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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 14:39 GMT
Final battle looms for Godzilla
Godzilla in the US movie version (1998)
The US blockbuster version was disliked by many Japanese fans
Japanese cinema favourite Godzilla's next film appearance will be his last, ending a 50-year series of 28 movies.

The giant lizard will star in Final Wars this December - ending a movie franchise that has attracted almost 100 million fans in Japan alone since 1954.

In that time, he has become an icon of Japanese culture and a global star.

But he may return if a "new generation of directors emerge or a brand new film-making method is found to create a whole new world", the film studio said.

The new film "will compile the fruits of 50 years' work and put an end to the series", according to Yukihiko Mochida, spokesman for the Toho studio.


Final Wars will feature 10 monsters from past Godzilla adventures.

They will include the new, stronger Monster X and will go on the rampage in New York, Shanghai, Sydney and Paris.

Godzilla has taken breaks from his big screen roles twice previously - once in 1975 when the popularity of television saw the number of cinema-goers fall, and once again in 1995.

The green monster was resurrected as a computer-generated creature in a Hollywood blockbuster five years ago but the $120m (65.5m) film was a flop.

The first Godzilla film featured the lizard emerging out of the sea after being awakened by a US atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific in 1954.

Up to 1,000 people per day flocked to see an exhibition on the character in Tokyo in 2002 - double the number that usually went to the Japanese museum where it was held.

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