|SPOILER WARNING: This section may contain major plot and/or ending details. Proceed at your own discretion.|
This time we join the fight.
— Mark Russell (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
Fascinated with nature and the possibility of communication between man and wildlife since childhood, Mark Russell met his wife Emma while both were performing post-graduate studies at MIT. They shared a passion for bioacoustics, and together developed a device dubbed "ORCA" which represented unprecedented potential in interspecies communication. The device was originally developed to keep dolphins and whales away from shores, but when it was first tested it caught the attention of Monarch, who recruited the husband-and-wife duo into the organization. Mark became Monarch's Senior Anthrozoologist, all while raising a daughter, Madison, and a son, Andrew. However, following a family tragedy in 2014, Mark resigned from Monarch and divorced with his wife. While his relationship with his daughter can best be described as distant, he does maintain limited communication with Madison, who primarily lives with her mother.
In 2014, Mark lost his son Andrew during Godzilla's battle against the MUTOs in San Francisco. The experience drove Mark to resign from Monarch and take up drinking. He was separated from his wife, Emma, who became even more dedicated to her work at Monarch and maintained primary custody of their daughter Madison. By 2019, Mark relocated to a cabin in the Colorado wilderness to pursue his passion as a wildlife photographer, photographing nearby packs of wolves. All this time, he maintained a distant relationship with Madison, corresponding with her over email. When Emma and Madison were kidnapped from Outpost 61 in China by a mysterious group of armed mercenaries, Drs. Ishiro Serizawa, Vivienne Graham, and Sam Coleman visited Mark's cabin to inform him of the situation. Mark was furious when he learned that the assailants were after the ORCA, the sonar device he and Emma had worked together on in college. Mark protested that the ORCA was developed to keep whales away from the shoreline, rather than Monarch's goal to use it to communicate with Titans. Mark departed with the three scientists aboard an Osprey bound for Monarch's headquarters in Bermuda. During the flight, Serizawa informed Mark that so far Monarch had found 17 Titans after Godzilla, all of which were found in deep hibernation. When Mark asked why Monarch didn't simply kill all of them while they had the chance, Serizawa responded that the military wanted to, while he and Emma believed some Titans were benevolent. Finally, the Osprey reached Monarch's headquarters: Outpost 54, a.k.a. Castle Bravo. There, Sam told Mark, they were able to observe Godzilla on his own turf. Mark sat in on a meeting of Monarch personnel discussing the current crisis. The leader of the men who kidnapped Emma and Madison was identified as Alan Jonah, a former British Army colonel and MI6 agent turned eco-terrorist. It was clear he intended to use the ORCA for his ultimate goal of restoring the natural order through violent and extreme means. When Jonah and his men kidnapped Emma and Maddie from Outpost 61, they unleashed the Titan being contained there: Mothra. Col. Diane Foster, leader of Monarch's G-Team, suggested the terrorists were likely pursuing Mothra and would still be in the Yunnan Rainforest. Mark interjected, saying that was what Jonah likely wanted Monarch to believe while he went after a bigger prize. Mark went on a tirade saying Monarch should have eliminated all of the Titans by now, especially Godzilla, before storming off. Later, Godzilla began to approach Castle Bravo with seemingly aggressive intent. Shields were deployed over the facility while G-Team manned the base's Maser Turrets. Mark came into the control room and told everyone to stand down. As much as he wanted Godzilla dead, he said, unless this was a fight they could win they needed to stand down. Serizawa gave the order to disarm the turrets, after which Godzilla's heart rate began to slow. Finally, Mark said to lower the shields in order to signal to Godzilla that they were not a threat. Dr. Rick Stanton protested, but Serizawa gave the order to lower the shields. The shields dropped, and Godzilla became visible just outside the window, swimming slowly while his dorsal fins emitted a bright blue glow. Dr. Graham identified this as an intimidation display, while Dr. Ilene Chen suggested the display was not meant for them. Mark approached the window as Godzilla swam closer before finally vanishing into the darkness. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief before Godzilla suddenly surged past the window and began to swim away very quickly. Mark asked to bring up Godzilla's patrol routes, saying that if he was leaving his hunting grounds he was likely detecting a threat, which could be the ORCA. All projections of Godzilla's current route showed him heading to one location: Antarctica. Col. Foster said to contact the USS Argo and prepare for transport to Antarctica.
