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  • Writer's pictureHunter Howe Cates

Godzilla Movies That Never Got Made

Originally published on August 23, 2021

Godzilla is the King of the Monsters, but he holds two other important titles as well — the movie series with the most sequels and the longest continuously running film franchise. In the nearly 70 years since Godzilla first rose from the depths of Tokyo Bay to wreak havoc on a helpless Japan, the titanic, rampaging, radioactive reptile has taken on all comers. Godzilla's rogues' gallery includes old favorites like King Ghidorah, Mothra, Mechagodzilla, Rodan, and of course, King Kong, but there are plenty of less-famous foes as well. Godzilla's fight record includes bouts against a giant lobster, an alien sludge monster, a cyborg with a buzzsaw in his belly, a napalm bomb-spewing cockroach, Godzilla's crystalline doppelgänger from outer space, and even his clone (albeit in the form of a giant, acid-spitting rose).

With a lineup like that, is it any wonder Godzilla fans love the series so much? Yet as wild and outrageous as Godzilla movies are, they can't hold a nuclear warhead to the movies that never got made. Some of these ideas never left the writer's room of Toho Studios, while some were this close to being made. We wish they all made it to the big screen, but they can still play in the movie theaters of our minds. What are these films, and why didn't they happen? Here are the Godzilla movies that never got made!

Jan de Bont and Stan Winston's Godzilla would've been crazy good

Following Jurassic Park's record-breaking run in 1993, TriStar hoped to capitalize on "dino-mania" with the biggest prehistoric reptile of them all — Godzilla. TriStar had already secured the rights for $400,000 in 1992, and they'd hired Aladdin screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, as well as Dutch cinematographer turned director Jan de Bont, who'd just finished his directorial debut, Speed.

According to Vulture, Godzilla was the hero of this new movie, not the villain (similar to the late Showa era films from 1954 to 1975). However, for the first time, Godzilla wasn't a prehistoric monster mutated by nuclear tests but a guardian created by an ancient race to protect Earth from an evil alien chimera called the Gryphon that assumes the features of its prey (a la The Thing).

The Gryphon had the body of a big cat, the wings of a bat, and two snakes for tongues. Effects legend Stan Winston was hired to design the monsters, while a crew was sent to the Oregon coast to construct a Japanese fishing village for the teaser. Footage was shot, but de Bont butted heads with the studio, demanding $130 million, twice Jurassic Park's budget.

When "Speed" hit big, de Bont ditched Godzilla, and despite TriStar's efforts, this version was never salvaged. Jan de Bont's Twister was released in May 1996, so had that been Godzilla's spot, it would've competed for the summer crown against Independence Day, whose creators, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, finally brought an American Godzilla to screens in 1998.

The Caped Crusader vs. The King of the Monsters

"Holy radioactive reptile, Batman!" Following a nearly decade-long hibernation after 1955's grim, black-and-white Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla returned in glorious color in the kitschy kaiju classic King Kong vs. Godzilla. The 1962 blockbuster crossover spearheaded the character's transformation from his nuclear nightmare roots into a more comedic combatant throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

After King Kong, Godzilla battled Mothra and King Ghidorah to great box office success. Then, rather than create a new character, King Kong vs. Godzilla's screenwriter, Shinichi Sekizawa, penned a script that pitted Godzilla against one of the most popular characters ever — Batman.

Rather than create a new character, King Kong vs. Godzilla's screenwriter penned a script that pitted Godzilla against one of the most popular characters ever — Batman.

Not much is known about Sekizawa's Batman vs. Godzilla, but according to Screen Rant, Robin and Commissioner Gordon were supposed to show up, and Godzilla would be mind-controlled by the main villain. Batman wouldn't try to "zap" or "zonk" Godzilla with his fists, but he'd fight him with a host of Bat-vehicles, which isn't any more far-fetched than Batman fighting Superman, right?

A few months after Sekizawa submitted his draft, the Batman TV series starring Adam West premiered in early 1966, launching a wave of Bat-mania. It's unlikely Toho ever approached DC Comics, and Batman vs. Godzilla was killed. While some of Sekizawa's ideas (such as a weather-producing machine) were recycled for Son of Godzilla, the Big G battling Batman lives only in our dreams. But since Warner Brothers currently has both properties, we can pray for Batman v. Godzilla: Dawn of Awesome.

