The MonsterVerse is in full effect and gearing up for an epic clash after just three films, but the history of this cinematic universe dates back farther than you may have thought. The legendary lineup of Toho creatures has been a part of cinematic experiences dating back to the 1950s. It was then that a franchise full of kaiju was created, and became a successful one for its time. But it was just five years ago that Warner Bros. and Legendary decided to take a shot at redoing this concept with the added help of today's VFX technology.
The universe began in 2014 with Godzilla, which showed the first public display of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, otherwise known as MUTOs or Titans. The film was a financial hit and gave WB and Legendary enough confidence to move ahead with a cinematic universe, but they've had to go about it in a strange order. Kong: Skull Island was the next movie to hit theaters in the franchise in 2017, but it was a prequel film instead of a continuation of the modern story. Now, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, they are returning the MonsterVerse to the present day.
With the series jumping around in time and the long gaps between their releases, it is easy to forget or confuse certain details about the larger franchise. The good news though is that the chronology of the films is pretty easy to follow for casual and diehard fans alike. The basics of the MonsterVerse canon timeline looks like this:
- 1973: Kong: Skull Island
- 2014: Godzilla
- 2019: Godzilla: King of the Monsters
This very simple timeline of the events of the MonsterVerse films is quick and easy to understand, but there's actually a lot more going on with the universe than many may realize. Godzilla received a prequel graphic novel that detailed earlier sightings of the giant lizard and Kong: Skull Island received a four-part comic book sequel story after its release. These tie-in materials and an abundance of online marketing have sufficiently fleshed out the history of the MonsterVerse. Here's everything that has happened.
MonsterVerse & Titan Origins
The ancient history of the MonsterVerse is an area that has not yet received much attention, but some important details and events still transpired during this time. Although the theory isn't proven accurate for many years to come, the cinematic universe operates under the belief that the Hollow Earth Theory is accurate. The theory states that there is a tunneling system beneath the surface of the Earth that allows the Titans to travel across the globe out of sight and emerge at specific areas. These details are mainly presented in Kong: Skull Island, which also confirms that some major sightings happened well before this.
Cave paintings shown in the movies and on Monarch's website don't provide exact details on when events happened, but we do know that humans had direct contact with Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah millions of years ago. These paintings depict a previous fight for dominance that had Godzilla and Mothra work together to attack Ghidorah. Kong's parents and other giant apes lived on Skull Island in peace millions of years ago too. Then, a war began when the Skullcrawlers appeared and ended with Kong's parents defeating most of them before they died. As far as specific dates go, here's what we know about the earlier days of the MonsterVerse.
- 252.902 million BC - Titans Enter Hibernation: A meteorite crashes on Earth near Shinomura and Godzilla, eliminating all airborne radiation and most of all life on the planet. Without their natural radioactive power source, Godzilla and other kaiju must find another way to live. Many of them enter hibernation for millions of years, while others either adapt to live deep in the ocean like Godzilla or begin living beneath the surface and absorb radiation from Earth's core instead.
- 1943 - U.S.S. Lawton Incident: After only sparingly seeing Titans, an unknown one is involved with wrecking the U.S.S. Lawton. The incident saw the unidentified creature attack the ship and kill every single person onboard, except for one. William Randa was the only survivor of the event, which was covered up by the government.
- 1944 - Skull Island Welcomes Two Outsiders: During World War II, USA pilot Hank Marlow and Japanese pilot Gunpei Ikari engage in aerial combat and crash-land on Skull Island as a result. The two soldiers fight throughout the unknown terrain and are only stopped when they meet Kong for the first time. Amazed at what they see, the two former enemies learn to become friends as they try to stay alive in the strange land.
- August 6, 1945 - Hiroshima Bombing Awakes Titans: The bombing of Hiroshima releases radiation that awakens two nearby kaiju, Shinomura and Godzilla, and draws them to the city to feed on it. Among the millions of casualties was Eiji Serizawa's wife. After finding his young son, Ishiro, Eiji spots Shinomura leaving the premises, which makes him believe that these legendary creatures do indeed exist.
Following those eventful few years, the MonsterVerse truly starts to grow once Monarch is formed. The organization at the center of the entire universe is a multinational coalition that is formed in secret to search for Titans. The good news for Monarch is that Shinomura and Godzilla become incredibly active in their first few years of existence, giving them several possible leads to chase down as they attempt to confirm that these creatures are out there. In addition to these two primary kaiju at the time, there's also teases that other monsters exist.