As Mark and the others traveled aboard the Argo to Antarctica, Serizawa and Graham explained that it was the site of an off-the-books facility: Outpost 32. A new Titan had been recently discovered there, which was hypothesized to be another apex predator and a rival alpha to Godzilla. Serizawa stated that Emma had given this Titan the name "Monster Zero." Two Ospreys were deployed from the Argo and touched down just outside Outpost 32. G-Team deployed from one and breached the base while Mark and the scientists waited inside the other and observed G-Team's video feeds on a screen. Inside, G-Team was ambushed by Jonah's men, and Emma and Madison were seen on the video. Mark took matters into his own hands and ran out of the Osprey into the Outpost, grabbing a pistol off of a dead body. Mark made his way up an elevator onto a catwalk where Jonah and his henchman Asher were escorting Emma and Madison. Col. Foster was able to kill Asher with her sniper rifle, causing him to drop the detonator he was holding. Mark held Jonah at gunpoint and told Emma and Madison to come to him. To his shock, both of them stayed with Jonah despite some hesitation on Madison's part. Emma picked up the detonator and apologized to Mark, before telling him to run and pressing the button. Explosive charges in the surrounding ice went off, causing the base to begin collapsing. Jonah escaped on an elevator with Emma and Madison, with Mark pursuing on another elevator. However, he was forced to turn back and help the members of G-Team escape. Mark and G-Team managed to escape the base just as it sank under the ice. As she escaped with Jonah and Madison aboard an Osprey, Emma activated the ORCA, which broadcast a sonic pulse toward the ground. In response to the sonar, a gigantic draconic head atop a long serpentine neck emerges from a fissure in the ice before Mark and G-Team. It was followed by two other heads and a colossal winged body. G-Team opened fire on Monster Zero, which regarded them with some curiosity before disintegrating most of them with his gravity beams. Mark and the survivors tried to flee back to the Ospreys, but Monster Zero's gravity beams damaged them and prevented them from taking off. As Monster Zero approached the Ospreys, Emma used the ORCA to distract him just long enough to prevent him from destroying them. Godzilla soon erupted from under the ice and challenged Monster Zero. The two Titans charged at each other and exchanged blows, their clash knocking one of the Ospreys sideways into a collapsing section of the ice shelf. The occupants hurried to escape, but Mark became entangled in wires. Dr. Graham helped free him and the two began to run to the other Osprey. As they ran, Monster Zero bit down on the ice and swallowed Dr. Graham whole. Godzilla and Monster Zero continued to battle as a stray gravity beam struck the ground near Mark and launched him into a wall, knocking him unconscious.
Mark awakened sometime later inside the Argo. He made his way to the control room, where Sam argued with Col. Foster over whether Emma had really detonated the charges to release Monster Zero. Mark said that Foster was right; Emma unmistakably detonated them of her own accord. The Argo was then contacted by Emma, who tried to explain the reasoning behind her actions. Humans were responsible for irreparably damaging the environment, and the Earth was heading toward a mass extinction. She claimed the Titans were the only thing that could stop this, and needed to be released before the military could kill them as they slept. Mark was disgusted at Emma's actions, accusing her of having lost her mind. Emma defended her actions, saying she promised herself that Andrew's death would not be in vain and that this was her way of making sure that was true. Mark simply responded that this would not bring Andrew back, prompting Emma to suggest the members of Monarch seek shelter before signing off. Monarch determined that Emma was not broadcasting from Outpost 56 in Isla de Mara, Mexico as they had believed, but was rather bouncing her signal off of Monarch's satellites and could be anywhere. Wherever she and the mercenaries were, they had managed to deactivate the containment field on the volcano on Isla de Mara. Mark asked what they were going to do about all of the people still in the village below, and was told G-Team was in the process of evacuating them. With the containment field disabled, the volcano erupted and from the crater emerged a winged Titan. Mark asked if Monarch had a name for this Titan, and Dr. Chen responded that local legends called it "Rodan, the Fire Demon." As Rodan perched on the volcano, he began to cry out. Monarch detected that the tropical storm in which they earlier lost Monster Zero had suddenly changed direction and was heading directly to this location. In reality it had not been a storm at all but was Monster Zero. Mark said that Monster Zero was responding to Rodan's cries, giving G-Team the idea to lure Rodan to Monster Zero and have the two Titans fight. A fleet of G-Team fighter jets opened fire on Rodan, enraging him and causing him to take flight and pursue the Argo. Rodan made short work of the jets and began to close in on the Argo. Fortunately, the Argo reached Monster Zero in the eye of the storm and dove out of the way just before the two Titans clashed in the air. The G-Team Osprey carrying refugees from Isla de Mara was attempting to reach the Argo, but the doors to the hangar were jammed and would not open. Sam led Mark to the hangar, where Mark pressed a button that dropped an Osprey onto the doors and broke them open. The G-Team Osprey was able to crash-land in the hangar, nearly taking out Sam with its propellers before Mark pushed him out of the way. The danger was not over though as Monster Zero became visible flying directly toward the Argo from outside. Just before he reached it, Godzilla erupted from underwater and dragged