Strap in, kids, this is going to set up quite the Kong-frontation between King Kong and King Kong. Deadline revealed that the iconic ape is heading to Disney+ for a new live action series from James Wan’s Atomic Monster and writer Stefany Folsom (Paper Girls). Yes, that is in addition to Warner Bros.’ upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong sequel from Adam Wingard due out in 2024—as well as Legendary’s Monsterverse Kong: Skull Island animated series that’s set for Netflix, release date TBD. Oh—and those Kong rides at Universal Studios based on the Peter Jackson film.
Deadline shared a description of the Disney’s King Kong show, which will be “a serialized action/adventure drama that brings the classic monster story into the modern age, with a return to Skull Island and the dawn of a new Kong. The series will explore the mythology of King Kong’s origin story and the supernatural mysteries of his home based on IP from Merian C. Cooper’s original books and the new King Kong novelizations by Joe DeVito.”
Disney steps up as a new player in the ring for the Kong project rumble. How, you may ask, is this even a thing when Cooper’s 1933 film won’t be in the public domain until 2029? Well that’s because the film, theme park rights, and television rights are all over the place. As Comic Book.com has reported, there’s a loophole that’s freed up Kong for the taking in the form of the novelization of Cooper’s King Kong movie: “In essence the rights to King Kong seem to boil down primarily to the fact that the various interpretations of the character are owned by the company that produced them and that the novelization of Kong being in the public domain frees him up to adaptation by anyone as long as they go off of that book.”
As Deadline notes, this new King Kong show is being made in cooperation with the Merian C. Cooper Estate, which has teamed up with artist DeVito to produce new novelizations that will be used as source material for the series, along with the original book. So Universal, Legendary, Warner Bros., Toho, and now Disney have their own Kong. Maybe he’s the original king of the multiverse.
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