- 1946 - Monarch Founded: After the cover-up of the U.S.S. Lawton incident, the United States begins to believe that finding and studying the Titans needs to be done. To make this happen, President Harry Truman provides necessary off-book funding to establish Monarch.
- 1946-1950 - Shinomura & Godzilla Fight Repeatedly: The five-year flurry of fights between Shinomura and Godzilla begins in 1946. The two monsters are spotted in Russia and the Philippines during 1946. At some point during the year, Shinomura is involved in a massive attack that leaves Eiji Serizawa and an American soldier as the only survivors. This is Eiji's second encounter with Shinomura and he is recruited by Monarch shortly after. Shinomura proceeds to attack Westen Australia in 1947, Moansta Island in 1948, New Zealand in 1949, and both Yap and Guam in 1950. Each time the flying monster attacks, Godzilla is there to fight him.
- 1952 - The Great Smog of London: After over a year without any reported incidents or sightings, Monarch learns of air pollution in London killing and injuring thousands of people. They believe that the smog could be the result of an anticyclone created by the wings of a giant creature. There is no clear evidence to support what Titan is responsible for the massacre, but Shinomura is a likely candidate.
- 1952 - Monarch Recruits William Randa: Nine years after surviving the U.S.S. Lawton incident, William Randa joins Monarch as Assistant Professor in Cryptozoology. He spends the next 30 years trying to prove that his freak encounter was the result of a Titan.
- 1953 - Shinomura Cell Discovered In the Philippines: While the regular Shinomura hasn't been seen in years, Monarch does discover a cell from the monster's time in the Philippines. They begin testing the cell and learn that a single cell of Shinomura can regenerate to become an entirely new creature. Monarch HQ is destroyed as a result of the regenerative process, which sets free the second version of Shinomura out in the world.
- 1954 - Bikini Atoll Bombing: Fast forward a year, and the two Shinomura combine into one being on Monsta Island. As usual, Godzilla arrives to fight the monster and splits them apart using his atomic breath. The action kills one of the Shinomura, but the second one escapes. Godzilla follows but only after being seen by Monarch, which marks their first official documentation that he exists. Both creatures are lured to Bikini Atoll, and the Castle Bravo nuclear device is detonated. While the bomb is successful in killing Shinomura, it is unsuccessful when it comes to wiping out Godzilla.
- 1959 - Godzilla & Monarch Sightings: Five years after this activity, two possible Godzilla sightings occur. One is on March 15 when an unknown underwater creature is captured on sonar and the other at another point in the year when a large creature is photographed in the ocean thanks to a satellite. Both instances are not confirmed Godzilla sightings, but he is a prime candidate. Meanwhile, a Soviet spy plane successfully captures a photo of a Monarch containment facility around the Siberian ice cap.
Kong: Skull Island
Now that Monarch has really started to learn what is out there, the next decade of their existence is largely undocumented. That is, until they prepare for possibly their biggest mission yet. US satellites captured a rare image of an unexplored island that is the subject of myths and legends itself. Monarch quickly moves to do whatever it takes to get some of their team members to the island and see if their beliefs are true. With their target in mind, here's what happened leading up to and during the events of Kong: Skull Island.
- 1972 - James Conrad Rescue Mission: Before he was recruited by Monarch, James Conrad performed a daring rescue in Dà Nang the prior year. As a SAS tracker, he was responsible for rescuing 12 pilots during this single mission, which is what helped further put his name on the map.
- 1973 - Kong: Skull Island: After getting pictures of Skull Island, William Randa and Houston Brooks secure the necessary funding and resources for them and fellow Monarch researcher San to make a trip there. Randa and Brooks recruit James Conrad to be their tracker, while Mason Weaver becomes their photographer. They are paired up with Preston Packard and his Sky Devils unit to safely journey to the island, where they are all struck out of the sky by Kong. Split up, the various teams try to reconnect and discover the dangers of the island. They also learn that Kong is a protector of man, as he has served this role to the local people and an older Hank Marlow for years. The adventure sees many soldiers and Randa die in action, but the survivors decide to leave Kong in peace after he saves them on several occasions. Back home, Marlow reconnects with his family, while Conrad and Weaver are debriefed on what they saw at an undisclosed Monarch base by Brooks and San and learn that Kong is not the only Titan out there.
