Fans of Godzilla have much to look forward to in the near future. Recently, Toho has shed some light on their plans for the king of the monsters in his Japanese homeland. Lately, the Godzilla franchise has seen a dramatic surge in popularity not seen in decades. This can be credited to recent installments from both the East and the West. "Godzilla" (2014) from Legendary Pictures managed to reignite the monster's international appeal, and Toho's own "Shin Godzilla" (2016) offered a gritty take on the classic kaiju that resonated with the Japanese public. Following this string of recent successes, Toho has decided that Godzilla will be returning to cinemas in the form of a shared cinematic universe.

What does this mean, exactly?

Toho executive Keiji Ota has gone on record stating that the series will progress through the "shared universe method." This entails all of the upcoming Japanese Godzilla films being linked in continuity, much like Marvel has done with its films from "Iron Man" to "Avengers: Infinity War." The Godzilla franchise is no stranger to this format: many of Godzilla's most popular films were crossovers with over monsters that had already starred in standalone films. King Kong, Mothra, Rodan, and several other monsters stood alone before squaring up against Godzilla; through this new shared universe, films can even be led my kaiju other than Godzilla himself. Bringing classic monsters like Anguirus, Gigan, and Hedorah back into the spotlight would be a major hit with diehard fans, and it could all eventually culminate with a modern-style "Destroy All Monsters" that brings them all together for a battle royale.

If Toho really wants to win big, they should bring back everyone's favorite kaiju-fighting hero, Jet Jaguar!

What about 'Shin Godzilla 2?'

Many have stated that a supposed "Shin Godzilla" sequel has been canceled in favor of this, but that isn't the case. Hideki Anno, the film's director, has stated that he always intended for "Shin Godzilla" to stand on its own, with no need for a sequel at all. While a sequel surely would've been neat, a shared cinematic universe offers a lot more potential in the long run. Godzilla fans will need to wait a bit longer for Toho's upcoming shared universe installments, but in the meantime, Legendary Pictures has their own sequel on the way quite soon. "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" will raid cinemas worldwide on May 31, 2019.