In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the legendary kaiju (or Titan, as they're known in the MonsterVerse) will face one of his greatest enemies – King Ghidorah. But this new monster-fest from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. is far from the first time the two creatures have squared. No, while it's certainly the first time an American production has managed to bring in some of Godzilla's beastly brethren, Ghidorah and the other Titans have a long history stretching right back to the '60s.
Their meetings tend to involve massive fights, with a lot of destruction, and 'Zilla obtaining victory by a slim margin. King Ghidorah has consistently been one of the toughest adversaries for the big G, the three-headed dragon usually requiring every trick in the original kaiju's arsenal.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters looks like it's largely re-treading the first meeting between the two, bringing in Rodan and Mothra for good measure. Here's a look at the storied history the two Titans share.
- This Page: Godzilla And Ghidora's Previous Battles
- Page 2: What To Expect From Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Godzilla And Ghidora's Previous Battles
The first time King Ghidorah appeared was in the aptly titled Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, in 1964. After previous sequels Godzilla Vs. King Kong and Mothra Vs. Godzilla made bank, a plan was put in motion by Toho producer Tomyuki Tanaka to cash in as quickly as possible with something even bigger and bolder than before. Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan would be involved, and another new calamity, Ghidorah, would be introduced as a means of making things bigger and bolder than had been seen previously.
The narrative twist was that Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla would be forced to work together in order to protect the earth from falling to Ghidorah. After the original Gojira, these movies swiftly got very goofy and cartoon-y. For instance, after Ghidorah springs forth from the meteorite egg that brings them here, a larval Mothra intervenes during one of Rodan and Godzilla's many squabbles to talk (literally talk, subtitles and all for us human viewers) them into joining forces to stop the three-headed behemoth from razing the planet. They refuse at first but after Mothra nearly kills herself trying to fight Ghidorah alone, they decide to help.
The ensuing three versus one is a bit daft by today's standards, though it was epic for the period. They fight over a mountain-range, allowing for a destructive environment without a massive human death toll. Ghidorah is gradually worn down before one last big offensive move puts him away – Mothra, surfing Rodan's back, disorientates him with her silk and Godzilla picks him up by the tail and launches him off a cliff. Ghidorah then flies off into space, setting up the possible return while peace is restored on earth.
Since then, King Ghidorah has been involved in eight installments of Toho's Godzilla franchise. Toho created several kaiju flicks a decade, so the reasoning behind the attacks and conflicts became relatively formulaic over time. Aliens invading and using mind-control is a common theme, as seen in 1965's Invasion of Astro-Monster, which only ends with a short skirmish between Godzilla, Rodan and Ghidorah, and 1972's Godzilla Vs. Gigan, where Godzilla is joined by Anguirus, a prehistoric dinosaur, to stop Ghidorah and Gigan, another Godzilla-like monster. After Ghidorah's first appearance, Godzilla becomes established as a guardian of earth against invading threats, an idea Legendary's Monster-verse is using from the outset.
For many of Godzilla and Ghidorah's bouts, other monsters are involved, both to make Ghidorah's threat seem more pronounced and because, well, who doesn't love a bunch of monsters fighting? There is one instance where the two had a slobberknocker of their own, Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah from 1991. This is a weird film, emblematic of the strange period Toho was going through. There's time travel, and a mecha King Ghidorah, and Godzilla is re-established as a supreme danger to Japan and the planet, a new rampage foretold by travelers from the future. And both the Ghidorah and Godzilla featured are literal remakes, manufactured by said time traveling scientists using nuclear weapons. Weird, right?
The important part is that Godzilla and the three-headed rival meet and have a huge battle in Tokyo, during which they're seen to be evenly matched until Ghidorah's middle head is destroyed thanks to Godzilla's atomic breath. Then the aforementioned mecha-Ghidorah is deployed, and while Godzilla is beating it down, they're both scooped up and dropped into the ocean by the time-travelers from the future. 2001's Godzilla, Mothra and Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, the last appearance of Ghidorah, also features the king of the kaijus taking on and defeating two forms of the multi-headed beast (in another wishy-washy set of plot devices), with fiery atomic breath once again proving the winning advantage.
Page 2 of 2: What To Expect From Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020