King Ghidorah (MonsterVerse)
|King Ghidorah incarnations|
The Devil has three heads.
King Ghidorah (キングギドラ is a three-headed Kingu Gidora)Titan who first appeared in a cave painting in the post-credits scene for the 2017 Legendary Pictures film Kong: Skull Island, then went on to serve as the main antagonist of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019. He is the first incarnation of King Ghidorah to appear in an American-made film.
An evil alien dragon who invaded Earth in the ancient past, King Ghidorah clashed with Godzilla and Mothra, who succeeded in sealing him away beneath the Antarctic ice. The organization Monarch discovered Ghidorah's resting place in the present day, and established Outpost 32 to study him, dubbing him "Monster Zero." In 2019, the eco-terrorist Alan Jonah, working alongside Monarch defector Dr. Emma Russell, unleashed Ghidorah from his frozen tomb in an attempt to release all of the Titans to restore the natural order. Being an invasive species, Ghidorah had no interest in restoring balance and resumed annihilating the global ecosystem, awakening all of the other Titans himself and bending them to his will. Assisted by Monarch, Godzilla and Mothra joined forces and engaged Ghidorah in Boston for a final confrontation. Ghidorah summoned Rodan to his aid to deal with Mothra, while Ghidorah overwhelmed Godzilla in one-on-one combat. After defeating Rodan, Mothra sacrificed her life to save Godzilla from Ghidorah, reinvigorating him with her energy and allowing him to finally destroy Ghidorah once and for all. With the three-headed terror vanquished for good, Godzilla took his place as the King of the Monsters, ending the rampages of the Titans previously under Ghidorah's control.
- 1 Name
- 2 Design
- 3 Personality
- 4 Origins
- 5 History
- 6 Abilities
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Gallery
- 9 Roar
- 10 Trivia
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 Comments
The "Ghidorah" (ギドラ part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" Gidora) (ヒドラ, which shares two of its three katakana characters with "Ghidorah." It also, coincidentally or not, sounds very similar to the Hidora)Russian pronunciation of "hydra" (Гидра, ˈɡʲidrə). The addition of "King" (キング) to his name may have been influenced by King Dragon (キング・ドラゴン, the name given to Kingu Doragon)Zmey Gorynych, upon which King Ghidorah's design was based, in the Japanese version of the Soviet film Ilya Muromets. Monarch calls King Ghidorah Monster Zero (モンスター・ゼロ, and gives him the Monsutā Zero)Titan designation Titanus Ghidorah. He is typically only ever referred to by these names or just Ghidorah in-universe, with only merchandise and marketing using his full name, although Col. Diane Foster does call him "King Ghidorah" once in the film itself. A tracking label shown on a map in the film also reads "King Ghidorah." One ancient Sumerian text discovered by Monarch also called him Death Song of Three Storms.
Director Michael Dougherty individually nicknamed Ghidorah's heads Ichi, Ni, and San during production, literally translating to "one" (一, "two" ichi) (二, and "three" ni) (三 in Japanese. The leftmost head, nicknamed San, is also jokingly called "Kevin" by fans due to its more submissive nature and comical antics compared to the other two heads. Dougherty and san)Legendary Pictures themselves have even acknowledged this nickname on Twitter. In the film itself, Rick Stanton jokingly calls Ghidorah's heads "Moe, Larry, and Curly" in reference to The Three Stooges.
This incarnation of King Ghidorah maintains the traditional core design of the character, being a giant bipedal dragon with three heads on long serpentine necks, two tails, and two large bat-like wings at his sides, which stands upright on his two hind legs. His body is covered in overlapping golden scales, which according to Monarch actually contain trace amounts of gold. The membranes of King Ghidorah's wings are still gold in color, but are made of smooth skin and not covered in scales. Like past designs, the fronts of King Ghidorah's necks are also not covered in scales, but rather skin with a ridged texture. This skin pattern extends to King Ghidorah's chest, a trait unique to this incarnation. This King Ghidorah's heads are designed similarly to the character's Heisei incarnation, with a set of horns on each side as opposed to the Showa incarnation's single pair of horns and manes of hair. Unlike the Heisei King Ghidorah, each of the MonsterVerse King Ghidorah's heads has ten horns, five on each side rather than eight, and one of the right head's horns is chipped. These horns are also slightly larger and more curved, as opposed to the thin straight horns of the Heisei design. Depending on Ghidorah's emotions, the horns can flare up or flare down. There is also a small ridge atop each head. All three of King Ghidorah's necks are very muscular in addition to being very long. Two rows of spikes run down the back of his center neck, while the left and right necks feature one row apiece. The undersides of his necks glow yellow when he charges his Gravity Beams. The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah's central neck is positioned in front of his left and right necks much like Keizer Ghidorah's, whereas all previous incarnations of the character had their middle neck positioned behind the others.