Monster Zero under. By the time Mark made it back to the bridge, he learned that the military had launched an experimental chemical weapon, the Oxygen Destroyer, at both Godzilla and Monster Zero, with the intention of killing them both along with everything else within a two mile radius. The Argo hastily pulled out of the vicinity as the warhead carrying the Oxygen Destroyer collided with the water, producing an eerie green explosion. Dead fish began floating to the surface, after which Monster Zero, his left head torn off by Godzilla, flew out of the sea. Dr. Stanton detected Godzilla's vitals dropping rapidly before they vanished entirely. Serizawa bitterly told Mark that he finally got his wish. Matters only became worse as Monster Zero perched atop the Isla de Mara volcano and his severed head regenerated entirely in a matter of moments. The three-headed Titan then emitted a piercing shriek that caused all of the hibernating Titans around the world to awaken. These Titans responded to Monster Zero's roar and began doing his bidding by attacking major cities. Rodan even landed before Monster Zero and submitted to him as well.
Aboard the Argo, Mark and the other members of Monarch discussed Monster Zero and his strange effect on the other Titans. Dr. Chen reported that she had successfully deciphered ancient records of Monster Zero, which stated he was a dragon who "fell from the stars" and produced storms that swallowed humanity and Godzilla alike. Mark deduced that this must mean Monster Zero was an alien, an invasive species attempting to change the Earth's environment to his own liking. Chen went on to say that ancient legends called the creature "Ghidorah, The One Who Is Many." When the Argo returned to Castle Bravo, Monarch found it surrounded by U.S. Navy vessels. Inside, Admiral William Stenz explained that all of the newly-awakened Titans were not responding to attempts to lure them with nuclear weapons, and that their behavior had become erratic. Dr. Chen interjected that their behavior was not random or erratic at all, prompting Mark to explain that they were all responding to an alpha: Ghidorah. If they could stop Ghidorah, he said, they might just stop them all. Unfortunately, with Godzilla dead, there was no feasible way to defeat Ghidorah. With all hope seemingly lost, Mark boarded an Osprey and prepared to depart Castle Bravo and search for Madison himself. As he waited to leave, the rainstorm outside abruptly stop. Mark exited the Osprey and looked into the sky, where he witnessed as the clouds were parted by a blinding white light. Inside the control room, Dr. Chen recognized the source of the light as the imago form of Mothra, Queen of the Monsters. Monarch detected that Mothra was emitting a call, and Godzilla was alive and responding to it very faintly. Mark asked how many nuclear warheads Monarch had, saying they may have a way to help Godzilla. Mark, Serizawa, Chen, and Stanton boarded a nuclear submarine which followed Mothra to Godzilla's location while the Argo attempted to combat King Ghidorah in Washington, D.C. along with the U.S. military. As the sub followed Mothra's beacon of light, it was suddenly pulled underwater by a whirlpool. When the sub finally settled, it found itself deep underwater and very far away from its original position. Stanton exclaimed that this was the Hollow Earth, as proposed by Dr. Houston Brooks, and was how Godzilla was able to travel underwater so quickly. The sub shined its lights on its surroundings, which revealed sunken ruins. As the sub proceeded further, it came upon an entire sunken city. Mark noted that the architecture looked either Roman or Egyptian, but Stanton said it was much older. The sub detected what seemed to be a nearby air pocket, but was forced to stop approaching it as it detected lethal radiation levels. It sent drones ahead to observe the chamber, which captured footage of Godzilla sleeping atop a colossal altar just before the radiation caused them to go offline. They had discovered Godzilla's home, the place where he went to rest and recover by feeding off of the naturally-occurring radiation. While this would theoretically allow Godzilla to recover, it could take years for all they knew and they needed to get Godzilla back in the fight now. Unfortunately, the sub's firing system had been damaged by the whirlpool, and it was impossible to repair. Dr. Chen suggested someone manually enter the chamber and arm a warhead there, but Stanton replied that the heat and radiation would kill the person before they could return. Serizawa then volunteered to do it himself. Chen insisted there had to be another way, but Serizawa remained resolved and said he had to do it. Serizawa donned a protective suit with an oxygen tank which would keep him alive long enough to reach Godzilla and arm the warhead. After Serizawa bid his final goodbyes to Stanton and Chen, he handed Mark his notes. Mark asked if Serizawa was sure about this, and Serizawa responded that Godzilla was not only proof that man and Titans could coexist, but was the key to it. He told Mark to take care of the others before departing with the warhead in a miniature sub. As Serizawa entered the chamber, the sub made its way back to the surface. Serizawa successfully armed the warhead and shared a final moment with Godzilla by placing his hand on the creature's face just before it exploded. The explosion propelled the sub back to the surface, and Mark and Chen came on deck to see if Serizawa was successful. Whirlpools began to open around them before Godzilla rose to the surface completely rejuvenated and fired his atomic breath triumphantly into the air. Godzilla turned his gaze to the sub and leaned toward it. Mark instructed everyone not to move as he locked eyes with Godzilla. Godzilla turned around and began making his way to the East Coast of the U.S., prompting Mark to realize where to find Madison and the ORCA.
