Godzilla: King of the Monsters is going to earn its grand title, with three classic Toho creatures - Rodan, Mothra & Ghidorah - making their Hollywood debut. In Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla, the nuclear lizard faced down against the M.U.T.O.s, an original creation for the Warner Bros/Legendary release. The sequel, however, is kicking things up a notch.
Rodan, Mothra & Ghidorah are icons that sit just below Gojira in the pantheon of classic Kaiju movies, with each playing a key part in Godzilla-creator Toho canon. That the trio would be appearing in King of the Monsters - their first time in a West-produced movie, was confirmed all the way back in 2014, with them each subsequently teased during Kong: Skull Island's post-credits scene (that film also part of the MonsterVerse, which is building towards 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong).
Now, though, we've got a proper look at the reimagining of these creatures in the first official trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as well as in several marketing materials since its release. Gojira is undoubtedly the star of the show (along with Millie Bobby Brown, once again taking on terrifying giant creatures), but what's got everybody talking is the new MonsterVerse additions - awoken to stop a human-made cataclysm. Here's everything we know.
The least famous of the trio, Rodan is very much a counterpart to Godzilla; like the King of the Monsters (though Ghidorah could be the real King of the Monsters for now), he serves as a symbol of the pervasive nuclear threat in 1950s Japan, in his case, from the Soviets. As his name subtly suggests (it's a contraction of Pteranodon), Rodan is a prehistoric, flying monster with a beak-like snout; essentially, he's your typical flying kaiju. In the classic Toho run, he started life as a foe, but over time became an ally to Godzilla, helping him fight the likes of King Ghidorah - something he's expected to do again here. It's possible that Rodan may end up on Godzilla's side in the fight against Ghidroah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, even though Rodan and Godzilla have fought each other before.
The MonsterVerse version of Rodan (full name: Titanus Rodan) has reframed the flying beasts to be linked to volcanos. Per the Monarch website, he's found in pyrostasis within the active Isla de Mona volcano in Mexico and known to the locals as a legendary fire demon, with a magma internal combustion system and inorganic rock scales around his skin that both act as geothermal armor and camouflage. This version is 154ft tall, with a whopping 871ft wingspan. Most excitingly, he's described as King of the Skies, just as Kong is King of the Primates. WB's MonsterVerse hints at there being multiple kings and queens in this franchise. Plus, Rodan's powers are clearly evident in a new King of the Monsters video tease.
Probably the most famous (and definitely most prominent) Toho monster outside of Godzilla, Mothra is (unsurprisingly) a giant moth - but don't let that fool you. She's a powerful being, both in terms of the adult's physical force and the larva of the species; Godzilla was once defeated by Mothra, after all. Due to the very different source creature to the rest of the monsters, of course, Mothra appeals to a different sort of fear, and has typically been on the side of humans. Mothra is often accompanied by two faries, although it's unclear if that's being translated for the MonsterVerse.
What we do know about Godzilla 2's take is that Mothra (Titanus Mosura) is smaller than Rodan but has a comparable wingspan - 52ft tall, but 803ft wide - and is found in a chrysalis state in the Yunnan Rainforest by Vera Farmiga's Dr. Emma Russell. Described as Queen of the Monsters and worshipped as a goddess, this Mothra looks to have brought over both the multi-stage evolution and her glowing, "god ray" wings. Perhaps more of Mothra's backstory will be uncovered in Godzilla 2's prequel novel, which may cover the aforementioned fact that Mothra appears in multiple forms in the Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer.
Unlike the other creatures, King Ghidorah is pretty much an out-and-out villain. A three-headed, golden dragon, Ghidorah's debut movie put him against Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra, something we're likely to see again in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In fact, it seems WB and Legendary have been using Monarch's website to subtly introduce old Godzilla movies into canon (including one of Ghidorah's original defeat at the hands of Gijora). Aside from the massive size of the monster, Ghidorah has a strong set of powers, including energy shields, gravity beams, and more depending on which iteration you're dealing with.
The MonsterVerse Ghidorah (known to Monarch as Monster Zero, who may look different compared to Ghidorah's classic design) is an absolute beast. At 521ft tall, he dwarfs even Godzilla (who stands at a mere 355ft tall), and has a wingspan so big it hasn't even been confirmed yet. His powers appear to be predominantly electrical, with scales that conduct bioelectrical currents and it suggested that, should Ghidorah fly "the stratosphere would be torn open by an otherworldly tempest of thunder and lightning our sky has never seen". Monarch finds the creature frozen in the Antarctic, but there's reportedly traces of it across all manner of ancient civilizations. An easily beatable M.U.T.O. (or, Titans, as they're known in the MonsterVerse) he is not.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020