Nowadays, no blockbuster worth their salt comes complete without some sort of tantalising post-credits stinger. And ape-tastic new monster epic Kong: Skull Island leaves us with a real doozy. Here's our totally spoiler-filled discussion about what it might mean.
WARNING: CONTAINS KONG-SIZED SPOILERS! GO NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE
So what happens at the end of the movie?
With Kong having defeated the island's largest skull-crawler, the remaining survivors comprising, among others, former SAS man James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) set sail to the rescue point aboard Marlow's (John C. Reilly) man-made boat.
Pondering on the nature of what they've seen and the colossal power of the almighty Kong, with whom Conrad and Weaver formed a compassionate link, our raggedy convoy sets off into the sunset.
OK, that's it?
Aha, not so fast. Following the extensive end credits, set to Henry Jackman's rousing score, we pick up with one final interlude. In it, we see Conrad and Weaver in what appears to be a witness interrogation room, the former calling through the glass at an unknown figure.
Who should then enter but another two of the film's survivors: Monarch employees Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) and San (Tian Jing), filling in for their deceased former boss Randa (John Goodman) who was devoured by a skull crawler earlier in the movie.
Monarch is the mysterious agency dedicated to the discovery of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, or MUTOs. And before you say that acronym sounds familiar, both Brooks and San explain that Kong is not the only king around here, revealing slides of the nuclear blast that created Godzilla. Even more excitingly, they reveal slides of cave paintings depicting iconic monsters King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan.
Cut to black - and the unmistakeable sound of Godzilla's roar.
Hang on, so this Kong isn't part of his own universe?
Far from it. As part of Warner Bros' ongoing 'MonsterVerse' franchise this new Kong, the largest yet seen, occupies the same universe as the Godzilla seen in Gareth Edwards 2014 movie, although Skull Island is set some 40 years earlier at the end of the Vietnam War.
Wait... so is Kong going to be battling Godzilla?
Indeed he is, in the Godzilla v. Kong movie arriving on 29th May 2020. Production company Legendary revealed in 2015 that they had plans for a new shared universe "centered around Monarch" that "brings together Godzilla and ... King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new".
Of course, whilst this is new in Hollywood circles it should be pointed out that the two titans of the monster movie have battled it out before in 1962 Japanese movie King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Who are the other creatures revealed by Monarch during the post-credits scene?
That's what's really got everyone excited. Although knowledge of an eventual Godzilla/Kong movie wasn't exactly kept under wraps, no-one knew until now what the exact specifics were. And this little vignette appears to indicate that we'll also be treated to the presence of three other classic characters from the Godzilla universe: three-headed King Ghidorah, winged Rodan and giant moth, Mothra.
These three 'kaiju' (Japanese for 'strange beast') are almost as popular within their own respective realms as Godzilla is, having made regular appearances in the latter's movies. If they are to turn up it seems Kong might have his work cut out...
So are Monarch the bad guys?
Well it's definitely true that both Brooks and San kept their knowledge of Godzilla well hidden from the rest of the characters during the movie, perhaps indicating they've got dubious motives. Not to mention that the late Bill Randa was unapologetic when he admitted that the journey to Skull Island was not about a geographical survey but about discovering Kong for himself, the end result being a multitude of deaths that enraged Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson).
Will there be any character continuity between Skull Island and Godzilla v Kong?
Doubtful. After all, 40 years is set to elapse between the end of Skull Island and the events of the Godzilla movies, meaning much older incarnations of Hiddleston and Larson's characters, unless of course Godzilla v. Kong was to take place chronologically in-between.
2020 is too far away! Do we really have to wait that long?
Hold your horses, or rather, your giant apes. Arriving before the Godzilla v. Kong movie is Godzilla: King of the Monsters, picking up the continuity established by Gareth Edwards' hit monster blockbuster. Directed by Krampus director Michael Dougherty and starring Stranger Things sensation Millie Bobby Brown, it arrives on 22nd March 2019.
Enough information for you to take in? Well don't forget to book your tickets for Kong: Skull Island and embark on the first stage in this gargantuan franchise journey.