The story of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’s second episode, “Departure,” features director Matt Shakman’s experience and challenges in leading two major franchises into television shows. In each case, he was asked to explore existing in-universe events from a new point of view and tell intimate character stories alongside the grand scale of the Godzilla and Kong-led MonsterVerse.
Shakman’s experience on Marvel Studios’ WandaVision provided valuable insight into how to tell personal stories set against a big canvas. His work on Game of Thrones’ dragon sequences also came into play as he was tasked with introducing a dragon to Monarch: Legacy of Monsters in its second episode.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Shakman expressed his love for the sense of wonder in movies and the opportunity to work with Spielberg, Kubrick, and Nolan, capturing moments of awe, mystery, and fear in his work.
Credits to his production roles, Shakman worked on Marvel Studios’ long-awaited take on Fantastic Four. His involvement brought about rampant rumors about casting, with Pedro Pascal entering into talks for the role of Dr. Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, and Shakman teasing that there would be an announcement at some point in the future.
Regarding Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Shakman revealed that the show is similar to WandaVision in thematic aspects, as both explore multi-generational family drama, trauma, secrets, and mystery. He believes that telling a human-centric story allows viewers to fall in love with the characters and be invested in their journeys, bringing them back week to week.
In terms of working with existing MonsterVerse footage, Shakman revealed that most of the sequences were original footage created for the show, with only a small portion borrowed from Kong: Skull Island. He explained that while they had creative freedom, they consult with the film division to ensure consistency with the MonsterVerse mythology.
Shakman then discussed the unique position of directing Kurt and Wyatt Rusell’s shared role of Lee Shaw. He credited timing for the opportunity, noting that Wyatt, an established actor, might have turned down the role earlier in his career.
In conclusion, Shakman’s experience on WandaVision prepared him to bring Monarch: Legacy of Monsters to television and explore the human side of the MonsterVerse. With his work on Fantastic Four and other projects, his career continues to grow in the realm of merging blockbuster films with intimate storytelling.