In his debut film, Varan was a huge prehistoric reptile that lived beneath a lake near a Japanese mountain village, whose inhabitants came to fear him as the "Baradagi" mountain god. Varan eventually emerged from the lake, destroying the village and making his way to Tokyo, where he was finally defeated by the JSDF at Haneda Airport. A second incarnation of Varan was introduced in Destroy All Monsters ten years later, in which the creature was now a small juvenile living in peace with the other monsters of Earth on Monsterland. Varan was present during the Earth monsters' battle against King Ghidorah, but did not take part and only observed. While relatively obscure compared to most of Toho's kaiju library due to only having a major role in a single film, Varan has nonetheless retained some degree of popularity over the years, being considered for many unrealized film projects and making appearances in non-film media such as comic books and video games.
- 1 Name
- 2 Design
- 3 Origins
- 4 History
- 5 Abilities
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Video Games
- 8 Books
- 9 Comics
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Roar
- 12 In Other Languages
- 13 Trivia
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 Comments
Varan's name is most likely derived from either the genus name for monitor lizards, Varanus, or from the name of an extinct family of synapsids, Varanopidae. In-universe, Varan's name is an abbreviation of his species name, Varanopode (バラノポーダ. Baranopōda) The villagers that worship Varan refer to him as Baradagi Mountain God (婆羅陀魏山神 Baradagi-Sanjin), or alternatively Baradagi-Sama (バラダギサマ). In the American version of Varan's debut film, he is only called O-baki onscreen. Varan is often given the title Giant Flying Squirrel Monster (むささび怪獣 in various publications due to the gliding membranes underneath his arms, despite not actually being a flying squirrel. Musasabi Kaijū) The Varan featured in Destroy All Monsters is sometimes denoted as Varan (Second Generation) (バラン（二代目）. Baran Nidaime)
According to a booklet included with Toho's 2002 three-disc DVD release of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Varan's name was originally Baradaki (波羅蛇麒) in the original unrealized version of the film, Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, with him being given the name "Varan" by the JSDF late in the story.
Varan is a primarily quadrupedal reptilian creature with thin membranes between his arms and legs, which he uses for gliding in a manner akin to that of a flying squirrel or sugar glider. Varan's eyes are small with large pupils, his head is round, and he has a short-muzzled face with a lumpy nose and a prominent upper lip. His teeth vary in size, but all of them are more or less conical in shape. He has a barrel-shaped torso with a large sternum. His neck is fairly long and thick and his limbs are relatively long and thin. Varan also has a pair of spiky, fin-like structures on the sides of his face and a single row of large spines that run down from the top of his head to the end of his long, prehensile tail. His hands and feet have five digits each and they have a slender, bony look to them. His spines are clear and translucent, having little to no real color to them, and his hide can be divided into two notable sections: the lowermost sides of his skin are smooth with a slightly baggy or wrinkled feel to them and are a light cream or tan-like sandy brown while the uppermost parts of his skin are covered with a multitude of bumpy, wart-like structures and are a much darker shade of brown. These two sections are separated by a series of wavy membranes on the sides of his torso, limbs, and tail that straighten to form Varan's gliding membranes.
Varan is an ancient reptilian creature known as a Varanopode, which lived from the Triassic through Cretaceous Periods. Varan escaped extinction and lived for millions of years at the bottom of a lake in the Japanese countryside. Villagers living near the lake saw Varan as a god, giving him the title of the "Baradagi Mountain God." In Destroy All Monsters, Varan is one of the several kaiju living on Monsterland at the end of the 20th century. No details regarding him are ever discussed within the film, but external sources say that this Varan is a juvenile.
