King Ghidorah, Everything You Need to Know About Godzilla's Nemesis

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When director Gareth Edwards brought Godzilla to life in 2014's Godzilla, everyone was left wondering how many kaiju brawls Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures had ins tore for audiences. We'd get our answer come Kong: Skull Island a few years later, when it was revealed the studio had a MonsterVerse planned whereby the two would eventually face off.

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But before that highly-anticipated battle royal, May's Godzilla: King of the Monsters will pit the most famous monster in the world against none other than King Ghidorah. Now, CBR is taking a deep dive into Godzilla's biggest nemesis as we explore the three-headed dragon's history and why Ghidorah is really Godzilla's biggest competition for the title of King of the Monsters.


Ghidorah's origins have been tinkered with since he first debuted in 1964's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, but he's traditionally been an extraterrestrial entity looking to conquer and rule Earth. After the classic era of the '60s and '70s, the Heisei era of '90s Godzilla films reshaped him as a genetically engineered monster, while the Millennium era in the 2000s pit Ghidorah as more of a spiritual being.

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Ghidorah has appeared in nine movies, a couple TV series and numerous video games. Most recently, the Godzilla anime trilogy on Netflix depicted the being as an inter-dimensional devourer of planets, so l Ghidorah's overall M.O. usually casts him as some sort of destroyer. In addition to targeting just people and buildings, Ghidorah preys on other monsters as well. This led him into conflict, not just with Godzilla, but also Mothra and Rodan over the years, which is what this next Godzilla movie seems to be teasing.

From what little we know about King of Monsters so far, Monarch Sciences found Ghidorah in the frozen tundra of Antarctica, where he's been monitored over the years. Dubbed "Monster Zero," it's clear the scientists fear him more than Godzilla itself, which is why they've been reluctant to let the world know of its existence. It remains to be seen how exactly Ghidorah will be freed, but so far, the narrative fashions Ghidorah as the king who Godzilla will have to wrest the crown from.


In King of the Monsters trailers, we've seen him generating electric storms, and in previous incarnations, he's also been able to shoot lightning beams, which are the most ideal counter-attack for Godzilla's atomic breath. While we've yet to see the latter, we're hoping to see Ghidorah emitting his signature gravity beams too, which has leveled numerous cities over the decades in the Toho movies.

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His crown of horns on all three-heads and spiked-tail can also be used in battle, and at over 500 feet tall, his height offers a major advantage. Ghidorah's also typically more durable than Godzilla and with his large wingspan, he can even generate winds like hurricanes that can rip anything in his path to shreds. He can also emit thunder sparks and boasts supersonic flight, as seen with the recent clip of him taking on Rodan.

As for his cosmic abilities such as inter dimensional travel and energy manipulation, it's hard to say if the film will follow that route or simply make Ghidorah a primitive monster like the rest of the Titans, who merely existed hundreds of years ago. Either way, we expect Ghidorah's overall ability set to be somewhat grounded so as to keep the franchise tethered to Earth, as opposed to veering off into its more cosmic trappings.


Some of the footage from King of the Monsters suggests that Monarch could release Ghidorah to take Godzilla down. With signs that Rodan and several  other monsters will be coming to the surface from their respective lairs, the mysterious eco-terrorist group in the movie could actually jack Monarch's system and frees Ghidorah as a means of kaiju population control.

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Ultimately, Monarch could be using the monsters to wipe each other out so they can come in a take down the wounded survivors with ease. Director Michael Dougherty has remained coy on the plot but with Godzilla vs. Kong next year, it's safe to assume Godzilla will beat Ghidorah in their brawl, which as the cave paintings in Skull Island showed, has been one centuries in the making.

As it stands for Ghidorah, it won't be clear how damage the dragon does, which monsters he kills or how badly wounded he leaves Godzilla until the film's release. It's still not even clear how Ghidorah will escape from his icy prison. But no matter what else happens, Ghidorah wants all competitors dead so he alone can stand atop the throne as the King of the Monsters.

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. The film opens May 31.

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