The Spirit Tiger is a tiger monster which appears in the 2021 Legendary graphic novel Kingdom Kong and the picture book Kong and Me. Like the Death Jackal, Psychovulture, Sirenjaw, Magma Turtle, Swamp Locust, and Vinestrangler, the Spirit Tiger was originally created for the 2017 film Kong: Skull Island but ultimately cut. However, it was profiled in "Skull Island: Archives," a featurette included on home video releases of the film, and seemingly alluded to in Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization.
In a bio for the creature included in the Chinese marketing for Kong: Skull Island, the Spirit Tiger was given the English species name Icarus Tigris. Its Chinese name, 圣虎 (Shèng Hǔ), roughly translates to "Holy Tiger." It is referred to as simply Tiger Creature in some concept art.
The comic Kingdom Kong finally revealed the creature's English name, Spirit Tiger, and retconned its cryptozoological classification to "Tigris Spiritus."
In the book The Art and Making of Kong: Skull Island, writer John Gatins describes the planned scene for Kong: Skull Island involving the Spirit Tiger:
[The characters] had landed on the island and spent the night on the beach before they traveled inland. They sit around and drink beer by a fire and sing sailor shanties. I just loved it, but it was a bit kind of tangential to having to get to the meat of the matter. In the morning after this raucous night, two saber-toothed tigers come out of the jungle and sniff around the camp. Someone says, "Don't shoot and they'll go away," but the guy takes the shot and kills one. They were a pair, a male and a female, and the other one just goes nuts. It kills the guy who took the shot. It's like the inciting incident of a war, a kind of harbinger; you're in a place you don't know, and now you've awakened more than you know. It was the first indication that we're not in a normal place. There's no such thing as a saber-toothed tiger and it's enormous.
Spirit Tigers are elegant, ethereal and mysterious creatures. However, they are also shown to be aggressive, as seen when Wallace and Cooper observed one before it attacked them.
- Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization (2017) [mentioned, indirect]
- Kong and Me (2021)
Conrad observed the tracks of a feline, estimating them to be at least one-and-a-half meters long, although the creature itself was never seen.
- Kingdom Kong (2021)
While Wallace and Cooper were on watch, they noticed a Spirit Tiger moving in the distance. As they prepared to head back to base, they noticed the Spirit Tiger had disappeared, only for it to reappear and kill Cooper. The tiger chased Wallace down, but before it could devour him, it was grabbed by Kong who snapped its neck and tossed it aside.
Humans in close proximity to a Spirit Tiger reported "dizziness, euphoria, and the ability to hear the creature's heart audibly beating at the center of our heads."
- Giant saber-toothed tigers also appeared in the The King Kong Show segment "Tiger Tiger."
- The Spirit Tiger's initial genus name, Icarus, is shared with the Leafwing: Icarus folium.
- The Chinese Monarch profile for the Spirit Tiger instead listed its length as 14 feet.
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