This one's been in the works for a while, but today, it's official:  Godzilla lives again.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are set to resurrect the giant lizard for another rampage in 2012, and they're expected to announce a director shortly.  Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary, is a not-so-secret fanboy, and "Godzilla" was one of the properties he coveted from the moment he became involved in the film business.  Today's announcement is the culmination of well over a year's worth of intense negotiations, and in Variety's announcement today, Tull had this to say:

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise.  Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Tull understands the appeal of the iconic monster, and Legendary has every intention of making Godzilla one of the primary properties that they build their business around in years to come.  This isn't an announcement of one movie... it's an announcement of a new brand. 

Don't expect them to play the same sort of games that Sony and Roland Emmerich did with the miserable 1998 "Godzilla," a feeble attempt to reinvent a perfectly good wheel.  My guess is that when you see the first image of the Godzilla that Warner and Legendary put together, he's going to look exactly like the Godzilla we've known for decades now.

It's been strange watching people react to this announcement today.  Anne Thompson tweeted "Depressing as hell" as her response.  I don't get it.  For the last six months, I've been sharing Godzilla movies a little at a time with Toshi, and it's amazing how quickly the character became part of his daily fantasy life.  We ended up buying a soundtrack album released as part of the 50th anniversary of the first film, and there's something intoxicating about speeding along the freeways of Southern California with Akira Ifukube's theme playing at top volume.  I think Godzilla is pure potential for the right filmmakers, since as much as the character is a cornerstone of pop culture, the only film I would argue is truly a great movie is the original Japanese-language "Gojira."  There's plenty of juice left in the concept, as the new film "Monsters" demonstrated at SXSW this year.  If the writers and director of this new update treat it seriously and take full advantage of today's technology to drop the audience into a world where giant monsters are a real threat, it could be a sensation.  Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers are set to produce the film, while Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will executive produce.  The deal was first hinted at in August of last year, when Bloody-Disgusting broke the rumor that Legendary was circling the property, and today's confirmation of the news follows the formal closing of the deal.

As more announcements are made about this film, expect HitFix to cover it closely.  The King Of The Monsters lives, and we couldn't be happier about it.

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I'm DrewAtHitFix.