Something big rustles in the trees at Disney Plus. Disney Branded Television is developing a new series about King Kong starring James Wan and Paper Girls creator Stephanie Folsom.
The upcoming Disney Plus series with the working title “King Kong” will be an adventure drama that explores the origin of a new giant monkey and takes place on Skull Island in our days, according to Deadline. The script for the show was written by Folsom, best known for her work on Amazon Prime Video on the critically acclaimed sci-fi series “Paper Girls” and the upcoming film “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power.” Folsom is the executive producer of the series along with horror master Van (“Saw”, “The Spell”, “Astral”, “Fast and Furious 7”).
The new series about the big ape is still in the very early stages of preparation for filming, but we know that it is based on a novelization by Joe DeVito. These novels, commissioned by former 1933 King Kong director Merian K. Cooper, tell the story of King Kong’s origins and the story of Skull Island. They provide a wealth of material that can be covered by the new series, including the original story that has been told so many times, as well as the possibility of both prequels and sequels.
King Kong’s property rights are a tangled mess, as terrifying as the deepest jungle of Skull Island. The original character was created by Merian S. Cooper, who, together with Ernest B. Shodsak, shot the classic 1933 film at RKO Radio Pictures, a well-known film studio of that time. In the nearly 100 years since Cooper developed the Kong character, there have been numerous lawsuits over who owned the rights. Cooper claimed that the character and the film belonged exclusively to him, but RKO claimed the same. This led to a lawsuit in 1963 over whether RKO was allowed to license the character in Japan for Toho’s film King Kong vs. Godzilla, a lawsuit that Cooper clearly lost.
Today, the rights to the character have been scattered to the wind, and almost everyone in California claims ownership of some part of Kong. Universal, Paramount, Dino De Laurentiis company (released the remake of King Kong 1976), Warner Bros. Discovery (which released Kong: Skull Island 2017 and is rumored to be adding King Kong to its Multiverse fighting game) and Merian C, Cooper Manor is one of many where Kong is under their auspices. In addition, there is also the public domain.
“King Kong” is currently in the pre-release stage for Disney Plus.