We are in for more King Kong content in a new series that has nothing to do with Legendary’s MonsterVerse and will attempt to return to the character’s Depression-era roots.
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Deadline reports Disney Branded Television is developing a King Kong series using the 1933 film as a reference point along with extra canon material by novelization writer Joe DeVito who worked with the estate of Kong screenwriter and co-creator Merian C. Cooper.
Deadline says the “serialized action-adventure drama…will explore the mythology of King Kong’s origin story and the supernatural mysteries of his home.” This sounds very similar to the ground the eponymously named Netflix Skull Island anime is going to cover, but they are separate timelines.
The Disney series is being co-produced by Aquaman director James Wan and his Atomic Monster crew of Michael Clear and Rob Hackett in concert with Dannie Festa for World Builder Entertainment and Disney Branded Television.
Wan will not be the showrunner. Instead, the drama is being written and executive produced by Stephany Folsom who recently developed the Stranger Things-style sci-fi series Paper Girls for Amazon.
Folsom is also a consulting producer on two episodes of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Her other credits include the screenplay for Toy Story 4 and writing two episodes of Star Wars Resistance.
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How Disney can set up its own Kong project while he’s an Alpha Titan in the MonsterVerse might be a mystery to a few but King Kong is in the public domain. Moreover, the property is more popular than ever so Disney would want in on that fervor.
Even without the public domain, the status of the rights to King Kong are very complicated. Different aspects have rested over the years with the Merian Cooper estate, RKO Pictures (who released the ’33 movie), Universal Pictures, and Dino De Laurentiis for the 1976 remake and its sequel King Kong Lives.
Willis O’Brien, whose stop-motion work brought the creature to life for the first time, obtained the rights briefly for his unmade King Kong vs. The Prometheus which through some business chicanery turned into King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1963.
That film’s producers at Toho Co. LTD would run into legal trouble with Turner Broadcasting in the 1990s when they thought about using the ape in a film again after 30 years as Turner had a claim to the rights and likeness to King Kong at that time.
As they prep for his next reboot, this time under the Disney umbrella, Kong returns to the big screen and the MonsterVerse in 2024 when a sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong hits theaters.
NEXT: Legendary And Netflix Release First Teaser Image For King Kong Anime Series Skull Island