Mark returned to the Argo with Chen and Stanton and was able to pinpoint the ORCA's signal by combining the sonar patterns of Godzilla and a human. This determined that the ORCA was currently being broadcast from Fenway Park, where Madison had taken it after stealing it from her mother and Jonah in an attempt to stop the rampaging Titans. When the Argo reached Boston along with Godzilla and a military escort, it deployed an Osprey with Mark and members of G-Team which touched down in Fenway Park. Mark and G-Team searched frantically for Madison while Godzilla and Ghidorah battled. While they could not find Madison, they found the damaged ORCA. Emma soon arrived in a jeep and told Mark and the others to get in. They drove through the streets of Boston as Godzilla and Ghidorah fought on the ground and Mothra and Rodan battled in the air. Mark and Emma argued about where Madison could be, prompting Chief Warrant Officer Jackson Barnes to remark that if he had the two of them for parents, he'd want to run away from home too. This led them to the realization that Madison must have gone to their old home in Boston. When they reached the home they found it in ruins, but fortunately Madison had survived by taking refuge in the bathtub. Mark and Emma helped Madison out and managed to get her to regain consciousness. When they saw that Ghidorah had the upper hand against Godzilla, Mark and Emma rushed to repair the ORCA so it could distract Ghidorah long enough for Godzilla to turn the tide. The two were able to fix the ORCA, and prepared to board an Osprey and lead Ghidorah away. Emma told them to go ahead while she stayed behind to activate the ORCA. By the time it was ready, she saw Ghidorah drawing near and realized that they would never be able to escape if the ORCA was onboard the Osprey. Mark held Madison back as the Osprey took off and Emma took the ORCA aboard her jeep and drove away. Mark and Madison watched from above as Ghidorah pursued and destroyed the jeep with his gravity beams. Emma's sacrifice was not in vain though, as Godzilla appeared behind Ghidorah, empowered by both the nuclear warhead and the energy Mothra had bestowed upon him when she died. Glowing bright orange and emitting intense heat, Godzilla proceeded to incinerate Ghidorah with a series of nuclear pulses, the third of which produced a massive explosion that enveloped the city. When the smoke cleared, Godzilla emerged from the ruins holding Ghidorah's remaining head in his jaws before vaporizing it with his atomic breath. Madison pointed out to Mark that all of the other Titans Ghidorah had awakened were now approaching Godzilla. They watched as Behemoth, Scylla, a female MUTO, Methuselah, and Rodan surrounded Godzilla and appeared about to challenge him. Instead, they all submitted to him one-by-one, each bowing in their own way to the new King of the Monsters.
In 2014, only months after he lost Andrew in San Francisco, Mark held a video call with Miles Atherton of the United Nations' San Francisco Commission. Atherton had been working with Emma to track a new MUTO which had appeared following an earthquake in Kyushu, Japan and battled Godzilla at a military base in Guam. During the call, Mark asked Atherton why he was so interested in his wife, to which Atherton responded that Emma was more like his ex-wife. Mark was irritated at Atherton discussing his personal life, and told him that Monarch was the last place Emma should be at the time and that she was not in a good place emotionally. Mark asked Atherton if Emma was safe, to which he responded that she was "safe enough" before signing off.
- Mark Russell is portrayed by Kyle Chandler, who previously appeared as Bruce Baxter in Peter Jackson's King Kong.
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