Do you hear that? Steadily stomping its way toward theaters? It’s Godzilla Minus One, Toho’s first new Godzilla movie since Shin seven years ago. Has it really been seven years? Yes it has. Let’s not dwell on that.
Anyway, I’ve been a little out of the loop on things, so I thought we’d take a look at some of the rumors out there about this enigmatic latest entry into the Godzilla series – and if what I’m hearing is correct, it’s going to be pretty intense. Also, just so you know, this post is potentially very spoiler heavy, starting right now, so turn back if you’d prefer to avoid reading anything that might even possibly be true.
We don’t know if it is! But it could be!
We’ll get started with the big G himself and a couple promo images Toho released earlier this month. Gojira is looking pretty chunky here! He’s got his usual dorsal fins and a very snake-like tail going on. He also looks very agitated, which if certain information is anything to go by, plays a pretty big role in what we’ll see in Minus One.
A big potential leak that’s been floating around for a while, along with a few clues from merchandising, points to a story that’s very much a re-imagining of the original 1954 Gojira.
We know this much from the trailer: This isn’t your Earth’s Savior Godzilla. There are a few changes, of course. In a nutshell, the story focuses on a young Serizawa, whose parents both perished, one from the atomic bomb in Japan. Godzilla is awoken from those blasts – unlike from the testing of underwater bombs in the original Gojira film. But there’s a twist, allegedly. And that twist is: Two, there are. A mutant and a…mostly natural whale-like version of Godzilla.
You read that correctly! When you hear that Minus One might be a retelling of Gojira, it’s easy to imagine what that might entail. Serizawa, the Oxygen Destroyer (also mentioned in this “leak”), and everything that goes with that. But then, if you hear that Godzilla will have an aquatic, smooth-skinned giant whale friend, things start to sound a little different.
But it all adds up to a drama between a now-mutated Godzilla, scorched by an atomic blast, and his more natural, unmutated brethren. After Godzilla wrecks havoc on the surface of Japan, Whalezilla arrives to pull him back into the sea where he belongs. But Whalezilla is defeated, and returns alone. From there, things play out similarly to the original film, with Godzilla continuing his rampage and Serizawa – reluctantly working with the Americans he blames for everything – trying to figure out how to defeat him.
That is, until those final moments involving the Oxygen Destroyer, the weapon that destroys all life in the ocean around the area it is used. As Godzilla and Whalezilla fight their final battle, Serizawa unleashes the Oxygen Destroyer on them. But despite their differences, Whalezilla throws Godzilla out of the way, sacrificing himself. Godzilla lives to raid again.
Is any of this accurate? Maybe! A separate leak involving a second figurine being released by Bandai Namco might very well suggest the existence of another monster in Minus One. Is it Whalezilla? Let’s hope? In fact, if you look at the Minus One logo, with that swooping silhouette of a tail – is it stylized, or is that actually the tail of the second whale-like Godzilla? And even the name Minus One. There could be a double meaning to that…
Since those leaks, we actually haven’t heard much else. Discussions on the Godzilla subreddit seem pretty tepid about the idea of Whalezilla, though many think the plot at least sounds interesting. Even so, the leak in question pre-dates the release of the trailer, so if nothing else, it seems they got the time period correct!
Whatever happens, whether or not Whalezilla truly exists, Godzilla Minus One will release in theaters on November 3, 2023 in Japan, and on December 1, 2023 in the United States.
P.S. I asked my AI friend to give me a render of what a possible Whalezilla might look like. It’s lacking the “one large fin” that the leak suggests, but otherwise it’s…well it’s something!