With the ability to level entire cities simply by flying, Rodan was dreaded as a destroyer by ancient humans, who dubbed him the "Fire Demon." Rodan was discovered in pyrostasis within the volcano El Nido del Demonio (literally meaning "The Demon's Nest") on Isla de Mara in Mexico by Monarch in 1991. Monarch built a containment facility around the Titan, but in 2019 he was unleashed by Monarch defector Dr. Emma Russell and eco-terrorist Alan Jonah as part of their plot to restore the planet's natural order. Rodan immediately engaged in battle with Monarch's G-Team before encountering the three-headed King Ghidorah, who soundly defeated him. After Godzilla was weakened by the Oxygen Destroyer and Ghidorah took his place as the alpha of the Titans, Rodan submitted to Ghidorah and began to do his bidding. Rodan fought against the military in Washington, D.C. before Ghidorah summoned him to Boston to aid him against Godzilla and Mothra. Rodan attacked Mothra and battled her across the city, nearly killing her before she drove her stinger through his chest. By the time Rodan recovered, Godzilla had defeated Ghidorah. Rodan approached Godzilla to challenge him, only to back down and submit to him, followed by all of the other Titans who had once served Ghidorah.
Name[edit | edit source]
Rodan's Japanese name, Radon, is a truncation of "Pteranodon." It may also have been chosen to suggest radiation. The name was changed to "Rodan" in English-speaking markets, possibly to avoid confusion with the element Radon. Toho eventually trademarked the name "Rodan," making it the monster's official English name.
According to Monarch, Rodan is referred to in some legends as the "Fire Demon" and "The One Born of Fire."  Monarch's Titan designation for Rodan is Titanus Rodan, which unlike the designations for Godzilla and Mothra utilizes his English name rather than his Japanese name. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization, he is referred to at one point as Tsé Nináhálééh, the name of a winged monster from the Navajo creation myth.
Development[edit | edit source]
Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty holds Rodan in high regard, but even he admitted that the kaiju has "always been more of a sidekick. He's a henchmonster." In one version of the story, Rodan defected to Godzilla's side to oppose King Ghidorah, but to switch up expectations, he stuck with Monster Zero for as long as he could in the film.
In Rodan's debut film, he and his mate seemingly perished in Mt. Aso, and either he or his offspring emerged from that same volcano in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Dougherty wanted him to live in a volcano again — and look the part, with wings covered in cooled magma. The sparks and lava falling from his wings also helped him evoke the image of a phoenix. One piece of concept art by Christopher Shy even showed him spitting fire, and he seems to have a breath weapon of some kind in the Kong: Skull Island cave painting as well. However, Toho seems reluctant to depict regular Rodan spitting any weapon, only ever giving one to the separately trademarked Fire Rodan; the monster's wind breath seen in the original film has never returned either. Influences from the animal kingdom included pterosaurs, turkey vultures, eagles, hawks, and the feet of ostriches. Matt Allsopp, returning from the 2014 film, recalled that the artists quickly realized they had to steer clear of anything that looked too much like the male MUTO. Some concepts even gave Rodan feathers, which would have been a first for the character - and a nice callback to the unused feather-winged Rodan designs all the way from 1956. Tim Martin of ADI included the feathers in his maquette, dubbed the "final maquette" in The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, though they were ultimately removed.
Rodan's awakening and battle with Monarch was one of the first sequences to go through the previz process. Outpost 56 restrained him with giant harpoon guns in this version, only for Monarch's own jets to blow them up so they could lure him towards Ghidorah. The animators based his fighting style on eagles, with The Third Floor supervisor Andrew Honacker describing him as a "drunken brawler" as well. His new roars were derived from recordings of owls, penguins, vultures, and some cranes Dougherty's mother filmed in her backyard.
Design[edit | edit source]
The MonsterVerse Rodan is a giant pterosaur-like creature with a large beak, two horns protruding from the back of his head, and huge wings with molten rock trailing off their edges. He can walk like a pterosaur by using these wings as front limbs. Like the Rodan design in Godzilla: Final Wars, each of his forelimbs has two fingers and a thumb. Rows of spikes adorn his chest, and his tail is large, flat and fan-shaped. His body is a burgundy red color, while his serrated beak is black. Unlike past incarnations, he does not have teeth. Furthermore, this version of Rodan has feet that are more like the talons of an eagle or a hawk, having a vestigial claw and a spike on his ankle. The way he stands on his legs greatly resembles the stance of modern birds.
