WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in theaters now.
True to its title, Godzilla: King of the Monsters greatly expands the number of active kaiju, or Titans, as they're now called in Legendary's MonsterVerse. Although the characters note that 17 Titans, and counting, have resurfaced across the globe, and news reports tease their activity, the number of creatures actually shown are considerably fewer, to narrow the film's focus.
With that in mind, here is every Titan clearly shown over the course of director Michael Dougherty's Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
The most obvious is Godzilla himself, of course, and his presence looms over the human characters, even when he isn't seen. The Titan has spent the five years since the 2014 release of the franchise-launching reboot largely staying beneath the radar, navigating a network of tunnels beneath the Earth's surface to elude detection. His home is revealed in the ocean depths as a lost ancient city suggested to be Atlantis.
The iconic monster is one the most heroic in the film, fighting in apparent defense of humanity. As Titan activity dramatically increases around the world, Godzilla ends his self-imposed isolation and leaps back into the fray just in time.
The primary antagonist is King Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon who can breath powerful electric blasts and travels at incredible speed with the strength of a Category 6 hurricane. Discovered buried deep within the ice of Antarctica for millennia, the creature is originally dubbed by the scientific organization Monarch as Monster Zero; numerous ancient civilizations feared to even give it a name, save for one that referred to the creature as Ghidorah. As the investigation into its origins continue, Monarch learns it's not part of the natural order of Titans on Earth, but instead an invasive, extraterrestrial species.
King Ghidorah was introduced in Toholo's 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster as an alien threat so powerful, it forced a temporary alliance between Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra to defeat it. The creature has since served as a recurring nemesis for Godzilla, battling him throughout various sequels and reboots, retaining its general design and electric powers. The new film reveals that not only is each of Ghidorah's heads capable of independent thought, the monster can also regenerate one lost in battle.
Referred to as the Queen of Monsters, Mothra is one of the first Titans seen in the film, depicted hatching from an egg at a Monarch facility housed within an ancient Chinese temple. Initially seen as a massive larva, Mothra escapes when the facility is attacked, and cocoons herself beneath a waterfall, where she eventually metamorphoses into her classic, winged form. Arriving to help Godzilla during the climactic battle in Boston, Mothra fights King Ghidorah's ally Rodan, and severely wounds the fiery beast before sacrificing herself to empower Godzilla with her life energy.
Introduced in 1961 in the eponymous Japanese film, Mothra was one of the first kaiju to battle Godzilla, in 1964's aptly titled Mothra vs. Godzilla, before making her return as an ally. Often commanded by a pair of fairy twins, Mothra is able to dust opponents with mysterious energy that coats her wings, or trap them in a sticky, stringy fluid she can spit. Mothra's unusual history is reflected in King of the Monsters by Zhang Ziyi's characters, Dr. Ilene Chen and her twin sister Dr. Ling Chen studying the Titan, like their mother and grandmother before them, dating to 1961 -- a reference to that original film. It's revealed during the end credits that Monarch has discovered another Mothra egg, hinting at the monster's return.
The first wave of Titans was awakened by a sonic device known as the Orca, and that increase in kaiju activity triggers the reemergence of Rodan. Erupting from a volcano overlooking a town in Mexico, the fiery, winged beast takes to the skies before being defeated by King Ghidorah. Rodan subsequently recognizes him as its alpha. In the film's finale, Rodan is gravely wounded in a battle with Mothra before ultimately acknowledging Godzilla as the new king of the monsters in the wake of Ghidorah's annihilation.
One of the earliest kaiju, Rodan was introduced in 1956 in his own eponymous film. The creature returned in 1964's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, initially as a rival to Godzilla but then as an ally against King Ghidorah. Rodan made recurring appearances in the Toho franchise, usually as an ally to Godzilla. Rodan's emergence from a volcano in King of the Monsters is a callback to the character's appearance in the 1964 film.
While Kong doesn't play a direct role in King of the Monsters, but his existence his felt throughout the film, with Monarch researchers consistently monitoring his activity on Skull Island. Archival footage from 2017's Kong: Skull Island is also seen. By the end of the new film, the cataclysmic effects caused by the rise of Titans have resulted in the flooding of Skull Island, and newspaper headlines wonder what will become of Kong.
Although 1954's Godzilla ushered in the Golden Age of kaiju cinema, the film was actually predated by more than two decades by King Kong. After his introduction in 1933, Kong fought Godzilla in 1962's accurately titled King Kong vs. Godzilla. The Titans will stage their first fight in the MonsterVerse in next year's Godzilla vs. Kong.
An original Titan created for the MonsterVerse , Behemoth is a hulking, furry monster that walks on four limbs and has two tusks that extend down to its forward ankles. After emerging from a tree-covered mountain, the Behemoth is next seen arriving in Boston at the end of the film, and recognizing Godzilla as its new alpha.
Another MonsterVerse original is the squid/spider-like behemoth Scylla, shown emerging from beneath the oilfields in the American Southwest. With multiple limbs and a hard exoskeleton, Scylla is one of the more grotesque creatures to awaken following the renewed activity of Titans. News reports indicate Scylla is causing devastation in Sedona, Arizona, before reappearing in Boston during the finale to recognize Godzilla as its alpha.
The primary antagonists of 2014's Godzilla were a pair of MonsterVerse-original Titans known as MUTOs, which stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms." Resembling a cross between bats and insects, they cut a path of destruction that included Japan, Hawaii and Las Vegas before being destroyed in San Francisco by Godzilla.
First seen in King of the Monsters in archival footage from the 2014 film, a new incarnation of the MUTO emerges over the course of the film to land in Boston, where it joins other Titans in acknowledging Godzilla as the new alpha.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Thomas Middleditch, Charles Dance, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds and Zhang Ziyi.