- This page covers the two monsters identified as "MUTOs" in Godzilla (2014). For general use of the term "MUTO," see MUTO (designation).
This is our needle in the haystack, people. MUTO: Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. It is, however, no longer terrestrial; it is airborne.
Prehistoric parasites that thrived at the same time as Godzilla's species, the MUTOs survived by attacking and killing members of Godzilla's species and laying their eggs in their radioactive carcasses. Two MUTO spores left in the carcass of a Godzilla survived for millions of years buried deep underground in the Philippines, only to be uncovered by a mining operation in 1999. A male MUTO emerged from its spore and began feeding on a nuclear reactor located in Janjira, while the female emerged from a nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada years later in 2014. The MUTOs met in San Francisco and began building a nest, but Godzilla arrived in the city to stop them from reproducing. After a long battle, Godzilla successfully killed both MUTOs, while the military destroyed the creatures' nest, successfully preventing the MUTOs from repopulating. As Godzilla's foes in the first entry of the MonsterVerse, the MUTOs were the first opponent faced by Godzilla in a film since Monster X ten years earlier.
- 1 Name
- 2 Development
- 3 Design
- 4 Personality
- 5 Origins
- 6 History
- 7 Abilities
- 8 Video Games
- 9 Comics
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Roar
- 12 In Other Languages
- 13 Trivia
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 Comments
- Main article: MUTO (designation).
MUTO is an acronym for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism." According to Godzilla: Awakening, this is a designation Monarch gives to all giant monsters as a sort of placeholder name. In this comic, both Godzilla and Shinomura were known as MUTOs before being given their own individual names. In addition, in the film Kong: Skull Island, Monarch agent William Randa states that his organization's purpose is to hunt Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms.
The MUTOs are individually referred to in Japanese media as Muto (Male) (ムートー（オス） and Muto (Female) Mūtō Osu) (ムートー（メス）, Mūtō Mesu) while they are collectively referred to as simply Muto (ムートー, or alternatively MUTO (Male and Female) Mūtō) (ＭＵＴＯ（オス・メス） Mūtō Osu Mesu) in the 2016 Japanese publication Shin Godzilla Walker: The New Legend of the King of the Monsters.
The MUTOs are known to have been developed from Rokmutul and Pterodactyl, two early monsters from the development of Godzilla. In the Comic-Con 2012 teaser trailer for the film, an unnamed, tardigrade-like, multi-legged monster was created to confirm that Godzilla would be fighting another monster in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla.
One of the original screenplays of Godzilla had the male MUTO emerge from its chrysalis in Hokkaido, Japan, instead of the fictional city of Janjira. The female MUTO still appeared in Nevada, however.
The MUTOs went through several dozen concepts before Legendary settled on their final designs. Director Gareth Edwards at first wanted a design akin to a crab, but this was discarded as Jim Rygiel explained that the MUTOs "had to be menacing enough to take on Godzilla, but sort of facile enough to move around the city. Yet still be based on some sort of natural look. [...] We had to somewhat fit into nature because that's what Godzilla's battling in this film is nature, basically." The initial design had a face that was mostly featureless and nearly eyeless. Artists from the Moving Picture Company, the visual effects company responsible for much of the computer animation in Godzilla and the creation of the CGI models for the MUTOs, later added an articulated mouth and more definite eyes as the kaiju's designs developed, the eyes being added for the purposes of small-scale animation close-ups. Some concepts had the male MUTO with four wings. At one point, the four wings were shaped like the X-wing starfighter from Star Wars. Artist Matt Allsopp created several designs for the MUTOs, including a female that featured a much stubbier head and a male with only six total appendages and four wings. The four-winged design would later be dropped as Allsopp felt the wings were "too much like a dragon." The final design of the male MUTO was also created by Matt Allsopp.