From Kong To Godzilla
Monarch now has verified proof that both Kong and Godzilla exist after these events. They know that this is just the beginning and expand even further in the coming decades by recruiting several individuals who will prove to be integral parts of their future. Their growing payroll, in turn, results in several new discoveries and missions taking place, as well as some major breakthroughs. Only a portion of this information is actually obtainable through just the films themselves, but here are all the major moments that have been revealed of what happens in the MonsterVerse after encountering Kong firsthand and before Godzilla truly makes his presence known.
- June 12, 1981 - Ishiro Serizawa Joins Monarch: The day after his father Eiji passes away, Ishiro Serizawa is recruited by Monarch to follow in his footsteps. He agrees to join the organization and soon becomes a vital part of the rest of their work moving forward.
- May 24, 1989 - Rick Stanton Joins Monarch: After spending his time with Landsat as a satellite mapping technician, Rick Stanton is recruited by Monarch to supervise their own satellite tracking systems.
- 1991 - Isla de Mona Quarantine Zone Established: The first of a series of new discoveries for Monarch, they finally find a brand new Titan to monitor almost 20 years after seeing Kong. They establish a quarantine zone around Isla de Mona's volcano, which is where Rodan lies in pyrostasis. The zone soon expands to become one of Monarch's many containment facilities and watches over The Fire Demon for the next two-plus decades.
- 1995 - Aaron Brooks Plans "Antarctica" Trip: Over 20 years after his father Houston Brooks met Kong, Aaron Brooks plans an expedition to Antarctica. However, his true intention is going to Skull Island to see if the giant ape is actually still a friend to humanity.
- August 7, 1995 - Secret Trip to Skull Island: Aaron Brooks recruits a cast of characters to join him on this secret mission and proves to have familiar results. They crash land on Skull Island just like the previous group, but Kong saves most of them by killing the attacking Death Jackals.
- July 17, 1996 - Aaron Brooks Remains On Skull Island: Although the trip was only supposed to last three days, Aaron Brooks and his team remained stranded on Skull Island for almost a year. Their attempts to leave result in major destruction to the local Iwi tribe, so Aaron decides to stay and help them rebuild. After documenting his experience with a voice recorder, he makes one final recording and sets a bag with them out to sea, hoping that his father will one day hear them.
- 1997 - Ishiro Serizawa Meets Vivienne Graham: Fully integrated into Monarch, Ishiro Serizawa recruits another major member to their future during a visit to Oxford University. It is here that he meets Vivienne Graham and begins to see her potential to help Monarch.
- January 10, 1999 - Vivienne Graham Joins Monarch: Nearly two years after first meeting Ishiro, Vivienne officially joins Monarch, and she doesn't have to wait long to put her skills to good use...
- 1999 - Giant Fossil Discovered In Philippines: Over 40 years after finding a Shinomura cell in the Philippines, Monarch discovers giant animal fossil that was killed by parasitic spores. Vivienne Graham is sent here on her first assignment to examine the fossil and spores. One spore was dormant and moved to Yucca Mountain in Nevada for safe keeping and monitoring. The second, and male, spore already hatched and quickly sets a course for the nearest source of radiation.
- 1999 - Janjira Incident: The hatched male MUTO journeys to a nuclear power plant in Janjira, Japan. The MUTO begins feeding on the plant, causing seismic anomalies beneath the facility that result in reactors at the base to rupture. Joe Brody is forced to seal the doors shut, which kills his wife Sandra in the process. The MUTO continues to absorb radioactive fuel for the next 15 years while cocooned in what is left of the power plant. Janjira is meanwhile established as a quarantine zone.
- 2005 - Orca Technology Created: Emma and Mark Russell inadvertently put themselves on Monarch's radar when they test Orca, a revolutionary communication device that has the potential to speak to Titans. The readings see Monarch send Vivienne Graham and Ishiro Serizawa to Boston under the belief that a new Titan was emerging. Instead, it was a piece of technology that could prove important to the MonsterVerse's future.
- 2005 - Alan Jonah Is Put On Monarch's Radar: Monarch also learns of Alan Jonah in 2005, when he is caught attempting to infiltrate a MUTO dig site.
- May 4, 2007 - The Russell's Join Monarch Officially: Two years after being introduced to Monarch, Emma and Mark officially join the organization, who have high hopes for their Orca technology.
- May 10, 2008 - Ilene Chen Joins Monarch: Monarch continues adding to its staff with the hire of Ilene Chen, who is a third generation Monarch operative. An expert mythologist, Chen will make a major discovery for Monarch in the near future...