A toy of Varan released by Marusan in 2016 taxonomically classifies Varan as Reptilia Class, Rodan Family, Godzilla Genus, Varanopode (爬虫類ゴジラ属ラドン科バラノポーダ, reaffirming his species as Varanopode but also suggesting a close evolutionary relationship to both Godzilla and Rodan. Hachūrui Gojira-zoku Radon-ka Baranopōda)
HistoryJSDF arrived and surrounded the lake, and opened fire on Varan after luring him out with chemicals. The attack had no effect, and Varan chased two people into a cave. The JSDF fired flares to distract Varan, prompting him to climb to the top of a cliff. Varan opened large membranes under his arms and dove off the cliff, gliding across the sky and towards the ocean. The JSDF deployed countless destroyers and bombers to try and stop Varan before he could reach the Japanese mainland, but their attacks did little to slow the beast's advance. Eventually, Varan surfaced from Tokyo Bay and attacked Haneda Airport. The JSDF attacked Varan with all of their available artillery and jets, but still were unable to harm him. When Varan destroyed a truck containing experimental explosives, it triggered an explosion that seemed to visibly harm him. The JSDF quickly tied two of these explosives to flares and then dropped them from helicopters, knowing Varan would eat the flares. After Varan swallowed the flares, the first bomb exploded inside Varan, causing him to become weak. Varan limped back into the ocean and disappeared beneath the waves before the second bomb exploded, producing a small mushroom cloud over the water. The J.S.D.F then finally declared the creature dead.
Monsterland. When the Kilaaks took control of the island and its inhabitants, Varan disappeared as the alien invaders' global assault was initiated. Whether Varan was ever used by the aliens to fight humanity is unclear, as he wasn't seen again until well after the humans used the Moonlight SY-3 to destroy the Kilaaks' Moon base. After the Kilaaks' control was broken, Varan spectated alongside Baragon and Manda during the Earth monsters' fight against King Ghidorah at Mount Fuji. Once King Ghidorah and the Kilaaks were defeated, Varan and all the others monsters returned to Monsterland in peace.
Within the context of the film itself Varan is only seen gliding through the air prior to the fight against King Ghidorah, and in the last scene as a static model rather than as a suit.
Varan does not have any beam weapons in any of his film appearances, in common with many of the older kaiju. However, in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, Varan has the ability to emit a sonic beam from his mouth, as well as what appears to be a ball of energy. His one special ability is gliding at around the speed of Mach 1.5, like Rodan. In his debut film, he jumped off a cliff and glided to Japan. In Destroy All Monsters, he glides into view for the final battle, and later on Monsterland. Varan did not fight King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters.
Varan has never actually been seen in combat against any other monsters in a film. He used his tail to level buildings in his original film, which may indicate how he'd fight in combat. He also has spines which might possibly be of use against other giant monsters. Godzilla: Unleashed depicts Varan using acrobatics to fight, as well as his spines. His skin is covered with huge blisters or lumps. In amphibians, such blisters contain poison glands. In reptiles, lumps like these are usually osteoderms, which are armor plates. Also in the Marc Cerasini novel Godzilla 2000, Varan's lumps filled with helium and made him rise so he could glide. Osteoderm-like armor might make the most sense, since Varan was almost invulnerable to human weapons, and had to internally eat bombs before they affected him.
- Varan (1958)
- Cheers, Mr. Awamori! (1961) [prop]
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) [stock footage; toy]
- Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! (1988) - Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (1998) - PC and Mac
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla Generations (1998) - Sega Dreamcast
- Collect Godzilla: Giant Monster Assembly (1998) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- Godzilla: Unleashed (2007) - Nintendo Wii
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 3 and 4 [Kaiju Guide]
Varan appeared in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! as a boss character.
Varan made an appearance in the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender. He is given the ability to fire a sonic beam and a concentrated sonic energy ball. He has a gliding ability that works much like Fire Rodan's flight, and can be unlocked by destroying the three purple objects on the Vortaak mothership while playing as an Alien.
Appearing on the second world, Varan will assault Godzilla or Mothra with a variety of melee attacks, the most devastating attack of which is his punch, a move that has excellent range and does noticeable damage. Varan can also attack with his claws in rapid succession, which can score several hits against Godzilla or Mothra if in range. Varan may also attack his foes with a kick, or attempt to head butt them while advancing forward. Varan also has the ability to jump high into the air to avoid attacks. Despite a healthy amount of moves, Varan shouldn't cause much trouble for Godzilla or Mothra because of his lack of a projectile and his habit of reeling back in pain after sustaining heavy damage; furthermore, unlike other bosses, Varan will not trap the player in the corner but will stay just in arms reach if Godzilla or Mothra is backed into the corner.
Weight: 15,000 tons
"Varan is an Earth Defender with special affinity for forested and hilly areas. Although not capable of true flight, Varan's extraordinary leaping capabilities and gliding capacity mean that he rarely, if ever, touches the ground for more than an instant. Although he naturally lives in solitude, Varan has developed very finely-honed sonic projection capabilities which can be used to communicate over vast distances. These same pinpoint sonic waves can be used in battle to disrupt an opponent's sense of balance. Varan is quite possibly the most mysterious of Earth's native monsters—first-hand sightings of him by humans remain relatively rare."
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Varan.
Varan in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!
- Godzilla on Monster Island (1996)
- Godzilla 2000 (1997)
- Godzilla: Journey to Monster Island (1998)
- Godzilla Likes to Roar! (1998)
- Godzilla vs. the Space Monster (1998)
- Who's Afraid of Godzilla? (1998)
- GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse (2017)
Multiple individual Varans appeared, but the second individual denoted "Varan II" came ashore in Los Angeles in 2030 along with Baragon II and Anguirus IV after they were attacked by Godzilla in the Pacific Ocean. All three kaiju were then killed by a single blast of Godzilla's atomic breath.
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #4-5, 25 (2013-2015)
- Godzilla in Hell #2 (2015)
- Godzilla: Rage Across Time #5 (2016)
A demonic version of Varan appeared in the second issue of the IDW mini-series Godzilla in Hell. The demon Varan emerged from the Eternal Ocean as Godzilla arrived there after falling from the ice following his fight with the demon Anguirus. The demon Varan and Godzilla immediately fought each other, but Godzilla dispensed of the demon with his atomic breath.
- Main article: Varan/Gallery.
Varan's roar is notable in that it was reused and edited for monsters such as Gorosaurus, Megalon, the Showa Baragon and various creatures from the Ultraman franchise. The roars are derived from those of the 1954 incarnation of Godzilla. Varan's roars were also recycled for the MagiDragon in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
In Other Languages
- Russian: Варан
- Varan is a "tri-phibian" creature in that he can swim, walk on land, and soar through the air. Numerous other kaiju have been described using this term, such as Gappa.
- While he has so far made only two onscreen appearances, Varan has been considered for numerous films which were ultimately never produced, beginning with a television version of his debut film.
- In The Return of King Ghidorah, Varan would have joined forces with Godzilla and Rodan to battle King Ghidorah, Gigan, and Mogu, who were under the control of the evil alien brain Miko. Due to budget limitations, Varan and Mogu were removed from the film, while Rodan was replaced with Anguirus in what would ultimately become Godzilla vs. Gigan.
- In Godzilla vs. Giant Monster Varan, Varan was to be an evil harbinger of the apocalypse which would emerge to lay waste to the world prior to the start of the new Millennium and battle Godzilla and Godzilla Junior. This film was one of many early proposals for the final Heisei Godzilla film, and would eventually lead to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- In Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Varan would have been the "white wind monster" and one of the three Guardian Monsters, along with Anguirus and Baragon. Originally known as Varadaki (波羅蛇麒 before being given the name "Varan" by the Baradaki)JSDF, he would have joined forces with the other two Guardian Monsters to defend Japan from Godzilla. However, Toho asked director Shusuke Kaneko to replace Varan and Anguirus with King Ghidorah and Mothra to increase the film's marquee value, resulting in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. However, in the finished film, designer Fuyuki Shinada sculpted facial fins similar to Varan's onto King Ghidorah's suit in order to pay tribute to the monster.
- Just as with the Showa Baragon suit, the Varan suit was heavily damaged from water exposure and deterioration. Because of this, he could only appear in Destroy All Monsters for a few seconds as an immobile puppet. Varan's name is briefly mentioned in the Italian version of the film.
- Varan is the only non-humanoid Toho kaiju to possess five digits on his hands and feet.
- Varan's 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 Varan. 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: