With the mystery dissolved and a sequel to “Godzilla” officially in the works after last weekend’s $93 million haul, we can officially start to look at Gareth Edwards’ take on the monster as a jumping off point for new opponents and storylines hinted at already. However, as we discussed in our Best and Worst analysis of the film, strong characters—women especially—weren’t exactly its strongest aspect, but recently Edwards revealed that early iterations proved quite a different approach.
At a press conference in London, Edwards was asked (via The Telegraph) about the minor, sidelined roles that women play in the film—Juliette Binoche in her still affecting opening scenes, Elizabeth Olsen as wife to Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character, Sally Hawkins as assistant to Ken Watanabe—and he recounted how the film’s screenplay changed over time.
“We had a version of the screenplay that had a heroine in the film,” he said. “But you’ve got to pick a hero and we ended up with a male, and then everything supports the hero in some way.”
Edwards failed to say exactly which female character was reduced or cut entirely, instead bringing up “Alien” and “Aliens” as two of his favorite sci-fi films with strong women in lead roles. He also brought up an elusive solution for the future. “If we get lucky and there’s a sequel or anything like that, then I very much take [the criticism] on board.”
His statements were made before Legendary and Warner Bros. announced plans to move forward with a “Godzilla” sequel; however, Edwards’ statements never offer a real explanation for the poor female presence in his story, other than to point to a tradition of male heroes and place everyone else underneath those characters.
It may remain a troublesome point as Edwards enters into the next franchise installment with studio negotiations, but the director did jokingly point to one female role that has dominated the conversation. “This is probably a good time to point out that Godzilla is actually a female. At the last minute we changed [the title] from ‘Godzilla, Queen of the Monsters’…”