Apple TV+’s ‘Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters’ Director Matt Shakman Explains How The Story Is Told, Promises New And Returning Titans
Matt Shakman, the director for the upcoming Monarch: Legacy of Monsters series, recently promised that the Apple TV+ series will introduce a number of new Titans to Godzilla’s mythos.
Speaking with Collider’s Steven Weintraub, Shakman discussed how the show brought Kurt Russel on board and how it evolved with his addition, but he was also asked about which titans from Toho he was able to use.
Shakman stated, “One of the great things about this was the chance to create new Titans, new monsters to add to the MonsterVerse. So that’s a part of it.”
He added, “Using folks that we know and love from before is a part of it. And I don’t want to say too much so that you can be excited about what you see when you watch it.”
As for what viewers can expect from the series, Shakman also relayed, “What Chris [Black] and Matt [Fraction] cooked up was exciting for everyone. It brought me in. I was incredibly excited about the story. It felt fresh.”
He continued, “I think everybody realized that when you’re telling a series, when you’re doing a drama series over 10 episodes you need to be fully invested in these characters on the ground. So their approach was really about telling a monster story from the point of view of the people on the ground, which is something that I loved doing on Game of Thrones. Like I’m far more interested in what’s happening in the Lannister army on the ground being burned up and how war is changing. It’s the same way of trying to understand what it’s like to be the people in San Francisco as the monsters go by.”
“And sometimes the movies, which are incredible, are focusing, they’re at a higher altitude. They’re dealing with Kong versus Godzilla,” Shakman detailed. “And so we needed to make characters that would pull you through that story. That you would love, and care, and be concerned about. And then also deliver the excitement of what’s happening in the upper atmosphere too, but more from the perspective of the people on the ground.”
He then reiterated, “They cracked that beautifully. They had a very fresh way in. I think everybody was excited about that from the get-go: people at Apple, people at Toho, people at Legendary. And they’re all incredible partners.”
However, at the end of the interview, Shakman did raise a pretty red flag where he detailed that they were seemingly rewriting the scripts on the fly while they were shooting the series.
He informed Weintraub, “We shot two episodes at a time. Chunks. I shot the first two and you do get an economy from doing that. You get the opportunity to be clever about how you use sets and how you focus your time. You spend your time and your money and your resources on some big things and then you are able to move more quickly through some smaller things. So we did that.”
Next, Shakman shared, “It’s impossible to block shoot or even shoot chunks of the entire 10 episode season. I think that would have been too difficult given all the complexities of it.”
Speaking specifically to the scripts, he said, “They had many, many scripts written before we started. There were a few that were still in outline form as we were starting to shoot that got written throughout the beginning part of shooting. And things are always fluid. As you say, there’s budget stuff we need to be clever or a location doesn’t work so we try to figure out a new place and reconceive a set piece.”
“So it’s a fluid thing,” he concluded.
The official description for Monarch: Legacy of Monsters states, “Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.”
The series arrives on Apple TV+ on November 17, 2023.
What do you make of Shakman’s comments about the upcoming Monarch: Legacy of Monsters series?