The 65-Year Universe Of Godzilla Explained Ahead of King Of The Monsters
Godzilla is the king of all monsters. This much is certain. But he's not the only big scary boy on the block. Who, exactly, are all the other massive, ferocious scary boys in the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and where do they come from?
The Godzilla franchise, or as its called in Japan, Gojira, is 65 years old. The series has seen countless films, comics, cartoons, video games, and toys overs its nearly seven decades, starting way back in 1954. The first film, simply titled Gojira, was directed by Ishiro Honda and was produced and distributed by Toho studio in Japan. To this day, the film stands as a testament to the enduring consequences of nuclear war and the environmental threats that human civilisation face, both manmade and natural. The picture was so thrilling and tremendously successful in its time that it spawned over 30 films and spinoffs, creating for what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the longest running film franchise in the history of cinema.
With each new film, the franchise would introduce (or re-introduce) another towering monster to the gigantic melee match. The upcoming King of the Monstersmovie (a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla)—which has a title that actually pays homage to the Americanized version of the first film Godzilla, King of the Monsters—includes many of the franchise's most beloved and iconic kaiju monsters from its rich and terrifying legacy.
Here's a history of the spiny, skyscraper-sized behemoths that are set to appear in the upcoming film.
This beautiful bird first appeared in the 1956 film, Rodan. He later flew alongside Godzilla in 1964 in the monster team-up movie, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Essentially a prehistoric pteranodon, Rodan was mutated by radiation and became the gigantic kaiju that monster fans know and love today.
He's able to fly at blazing speeds (in some cases, supersonic), and has also been known to emit Uranium heat beams from his mouth. Rodan is not always an opponent of Godzilla–in fact, the two have played nice together a bunch of times, teaming up to fight much more evil kaiju over the years. In the upcoming film, it looks like our boy first emerges from a fucking volcano. Hell yeah.
We. Love. Mothra. This radiant Queen of Monsters is pretty much self-explanatory. She's a gigantic nightmare moth. First debuting in 1961 as the titular kaiju of Mothra, she hatches from a gigantic egg as a caterpillar, and is usually a benevolent force towards nature. This goddess moth is also sometimes accompanied by twin priestesses known as the "Shobijin," who are able to commune with the kaiju via telepathy.
Based on what we've seen from the trailers for King of the Monsters, Mothra doesn't seem to have priestess friends this time, but she does look to be a good gal. In one shot, she even allows Millie Bobby Brown to touch her soft head. We stan.
Weighing in at 4000 tons (probably), Ghidorah looks to be the "alpha" of the upcoming film. And that's no surprise, because, of all the roller-coaster-sized monsters Godzilla has faced over the years, this is the only one who has "King" in his name.
An armless, bipedal, bat-winged dragon with three heads (and two tails), Ghidorah was originally from space. In the upcoming movie, it looks like that origin is changed, as Ghidorah and all the other chonky nightmare creatures seem to be early inhabitants (or rulers) of the Earth, known as "Titans." Historically, Ghidorah has been one of Godzilla's fiercest foes. He's able to fly, and shoot a fire-like beam from his mouth, and in some cases, he's even been able to ignite lightning from his wings.
MUTO stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism." This term first came about in the Legendary Pictures American reboot of the franchise, Godzilla. In that film, these monsters are just referred to as MUTO 1, and MUTO 2, and were known as prehistoric parasites that survived by preying off the other Titan species. Their size is due in part to the Earth's radiation, just like Godzilla and all of the other bigass kaiju on this list.
It's not 100 percent clear whether we'll be seeing any new MUTOs in this upcoming movie. The trailer and marketing for King of the Monsters seem to feature heavily Rodan, Ghidorah, and Mothra, but there are some sequences that seem to show other unnamed monsters from the deep. Perhaps we'll get a few more of these guys before the main Titans come into play.
You know him, you love him, he's always got Earth's back, and now he's stomping out of the ocean once again to defend our dumbass planet from very mean kaiju (who are probably creations spawned from our own environmental misdoings). Godzilla is one of the most, if not the most, well-known kaiju in pop culture history. Today, he's a household name and has appeared in countless iterations throughout his many decades of service.
He roars, he breathes fire (or some sort of atomic heat beam), and over the years he's had powers such as magnetism, superhuman speed, electric bite, and sometimes, this boy's even able to take flight.
We still don't know if we're going to see Big Daddy Kong in the upcoming King of the Monsters. It is confirmed that, in this new iteration of Godzilla, Kong and the other monsters all exist in the same universe. The last time we saw this stadium-sized ape, he was towering over a Vietnam-esque island in the fantastic Kong: Skull Island of 2017. That film had an end credits tease that revealed the government organisation "Monarch," who apparently had been tracking all these kaiju and keeping record of them over the years.
Kong first debuted all the way back in 1933, so he's set to turn 100 pretty soon. In this new canon, Kong originated as guardian of "Skull Island," and is about 100 feet tall. His abilities are very much in line with that of a gorilla, except many, many times the size.
The so-called Legendary Pictures "MonsterVerse" is set to come crashing together in 2020, with the big team-up film, Godzilla vs. Kong. Let's hope humanity survives until then, because the idea of both Kings appearing in one movie with our current CGI technology sounds fucking bonkers. All hail the King.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.