- MonsterVerse in Order of Release
- MonsterVerse in Chronological Order
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DCU tend to be the biggest topics of conversation among shared universes, Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment have had a pretty successful run with their MonsterVerse. The franchise updates two iconic movie monsters, Godzilla and King Kong, and has created its own mythology and recurring characters, and long-form plot developments. Different directors have come in and put their stamp on these characters, and audiences have embraced this franchise.
Updated Dec. 22, 2023: This article has been updated following the release of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire‘s trailer and the release of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters on Apple TV+.
The franchise is still going strong. A sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong is set for release in 2024, and the franchise has expanded into television with a Netflix animated series titled Skull Island and a live-action Monarch: Legacy of Monsters series on Apple TV+. For anybody looking to get in on the franchise or looking just for a good weekend binge of monster mashups, here is how to watch the MonsterVerse in chronological order or by release order if you prefer.
MonsterVerse in Order of Release
MonsterVerse in Chronological Order
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Chronologically, the first film in the franchise is the second film released, Kong: Skull Island. The film shows a team working for an organization titled Monarch, which specializes in studying giant creatures and developing a Hollow Earth theory. Kong: Skull Island takes place in 1973 (with a prologue set in 1943) and lays a lot of groundwork for the MonsterVerse franchise, establishing Monarch as an organization and how they will come to know about Kong and Godzilla.
The earlier time period also allows the film to explain how Kong can be big enough to fight Godzilla, as this is a relatively smaller version of the character that is still growing. The film’s end credit sequence fully connects the Kong and Godzilla franchise, showing cave paintings of Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, as well as a drawing of Godzilla and one of Kong’s ancestors. Buy or Rent Kong: Skull Island on Prime Video and Apple TV
Skull Island (2023)
The first animated offering in the MonsterVerse, Skull Island, is an 8-part series currently streaming on Netflix. The series is set in the early 1990s, which means it takes place roughly 20 years after the events of Kong: Skull Island and several years before the canon comic book series Skull Island: Birth of Kong, set in 1995. While both of those entries include excursions planned by Monarch, the events of Skull Island center around an accidental shipwreck of a crew searching for answers to a long-standing mystery by the team’s patriarch.
The series fills in a hole in the MonsterVerse timeline that allows the creative team behind the series to play with the mythology of the wider universe without disrupting the main events of the storyline playing out on the big screen. Stream Skull Island on Netflix
- Release Date
- May 14, 2014
The first film released was Godzilla, and the existence of giant monsters seems to be unknown to the general public in the film (although by the time of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it appears that Skull Island and Kong’s existence are known to the hoi polloi, so just when that information became public is unclear). The film sees Godzilla emerge to fight off ancient creatures identified only as MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) that are wreaking havoc and threatening the planet.
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Godzilla and the MUTO’s giant battle in San Francisco in 2014 is very much the turning point for the franchise. This is the moment where humans learn about the existence of these massive organisms and will also affect many characters moving forward. Former Monarch husband and wife duo Dr. Mark and Emma Russell lose their son in the battle of San Francisco, putting them down separate paths that lead to the event of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Stream Godzilla on Max
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023)
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters strays away from the usual carnage of large Kaiju warfare to tell a more compelling, grounded story where the human factor plays a more significant role in shaping a story that chronicles how humanity has faced the menacing presence of monsters in our world and the forces that work behind the scenes to keep the people safe. It is set in the immediate aftermath of Godzilla and will lead into the 2019 sequel.
The father and son duo of Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell, alongside Kiersey Clemons, Joe Tippett, Anna Sawai, Elisa Lasowski, and Ren Watabe, tell a story that spans multiple decades where we learn the dealings of Monarch, their secrets, and the numerous covert operations taking place across the planet to keep the monsters in check. Critics have highly praised the series, so it is looking to be another strong entry in what has become one of the best-shared universes of all time. Stream Monarch: Legacy of Monsters on Apple TV+
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters blows the door open on the franchise with more monsters and expands the mythology of the world. The monsters are now theorized to be the legendary titans of myths, the world has now learned more about their existence, and Monarch has become a more public organization.
The film introduces legendary Godzilla mainstays like King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra to the franchise. By the end of the movie, Godzilla has defeated King Ghidorah and is now the new king of the monsters, with every other titan bowing before him…except for one. The movie’s end credit scene shows how the world is adjusting to a new status quo, and one headline emphasizes various titans converging on Skull Island.
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The final end credit sequence shows one of King Ghidorah’s heads being purchased by Alan Jonah, one of the film’s principal villains and eco-terrorists who wants to level the playing field and restore a sense of balance to the Earth. Ghidorah’s head plays a major role in the next film. Buy or Rent Godzilla: King of the Monsters on Prime Video and Apple TV
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Godzilla Vs King Kong
The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.
- Release Date
- March 31, 2021
The event film that everyone was waiting for was Godzilla vs. Kong. Set five years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2024 (and ten years since Godzilla’s battle in San Francisco), Kong is being monitored by Monarch in a dome surrounding what remains of Skull Island, as most of the island has been consumed by the storm surrounding it. The humans plan to use Kong to lead them to the Hollow Earth to discover a power source, as Godzilla has started attacking humans for initially unknown reasons.
Tech CEO Walter Simmons is using Ghidorah’s severed head to create MechaGodzilla to combat and destroy the Titans. This puts Godzilla and Kong on a collision course towards one another that will eventually result in these two legendary foes putting aside their differences to fight a greater threat.
Notably, the movie was heavily re-edited and was meant to serve as a possible ending for the franchise if need be, due to the poor box office performance of the previous Godzilla movie and the rights deal with Toho set to expire. The film ends with Godzilla going off into the sea and Kong finding a new home in the Hollow Earth, ruling over it. Stream Godzilla vs. Kong on Max
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)
While many figured the MonsterVerse might have been done after Godzilla: King of the Monsters disappointed at the box office, Godzilla vs. Kong rejuvenated the franchise and was a smash hit. This was even more impressive, considering it was released in March 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic still had many theaters shut down.
Audiences turned out to see the two legendary titans fight on-screen, and Warner Bros. began work on a sequel. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is set for release in 2024 (the same year Godzilla vs. Kong takes place) and will mark the ten-year anniversary of when Godzilla was released and kicked off the MonsterVerse franchise. In the film, Godzilla and Kong will team up to face a mutual enemy, who threatens to destroy the entire planet.
Adam Wingard will be the first director to helm two entries in the MonsterVerse franchise, as he previously directed Godzilla vs. Kong. Rebecca Hall and Brain Tyree Henry will reprise their roles from Godzilla vs. Kong. They will be joined by franchise newcomers Dan Stevens (Legion), Fala Chan (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), Alex Ferns (Chernobyl), and Rachael House (Hunt for the Wilderpeople).
If you want a closer look at what Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has to offer, you can check out the film’s trailer below. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire will release in theaters on Apr. 12, 2024.
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