'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' Star on Franchise's Significant Connection to Japanese History and Culture

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be stomping its way through theaters with not only the Western incarnation of Godzilla, but Western takes on other famous Toho Kaiju like King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan. Japanese history and iconography are bred into the DNA of the original Godzilla franchise, and this has not been lost on the sequel's star Kyle Chandler.

Speaking with ComicBook.com at a recent press event for the sequel, Chandler discussed the franchise's significant connection to Japan. But it took a couple of rewatchings for it to first hit him.

Chandler talked about watching the Godzilla films as a child, "I will say that the first three movies when I watched them I didn't watch Godzilla. I mean I saw the Godzilla movies as a young kid. But before this I didn't closely watch the first three films..." But as he got older, noticed significant changes in those films, "...the way the storytelling goes within those first three, and also being able to see what Japan looked like nine years after World War Two ended and the cultural differences seeing Japanese wearing Western clothing, Western uniforms, using Western dialogue."

He noted moments from the very first film that stood out to him, "I thought it was really interesting that in the '54 version two things just blew me away. One, there's a scene on a cable car, on a train where there's two gentlemen and there's a lady between and she flippantly says, 'First Nagasaki and now this,' you know, the idea of Godzilla, he had just attacked."

Elaborating further, "And then the other one that Godzilla, you'll notice that when he vaporizes people and they're left as shadows. So I mean, it shouldn't be lost how important this was to the filmmakers was it was doing and saying, which is sorta hard to comprehend now." The press event itself took place on a very important day in Japan as well, "...today's August 8th, between the day of those two droppings of the bombs. That's something I find very interesting about this whole deal."

But Chandler believes this blend of Japanese culture and history helped make the Godzilla franchise so long lasting, "I think what would you say, it's one of the longest-running franchises of all time. And it's just gone through so many, I mean, then you get into the mid-60's and Godzilla, they even have comedic music where he goes [sings movie theme] I mean, it just changes so much. And then this, which, this Godzilla, he's formidable, this guy. It's interesting."

Directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, among many other talents. The film is currently scheduled to hit theaters May 31 with Godzilla vs. Kong scheduled for a 2020 release after.

The synopsis for Godzilla: King of the Monsters reads as such, "The new story follows the heroic efforts of the cryptozoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance."

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