In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it’s thought we’ll learn just how Godzilla earns that titular crown, but he isn’t the only Monster King (or Queen) in the film. Other Titans – as the kaiju are now called in Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse – are also referred to as Kings and Queens, and they too have earned those titles through actions both amazing and terrible.
As the third film in the MonsterVerse, Godzilla 2 is building on the new mythos introduced in Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island. Using those films as a jumping off point, Godzilla 2 is introducing even more Titans – Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah – and framing them as the original and perhaps rightful rulers of Earth. With humans having caused a cataclysmic shift in the planet’s ecosystem, unleashing a long-hidden threat, these Titans – these Monster Kings and Queens – might be Earth’s only chance at survival.
But how did some of the monsters earn the title of King or Queen, and what does it really mean? According to Monarch’s research, these Titans are the true alphas of their species, and in being so, they weren’t only the apex predators of their habitats, but also feared and sometimes worshiped by the primitive humans of the time. These Titans took on mythic stature, and even in the years since they’ve disappeared, they remain important figures in certain primitive cultures. Only now it seems they served another, even more important role – maintaining the delicate balance of life on Earth, and they’re returning to reinstate that balance.
- This Page: Mothra is Queen of the Monsters
- Page 2: Rodan and Kong
- Page 3: Who Is King of ALL Monsters?
Mothra Is Queen of the Monsters
Mothra is unique among the Titans for a variety of reasons. Firstly, of all the Titans, Mothra is the only one referred to as female. It’s hard to say whether or not Monarch has actually identified Mothra’s sex, but their reasoning for referring to her a such could stem from evidence that she can (and possibly has) reproduced. Mothra is also said to be quite beautiful, with massive wings capable of emitting a stunning (and potentially destructive) display of beta-wave bioluminescence. And while not a strictly scientific reasoning, that may have also played a role in why she is the only she – and therefore Queen – among the Titans.
Of course, referring to these Titans as Kings and Queens is in itself not very scientific, but the practice appears to have originated with the ancient human cultures who coexisted with these mighty beasts. For instance, Mothra’s “reign” as Queen is represented in early human artwork, in paintings and carvings which depict humanity worshiping the massive moth. Her role among these early civilizations may have been something akin to a guardian angel, protecting them from other monsters who would do them harm. In which case, Mothra being the Queen of the Monsters may have more to do with her benevolent, protective nature than it does her sex, contrasting her behavior with the more predatory and dangerous Kings.
Page 2 of 3:Rodan and Kong
Rodan is King of The Skies
While there is little we know about Mothra, we know even less about Rodan. Discovered within an active volcano on Puerto Rico’s Isla de Mona, local legends refer to a “Fire Demon” and a creature known as “The One Born of Fire”. These names suggest that the giant pteranodon that now slumbers in pyrostasis was not a benevolent protector, but rather a terror for the humans who lived during this age of the Titans.
Much like the volcano which now incubates the dormant Rodan, this Titan’s behavior is as destructive as a force of nature. His skin is comprised of rock-like scales, creating a near impenetrable armor which would have easily withstood primitive weapons, and his 871ft wingspan would have darkened the skies like a cloud of ash. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how a giant flying lizard erupting from a volcano and destroying all in its wake would be considered a demon by prehistoric humans, and certainly would have earned Rodan the title “King of the Skies.”
Kong is King of the Primates
Of all the Titans, we know the most about Kong – the giant ape and apex predator of Skull Island. First discovered by Monarch in the early 1970s, Kong is the last of his prehistoric species of primate and is relatively young, having lived alone on Skull Island since his parents were killed by another of the island’s prehistoric predators, the reptilian Skullcrawlers. And though Kong is a fearsome ape capable of immense destruction, the indigenous people of Skull Island, the Iwi tribe, think of Kong as their protector, safeguarding them from the other monsters on the island. In this sense, Kong actually has more in common with Mothra than any of the other Monster Kings, maintaining the natural order of the ecosystem rather than unleashing wanton destruction.
