After 50 years and 27 films, Godzilla is to retire after the latest instalment, Godzilla: Final Wars, which is scheduled for a December release.

Toho producer Shogo Tomiyama explained that the studio made the decision to retire its most famous character in the planning stages of the new film. "We could not make a truly new Godzilla, one that no one had ever seen before," Tomiyama explained.

Toho intends to go all out with the last instalment, featuring ten well-known monsters, as well as a new creature, dubbed Monster X. So far the 27 films in the franchise have attracted 98.3 million cinema-goers. The aim is to break the 100 million admissions mark for the total series, which means achieving at least 2 million. The record for a single instalment is held by the 1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra, with 4.2 million

Action specialist Ryuhei Kitamura (Alive, Versus, Azumi, Sky High) is slated to direct the new film.