Rodan joins Warner Bros. and Legendary's Monster-verse in next year's Godzilla: King of the Monsters. A staple of the kaiju genre, the pteranodon will be making its debut in a Hollywood production, alongside Mothra and King Ghidorah. As such, many audiences will be seeing the mighty beast for the first time, unaware of the decades of history that have brought the prehistoric creature here.
Rodan has a special place in kaiju history as the first named monster to get its own movie from Toho after Godzilla and its sequel proved a huge success. And among all the different creations that have been added to Toho's canon over the years, all the many dinosaurs and alien beings and man-made mutations, Rodan, has stood the test of time as an icon of the studio and the genre. Its debut in a big western blockbuster is, for anyone familiar with these movies, long overdue, as synonymous as this thing is with Godzilla.
Throughout their time in the franchise, Rodan and the big G have shared the spotlight quite a few times. Rodan has been present for some of the biggest, most defining movies in Godzilla and Toho's filmography, sometimes battling against the king of them all, sometimes battling with them to fend off a bigger foe. They're a dysfunctional tag-team, and bringing them together for the monster-verse is a big occasion – here's a look at their relationship to date.
- This Page: Rodan And Godzilla's Past Encounters
- Page 2: What Could Happen Between Rodan & Godzilla In King Of The Monsters
Rodan And Godzilla's Previous Encounters
Rodan debuted in the self-titled movie in 1956. The sequel to Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, hadn't done as well as Toho would've liked, so they shelved Gojira in favor of expanding and telling other monster stories. Writer Ken Korunuma wanted to create something thematically similar to Godzilla, sticking to the use of a prehistoric animal that represents some allegory on our treatment of the planet. He went with the winged pteranodon, and whereas Godzilla is considered the embodiment of the American nuclear threat, Rodan is looked at as the Soviet Union equivalent.
The first time Rodan and Godzilla met in combat was a film that came later, the 1964-released Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster. This is the first of a trilogy of sorts, the others being 1965's Invasion Of Astro-Monster and 1968's Destroy All Monsters, that brings together several prominent creatures for a big slamboree. Ghidorah is Legendary's King of the Monsters biggest inspiration, and in it Rodan and Godzilla are awakened, but instead of working together they begin tearing Tokyo apart in a skirmish, eventually calling a truce and joining Mothra to stop King Ghidorah.
Invasion Of Astro-Monster carries on from The Three-Headed Monster, bringing back Ghidorah, Rodan and Godzilla for a plot in which the three of them are put under mind-control by an alien race known as the Xiliens. The trio begins duking it out before the human characters find a way to disrupt the alien mind-control devices, causing the behemoths to fight each other instead. The movie ends with Rodan and Godzilla landing in the ocean while Ghidorah flies off into space.
Having introduced aliens, one of the core recurring ideas of kaiju movies, Destroy All Monsters brings in Monster Island (or 'Monsterland'), the other narrative benchmark, wherein all these massive walking earthquakes live on a single isle on planet earth. Another alien race, this time the Kilaaks, set the creatures free and using mind-control again to piggy-back off their power to take over the planet. The film has bigger stakes than before by way of using more international locations - Godzilla attacks New York, Rodan attacks Moscow and so on. A team of UN soldiers successfully take over the Kilaak base on the moon and take back control of the kaiju, before the Kilaaks send in their secret weapon: King Ghidorah. Unable to fend off all the half-dozen strong monster squad, Ghidorah falls and Godzilla and co. make short work of the remain Kilaak presence on earth before peacefully stomping back to Monster Island, having been established as heroes.
Rodan's last two Toho appearances are the eponymous rematch between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla, Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II, from 1993, and 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, another monster battle royale. In the former, Rodan is badly wounded twice, first by Godzilla, then by Mechagodzilla, and as a dying move transfers their lifeforce to Godzilla to help them defeat their mecha adversary. The latter has Rodan attacking New York city when all hell breaks loose and the Xiliens return to try and use humans as a food source. It's all a bit weird and contrived, but the special effects and fight scenes are some of the best Toho has produced.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020