King Kong’s upcoming Netflix anime show Skull Island shows the limits of his MonsterVerse story. The giant ape was brought into the MonsterVerse with the franchise’s second film, as Kong: Skull Island told his origin during the Vietnam War. The movie was a decent hit for the series and helped launch a new wave of Kong-related stories. But instead of making a sequel movie, Kong’s future lies with an animated series.
The expansion of the MonsterVerse will continue with Skull Island, which has been described as an anime series that will tell the next chapter in Kong’s story. It is not yet confirmed when the show takes place in the MonsterVerse timeline, but it is expected to precede the present-day stories of the Godzilla franchise and the eventual showdown that happens in Godzilla vs. Kong. This is largely based on early plot details that describe Skull Island as the adventures of characters who are shipwrecked at the home of Kong and other monsters. Unless the show plans to not include Kong, though, it is another example of how limited the ape’s story is in this shared universe.
Skull Island following a group of shipwrecked characters on Skull Island will be the third time the MonsterVerse has told such a story already. The 2017 Kong: Skull Island movie included a large ensemble of characters who became stranded on Skull Island after encountering Kong. The film helped establish Kong’s origin and made him the alpha of Skull Island by its finale. Since Kong continued to live on the island, though, the MonsterVerse told a similar story in the prequel/sequel comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. The story followed a group of scientists, led by the son of Houston Brooks, who crash land on Skull Island in 1995. It evolves from there to once again depict Kong as the island’s protector amid conflict between the stranded humans.
Even though most are only familiar with Kong: Skull Island and didn’t read the prequel/sequel comic, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the upcoming anime series is telling a similar story again. This is the direct result of Kong’s MonsterVerse story being extremely limited so far. The movies established he is born there, and there is no sign that he left the island ahead of Godzilla vs. Kong. That means any Kong story set in the MonsterVerse has to take place on Skull Island. And with the need or desire to have human characters involved, that only leaves storytellers with a single option: having people get stuck there. It’s an unfortunate side-effect of the shared universe model, although hopefully Skull Island can have some ingenuity with its story to differentiate itself from past Kong stories.
The limits of Kong’s MonsterVerse story could be mostly removed in the near future, even if Skull Island decides to tell a similar story as before. It is clear that Godzilla vs. Kong will take Kong off Skull Island and put him in various places around the globe. This will seemingly include Kong exploring Hollow Earth. Once Kong begins to travel through the subterranean world, that opens the door for him to go just about anywhere in future MonsterVerse adventures. His story will be dependent on how Godzilla vs. Kong ends, but it’s clear more Kong content is coming. Now we’ll have to wait and see if future stories after Skull Island can break the established mold.