The latest trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters seems to confirm that King Ghidorah comes from space, making the monster's original origin story part of MonsterVerse canon. The three-headed monster, one of Godzilla's oldest and fiercest foes, is making its Western debut in the multi-kaiju sequel, and one of the biggest questions for fans has been what will be carried over from the various Japanese incarnations of the beasts.
Depending on the era, many of Toho's kaiju have different backstories. The creatures have been re-invented over and over to coincide with shifting ideas for tone and narrative. King Ghidorah, in this case, has three: crashing landing on earth from space; being created by future terrorists; and being an ancient guardian of earth that has lay dormant for centuries.
The newest trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters includes a very specific shot (at the 1:44 mark) of what looks like a meteor hurtling through Earth's atmosphere. The golden hue and lightning in the clouds around the falling object make it almost certain that this is Ghidorah, whose wingbeats are so powerful that they can cause enormous and devastating electrical storms. This detail points to Ghidorah's origins as a planet-hopping destroyer in its 1964 debut, King Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster. In that movie, the Rainbow Serpent crash lands on earth after near-totally wiping out the population of Venus, with Venusian refugees warning earth that the same will happen here if it isn't stopped. Luckily, Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra put their differences aside to make sure the only creatures that get to stomp on Earth's cities are them and see Ghidorah off.
It looks like Ghidorah's MonsterVerse origin will follow a similar route - albeit without the alien refugees having assimilated into our society for years without detection. That said, King of the Monsters is also merging Monster Zero's disparate histories, as it's already been established that Monarch found the gigantic multi-headed superspecies frozen in the Antarctic, laying dormant in the frozen tundra. Its most recent Toho appearance, in 2001's Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, involves Ghidorah resting near Mount Fuji after being defeated by Japanese warriors millenia ago. That movie re-introduced Ghidorah as more of a hero character - a guardian of Japan that would answer the call when the country is in danger.
Going even further, the Monarch website has teased that this universe's Godzilla and Ghidorah are old foes, with a hints that tie into previous Toho bouts of theirs. Having a criss-cross of different Toho approaches to the kaiju is a smart way to take writing liberties while acknowledging the breadth of the history these things have. A kaiju coming from space is as good an explanation as any for how it got here, and having it be discovered lodged into a glacier is a functional way to introduce the creature in a way that stays somewhat “down-to-earth”. It doesn't hurt that human meddling then becomes the catalyst for unleashing the destroyer on the planet, hammering home the theme of man-made climate change being one of our greatest follies.
The rest of the footage gives our clearest look at the three-heads of King Ghidorah, too, including the climactic shot of Ghidorah and Godzilla making a go for each other. Sure enough, as we've been told, Ghidorah is the biggest Titan we've seen yet, and sure to be more than a match for Godzilla.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020