Zhang Ziyi is the latest to join the cast of the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla and the third movie in the Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. MonsterVerse, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
But the Chinese actress best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha won’t just be playing monster fodder. Her role will reportedly figure prominently in the MonsterVerse, with Ziyi set to appear in future monster movie installments.
Zhang will make her first appearance in Godzilla: King of the Monsters as a member of Monarch, a “covert, creature-cataloging” organization that ties together the films in the MonsterVerse, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She joins the already cast Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Millie Bobby Brown in the sequel to the 2014 Godzilla, which is set several years after the events after the first film.
Her character is then slated to appear in future MonsterVerse installments, including Godzilla vs Kong. It seems like she’ll be playing the Nick Fury figure in this monster Avengers — which already seems more interesting than Russell Crowe’s Fury-like Dr. Jekyll in Universal’s own monster cinematic universe, the Dark Universe. (Honestly, I would probably follow Zhang Ziyi off a cliff.)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters follows Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island as the third film in Legendary and Warner Bros.’ cinematic universe of kaiju monsters — giant creatures stemming from the Japanese sci-fi film genre like Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah — as well as the iconic American cinematic monster King Kong.
At this point, audiences are starting to feel the shared cinematic universe fatigue. I delight in movie crossovers as much as anyone, but I do think that studios are overdoing it by trying to launch a franchise before a first movie even hits theaters. Superhero universes make sense — they can rely on decades of comic history and audience awareness of the characters — but movie franchises are starting to feel more like theme parks than actual films.
I may be wrong in one regard with the Legendary MonsterVerse: They’ve released two successful, enjoyable movies, and the monsters are steeped in decades of schlocky cinematic history that would be fun to bring to modern day. Though it’s obvious that Zhang will be leading an Avengers-like initiative that ties together the MonsterVerse movies, she and the rest of the humans will inevitably be peripheral to the monsters themselves. After all, we’re seeing these monster movies just to “let them fight.”
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is set to be released March 22, 2019. Godzilla vs Kong will swing into theaters in 2020.
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