King Ghidorah's body is considerably thinner than that of past incarnations, with the outline of his ribcage visible through his skin. Unlike past incarnations, he has defined arms which extend into his wings, with claws at the end of each fold. His wings are much larger than those of past incarnations, and attach to his body well below his hips. When fully outstretched, they extend well above his heads. This incarnation also uses his wings for support when standing at times. King Ghidorah's legs are thin but muscular, with his knees bent forward in such a way that he has a slight forward hunch. His feet have at least four digits with defined claws. King Ghidorah's tails end in spiky retractable fans similar to the Heisei King Ghidorah. According to Monarch files, injuries have been discovered on several locations on King Ghidorah's body "reminiscent of claw and scorch marks.".
Monarch classifies King Ghidorah's behavior as that of a "destroyer," and considers him "Godzilla's ultimate nemesis." He lives up to this reputation upon awakening, acting as an invasive species and commanding the other Titans around the world to help him decimate the planet's ecosystems. Ghidorah demonstrates hostility toward humans which are far too small to injure him, such as when he vaporizes a group of soldiers with his Gravity Beams, when he chases down and kills Vivienne Graham, and when he stalks and attempts to kill Madison Russell. King Ghidorah's three heads each have their own personalities, and are akin to conjoined triplets rather than a single individual with three heads. Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty described the center head as "the one who's sort of the big brother and the most serious," the right head as "slightly more aggressive and tenacious," and the left head as "[displaying] signs of curiosity." King Ghidorah uses body language to intimidate Godzilla, shaking the ends of his tails like a rattlesnake and spreading his wings like how a cobra opens its hood. Ghidorah can also flick out his tongues like a snake or lizard.
According to Dr. Ilene Chen, Ghidorah is an ancient creature who was feared by many ancient cultures and was said to have been a "dragon who fell from the stars", suggesting that he is of extraterrestrial origin. Judging by his appearance in ancient cave paintings, he has invaded Earth sometime in the past, and clashed with Godzilla and Mothra. He was eventually defeated by Godzilla in Antarctica and sealed beneath the ice. He was discovered buried under ice in modern-day Antarctica before 2014 by a Monarch team headed by Vivienne Graham.[note 1] The massive wall of ice surrounding Ghidorah was dubbed the "Wall of Serpents." Monarch links King Ghidorah to mythical creatures such as the Hydra and the Rainbow Serpent, and describes him as a "living extinction event."
After their adventure on Skull Island, Monarch members Houston Brooks and Lin San showed James Conrad and Mason Weaver two cave paintings of King Ghidorah, along with paintings depicting Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan, as proof that the inhabitants of Skull Island were not the only monsters in the world. In the second painting, he was shown fighting Godzilla.
After obtaining the ORCA, Alan Jonah and his men traveled to Monarch's Outpost 32 in Antarctica where they gunned down all of the Monarch personnel. They entered the base and found King Ghidorah frozen within the ice. Jonah's men drilled into the ice and planted explosive charges within it, while Emma Russell calibrated the ORCA to Ghidorah. Monarch soon arrived and stormed the outpost, engaging in a firefight with Jonah's men. Emma grabbed the detonator for the charges and pressed it, freeing Ghidorah from the ice. After retreating to their stolen Monarch Osprey, Jonah ordered Emma to awaken Ghidorah with the ORCA. She obliged, and the three-headed Titan rose from the ice. Monarch's G-Team opened fire on Ghidorah's heads as they eyed them curiously before retaliating with devastating gravity beams that vaporized them. Ghidorah completely freed himself from the ice and made his way to Monarch's Ospreys, though Madison used the ORCA to distract him before he attacked them. Godzilla soon eruped from the ice to confront Ghidorah, and the two Titans collided. Ghidorah was more than a match for Godzilla physically, forcing Godzilla to call upon his atomic breath. Ghidorah's heads weaved out of the way of the blast and countered with their gravity beams, which knocked Godzilla off of the ice shelf. Ghidorah resumed terrorizing the humans, destroying one Osprey and killing Dr. Vivienne Graham as she and Mark Russell tried to flee to safety. Before he could kill the others, the USS Argo flew overhead and bombarded Ghidorah with missiles. As Godzilla crawled back onto the ice, Ghidorah took flight and escaped.
