Where does ‘Godzilla Minus One’ fit on the franchise’s timeline?

The 2023 Japanese epic kaiju release Godzilla Minus One is now available to stream on Netflix, offering a wider audience the chance to experience Takashi Yamazaki’s acclaimed modern masterpiece.

Set in post-war Japan, Godzilla Minus One follows the chaos unleashed by Godzilla and the desperate attempts of a former kamikaze pilot to defeat the monster after enduring a profound personal loss. Despite its popularity, the film has led to some confusion among fans, with many speculating about its place in the Godzilla franchise. It’s important to clarify that Godzilla Minus One is neither a prequel nor a remake. Instead, it stands as a standalone film, unconnected to any previous Godzilla movies.


Where does ‘Godzilla Minus One’ fit on the franchise’s timeline?

To be fair to the audience, the chronology of Toho Studios’ Godzilla films can be perplexing. Toho, the production house behind Godzilla Minus One and many other Godzilla films, including the 1954 original, has produced several films with intricate timelines. For instance, the Millennium Era included multiple films that each served as individual sequels to the 1954 classic.

Director Takashi Yamazaki shed light on the film’s title and its timeline in 2023. He explained:

“It is set even before the time of the original Godzilla, so in that sense it is also a ‘minus one.’ It is also a ‘minus one’ in the sense of a run-up — a pull-back [that allows you to] get back on your feet in the face of difficult times. It can also be a ‘minus one’ of losing something, and I hope that people will feel the various meanings in this film as they watch it.”

Toho’s last Godzilla film before Godzilla Minus One was Shin Godzilla (2016), the first in the franchise’s Reiwa era. Shin Godzilla was a critical and commercial success in Japan but received mixed reviews in the West. Due to a contract with American film production company Legendary Entertainment, Toho took a four-year hiatus from making another Godzilla film.

Godzilla Minus One was primarily filmed in the Japanese regions of Chūbu and Kantō, with Shirogumi’s studio dedicating eight months to the visual effects. This dedication paid off, as the film won the Best Visual Effects Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards.

Now streaming on Netflix, Godzilla Minus One invites viewers to delve into a unique and standalone chapter in the Godzilla saga, offering a fresh perspective on the iconic monster.