Personality[edit | edit source]
According to Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty, "Rodan is a bit of a rogue...you never quite know where his loyalties lie." After losing his fight to King Ghidorah, Rodan submits to him and assists him in Boston by attacking Mothra. Following Ghidorah's death, he challenges Godzilla briefly, before ultimately submitting to him. Monarch classifies Rodan’s behavior as that of a "destroyer," along with fellow Titans King Ghidorah, Scylla, MUTO Prime, Camazotz, Mechagodzilla, and the Skull Devil, unleashing "airborne devastation" upon the natural world. Much like Ghidorah, Rodan displays aggression towards humans, chasing after the Argo and picking its escort apart in the process.
Origins[edit | edit source]
According to Mike Dougherty, Rodan was born at the Isla de Mara volcano after his parents nested there. Rodan's origins are unclear, but he is extremely old, and depicted in ancient cave paintings. Similar paintings exist of Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, suggesting Rodan either appeared alongside them in the past or is prophesied to appear alongside them in the future. According to Monarch, Rodan is spoken of in legends, with his name referenced within many ancient temples in volcanically active regions. In 1991, Rodan was discovered by Monarch in pyrostasis in the magma inside the Isla de Mara volcano in Mexico. Monarch notes that Rodan's body structure resembles that of Pteranodon, although he is far larger.
History[edit | edit source]
After their adventure on Skull Island, Monarch members Houston Brooks and Lin San showed James Conrad and Mason Weaver a cave painting of Rodan, along with paintings depicting Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah, as proof that the inhabitants of Skull Island were not the only monsters in the world.
After awakening King Ghidorah from Antarctica, Emma Russell awakened Rodan from Outpost 56 in Isla de Mara. An explosion burst from the volcano's crater, and Rodan emerged from the erupting volcano. In order to prevent Rodan from attacking the civilians still evacuating the village, Monarch's G-Team opened fire on Rodan with fighter jets, drawing his attention. At the same time, Monarch discovered that Ghidorah was drawn to Rodan's calls, and decided to lure Rodan directly to the three-headed Titan. Rodan took flight and pursued the USS Argo and its complement of fighter jets. As he flew over the Isla de Mara village, Rodan tore the buildings from the ground below and launched huge amounts of debris into the air. Rodan brought his wings together and propelled himself higher into the air, generating a sonic boom that took out several jets. He then descended and caught two jets in his talons, tearing them apart. Rodan then attempted to catch a jet with his beak. When the pilot ejected from his jet, he fell straight into Rodan's mouth. Rodan began to spin through the air, destroying the remaining jets with his wings. Upon entering the storm surrounding Ghidorah, the Argo dove out of the way and the two Titans collided in the air. Ghidorah quickly gained the upper hand, restraining Rodan's wings with his right and left mouths and firing a gravity beam from his central mouth that blasted Rodan into the water below. After Ghidorah landed atop the Isla de Mara volcano and awakened Titans all around the world with his roar, Rodan landed at the foot of the volcano and submitted to Ghidorah.
Rodan accompanied Ghidorah to Washington D.C., assisting him in battling the military. He later followed Ghidorah to Boston and intercepted Mothra on his behalf so she could not help Godzilla against him. Rodan and Mothra fought across the city, slamming each other into buildings and tearing at each other with their claws. Rodan finally pinned Mothra against a skyscraper, but she used her claws to push him off. However, Rodan circled back and landed on top of Mothra, trying to stab her with his beak. Mothra extended a stinger from her abdomen and impaled Rodan through the chest. Immobilized by the sting, Rodan fell backward and plunged into the burning city below, screeching in rage.
