“Kong: Skull Island” does something remarkable, especially in the context of contemporary blockbuster, franchise films: it has fun and a real individual spirit. Even though the film serves as a connective piece of Warner Bros. larger monster movie universe, Jordan Vogt-Roberts treats it as his own, and brings his own rule book to the table. He doesn’t waste time bringing out the monster, the thrills are equally balanced by a lighter touch, and the setpieces are big, bold, and spectacular. And when it comes to the obligatory post-credits scene, Vogt-Roberts had his own interesting ideas.
Speaking with Empire, he shared his original vision for the ‘Skull Island’ stinger, and it was actually a much more direct reference to “Godzilla.”
“We shot that in principal photography. It was not shot after the fact. We had a bunch of different variations for that. There was one version of that scene where [Tom Hiddleston’s character] Conrad and [Brie Larson’s character] Weaver were on a boat in the Arctic ocean with [Corey Hawkins’ character] Brooks. Conrad and Vernon say ‘What are we waiting for?,’ and Brooks is like ‘Hold on, hold on…’ – and then Godzilla surfaces and breaks through the ice,” the director said. “But then we realized that doesn’t really jive with Godzilla, because in Godzilla, they say he hasn’t really surfaced since the atomic bomb tests. So it became this much more stripped down scene. The response to it has shocked me a little bit. It seems to be very evocative.”
Indeed, the new scene is pretty terrific, instead giving audiences a look at the monsters as cave drawings, and re-emphasizing their long, long history on Earth. It’s a great solution that proves sometimes, less is more. And so it goes with a ditched opening sequence too.
“The alternate opening that I pitched to them, the studio said: ‘No. You’re crazy. You can’t do that!’ So it’s World War II. A full squad comes to this beach. They’re killing each other – and then suddenly, this giant monkey (that looks a lot like the monkey from the last ‘King Kong’ movie) comes out of the jungle. And they just kill it. It’s dead. And you’re sitting there going, ‘Wait, did they just kill King Kong? Did they kill the hero of this film?’ And then you’d hear a roar and see a much bigger creature – the real King Kong. That was the crazy version of me wanting to send a message that this isn’t like other King Kong movies that you’ve seen. The studio were like: ‘You can’t do that,’ ” he explained.
Vogt-Roberts still got his WWII opening, and his monster too, though King Kong isn’t fully seen until later in the movie. Check out the full talk with the director below.