Monarch tracked Ghidorah aboard the Osprey, only for him to disappear in a tropical storm over Brazil. Their new priority became dealing with Rodan, a winged Titan which Emma had unleashed from Outpost 56 in Isla de Mara, Mexico. As the Argo engaged in an aerial chase with Rodan, Ghidorah was detected moving to the location within the tropical storm. Monarch decided to lure Rodan to Ghidorah so they would fight each other. As the Argo entered the eye of the storm, it dove out of the way as Ghidorah and Rodan collided and began tearing at each other. Ghidorah restrained Rodan's wings with his left and right heads, and fired a gravity beam from his central head that blasted Rodan into the water below. Ghidorah turned his attention to the Argo and pursued it, only to be dragged underwater by Godzilla. Godzilla pulled Ghidorah under the surface and bit down on his left neck, tearing it off. Just as Godzilla seemed about to win, the military's Oxygen Destroyer struck the water and produced a colossal green explosion. While Godzilla was severely injured by the blast, Ghidorah was unharmed and flew out of the water, landing atop the Isla de Mara volcano. Ghidorah regenerated his missing head in a matter of moments and spread his wings, shrieking loudly into the sky. His call awakened other Titans around the world, including Scylla, Methuselah, Behemoth, and a MUTO, all of whom began to rampage. Rodan landed at the foot of the volcano and submitted to Ghidorah, doing his bidding along with the other newly-awakened Titans. Ghidorah made his way to the East Coast of the United States, bringing with him a massive hurricane that settled over Washington, D.C. When Monarch learned that Godzilla was still alive, it sent a nuclear submarine to try and revive him while the Argo battled Ghidorah and Rodan in D.C. along with the military.
Horrified at what her mother had helped to unleash, Emma's daughter Madison stole the ORCA and brought it to Fenway Park, where she broadcast a signal that calmed the other Titans and lured Ghidorah to Boston. Upon landing, Ghidorah destroyed the loudspeakers broadcasting the sound and fired his gravity beams into the pressbox. Madison managed to escape onto the field, but Ghidorah found her and prepared to fire his gravity beams. However, the now-revitalized Godzilla arrived in the city surrounded by a military escort and blasted Ghidorah with his atomic breath. Ghidorah charged at Godzilla and the Titans collided with each other, producing a shockwave that shook the Argo. Monarch deployed two Ospreys to try and save Madison and recover the ORCA as Godzilla and Ghidorah continued to fight. Ghidorah restrained Godzilla with his heads and pinned him to the ground, but Godzilla used his atomic breath to force him off. Mothra flew overhead and used her silk to pin Ghidorah's heads against a building. As Ghidorah tried to free his heads, Godzilla charged and tackled him through the building. As Ghidorah lay on the ground and witnessed Godzilla approaching, he called to Rodan to intercept Mothra. With Rodan and Mothra fighting in the air, Ghidorah and Godzilla continued their battle on the ground. Ghidorah bit down on a nearby power substation and absorbed the electricity, which he projected through the tips of his wings, blinding and stunning Godzilla. Ghidorah pressed his advantage and leaped onto Godzilla, grabbing him in his claws and carrying him into the sky. Ghidorah used his middle neck to strangle Godzilla until he went limp, then dropped Godzilla from above the clouds. Godzilla struck the ground and was left immobilized as Ghidorah landed near him, ready to finish him off. The injured Mothra weakly crawled onto Godzilla and shielded him with her wings, then flew at Ghidorah as he fired his gravity beams, vaporizing her. After Mothra's energy flowed into Godzilla, Ghidorah bit down on his foe and began siphoning his energy through his mouths. Emma, having had a change of heart, repaired the ORCA with Mark and used it to distract Ghidorah and force him to release Godzilla. In order to allow the Osprey to escape, Emma took the ORCA and lured Ghidorah away in a jeep. Ghidorah pursued Emma and destroyed the vehicle with his gravity beams, launching Emma from the car. Mortally wounded on the ground, Emma looked up at Ghidorah and said "Long live the King" as her final words. Ghidorah turned to see Godzilla, covered in glowing orange cracks and emitting intense heat, approaching him. Godzilla emitted a nuclear pulse shaped like Mothra's wings and making the sound of her roar, with Ghidorah trying to shield his heads with his wings. The blast incinerated the flesh on Ghidorah's wings, and he fired his gravity beams at Godzilla, Godzilla was unaffected and unleashed another pulse, disintegrating Ghidorah's left and right heads. Godzilla stomped on Ghidorah's chest as the accumulated nuclear energy inside him exploded, leveling a huge portion of the city. When the smoke cleared, Ghidorah's last remaining head emerged from the rubble, hanging from Godzilla's mouth. Godzilla fired his atomic breath, which incinerated the head and reduced Ghidorah to nothing but ash.
In Isla de Mara, with the sea still devoid of life due to the effects of the Oxygen Destroyer, fishermen had managed to dredge up Ghidorah's severed head which had been torn off by Godzilla. Jonah and his men traveled to a warehouse in Isla de Mara where the head was being kept. After observing the head with sinister intent, Jonah simply remarked "we'll take it."
The muscle tendons in King Ghidorah's wings are described as being incredibly hyper-tensile, and their massive aerodynamics could generate hurricane-force winds when flying. When combined with his body's electro-receptor molecular biology, water vapor in the air would be superheated, creating a localized storm system as he flies, equivalent to a Category 6 hurricane. The power of King Ghidorah's flight is so great that as a result, "the stratosphere would be torn open by an otherworldly tempest of thunder and lightning [Earth's] sky has never seen." King Ghidorah flies at a speed of 550 knots, or about Mach 0.8, while all previous live-action incarnations of the character could fly at least Mach 3 while in the Earth's atmosphere.
Monarch scientists theorize that King Ghidorah's scales are gilded with trace amounts of aurum which act as conductors, capable of carrying bio-electrical currents throughout his body. This allows Ghidorah to conduct electricity through his body and project it in different ways, either through the gravity beams he spits from his mouth or the lightning bolts he fires from his wings.
King Ghidorah can spit bio-electrical golden Gravity Beams from each of his mouths that are powerful enough to tear through buildings and disintegrate human beings. The fronts of his necks glow yellow while charging this attack. This attack is also shown to cause physical harm to other Titans. With only one shot, Ghidorah was able to shoot Rodan down and a concentrated barrage was enough to disintegrate Mothra. This attack also had enough force to drive Godzilla off the ice during their first battle in Antarctica.
Like the incarnation of King Ghidorah from Rebirth of Mothra III, the MonsterVerse King Ghidorah can project lightning from the tips of his wings. In addition to damaging aircraft it strikes, this lightning blinds and temporarily stuns Godzilla, allowing Ghidorah to attack him. This ability damaged Ghidorah himself, scorching his wings, however this is offset by his regenerative powers.
According to cranial scans, King Ghidorah has a divergent frontal lobe density in the brains of all three heads, indicating that each of his heads can have disparate levels of cognitive functions, possibly including independent thought. Monarch has determined that each of King Ghidorah's heads exhibits its own individual personality. King Ghidorah shows his intelligence during combat, such as when he bites down on electrical wiring during his battle with Godzilla in Boston, allowing him to temporarily stun his nemesis long enough to attack him. While attempting to free his other heads from Mothra's silk the right head was able to recognize Godzilla was behind him by looking at his own reflection. Realizing that he was overwhelmed by both Godzilla and Mothra, Ghidorah wisely calls in Rodan to keep the Queen of the Monsters occupied. King Ghidorah also recognizes the ORCA frequency as a potential threat and makes several attempts to take out the source, such as when he destroys the Fenway Park speakers to cut off the sound.
King Ghidorah possesses twin tails which are prehensile and can be used to constrict foes along with his necks. He uses his tails to restrain Godzilla as he lifts him high into the sky before dropping him. He also has retractable spikes on the ends of his tails, though he does not seem to use them specifically in combat. King Ghidorah is seen shaking the ends of his tails in the air like a rattlesnake, possibly as an intimidation display.
When not using his gravity beams to attack from a distance, King Ghidorah uses his jaws when in close combat in a similar manner to a snake. He also has the ability to constrict an opponent with his three necks and two tails, strangling Godzilla at one point. His strength greatly outclasses that of Rodan, as King Ghidorah was able to easily restrain the winged Titan's wings with his left and right heads, allowing his middle head to fire a Gravity Beam at him. King Ghidorah is also shown to be capable of lifting enemies comparable to him in size without much strain, as seen when he slams Godzilla to the ground and carries him up into the atmosphere in order to drop him.
King Ghidorah is immune to conventional weaponry, and is also able to withstand a blast of Godzilla's atomic breath at point-blank range, though it still pushes him back. Due to his extraterrestrial nature, Ghidorah is immune to the effects of the Oxygen Destroyer, which seriously injured Godzilla and killed all other life within a two-mile radius. King Ghidorah was seen using his wings as a shield to protect his heads from missiles. He tried using them to shield his heads from from Godzilla's nuclear pulse, but they were unable to withstand the intense heat and were incinerated.