- 2009 - Mothra Cocoon Discovered: Dr. Ilene Chen and her sister Dr. Ling are alerted to a strange "singing" coming from the rainforest in China's Yunnan province. They recognize the sound from ancient history and take Emma Russell and her team with them to discover a giant temple with a massive chrysalis containing Mothra. They estimate that the temple was built 12,000 years ago. Monarch builds another containment facility around Mothra, which becomes Monarch Outpost 61. Monitoring Mothra becomes Emma Russell's primary responsibility.
- June 24, 2012 - Aaron Brooks' Recordings Found: Sixteen years after letting it go, Aaron Brooks' bag full of recordings about his time on Skull Island is found in the South Pacific.
- July 9, 2012 - Houston Brooks Learns of His Son's Past: The day before he retires from Monarch, Houston Brooks is visited at Monarch Field Office Sigma and is alerted to Aaron's bag and recorder being found. Houston listens to the recordings the following day to learn of Aaron's adventure, and with some small sense of hope that he is still alive, teases he'll spend his retirement making a return trip to Skull Island.
After spending decades working in the shadows and keeping the existence of Titans out of the public eye, this is when the MonsterVerse truly changes forever. Fifteen years after Joe Brody lost his wife, he continues to search for confirmation that what happened in Janjira was not a natural disaster. Many believed he was crazy, but that perception changes quickly when three massive creatures rampage the United States.
- 2013 - Ford Deployed Overseas: Learning to move on from the death of his mother and believing his dad to be insane, Ford Brody joins the Navy. He is deployed for 14 months to serve as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician.
- 2014 - Godzilla: When Ford returns home from his tour, he has to go bail his father out of jail for trespassing. In a last-ditch effort to prove Joe's theory correct, they go back to Janjira only to discover it is not radioactive at all and that Monarch has built a containment unit around the nuclear power plant. They are apprehended by Monarch security and taken to the plant, where the male MUTO wakes and causes mass destruction, resulting in Joe's death. The male MUTO proceeds to attack Honolulu and is followed by Godzilla. Meanwhile, the male MUTO was able to signal to the female MUTO and she leaves Nevada to link up with the male. The female MUTO rampages through Las Vegas, leading to the two MUTOs meeting in San Francisco. This the stomping ground for their fight against Godzilla, who kills both of them. During this time, Ford rigs a bomb to kill a nest full of baby MUTOs. Godzilla barely survives and swims back into the Pacific Ocean after saving the day.
- 2014 - Mark Russell Leaves Monarch: In the wake of Godzilla truly showing himself to the world, Monarch begins to rethink what Orca could be capable of. Mark Russell does not agree with the direction they intend to take the device and resigns from Monarch.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
After Godzilla becomes public knowledge, Monarch must make changes and adapt quickly to a world that will soon be filled with even more Titans. Heading into Godzilla: King of the Monsters, they beef up their military units and begin to share as much information about these creatures with the public as possible. This becomes increasingly more important as Monarch discovers 17 total Titans by the time the sequel begins. Here's what we know about what happened between the first film and the sequel.
- January 1, 2015 - Diane Foster Joins Monarch: A former Army Ranger, Monarch recruits Diane Foster to spearhead training of their operatives. She takes on only the best and brightest soldiers to form G-Team.
- February 3, 2015 - Monarch Expands Military Forces: With Foster leading the charge, Jackson Barnes, Anthony Martinez, and Lauren Griffin are soon hired to join G-Team. They each possess different skills that will make them useful to Foster in the team's daring missions to come.
- May 11, 2015 - New Era Of Monarch Begins: Monarch hires Sam Coleman to help usher in a new era for the organization. He is tasked with helping declassify Monarch's documents and eventually begins new initiatives to further be transparent to the rest of the world.
- 2016 - Ghidorah Located in Antarctica: The latest major discovery for Monarch, they discover the three-headed Ghidorah frozen in Antarctica. Vivienne Graham leads the building project to create another containment facility around the biggest Titan they've ever documented.
With the complete MonsterVerse timeline intact (for now), it is clear to see just how much has actually happened in this universe in just two released films and the upcoming launch of a third. Godzilla: King of the Monsters will surely add even more historical points to this timeline and fill in the gaps over the last few years. The long-awaited sequel isn't the end of the universe after all. Godzilla vs. Kong comes out next year and will continue to build out the mythology of the MonsterVerse. And if both of these films are successful, then future installments in the franchise could do the same, so we'll do our best to keep this as up to date as possible.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020