Sometime around 1992, The American movie studio got the fights to use the Godzilla character. Director Jan de Bont (the director of Speed and Twister) along with writers Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott (known for Aladdin and The Mask of Zorro) where they had several ideas for their take on how to depict the Godzilla character and what the story was going to be about. Godzilla’s origin in the film was completely different from previous incarnation since Godzilla in this film would have been a bio-weapon created by an ancient alien civilization of to protect earth from alien invaders at was but in suspended hibernation. The movie had a decent budget since the film crew required the assistance of special make-up effects creator Stan Winston who worked on films such as the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, the Hish-Qu-Ten from the Predator films, and the various Terminator models from the first few Terminator films.
The main story revolved around a group of scientists who go to Alaska and find a giant creature (which turns out to be Godzilla) frozen in a state of hibernation. At some point the creature would of awaken unintentionally killing the group of scientist with the exception of one (the main character) and proceed to head out towards Japan. While there the creature would go on a rampage, one of the survivors calls the creature Godzilla since the survivor recognizing him from an ancient Japanese legend depicting Godzilla fighting another monster called the Gryphon. 12 years pass and the two survivors get roped into military operations and proceed to figure out a way to stop Godzilla. At some point in the script an alien object would appear at Lake Apopka and absorbs a whole colony of bats turning them into 12 foot creatures that would go out and find other animals to absorb in order to get bigger. Thought a series of events Godzilla would end up attacking San Francisco and get captured. The military would transport Godzilla near New York where it would battle the alien menace now dubbed the Gryphon and the two monsters would fight it out in New York City as predicted in the Japanese legend. Godzilla would end up killing the creature and go back to the ocean.
So one hand this sounds like a movie that would have been an interesting sight to see in theaters of 1994. When the script was done, Jan de Bont requested a huge budget for the movie; however the studio didn’t give them the budget that they need to make the film. Sometime later the script was reworked and the studio wanted to have something that was more among the lines of the dinosaurs that were seen in Jurassic Park. Tri-Star got Roland Emmerich of the Independence Day to take over the project. The result was the 1998 release of Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick. When the film hit theaters, the film didn’t do too well at the box office and many film critics and Godzilla fans responded negatively to the film. The Godzilla fans really the hated both the movie and the overall depiction of the Godzilla. Godzilla in the 1998 film looked more like one of the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park than the giant dinosaur that so many fans were used to seeing. Stan Winston’s final design from the original script looked more the Toho counterpart than what the Americans had created. Shortly after words an animated TV show was created which got overall good reception from the Godzilla fans than the film which it was based on, bearing more resemblance to the original Godzilla fans were familiar with from firing his trademark atomic ray, being durable hide, and fought other giant monsters that the live action incarnation lacked.
With the release of the 1998 movie, Toho really didn’t like the American depiction of Godzilla. So the studio decided to retaliate in one of three ways. The first was by bringing Godzilla out of retirement. In 1999 after the 1998 film, Toho released Godzilla 2000 where Godzilla would battle a UFO that turned into a deformed Godzilla clone called Orga. This kicked started the new era of Godzilla films called the Millennium series. This series of films was completely different from the two series before it since it was more of an anthology series of films where each film (with the exception of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) is set in its own timeline and follows-up the events of the original 1954 Godzilla film, but ignores the events of the Shōwa and Heisei eras. Also like the Heisei series not many newer monsters were introduced, if there were any most of them were either based off preexisting monsters, or Toho decided to reintroduce fan favorite monsters like Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla.
The second way Toho retaliated was talking about the monster’s attack on New York City in the beginning of the 2001 movie Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack; with the American experts believing that it was the actual Godzilla while the Japanese don’t. The third way Toho decided to retaliate was to just straight up buy the American Godzilla and just call him Zilla only to kill the creature in Godzilla: Final Wars. Sometime later IDW would get the rights to use various Godzilla monsters for their run of various Godzilla comics. In the first two issues of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Godzilla ends up fighting a new monster which turns out to be Zilla. However unlike the movie counterparts, Zilla puts up more of a fight against Godzilla than he did in Godzilla Final Wars.
After the release of 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, just like the Heisei series Toho decided to retire the character again for a 10 year period. When the character went on retirement again, there was a rumor making is rounds on the internet that Yoshimitsu Banno (directed 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah) had secured the rights from Toho to make a 45 minute IMAX 3D film in which Godzilla would of fought against a creature called Deathla which was a monster that looked like a maroon colored Hedorah with a skull like face. The film was supposed to come out in 2009 but this only lead to the development of Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla film.
With the release of the 2014 Godzilla film, it celebrated Godzilla’s 60th anniversary. While 1998 Godzilla movie was universally hated film among both film critics and Godzilla fans. With the 2014 film there seems to be some mixed options. However the results of Americans making a Godzilla movie are a lot better this time around. Granted not everyone liked the movie but it was redemption for American that screwed up the beloved radioactive dinosaur. This movie also had an interesting build up as well since the new Godzilla film brought out a lot of the older fans. Garith Edwards himself a Godzilla fan only though there were a low number (like 100 people) of people who liked Godzilla as a whole. When the film was first announced, Godzilla fans all over started to come out of their hiding holes. Like a lot more people than the director thought of.
Also looking at the 2014 Godzilla movie, it does contain some elements from the original script from when Jan de Bont, Terry Rossio, and Ted Eliott were making it. At one point in the movie Godzilla arrivals and the military fight him off at the bridge in San Francisco. During the climax of the film, Godzilla killed the other monster by shooting his atomic ray down the other monsters throat bursting through the neck, severing the head from the body. And the fact that Godzilla been on Earth for so many years decided to appear once again to protect the earth from an oncoming theat. When the Americans first meet Godzilla, he was in a state of hibernation in Alaska, but with the superman reboot Man of Steel coming out the year before it basically has a scene were we see Clark Kent goes to the fortress of solitude in a winter landscape where a group of scientists investigating the space ship. The scene was cut out of the script. Also with the success of the 2014 film, Legendary is slated for a 2018 release which will feature other Toho monsters from Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah which sounds like it’s going to be a remake of Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster. Legendary actually planning to do a King Kong spin off called Kong: Skull Island. All leading up to the 2020 release Godzilla vs. King Kong, a movie that’s 58 years in the making. With the success of the 2014 American Godzilla film, Toho decided that it was time to bring the their beloved icon out of retirement for a summer 2016 release Godzilla Resurgence kicking off a new generation of Godzilla and and other giant monster films.