Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is an original series from AppleTV+ that expands Legendary’s Monsterverse by developing the clandestine organization whose name and iconography have been throughout the films since 2014 but has yet to be deeply developed despite Kong: Skull Island’s post-credit sequence. That said, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters dives deep into the lore, science, and history of the titular agency and kaiju themselves.
We got the chance to talk with Executive Producers, Co-Creators, and writers Chris Black and Matt Fraction about joining the legacy of the Legendary’s Monsterverse and Toho’s franchise and how they managed to balance an epic amount of kaiju and dynamic characters at the same time.
BUT WHY THO: Have you all thought about potentially being someone’s first kaiju memory? There is a very real chance that somebody may enter the Monsterverse with this series.
CHRIS BLACK: Okay, well, thanks for that burden. I mean, that would be an incredible honor. We’ve been talking about it this morning. But, like, neither of us has a specific memory of when or where our kind of kaiju awareness began. But Godzilla has always been a part of our pop culture fabric. Kong has always been there in our imaginations and memory. It was part of the great joy of working on the show, getting to carry this baton a little bit down, down, down down the road in the relay race.
MATT FRACTION: Ya know, it’s exciting. I mean, it’s funny you mentioned that. I have not thought about that because all we think about is it. It is something that seems to have existed forever. There is such a long legacy of it [existing] that how could someone possibly be coming to this for the first time through us? But if they are, I hope we do it justice. And I think we wanted to do a show that honors the long history and legacy of it. But that also tells the story from a human perspective that maybe feels a little different.
BUT WHY THO: I think one of the fantastic things about the show is being able to balance really dynamic characters and their stories against the monsters, and there are a lot here. Can you talk about balancing those two [elements] against each other?
CHRIS BLACK: That was the challenge of the show, right? We knew we couldn’t do a scaled-down monster movie. We were telling a story about people living in this world. We were telling a story about this brother and sister who discovered their father wasn’t who they thought [he was]. As they tried to unravel the mystery of who their father really was, the giant monsters kept showing up and getting in the way and interfering. And now, eventually, all of those stories are the same story.
But in our way, and for the show, as storytellers, we [worked] through these characters, and thinking about people, not like us, who maybe didn’t know all of the films and didn’t know all of the history. How do we let someone come to this completely cold? They will learn as our characters learn what all that it all means. That was part of not just the challenge, but the exciting part of the show was [that] we get to explore this in a way the [Legendary] films never have.
MATT FRACTION: We just didn’t have the resources, nor should we try to compete with the feature films. I think everyone involved with [was] smart early on and recognized that we just had to make the best version of a TV show we could.
BUT WHY THO: What do you want people to take away from it once they’re done watching the series?
MATT FRACTION: That’s interesting. I mean, I hope that they’ll take away that it was a fun ride. I mean, we wanted to take people on an adventure… Maybe it sounds a little self-serving. But it’s like, when you ride a great roller coaster and get off, you immediately want to go and get back in line again. I think if that’s the feeling we give people, that would make me happy.
CHRIS BLACK: I hope we leave people wanting more and caring about the characters, [and] wanting to see more if there’s something surprising. Here, I’ll leave you with this. If you come to the show because you want to see Godzilla, at the end of the season, I’ll be happy if you go, “I want to see more because I want to see more of the Randas.”
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters airs new episodes every Friday exclusively on AppleTV+.