Genre Geeks: A Guide to ‘Godzilla’s’ New Monsters

This weekend, Michael Dougherty’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” will unleash its wrath on audiences. Now the third entry in Warner Bros’ MonsterVerse (succeeding 2014’s “Godzilla” and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island”), two distinctive creatures fighting the King of Monsters have been heavily featured in the promotional material. Below is a comprehensive guide to the history of these adversaries trying to bring down the revered reptilian behemoth.

King Ghidorah

First appearing in 1964’s “Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster,” this mutated dragon serves as Godzilla’s chief adversary. Created by “Godzilla” architect Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ghidorah’s design is inspired by Greek mythological menace, Hydra. Instead of seven snake heads, Ghidorah mimics Cerberus with its triple-faced rancor. Besides its primary flight function, the monster has wielded electricity, bent the laws of physics, absorbed energy and expelled energy from its prey, and has the ability to reshape reality. By comparison, Ghidorah makes Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegar from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” seem as harmless as pesky flies. King Ghidorah is sometimes viewed by ancient civilizations as fearsome guardian of Earth that unleashes punishment when awakened. In other iterations, Ghidorah is a genetically-engineered weapon of mass destruction used to turn tides of global conflict.

Film Appearances:

  • “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster” (1964)
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster” (1965)
  • “Destroy All Monsters” (1968)
  • “Godzilla vs. Gigan” (1972)
  • “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” (1991)
  • “Rebirth of Mothra III” (1998)
  • “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” (2001)
  • “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” (2018)
  • “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019)

Mothra:

First spreading its wings in a 1961 serialized novel called “The Luminous Fairies and Mothra,” the enormous insect made its movie debut in the 1961 tokatsu (special effects-driven Japanese cinema). “Mothra” Part moth, part caterpillar, full flying freak, is a staple kaiju in the “Godzilla” universe. Unlike Ghidorah, Mothra is a protector of Earth and its inhabitants, warding off Godzilla’s string of devastating attacks on Tokyo and other metropolitan areas. Weaving a cocoon as its main defense strategy, Mothra covers whatever land mass or structure is under siege. She is known as the Queen of Monsters, incapable of defeat since she can re-spawn with every egg scattered and offspring produced. Throughout her fictitious tenure, Mothra is summoned by twin fairies who rally her aid through song.

Film Appearances:

  • “Mothra” (1961)
  • “Mothra vs. Godzilla” (1964)
  • “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster” (1964)
  • “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep” (1966)
  • “Destroy All Monsters” (1968)
  • “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1992)
  • “Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla” (1994)
  • “Rebirth of Mothra” (1996) 
  • “Rebirth of Mothra II” (1997)
  • “Rebirth of Mothra III” (1998) 
  • “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” (2001)
  • “Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.” (2003)
  • “Godzilla: Final Wars” (2004)
  • “Kaiju Bunraku” (2017)
  • “Godzilla: The Planet Eater” (2018)
  • “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019)

Rodan:

A hybrid of a pterodactyl and dragon, this kaiju first takes flight in its 1956 title film, “Rodan.” Believed to have been part of a prehistoric dragonfly species, the formerly extinct creature comes back to life causing carnivorous calamity. The massive monstrosity acts as the flip side of Godzilla, an ancient beast also disrupted by a powerful government engaging in nuclear experiments. Instead of the Americans, Rodan’s reemergence is viewed as a byproduct of Soviet Union weapon testing. Godzilla and Rodan are known for their intense sparring matches, likely to play out in giant, a consequential spectacle in the upcoming “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

Film Appearances:

  • “Rodan” (1956)
  • “Valley of the Dragons” (1961)
  • “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster” (1964)
  • “Invasion of Astro-Monster” (1965)
  • “Destroy All Monsters” (1968)
  • “Godzilla vs. Gigan” (1972)
  • “Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1973)
  • “Terror of Mechagodzilla” (1975)
  • “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II” (1993)
  • “Godzilla: Final Wars” (2004)
  • “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters” (2017)
  • “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019)

Do you think these monsters have what it takes to bring down Godzilla? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

CHECK OUT ALL THE OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS ON THE CIRCUIT HUB AND MAKE YOUR OWN!