Rodan is one of the several new Titans joining the MonsterVerse in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The fast-flying kaiju has a rich history in Japanese monster movies from Toho that goes all the way back to the 1950s, and his history in Western cinema is only getting started with Legendary Entertainment's MonsterVerse.
The long-awaited sequel to Legendary's 2014 film, Godzilla, pits the alpha predator against three new monsters: King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra. Like Godzilla, the three kaiju are owned by the Japanese studio, Toho, which is why they haven't been adapted into Hollywood movies before (despite their standalone Toho movies having released in the United States). In 2014, Legendary announced that they had acquired the rights to King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra, thus making it possible for more Toho creations to join the MonsterVerse.
King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty has already discussed adding more kaiju for a potential Godzilla 3, such as Biollante and Gigan. But all the Titans in Godzilla: King of the Monsters will clash in a battle for supremacy that could threaten all of humanity. It's unclear which Titans in Godzilla: King of the Monsters are on Godzilla's side and which will ultimately side with Ghidorah, but no matter how it all plays out, Toho fans will undoubtedly be excited to see some of their favorite monsters of all-time show up on the big screen in Legendary's MonsterVerse, of which one of the main ones is Rodan.
Rodan's Powers & Origin In Toho's Movies (Including Godzilla)
Toho's 1956 film, Rodan, was what first introduced audiences to the giant pterodactyl-like monster. In this movie, there were actually two Rodans rather than one. The Rodans are prehistoric creatures who avoided extinction by dwelling deep within the Earth. Later movies revealed that Rodan's size was the result of exposure to radiation. They emerged after being disturbed by nuclear testing. As is their nature, the two Rodans had a very close relationship. After one was killed by the humans, the other killed itself by flying into lava.
Rodan was integrated into the Godzilla universe in the 1964 movie, Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster, which brought together all four Titans now appearing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The Rodan in that movie may have been the offspring of the two Rodans, or a different creature altogether. Ultimately, Rodan went on to become a trusted ally of Godzilla, and he aided the iconic kaiju in three separate battles with King Ghidorah.
Rodan is the fastest of all the kaiju in the Godzilla movies, considering his ability to fly at supersonic speeds. His size and speed creates a destructive combination, as Rodan can level an entire city simply by flying over it and producing massive shockwaves. In combat with other kaiju, Rodan's wings are among his most powerful weapons. Flapping his wings creates winds strong enough to blow his enemies backward. He also possesses enough strength to lift up other monsters with his feet and carry boulders than can be dropped on his opponents. Rodan has also shrugged off Godzilla's atomic breath, which speaks volumes of his durability.
In the 1993 movie, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Rodan received an upgrade when he was mutated by radiation from Godzilla to become "Fire Rodan." As "Fire Rodan," he gained the ability to shoot a uranium heat ray from his mouth. This upgrade was ignored when the character returned in Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004.
Rodan's Powers & Origin in Godzilla 2 & The MonsterVerse
While fans may not know the full story of the MonsterVerse's Rodan until Godzilla: King of the Monsters comes out, the trailers for the film and Monarch's website do provide some clues to his origin. Once again, Rodan is linked with volcanoes. Rodan is currently in pyrostasis in the Isla de Mara volcano in Mexico. Also, since the cave paintings from Kong: Skull Island confirm that Rodan is an ancient - or perhaps prehistoric - Titan, it appears that the MonsterVerse incarnation of Rodan will share many details from the classic character's background, though one notable difference could be the role of nuclear radiation. In the Toho movies, radiation played a significant part in the creation of both Godzilla and Rodan. Since the 2014 film took a different route with Godzilla and made him a force of nature, Godzilla: King of the Monsters could follow a similar direction with Rodan and remove radiation from the equation.
In this year's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Rodan is referred to as the King of the Skies. Rodan earns this title with his speed and power, which is actually a point that the MonsterVerse is trying to make with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, that the ancient Titans were kings and queens of their time, thus meaning that the Earth belongs to them and not us. In the MonsterVerse, Rodan is also shown to have fire on his back, which may remind Godzilla fans of "Fire Rodan." Rodan is also called a "fire demon" in Monarch's file, which could indicate that the Titan will have fiery abilities, something that's very much hinted at in the recent trailers. However, it could be that Rodan only has this reputation because of his connection to volcanoes.
Though Rodan was always a force to be reckoned with, the MonsterVerse's version of the character is expected to be even more deadly. Dougherty has described Rodan as a "winged A-bomb" who, in some ways, is even more powerful than Godzilla himself. In the past, Rodan has served as a partner or sidekick to Godzilla, so it's not often that Rodan is portrayed as someone who could potentially surpass the alpha predator, but it's easy to see how Rodan's abilities, if used effectively, could put him on par with any other Titan. Rodan's ability to fly at supersonic speeds will likely make him a dangerous threat both to humanity, as well as to the other kaiju, in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020