King Ghidorah possesses an exceptional healing factor. After having his left head severed by Godzilla, he was able to completely regenerate it in a matter of moments. According to director Michael Dougherty, when one King Ghidorah's heads is severed and a new one grows, "[t]he newly regenerated head retains the memories and personality of the old one. Most of Ghidorah's neurons are scattered throughout his body and limbs, much like an octopus." During his final battle with Godzilla in Boston, Ghidorah regenerated holes and tears in his wings after absorbing electricity from a nearby power substation. Though his regeneration was unable to keep up with Burning Godzilla's nuclear pulse, he survived having his wings, two of his heads, and the entirety of his body incinerated by the attack, and was only finally killed once Godzilla burned away his last head.
King Ghidorah is able to absorb energy through his mouths. He is shown doing this twice in his final battle with Godzilla. At one point, he bites down on a nearby power substation and absorbs the electricity, which he projects through the tips of his wings. Later, he constricts his necks around Godzilla before biting down on him and draining his atomic energy. The energy is visible coursing through Ghidorah's necks as he bites down on Godzilla. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization notes that King Ghidorah absorbed radiation from the Isla de Mara volcano to provide the nourishment necessary to regenerate his severed head.
While a skilled fighter on the ground and in his element when in the air, King Ghidorah demonstrates considerable difficulty when fighting in the water, as shown when Godzilla dragged him underwater in Mexico, and likely would've been killed then and there if it weren't for the interference of the Oxygen Destroyer. His regeneration takes time, and he wasn't able to regenerate his wings and left and right heads after they were disintegrated by Burning Godzilla's nuclear pulse, nor when he was reduced to a single head before Godzilla incinerated it with his atomic breath. Because each head is capable of independent thought, they may become distracted and require the dominant middle head to get their attention and give them orders. However, all three were distracted by and pursued the ORCA when they had Godzilla at their mercy in Boston, giving him time to recover and ultimately leading to Ghidorah's downfall.
- Main article: King Ghidorah/Legendary/Gallery.
King Ghidorah's new roar in the MonsterVerse was developed to emulate the multi-pitched cackling sounds he produced in the Showa series. Recordings of snakes hissing and rattling were incorporated into these roars. The trill he emitted while flying in the Showa series briefly plays just before he lands in Fenway Park while his Heisei cry can be heard while battling Godzilla in Fenway.
- The script for Kong: Skull Island called for the Iwi petroglyphs inside the Wanderer to depict many monsters, including "one with three heads." In the completed film, only Kong and the Skullcrawlers were shown. The film's novelization, however, does mention a three-headed creature depicted on the murals, along with several other creatures.
- Monarch's designation for King Ghidorah, Monster Zero, is the name given to King Ghidorah by the Xiliens in Invasion of Astro-Monster.
- The location where King Ghidorah is frozen in Antarctica, Outpost 32, is a reference to the 1982 film The Thing, in which the primary location is an outpost in Antarctica called Outpost 31. The titular alien monster in The Thing is also discovered frozen in the Antarctic ice, much like King Ghidorah.
- Excluding the King Ghidorah featured in GODZILLA: The Planet Eater which is an estimated 20 kilometers (65,616.8 feet) in length with no definite "height," this is the tallest incarnation of the character, standing 521 feet (158.8 meters) in height - approximately 29 feet taller than the Heisei King Ghidorah, who was 150 meters. The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah is also the tallest monster featured in a Godzilla film besides Godzilla Earth, who stands over 1,000 feet tall.
- The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah is also the heaviest incarnation of the character at 141,056 tons, which is nearly double the weight of the Heisei King Ghidorah, and the heaviest member of the Ghidorah group. He is also one of the heaviest kaiju in the Godzilla series, behind the Heisei Mechagodzilla at 150,000 metric tons, Super Mechagodzilla at 150,482 metric tons, MOGUERA at 160,000 metric tons, Biollante's Plant Beast Form at 200,000 metric tons, Bagan at 280,000 metric tons, and SpaceGodzilla's Flying Form at 720,000 metric tons.
- The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah is the first incarnation of the character to be portrayed through motion capture, as well as the first to be portrayed by three actors simultaneously.
- The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah shares some characteristics with the incarnation of the character from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. For example, his feet are bird-like with three large claws and a smaller fourth digit, while his wings have visible phalanges which connect to his body, and can be folded at his sides when not in use. He also possesses electrical abilities in addition to his traditional Gravity Beams, much like the GMK incarnation of the character. Like the GMK King Ghidorah, this version of the character is initially discovered frozen in ice.
This is a list of references for King Ghidorah/Legendary. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: