Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs. Kong, slated for a May 2020 release, has just named its director, Deadline reports. Adam Wingard, best known for his critically acclaimed indie horror breakthrough You’re Next (2011), and more recently for Blair Witch (2016), a low-budget spinoff sequel to the 1999 found footage classic, will pick up his first monster movie.
Wingard also recently finished work on Netflix’s Death Note, a live-action adaptation of the popular 2003 manga series, which will stream in August. The choice echoes the studio’s hiring of Gareth Edwards, who made a name for himself with indie horror film Monsters, to direct 2014’s Godzilla. The decision hints that Legendary’s already gritty take on the monster movie will be getting even darker in installments to come.
Godzilla vs. Kong will be the fourth film in Warner Bros. / Legendary Entertainment’s monster series, following 2014’s Godzilla, this year’s Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monster in 2019. An unrelated TV show called King Kong Skull Island, written by The Bye Bye Man’s Jonathan Penner and Stacy Title and produced by IM Global, is also coming soon.
Wingard has worked from scripts written by collaborator Simon Barrett on all of his best-known projects, but Godzilla vs. Kong has yet to announce a screenwriter. Legendary did announce an absurd roster of writers in March who would collaboratively storyboard the project and build out the future of the “MonsterVerse” franchise, pulling in Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne (Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek 4), Lindsey Beer (The Kingkiller Chronicles), Cat Vasko (Queen of the Air), T.S. Nowlin (Maze Runner, Pacific Rim: Uprising), Jack Paglen (Transcendence, Alien: Covenant), and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, World War Z, Sense8). As my colleague Andrew Liptak noted at the time, this practice isn’t entirely uncommon anymore: there’s a writers’ group tasked with keeping all of the Star Wars storylines in order, and, somehow, another is responsible for remembering and guiding the various plots of the Transformers franchise. You can think of it as a TV writers’ room, but for films that will make hundreds of millions of dollars no matter what.