Ten years. Ten years of emails, post interview questions, various studio personnel, dead ends, and hopeful leads that fizzled out has culminated into a day that seemed unreachable…


But first, a little back story: on March 18th, 2013, after a huge fan petition campaign to get original Godzilla actor Akira Takarada a cameo in the new Godzilla film was filmed in Vancouver, Canada. The organizer of the campaign, Tim Bean, shares his story below:

“On the evening of July 9th, 2010, I stood off to the side of the ball room at G-FEST’s opening ceremonies filming the convention. Akira Takarada said during his introduction that he would like a small part in the upcoming Legendary Godzilla movie.  This was shortly after some fans had done a successful petition drive to get Saturday Night Live to have Betty White as a host of the show. I thought to myself that I have no connections to anyone in Hollywood and at that time I knew very little about social media, but something in my head said, “Why not.”  I wanted to do what I could to give back to the man who had given all his fans so much over the years.  For the next three plus years I tried everything I could think of that might make the cameo happen. Eventually I found Max Borenstein on Twitter. We became friendly talking via Twitter regularly.  He passed the idea for the cameo to Gareth Edwards and Gareth liked the idea.  For better or worse never giving up eventually lead to a bit of dumb luck and my efforts paid off.  Akira Takarada was cast for a cameo in what was now Godzilla 2014. The rest is history.”

After the scene was filmed, Legendary tweeted a picture of Mr. Takarada and director Gareth Edwards on set.

A year went by and with the film’s release quickly approaching, word came that Mr. Takarada’s cameo had been cut from the film. Shortly before release, director Gareth Edwards spoke about the decision stating: “From an emotional point of view, in terms of my love of Godzilla, the hardest thing was Akira Takarada. He was in the original films and did a cameo for us on Day 1. And it felt very appropriate at the time because he played an immigrations officer who welcomes Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character to Japan. So, it was like this perfect Day 1, first shot and then when we constructed the film… Basically, there was a lot of pressure to get on with the adventure and get to the monsters as soon as you can and so lots of things came out of that part of the movie and I hung onto that until the last second and it was still deemed by the screenings — when we tested it — that we had to get it shorter and, so, that ended up having to go, which is probably my biggest regret.”

Edwards said he wrote to Takarada to explain the change.

“He’s a real gentleman, so I think he was understanding. But it’s one of those horrible things about the process,” the director said.

Upon hearing this news fans were upset and even started a petition to have Mr. Takarada’s scene be put back in the film before release.

 

In our interview with then Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, it was said that Mr. Takarada’s scene would be included on the film’s upcoming Blu-Ray along with the possibility of an extended cut of the film:
Mirjahangir: Will there be an extended cut of this (the film)?
Tull: Yes.
Mirjahangir: But like Peter Jackson style where it’s all blended in together?
Tull: Well, that’s really Gareth’s choice. There’s certainly some scenes and things you’re gonna see and it’s up to him how he wants to present that to fans.
Mirjahangir: With Mr. Akira Takarada’s part being cut, should there be a sequel, would you put him in in another capacity?
Tull: He-being involved in the movie, was a very important thing to us. It was really cool when I got to meet him and talk to him. Fans will get to see that certainly on the Blu-Ray and digital versions. But, making sure we show proper respect to the past is important to us.

On May 13th, 2014, the book “Godzilla: The Art of Destruction” was released with a set photo of the cameo footage. It was the only image aside from the photo of Mr. Takarada and Gareth Edwards that showed that the cameo existed.  (page 64)

In September of 2014, the film was released on home video without the deleted scene and no extended cut at that time materialized. Interestingly, a Korean listing for the film in a 2D and 3D two disk set has a listed bonus feature called – Threading the Needle: Editing Godzilla-What secrets lie on the cutting room floor? Director Gareth Edwards leads a one-of-a-kind tour through the deleted scenes, sequences and shots of Godzilla. (15:43)

According to the listing, the release is “out of print and no longer available from the publisher” although the bonus features of “Threading the Needle” and deleted scenes were missing upon release.

 

On April 8th, 2017, director Gareth Edwards was asked about the extended cut and deleted scenes in an interview with Collider.com:
Collider: Just throwing that out there. I wanna ask about Godzilla, Thomas Tull talked a while ago about how we might see an extended cut. Do you think we’re ever gonna get that extended cut?
EDWARDS: I have no idea. Honestly, you need to speak to Legendary about that stuff. It’s totally up to them whatever they do. I just wish them the best with the franchise because I was incredibly lucky, Thomas gave me my big shot in Hollywood and supported me the whole way, so I love everyone there and I’m excited about what they do. I don’t really wanna know because I want to see it as a fan at the cinema and have the same experience as everyone else.
Collider: Are there a lot of deleted scenes or other stuff that could make an extended cut of Godzilla, or is it minor stuff what people wouldn’t really notice?
EDWARDS: I would have thought it’s minor stuff that you wouldn’t really notice. Like making any film, there are various things that hit the cutting room floor, but there was nothing that significant.

This would be the last mention of any sort of deleted scenes or extended cut for Godzilla 2014 for a few years until a Godzilla 2014 “watch-along” on X (aka Twitter) took place on April 9th, 2020.

(Additional watch-along deleted scenes mentioned below)

South Pacific test scenes

Dead miners in a cave

Ford falling asleep to Toho movies

 

In the time since the film’s release as stated earlier, I did my best to hunt Mr. Takarada’s cameo down and  I came very close in early  2021 but the effort fizzled out. Finally, with the MonsterVerse in its 10th year anniversary, Legendary and Warner Bros. have unearthed Mr. Takarada’s deleted cameo for Toho Kingdom to exclusively debut for Godzilla fans worldwide in the highest possible quality with no studio watermarks whatsoever.  The scene will also be included on the MonsterVerse 5 film 4K set’s bonus disk with a release date of June 25th, 2024.

While the cameo is very short, you’re most likely thinking “WHY was that cut?” especially after Legendary went through the trouble to fly Mr. Takarada out to Vancouver to film the scene after a years long fan campaign to get him in the film for a cameo and a set photo of Mr. Takarada and Gareth Edwards tweeted out by Legendary after filming (the scene was the first footage shot for the film). One could make the argument that Legendary was obligated to keep the scene in the film because his inclusion was so public. When the scene didn’t make the Blu-Ray as stated in the Thomas Tull interview, fans were a bit deflated (and angry) to say the least. My efforts for the next ten years originated here as I felt it very unfair that this cameo of Mr. Takarada was to never be seen and locked away in a vault somewhere. I’m glad that now everyone can finally see this cameo which, to me is sort of a symbolic passing of the torch.

I’d like to dedicate my efforts to Tim Bean, for without whom the genesis for this cameo would not exist. Along with Tim, I’d like to dedicate and thank every person who made the cameo possible via the petition along with Gareth Edwards, Max Borenstein, and Legendary for filming this cameo. And finally, I’d like to thank every Godzilla fan out there for keeping this wonderful franchise alive for nearly seventy years and for many more years to come!

-Chris Mirjahangir