When the dust settles after Godzilla and King Kong's giant-sized brawl, moviegoers will know which one of them is the real King of the Monsters. However, we won't know what comes after this epic kaiju showdown, because Godzilla vs. Kong, out in theaters and on HBO Max tomorrow, does not have a post-credits scene, so there's no teasing what comes next. Director Adam Wingard says there's a reason for that — two reasons, really.
SPOILER WARNING: This story contains mild spoilers for Godzilla vs. Kong.
"We actually shot a post-credits scene but then we ended up using it in the movie," Wingard tells SYFY WIRE. He won't reveal which scene it was, explaining only that it was "one of those things where we shot it as one idea, and we got into editorial and realized 'we need a moment at a certain point in the movie,' [so] we ended up taking that footage and using it in a different context in the movie and it really, really worked for us."
So, in a way, if you watch Godzilla vs. Kong, you'll see the post-credits scene. It just comes before the credits.
That said, there's perhaps a more important reason why Godzilla vs. Kong doesn't have a post-credits scene. As perfected by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-credits often serve as a tease for the next movie in a franchise. The Monsterverse's previous post-credits scenes accomplished this. Kong: Skull Island's showed cave paintings that teased Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah's debuts in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (along with an early Godzilla vs. Kong tease), while King of the Monsters' revealed what happened to Ghidorah's severed head, which goes on to be an important plot point in Godzilla vs. Kong. The new movie doesn't have a post-credits scene because it doesn't have anything specific to tease — at least, not yet.
"I think it's 100 percent the right choice [not to have a post-credits scene] because this is the crossroads for the Monsterverse," Wingard explains.
Legendary, the studio behind the Monsterverse, hasn't confirmed any additional movies in the franchise after Godzilla vs. Kong. Presumably, this has something to do with King of the Monsters' relative underperformance. While Godzilla (2014) and Skull Island each made more than $500 million at the box office, King of the Monsters underperformed to the tune of $200 million — not a total disaster, but certainly a disappointment. It stands to reason that Legendary and Warner Bros. are waiting to see how Godzilla vs. Kong does before committing to making more Monsterverse movies.
"Audiences have to vote if they want to see more of these or not. If people show up and like the movie, then there will be more," Wingard continues. "I think it's better not to box ourselves into any corners, because ultimately, going forward, these movies need to be calibrated by what people like about the films. Not in a tired studio kind of way, but in a realistic, grounded 'what are people responding to? What are they responding to?' [kind of way]."
It remains to be seen how Godzilla vs. Kong performs at the box office — and the home box office, given that the pandemic pushed the film's release back by a year and then also prompted Warner Bros. to release it on HBO Max for no additional charge on the same day it debuts in theaters. However, should audiences vote with enough numbers and enough force to convince the powers that be that making more Monsterverse movies is a worthwhile investment, Wingard has some ideas where the franchise can go from here. Of the four films, Godzilla vs. Kong is already the one that's the most monster-focused. They drive every plot point and the humans follow. Wingard thinks that could be the direction possible future films take.
"If there is a sequel, we're going to get less into a human storyline and more of a hyper-realistic animated movie kind of vibe to these things," he predicts. "I think we can start leaning more into the monsters."
Godzilla vs. Kong premieres in U.S. theaters and on HBO Max, where it will be streaming for one month, on March 31.