Once Godzilla destroyed Ghidorah, Rodan regained his ability to move and confronted Godzilla along with Behemoth, Methuselah, Scylla, and the Queen MUTO. Rodan looked up at Godzilla and roared in challenge, but Godzilla returned a look that caused Rodan to submit to him. The others followed suit, all "bowing" to the new King of the Monsters. After this, Rodan began nesting in a volcano near Fiji, with spectators gathering around to catch a glimpse of him.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Supersonic flight[edit | edit source]
Rodan can fly at supersonic speeds sufficient to outpace F-35 Lightning II and F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, and is highly agile while flying. Rodan is shown destroying several fighter jets pursuing him by rolling while in flight and smashing them with his wings. When flying at top speed, Rodan's wings generate cyclonic drift streams that can level entire cities instantly by literally ripping structures out of the ground and into the air.
Shockwaves[edit | edit source]
Rodan produces destructive shockwaves, described by Monarch as "cyclonic drift streams," while flying at top speeds which can flatten buildings he passes over and launch debris such as vehicles and people into the air. Monarch scientists speculate the monster's wingspan is vast enough to level cities with this technique.
Durability[edit | edit source]
Rodan has an extreme tolerance to heat and magma, having hibernated inside a volcano for at least several decades. He is also completely immune to conventional weaponry such as gunfire or missile strikes. A layer of volcanic rock acts as armor plating for Rodan's wings. This volcanic rock also covers many parts of his body, giving him extra protection in combat. When Mothra struck at Rodan's head with one of her claws, her attack failed to pierce his skin, although Rodan did seem visibly hurt by the blow. Rodan survived being completely impaled by Mothra's stinger, the attack only temporarily incapacitating him before he recovered virtually unharmed despite the gaping wound in his chest. However, he was quickly dispatched in battle by King Ghidorah, who used a single Gravity Beam as his finishing blow.
Magma system[edit | edit source]
Monarch describes Rodan as "bio-volcanic." Rodan has an internal combustion system of magma that flows throughout his body. The magma throughout his system can reach temperatures up to 1,200°C. The magma leaks through the ends of his wings and was able to burn Mothra's wings.
Physical capabilities[edit | edit source]
Rodan mainly uses his talons and beak in combat. When in the midst of several fighter jets, he performed an aileron roll maneuver to smash them with his wings. He was even able to briefly overtake King Ghidorah during their fight.
Eruptions[edit | edit source]
As noted in Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization, Rodan can seemingly cause volcanoes to erupt just by merely flying over them.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Kong: Skull Island (2017) [cave painting]
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) [stock footage]
- Godzilla Singular Point (TV 2021) [end credits]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- MonsterVerse (2020) - Empire DCX slot machine
Books[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Rodan/Legendary/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Rodan's cries in the film were primarily derived from recordings of owls, penguins, vultures and sandhill cranes. Elements of the crackles and creaks produced by the MUTOs are also recycled for some of Rodan's quieter vocals.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Monarch outpost where Rodan was being studied is Outpost 56, a reference to the release year of his debut film, 1956.
- The nickname given to the location where Rodan is found, "el nido del demonio," is Spanish for "the demon's nest."
- Originally, the Mexican volcano in which Monarch discovered Rodan was named Isla de Mona, which is the name of a real island in the Puerto Rican archipelago. The name was eventually changed to Isla de Mara.
- The scene where civilians of Isla de Mara evacuate from Rodan was filmed at Plaza de Santo Domingo, a plaza located in Mexico City, Mexico.
- The MonsterVerse Rodan is the shortest incarnation of the character, yet is also the heaviest and has the widest wingspan.
- Some concept art for Godzilla: King of the Monsters shows Rodan traveling with Godzilla and Mothra and fighting alongside Godzilla against King Ghidorah. At around the 1 hour 46-minute mark during the audio commentary of the film by Mike Dougherty, Zach Shields, and O'Shea Jackson Jr., they confirm that Rodan was originally going to be Godzilla's ally in the fight against Ghidorah.
- According to a tweet answered by Michael Dougherty, Rodan is represented by the Tarot card The Fool, which symbolizes innocence and spontaneity.
- This incarnation of Rodan appeared in the ending sequence of the ongoing animated Godzilla television series, Godzilla Singular Point.
Video[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- While the April 14, 2019 issue of Toho Cinemas Magazine states 265.5 meters for Rodan's wingspan, The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters states 265.4 meters.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Rodan/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: