 writer Zach Penn who certainly made it seem that this series intended to bridge the first movie with the second one is still moving ahead:
"He’s got some amazing stuff that’s in the animated series that definitely informs what’s going on in the next movie."
According to writer/director Guillermo Del Toro, Pacific Rim 2 is set to pick up a few years following the successful closure of the rift to the Kaiju world. In this period of peace, the Jaeger program is on the verge of becoming unnecessary but there could be a returning character that is aware of a looming Kaiju threat.
Del Toro has hinted that we should definitely expect to see Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) returning - and the mind meld drift that Geiszler performed with the Kaiju at the end of the Pacific Rim could become a crucial plot point that will kick off the events of Pacific Rim 2. If the Kaiju are planning a new attack, the remnants of the drift Geiszler was forced to do sounds like it will be the kicking back into effect to warn everyone of the impending threat.
The Return of the Rubber Suit
Both Pacific Rim 2 and Godzilla 2 sound like they are full of great potential to keep this new Kaiju renaissance alive. But for fans that might feel nostalgic about the days of guys bouncing around in rubber suits, there is hope for you as well.
Indie auteur Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows) announced last year that he had written an old school Kaiju epic that would see the return of the man-in-suit destruction. And if his Twitter feed is to be believed, it looks like he's in the full swing of realizing this dream project.
Not only will is be a full scale Kaiju throwback - Vigalondo hinted that, as is the case with all of his movies, it will feature a plot twist that will actually make the rubber suits and miniature cities make sense in this day and age.
Rejoice, monster maniacs, it looks like we can experience the best of both worlds in the years ahead with [Godzilla 2](movie:1433439), [Pacific Rim 2](movie:775756) and a return to the genre's roots. Indeed, the this may truly be the golden age of Kaiju movies.