This 1980s 3D film could've been the first American Godzilla movie

There have been many attempts to make an American Godzilla movie, but the first was probably Godzilla: Kong of the Monsters in 3D in the early 1980s. According to Bloody Disgusting, Friday the 13th Part 2 and 3 director Steve Miner was finished with Jason and secured the rights for a much bigger monster, Big G himself.

Miner then hired Fred Dekker, who would go on to make cult '80s hits Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad, to write the movie. Miner and Dekker developed a story that was a cross between Jaws 3D and Gorgo. The first act features a series of attacks by a mysterious giant beast who we never see. When a massive dead reptile washes up on the shores of Mexico, authorities think they've found their culprit until (plot twist) it turns out it was only a baby Godzilla!

Daddy or Mama Godzilla is PO'd and goes on a rampage against the humans who killed his (her?) kid. Throw in a Cold War spy plot, a paleontologist, a feisty, Howard Hawks-style newspaper reporter, a Soviet secret agent, and a monster design that looks like the love child of Godzilla and Rexy from Jurassic Park, and we are so there. Sadly, the enormously high budget soured studios on the project, and Godzilla: Kong of the Monsters in 3D never saw the light of day.

Godzilla 2 & 3 would've stomped the 1998 film

History remembers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's Godzilla, (dubbed "GINO" or "Godzilla in Name Only") as a box office bomb. History is wrong. Godzilla boasted the biggest opening weekend of 1998 and made a lot of money. However, its interpretation of Godzilla as a giant, pregnant iguana that runs from the military left moviegoers underwhelmed, and its diminishing weekly returns signaled there'd be little enthusiasm for a sequel.

And that's a shame because the planned trilogy sounds pretty sweet. According to Screen Rant, in screenwriter Tab Murphy's Godzilla 2 treatment, the surviving baby Godzilla would've formed an emotional bond with Matthew Broderick's Dr. Niko Tatopoulos, who tracks the escaped creature to the South Pacific.

Fast-forward a few years and the now full-grown Godzilla has given birth to several teenage Godzillas (including one who's a loveable runt — hilarity ensues) who eventually battle an army of insect monsters in Australia. While Godzilla 3's storyline is unknown, it's speculated Godzilla would have battled monsters from his Toho rogues' gallery ("MINO" or "Mothra In Name Only"?)

Alas, Godzilla's poor reception made TriStar wary, so Emmerich and Devlin dropped out over budget disputes for what would've been a much pricier sequel. TriStar hoped to distance themselves from the divisive 1998 film, but they waited too long and lost their rights in 2003.

We wish we could've seen this superstar showdown

Godzilla and Frankenstein are two of the most famous movie monsters ever, and in the 1960s, they nearly faced off in Frankenstein vs. Godzilla. According to Toho Kingdom, in the proposed film, researchers studying the effects of nuclear radiation discover a boy wandering Hiroshima who turns out to be Frankenstein's monster.

The boy grows to monstrous proportions, killing livestock and wreaking havoc. Fearing the monster might develop a taste for human flesh, the Japanese Self-Defense Force awakens Godzilla, still trapped in ice after 1955's Godzilla Raids Again.

Following the tried-and-true military strategy of "let them fight," the JSDF lures him to face off against Frankenstein, an odd choice given Godzilla, y'know, nearly destroyed their country twice by this point. Godzilla and Frankenstein throw down, but their battle is interrupted by volcanic eruptions, which swallow Frankenstein and cause floods that wash Godzilla away.

During script development, Toho switched gears and set their sights on King Kong vs. Godzilla instead, pushing Frankenstein vs. Godzilla back to 1964. While Frankenstein vs. Godzilla never happened, the script's broad strokes became 1965's Frankenstein Conquers the World, with Frankenstein battling a burrowing, fire-breathing dinosaur named Baragon. Godzilla would've been better.

Godzilla almost fought Mothra's mutated male twin

Mothra is one of Godzilla's most popular foes, so it only made sense she would appear in Godzilla's Heisei (1984-1995) film series. And oh boy, Godzilla vs. Gigamoth is a doozy. A giant egg from a nuclear-contaminated South Seas island washes ashore in Japan.

The egg hatches, and Mothra emerges, but she's not alone. There's also a male Mothra, Gigamoth, who's been mutated by radiation. The acid-spewing, larval Gigamoth soon battles Godzilla and bests the King of the Monsters after merging with a tiny priestess ... okay then. Gigamoth eventualy lays a cocoon and emerges in his final form, battling Godzilla once more before flying away and leaving Godzilla behind.

Meanwhile, a scientist who's fallen in love with the tiny priestess develops a bacteria to kill Gigamoth. When Godzilla and Gigamoth fight again in the final act, Godzilla gets the upper hand against the big bug, who's weakened by the bacteria. All looks lost until Mothra shows up.

Godzilla blasts Mothra, who impales herself on Gigamoth's horn, combining with her sibling to form the Final Boss Mothra, who cocoons Godzilla and takes him out to sea. Got all that? Trust us, there's a lot more. Anyway, the over-plotted project was thankfully cleaned up considerably for 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra, with Gigamoth being replaced by Battra.

This freaky flick brought body horror to the Big G

Have you ever wished John Carpenter or David Cronenberg would direct a Godzilla movie? While that will probably never happen, in the early 2000s, there was almost a Godzilla movie featuring freaky sci-fi body horror straight out of The Thing or The Fly.

According to Toho Kingdom, the plot starts when an astronaut returns home to the futuristic, fictional Republic of Japan, but he discovers he's not alone, as he's been infected by a virus that mutates him into a grotesque monster the press dubs "M." Meanwhile, Godzilla returns to attack Japan, and naturally, M battles Godzilla. Unfortunately, our hero is easily outmatched and retreats to Mt. Fuji's forest. While the military fails to stop Godzilla, the astronaut's daughter discovers her father is the mysterious monster M.

M eventually reemerges to battle Godzilla, but he's again overwhelmed until his daughter gives him her life force (how does one do that, exactly?), which in turn gives him the power to beat the beast. Godzilla vs. M (it never had an official title) sounds beautifully bonkers and could've been a macabre masterpiece in the hands of Shusuke Kaneko, who'd been granted the opportunity to direct a Godzilla movie after his masterful Gamera trilogy.

Kaneko dropped the idea, thinking it was too depressing, and focused instead on Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, which is one of the best films in the entire series, despite the clunky title.

Godzilla's final fight would've been against his ghost

The theme for Godzilla 7 (the seventh movie in the 1980s-1990s Heisei series and the 22nd overall) was simple — Godzilla dies! Early in development, the team determined who would be Godzilla's "final boss," and it was Godzilla himself.

Specifically, the Godzilla killed by the oxygen destroyer in the original Godzilla, released in 1954. As a result, two concepts emerged, with Godzilla vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Ghost Godzilla.

In Godzilla vs. Godzilla, Tokyo is attacked by an unseen force after mysterious bones are discovered, which belonged to the original Godzilla, whose spirit eventually manifests into Aurora Godzilla. The modern-day Big G defeats Aurora Godzilla, whose life energy materializes into the original Godzilla's bones as Crystal Godzilla. Meanwhile, the living Godzilla is killed by a new oxygen destroyer, meaning it's up to his son to defeat Crystal Godzilla. Yeah, it's confusing.

As for the second idea, in Godzilla vs. Ghost Godzilla, the oxygen destroyer from 1954 caused time to leap 10,000 years in Tokyo Bay, destroying the original Godzilla's bones but leaving his life force (Toho was big on life forces). The original Godzilla's life force then possesses the body of Godzilla's son, becoming the devilish Ghost Godzilla.

Ghost Godzilla wants to defeat the modern-day Godzilla to become an invincible monster, while Big G must defeat the ghost to free his son. While both are interesting ideas, Toho went with Godzilla vs. Destroyah instead, having Godzilla face a monster created by the oxygen destroyer. The "evil Godzilla bones" idea was resurrected in 2002's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.

Godzilla almost got his rematch against Kong in the 1990s

Godzilla's faced King Kong for the first time in 1963, and he will again in the MonsterVerse, but according to Screen Rant, Toho actually made plans for a rematch in 1990. Following the underwhelming box office of Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1989, Toho got cold feet about original monsters and wanted Godzilla to go toe-to-toe against his most famous foe, King Kong.

To make that happen, Toho had to get permission from King Kong's rights holder at the time, Turner Entertainment. Unfortunately, the money that Turner wanted was too high, so Toho tried another route, Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong, pitting Godzilla against King Kong's robotic doppelgänger who first appeared in the Rankin/Bass 1966 cartoon The King Kong Show and then in Toho's 1967 King Kong Escapes.

Alas, Turner shut this down as well, claiming Mechani-Kong was too similar to King Kong. Toho scrapped the project altogether and instead had Godzilla face off against his famous arch-nemesis (who they conveniently owned), King Ghidorah, in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

"Bride of Godzilla" would've been bonkers

The Bride of Frankenstein is one of the best horror movies ever, despite being totally bonkers (e.g. the villain keeps homunculi in glass prisons). But according to Dread Central, Toho almost one-upped Universal in weirdness with an insane sequel to Godzilla Raids Again that never had an official title but has been dubbed Godzilla vs. The Robot Daughter and even Bride of Godzilla.

As for the plot, a mad scientist creates a robot in the likeness of his dead wife (which most grief counselors recommend you don't do). Meanwhile, Godzilla and Anguirus return to wreak havoc, so the mad scientist "helps" by creating a giant nude robot in his daughter's likeness (uh, gross) to battle the monsters.

The scientist next travels to the planet's core and discovers an ecosystem where dozens of Godzillas live, as well as giant insects, lizards, and even mermaids (one of whom the scientist falls in love with). Godzilla, Anguirus, a giant chameleon, and an Archaeopteryx battle to the surface, so the scientist sends Robo-Daughter to save the day.

She makes quick work of the others and then things get really weird. Unable to defeat Robo-Daughter, Godzilla falls in love with her and takes her on a honeymoon to the Earth's core. Sadly, Robo-Daughter is hiding a timed hydrogen bomb, which blows up, killing Godzilla and destroying the hollow Earth. If you need a moment after reading that, please, take all the time you need.

Wolfman vs. Godzilla may be the greatest fan film ever

Wolfman vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. Legendary Wolfman) is a unique entry on this list as it actually was made, but it was never an official release, and Toho even tried to bury it. In 1983, Godzilla had been on a big screen break for eight years after the disappointing box office of Terror of Mechagodzilla.

With the lack of an official Godzilla film, former Toho production assistant Shizuo Nakajima and other ex-Toho employees made an unofficial one — Wolfman vs. Godzilla, inspired by Curse of the Werewolf and the kitschy 1960s Godzilla films. In the film, a Japanese man is cursed to become, you guessed it, a werewolf, but because this is a kaiju film, he also becomes irradiated and grows to a monstrous height. Talk about bad luck. Cue Godzilla, who shows up to take this titanic lycan down.

Wolfman vs. Godzilla wasn't the typical fan film you make with your dad's camcorder and some Halloween costumes. Nakajima and team produced a full-length motion picture with actors, a script, cinematic production values, and even new monster suits. Alas, the legendarily litigious Toho shot a silver bullet in Wolfman vs. Godzilla, which never saw the light of day (or full moon in this case). The project was presumed lost for decades until a dedicated G-fan tracked down Nakajima, prompting a wave of articles and panels and inspiring Nakajima to vow to finish his fan film. Just don't tell Toho's lawyers.

Godzilla 3D to the Max launched the MonsterVerse

Toho concluded Godzilla's Millennium series (1999-2004) with Godzilla's 50th anniversary film, Godzilla: Final Wars. Meanwhile, the director of 1971's trippy Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster), Yoshimitsu Banno, had approached Toho about independently producing a 3D IMAX Godzilla film.

Toho agreed under certain stipulations, including retaining Japanese distribution rights, while letting Banno manage worldwide distribution. Godzilla 3D to the Max was set to be a short film that pitted a heroic Godzilla (not seen since the 1970s) against a swarm of plant-eating, locust-like aliens that form a creature called Deathla. The fight makes its way to America, where Godzilla emerges victorious.

Given Banno's budget reached $27 million, he needed big-money backers, and he eventually got in contact with Legendary Pictures. Legendary was interested, but they wanted to make a feature-length Godzilla film, so the studio cut a deal with Toho, with Banno serving as executive producer. While the basic plot of a heroic Godzilla fighting an insect-like monster was kept, the story was retooled considerably to become 2014's series reboot Godzilla. Godzilla opened to $93 million, eventually earning $200 million domestically and $524 million worldwide and launching the MonsterVerse franchise. Banno, who died in 2017, received an "in memoriam" credit at the end of 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

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