The MUTOs were depicted onscreen entirely through the use of computer-generated imagery, while two unidentified actors performed motion capture for the creatures. The actor for the male MUTO wore a set of wings operated by his arms, while the female MUTO's actor wore two prosthetic additional legs and used crutches to act as extensions for his arms and allow him to capture the effect of the female MUTO knuckle-walking.
The MUTOs' bodies are grayish-black and red (although depicted as grayish-black and white in the film when exposed to certain levels of light, like from fire). The shape of their head is reminiscent of Gyaos, and they have triangular jaws with seemingly degenerated rows of sharp teeth. The male MUTO has two 'mandibles' in his chin while the female only has one. The female MUTO has two pairs of forelimbs and a smaller pair on its chest, and is much bigger than the male MUTO, being just smaller than Godzilla. The male MUTO is morphologically identical except that one of the two forelimb pairs is modified into his wings. Both MUTO have red eyes and two hind legs, and the species is capable of long-range echolocation.
As prehistoric parasites, the MUTOs' sole goals revolve around consuming radiation and reproduction. The male actively seeks out radiation on which to feed after emerging from his chrysalis. When he encounters Godzilla for the first time, he reacts with hostility and becomes defensive, attacking him whenever an opportunity becomes available and evading when possible.
The female, once the male had matured enough, awakened from her dormancy and traversed through Las Vegas and other environments to meet with the male, who brought with him a nuclear warhead as a sign of courtship for their eggs to feed upon. She seemed to exhibit pain when laying her eggs in her nest in San Francisco, and became hostile and defensive when Godzilla appeared and fought with him alongside the male MUTO to defend their nest.
As a team, the MUTOs are powerful and able to best Godzilla with their combined strength. If nothing had distracted them from fighting Godzilla in San Francisco, they may have killed him. After noticing her eggs were destroyed in an explosion, the female MUTO displayed visible grief over the loss of her young, and when she seemed to identify Ford Brody as the one responsible this was quickly replaced with rage.
The male attacked Godzilla just before he could attack the female again, showing a protectiveness for her, even willing to risk his own life for her until she recovered.
In Godzilla: Aftershock, Monarch's Dr. Emma Russell further speculates on the nature of the MUTOs, suggesting that after their young were successfully born the female could very well have killed and eaten the male much like a praying mantis. She also proposes that a newly-born brood of MUTOs will act as an invasive species, adapting the environment to their will and wiping out almost everything else within it. Once their food supply is exhausted, she hypothesizes, the brood will turn on each other until there is only one individual left, which matures into the next MUTO Prime.
The MUTOs are ancient parasites that come from the same era and ecosystem as Godzilla. Much like him, the MUTOs feed off of radiation. However, unlike the surviving Godzilla, who adapted to live at the bottom of the ocean and feed off the planet's natural radiation, the MUTOs are actively drawn to sources of man-made radiation such as nuclear warheads and energy plants.
As revealed in Godzilla: Aftershock, the official graphic novel prequel to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the MUTOs are the offspring of a Titan dubbed MUTO Prime. MUTO Prime infected a member of Godzilla's species, known to the ancients as Dagon and designated Species 5146_Adam by Monarch, with its parasitic eggs which implanted into its stomach lining and broke down the hemoglobin in its blood to feed on the nuclear radiation. After the host died due to being unable to replenish its nuclear energy, the spores continued to grow within its carcass, which was eventually buried deep within an underground cavern in the Philippines. When a mining company unwittingly unearthed the skeleton in 1999, the male's spore hatched and it burrowed to Janjira in its larval state in search of nuclear energy, while the female's spore remained dormant until the male matured. This means that in addition to being mates, the two MUTOs are also brother and sister.