In fact, during Monarch’s expedition to the island, Kong was observed demonstrating an intelligence and empathy not typically associated with these Titans. During his battles with the Skullcrawlers, Kong used tree trunks and an abandoned ship’s propeller as weapons. The Iwi tribe’s cave paintings depict Kong mourning the death of his parents, and during his interactions with Mason Weaver and James Conrad, Kong displayed an unexpected kindness, even tearing up at Weaver’s touch. This behavior suggests Kong is more evolved than the other Titans, which is likely given that his being a primate makes him a mammal as opposed to an insect or reptile.
If these Monster Kings are unpredictable forces of nature, causing disaster wherever they go, then Kong is the exception that proves the rule. While certainly capable of unleashing immense destruction, he only does so when absolutely necessary. In his own way, Kong is a wise ruler, and truly, King of the Primates.
Page 3 of 3: Who Is King of ALL Monsters?
What Is Ghidorah King Of?
The biggest and most frightening of all the Titans is Ghidorah – a three-headed, winged serpent currently frozen deep in the tundra of Antarctica. Ghidorah (codename: Monster Zero) is enormous, dwarfing even Godzilla with his 521ft tall frame. While his full wingspan remains unknown, studies of their structure suggest they could generate hurricane-force winds. Ghidorah’s body is also gilded with trace amounts of gold, which allows his scales to serve as a conductor for his bio-electrical currents and emit lightening. That ability coupled with his absolute massive size means that if Ghidorah were to reemerge, the tempest he’d create could very well tear open the stratosphere.
Ghidorah is an oncoming storm, wreaking havoc wherever he goes – but does this mean Ghidorah is the King of the Monsters? Most likely, yes. No other Titan rivals Ghidorah in size or destructiveness, and judging from archeological records, no Titan was more feared. While studying the frozen Ghidorah, Monarch noted that his skin is scarred from previous battles, and it’s thought he may have even fought Godzilla in the past. This would suggest Ghidorah has easily defended himself from other Titans’ attacks, holding on to his “reign” as the mightiest and most powerful of the Titans for generations.
What Do the Monster Kings Mean?
All of this information is fascinating, but what does it mean for a Titan to be a King or Queen? Similar to most modern kings and queens, these monarchical titles for monsters are really just symbolic. Being the King of Primates, for instance, doesn’t necessarily mean all other primates pay their respects to Kong as their king, but it implies he’s the fiercest and most powerful of all primates. A Monster King (or Queen) is more or less the top monster of that particular species or ecosystem, able to hold its own against invading predators and keep the ecosystem in balance. Working from this definition, it’s easy to see how Rodan would come to dominate the skies but still flee from Ghidorah, the true King of all Monsters.
So where does this leave Godzilla? As far as we know, he is the last, and, therefore, largest of his kind, surviving deep within the ocean where he siphoned geothermal radiation from the planet’s core. There are some records of early civilizations crossing paths with Godzilla, but they aren’t as thorough as the legends which surround Rodan or Mothra. Godzilla is, therefore, a relatively new Titan (for an ancient lizard from the Permian period, that is) and his first meaningful cultural impact was his reemergence in 1954, after which the United States tried and failed to kill him with a nuclear bomb. That makes Godzilla very big, old, and powerful, but does that make him a King?
Godzilla’s rise to King only really begins when he fights and kills the MUTOs. These parasitic life-forms threatened the modern day ecosystem, and by ridding the Earth of the parasites, Godzilla restores that delicate balance. His drive to do this is instinctual, acting as one predator fighting off the invasion of another, but in doing so, Godzilla begins to perform the duties of a Monster King. Come Godzilla: King of the Monsters, when Ghidorah awakens and threatens to destroy Earth’s new delicate balance, Godzilla will rise to that challenge, too. And the fight that follows will finally decide just who is the true King of the Monsters.