This weekend, Nerdist was all over WonderCon – hosting panels, filming Nerdist News, and soaking in all the cosplay, art, and news the convention had to offer. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to sit in on a few of the studio panels and see some WonderCon exclusive footage of upcoming films. Films like… Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, for example.
WARNING. The following details some spoilers about the new Godzilla movie. I mean, serious spoilers… spoilers about major events and characters. These are spoilers that are not for the faint of heart. Continue reading at your own risk.
At the Warner Bros panel, moderated by HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, Edwards himself was there to present both the badass trailer we’ve come to know and love, as well as a crucial scene from the film:
We’re somewhere off the coast of Hawaii. The power has gone out, and Aaron Johnson is stuck on a tram, reassuring a small boy. Elsewhere, a young girl stands with her family on the beach, and turns to the water. As the water starts to tremble, and pull back, her father scoops her up and notices the receding tide. A tsunami is coming!
The camera cuts to Ken Watanabe on some sort of rig, also noticing a change in the water. He peers through binoculars to reveal giant spikes moving through the waves. From above, we see a murky, MASSIVE green-blue body swim underneath the rig. (And I mean massive. It dwarfs the huge platform and takes several seconds to pass under.) Crushing another nearby ship, Godzilla makes its way for land.
A lone dog barks at the impending tsunami, tied to a palm tree. Luckily, his leash snaps and he’s off, outrunning the waves as they rip past the beach and through the city. We see the father and his daughter running, ducking into a store, and watching. On the rooftops, a team of soldiers send flares off into the air. We’ve seen this shot before – Godzilla’s body rising out of the water, illuminated by the red light. The soldiers open fire, but their tiny bullets are simply no match for the beast. Again, we see some familiar footage, as Godzilla turns a corner and disappears behind the wreckage.
Meanwhile, on the tram… The power is back, just in time for – another kaiju! It looks like a mix between a preying mantis and a pterodactyl, with long, spindly limbs and giant wings. It nonchalantly tears through the tram like it’s made of paper. Aaron Johnson responds heroically, grabbing onto the young boy as the tram is turned upside down.
The other kaiju has its way with most of the airport. We see the end of the clip from the inside of the airport’s POV – the kaiju decimates a helicopter, wreaking havoc on the planes in its way. In fact, it practically bats a helicopter away as if it were an insect itself. Then, a big foot steps down. The camera pans up, slowly revealing every inch of Godzilla. GODZILLA!
The footage received uproarious applause from the fans, and even earned a slightly rabid “Thank you!!” in the middle of a fan question. Edwards then answered a few questions, as we were obviously reeling from the second kaiju revelation. When asked which Toho creatures he drew inspiration from, Edwards slyly asked, “I don’t know if you noticed… there might have been wings on that thing? We wanted a winged animal in there, up against Godzilla…. Our inspiration was H.R. Giger’s Alien, the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, even Jaws… We kind of did an amalgamation and tried to make it like it was from one creature.”
McWeeny pointed out that Edwards’ Godzilla looks exactly like the Godzilla we’ve been waiting for. In terms of the design, Edwards explained that they built him in 3D. “I feel like the best designs in the world ever are strongest when they work as a silhouette. So like, if you saw a ‘Warning: Godzilla Crossing’ sign, everybody would know that’s Godzilla. It’s not a deer, it’s not a bear… that’s Godzilla.”
Edwards’ Godzilla design isn’t his only nod to the original film. “People like me love to come up on stages like this and tell it how, what we’re going to do is take this seriously and do this new thing no one’s done with this franchise and it’s going to be gritty and real but, unfortunately, they beat us to it 60 years ago.”
Fans of the series, take note: Godzilla looks pretty damn awesome. After listening to Edwards share his passion on the panel and watching that chills-inducing footage, I am more excited than ever to see it next month!
Godzilla premieres (finally!) May 16, 2014.