The MUTOs were discovered in the Philippines in 1999 after a mining operation drilled into a cave containing a gigantic skeleton with two parasitic spores attached to it, one of which had already hatched. The larval male MUTO, who had hatched after being disturbed by the cave collapsing, burrowed his way to the Janjira nuclear power plant in Japan, where he caused the plant to collapse from underneath, killing Sandra Brody and several other workers, and causing the entire area to be evacuated because of radiation leaking from the plant. Despite the destruction of the plant, the MUTO attached himself to the reactor and entered a cocoon-like state, absorbing all the radiation from the surrounding area. The second pod containing the female MUTO was taken by the Americans to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.
For the next 15 years, the organization Monarch maintained a research base in the ruins of the Janjira plant, where they observed and studied the MUTO while it fed on the reactor. As the reactor was depleted and the MUTO matured, it began giving off electromagnetic pulses which interfered with Monarch's equipment. Ishiro Serizawa, who was in charge of the operation, regretfully gave the order to kill the MUTO before it could destroy their base. The cocoon was destroyed with electrical currents released from cables surrounding it. A group of armed operatives approached the remains of the cocoon to confirm the MUTO was destroyed, but the creature was still alive and attacked them. The MUTO laid waste to the power plant once again before sprouting his wings and taking off. The United States Navy, under the command of Admiral William Stenz, began to pursue the MUTO as it crossed the Pacific Ocean. Eventually, the male MUTO arrived in Hawaii, where it had dragged a Russian nuclear sub ashore and was feeding on its torpedoes. A group of soldiers were sent to investigate, but were attacked by the MUTO Fighter jets were sent in to try and stop the creature, but the MUTO released an EMP, causing the jets to fall out of the sky and crash. The MUTO proceeded to terrorize the Honolulu International Airport, but was confronted by Godzilla, who had come ashore to hunt it. The two monsters briefly battled until the MUTO retreated back over the ocean, with Godzilla in pursuit.
Meanwhile, Serizawa and his assistant Vivienne Graham concluded that the male MUTO was using echolocation to signal to the female MUTO that he was mature and ready to mate. Serizawa worried that the spore containing the female was not actually dormant, and the military sent a team to the waste depository to investigate. When the soldiers arrived, the facility was destroyed and the female MUTO had already broken out. The female MUTO terrorized the city of Las Vegas and began to head west to California. The military formed a plan to lure both MUTOs and Godzilla out to sea with a nuclear warhead, then detonate it in an attempt to kill all three. Two warheads were tranported via a train, but the female MUTO intercepted it in the California wilderness, killing all the personnel except for Ford Brody and eating one of the warheads. The other warhead was recovered and airlifted to San Francisco Bay, where it was armed, but it was stolen by the male MUTO, who presented it to the female in downtown San Francisco.
After acquiring the warhead, the female MUTO created a nest and attached her eggs to the warhead, nourishing them with the radiation. The male meanwhile attempted to distract Godzilla, who had broken through the Golden Gate Bridge and come ashore. Eventually, Godzilla reached the nest and took on both MUTOs at once, while an extraction team led by Ford Brody arrived to recover the armed warhead. The bomb was removed from the nest, and Ford ignited a gas explosion to destroy the MUTOs' eggs. The explosion attracted the attention of the MUTOs, who had overpowered Godzilla, and they went to investigate. The female MUTO was stricken with grief after seeing her young killed, but became enraged when she saw Ford, the man responsible. Before the MUTO could kill Ford, Godzilla emerged from behind her and pummeled her mercilessly with his atomic breath. The male MUTO attacked Godzilla from behind, allowing the female to pursue Ford and his team as they attempted to take the bomb out to sea. When the male MUTO attempted to strike Godzilla from behind once again, Godzilla anticipated it and smacked the MUTO with his tail, impaling him on a building and killing him.
Ford's team arrived at the docks with the bomb, but were all slaughtered by the female MUTO, leaving Ford the only one left. Ford grabbed the bomb and placed it on a boat. Unable to defuse it, he started the boat in an attempt to take it out over the bay before it could detonate. However, the female MUTO's EMP field disabled the boat, leaving her face-to-face with Ford. Ford drew his pistol and aimed it at the MUTO, but knew he stood no chance and closed his eyes as she prepared to kill him. Suddenly, the female MUTO was pulled back by Godzilla, who pried open her jaws and fired his atomic breath down her throat, severing her head from her body and killing her.
Both MUTOs can use echolocation to communicate, find a source of radiation, and locate each other.
The male MUTO is able to unleash electromagnetic pulses from his claws, which can disable electric apparatuses in a five-mile-wide radius. The female can instead surround herself with an EMP field, labeled the "Sphere of Influence" by the news, which performs the same function. There doesn't appear to be any limit to how often either MUTO can use their EMP abilities. In the official novelization, it is explained the EMP ability evolved as a defense mechanism, used to prevent Godzilla's species from using their atomic breath. This purpose is never alluded to in the film, but in an earlier screenplay, it is explicitly mentioned that Godzilla cannot use his atomic breath when near the female MUTO
The male MUTO has wings which he can use to fly. The speed at which he can fly is undetermined.
The female MUTO has the ability to reproduce sexually. She lays hundreds of eggs near radioactive objects so that when her offspring hatch, they can immediately feed off the radiation. As parasites, the females of the MUTO parasitic species lays their eggs inside the radioactive carcasses of the larger Godzilla species in order to reproduce.
Physical Strength and Durability
Both the male and female MUTOs possess immense physical strength and durability. The male MUTO was strong enough to dredge up a Russian Typhoon-class sub from the depths of the ocean and pull it dozens of miles inland on the island of Hawaii; the fact that he could perform such a feat, and later attack a ship in San Francisco Bay to collect a nuclear warhead, implies that he posses some swimming capabilities. The female was able to claw herself out of Mount Yucca, as well as being able to destroy buildings with ease. She was also able toss Godzilla himself around a few times, despite his own immense size and weight. Both MUTOs were durable enough to take barrages of both small and large arms fire without any damage. However, their strength and durability appears to be inferior to Godzilla's.
- Godzilla: Smash3 (2014) - Android and iOS
While the male MUTO was still developing inside of its chrysalis in Janjira in 2012, a photograph taken of it inside the chrysalis was taped to a map in Houston Brooks' office, alongside photos of the 1954 Castle Bravo detonation as well as an image of a moth-like creature.
- Main article: MUTO/Gallery.
Many of the MUTOs' roars are deep and blaring with occasional crackles and snapping noises. On occasion, they make trumpet-like cries and groans similar to creaking doors or Geiger counters. The male and female vocalizations are slightly different; the male emits higher-pitched calls and shrieks, while the larger female's roars are deeper.
In Other Languages
- Godzilla's motion capture actor, TJ Storm, recalled working alongside two unidentified actors who portrayed the MUTOs.
- The MUTOs are the first American-made kaiju to be specifically created for a Godzilla film, not counting the Gryphon from the unmade 1994 American Godzilla film, and the TriStar Godzilla from the 1998 American film, who was later re-trademarked with the name "Zilla" and appeared as a separate monster in subsequent Godzilla-related media.
- The MUTOs' role in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla as Godzilla's enemies somewhat mirrors that of the Gryphon from the scrapped 1994 American Godzilla film. In both stories, the military initially considers Godzilla to be a threat but is ultimately forced to allow him to fight his enemy in a major American city after its own efforts prove futile. Godzilla kills both the female MUTO and the Gryphon through decapitation, though the exact manner in which they are decapitated differs.
- The MUTOs are Godzilla's first completely original opponent since Titanosaurus in Terror of Mechagodzilla. Every other enemy Godzilla has fought since then are either enemies he has fought before, clones of him, or are derived from or based on an existing monster.
- A MUTO skull makes a brief appearance in Pacific Rim Uprising, during the scene where Hermann Gottlieb examines PPDC records in search of a match for the image Mako Mori transmitted.
This is a list of references for MUTO. 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: