Rogue One’s Gareth Edwards directed the somber and grim opening chapter to the MonsterVerse, 2014’s Godzilla, which of course reintroduced the titular monster to the world. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston, Godzilla features the titan emerging from a long slumber to stop two rampaging parasitic monsters from mating.
Kong: Skull Island, from The Kings of Summer’s Jordan Vogt-Roberts, features a more adventurous tone than Godzilla ground zero, and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson as members of an expedition filled with soldiers and scientists who travel to a mysterious island in the Pacific… where they of course find King Kong himself. This stands as the MonsterVerse’s Kong reboot/restart, 12 years after Peter Jackson remade King Kong (a film that also featured Skull Island).
Okay, so Godzilla’s M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) probably won’t marquee their own movie, but these prehistoric parasites continue to wreak havoc on human civilization as they’re drawn to man-made radiation. They seem to love to trample anyone and everything in their path. Two unnamed M.U.T.O.s (a male and a female pair) appear in the first Godzilla, while a second female debuts in the third film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, heeding the clarion call of King Ghidorah. King of the Monsters also phased out the M.U.T.O. name, instead referring to these massive beasts as Titans.
Scavenging Skull Island are pesky pack-hunting predators called Skullcrawlers (a term coined by John C. Reilly’s stranded islander Marlow) who generally make life miserable for both man and beast as an intelligent, burrowing, bullet-proof species of crawling carnivore lizard creatures.
First heralded by a fun Kong: Skull Island Easter egg, the iconic Mothra is a creature that dates back to 1961 when she (yes, it’s a she!) starred in her own solo movie before becoming a recurring monster in the Godzilla films. A massive psychic Moth, who comes with her own tiny translating priestesses in the original films, Mothra is one of the most powerful beasts in the MonsterVerse. She plays a major role in King of the Monsters, helping Godzilla battle his rivals and ultimately sacrificing her life to give her partner the energy boost he needs.
Also seen in the Skull Island post-credit scene, and making a sinister showing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is King Ghidorah – the three-headed cinematic arch-nemesis of both Godzilla and Mothra who dates back to 1964. King Ghidorah is the main baddie of King of the Monsters, where he’s revealed to be the main rival to Godzilla at the top of the monster food chain. Ghidorah is also capable of attracting other Titans and bending them to his will. Though Ghidorah is ultimately defeated by a charged-up Godzilla in King of the Monsters, a post-credits sequence shows Charles Dance’s Col. Jonah purchasing one of the beast’s severed heads for some nefarious purpose that is yet to be determined…
Dating back to 1956, and the third monster entering the fray in King of the Monsters, is Rodan – the famous flying Kaiju based on the prehistoric Pteranodon. Faster than supersonic jets and able to produce destructive winds and shockwaves with his wings, Rodan definitely has the air and speed advantage in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, though Mothra eventually gains the upper hand.
King of the Monsters introduces a number of minor new Titans, all of which are original creations rather than adaptations of existing Toho monsters. These new Titans include Scylla, the crab-like Titan who emerges from underneath a Texan oil field, Methuselah, a massive, armored creature and Behemoth, a huge, mammalian Titan who’s basically a combination of a woolly mammoth and a sloth.
Several other new Titans also have cameo appearances in King of the Monsters, where they appear on computer screens rising from their collective slumber to join King Ghidorah. These monsters include Abaddon, Baphomet, Bunyip, Leviathan, Mokele-Mbembe, Sargon, Tiamat and Typhoon. These Titans play a bigger role in the film’s novelization.
This is an educated guess at this point, but it sure looks like the infamous robotic version of Godzilla known as Mechagodzilla could be showing up in Godzilla vs. Kong. There’s a moment in the trailer where a mob of panicked people are running from a giant monster attack, and a pair of glowing red eyes can be spotted looming above the crowd. There’s also a shot in the trailer of a computer screen that seems to display the schematics for a mechanized Titan. Indeed, it’s not unreasonable to consider the possibility that the whole reason Kong and Godzilla are fighting is because Mechagodzilla is actually the creature that has been destroying cities (while covered in a replica of Godzilla’s scaly exterior) but everyone has been blaming Godzilla for the devastation.
Will this come to be? And what lies beyond Godzilla vs. Kong? Well, there are clearly plenty of Kaiju to kick around — King of the Monsters reveals that there are 17 known Titans to date — which means more skyscrapers to topple and monuments to mangle. We can’t wait…