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The story of the legendary force of nature Godzilla, also known in Japanese as Gojira, from the Godzilla franchise.

Origin Story

Over the years, Godzilla's origin has been rewritten at least 5 times. However, the only thing that remained consistent was his eventual transformation into a nuclear-enhanced reptilian kaiju.

Showa Era

Dr. Yamane stated that Godzilla was an amphibious reptile of a prehistoric origin that had its habitat destroyed by an American H-bomb, which not only killed its family but also mutated him into a 50-foot kaiju. Consumed by grief and rage over the death of his companions, Godzilla used his newfound powers to destroy humanity and avenge his family until Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer ultimately killed him. Though this Godzilla did indeed die, Dr. Yamane feared that nuclear weaponry would've inevitably created another Godzilla. His fears turned into reality when a second Godzilla emerged one year later.

In the Millennium Series, the original Godzilla had a greater impact as a posthumous antagonist than in the Heisei and Showa Eras as:

  • In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack, the original Godzilla was reanimated into a monstrous revenant possessed by the souls of those who died in World War II.
  • In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the first Godzilla's skeletal remains were used to create Kiryu (the third MechaGodzilla), for the purpose of combating a second Godzilla. As it's creation also involved using the first Godzilla's DNA to enhance Kiryu's movements, Godzilla's memories were unexpectedly integrated into its programming and made it go berserk whenever the second Godzilla roared in pain.

Heisei Era

In the Heisei Era, the species that Godzilla originally was prior to his mutation was re-established as Godzillasaurus, a huge dinosaur mutated by nuclear tests performed on a nearby island called Rongerik in the 1950s. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the Futurians tried to prevent this by removing the said Godzillasaurus away from Lagos Island and frozen him in the Bering Sea, only for him to actually become Godzilla by being mutated by a crashed nuclear submarine. It was revealed that the Godzilla that the Futurians tried to erase from history and 1954 Godzilla were separate individuals, true to Dr. Yamane's fear that other prehistoric beasts may have survived to the present day and could be transformed into nuclear-enhanced kaiju by nuclear tests.

MonsterVerse series

While his previous incarnations were mutated into nuclear-enhanced kaiju due to nuclear testing, the Legendary incarnation of Godzilla came from a species of prehistoric reptiles known as Titanus Gojira that were naturally evolved to consume nuclear radiation during the Permian period. During the Permian period, Earth was more radioactive than it was today. Because of it, Godzilla's physiology allowed him to manipulate the nuclear energy within him to fire a beam of atomic energy.

There, his species were the absolute strongest Predators of the ancient world. The realm changed forever, however, when the Permian-Triassic extinction event wiped out 95% of all life. With the radioactivity of Earth vastly diminished, Godzilla retreated closer to the Earth’s core to absorb radiation from there. Over the course of the next couple hundred million years, Godzilla emerged many times during history, becoming a figure in various cultures around the world as a towering and powerful monster.

In 1954, Godzilla was awakened by a human's nuclear submarine and out of curiosity, caused it to crash. This motivated humanity to study him, while researching methods to kill him by using nuclear weaponry under the guise of the Castle Bravo tests. Though Godzilla was not killed by these tests, he gained awareness of humanity's presence and Godzilla returned to the depths of the earth, believed dead by humanity.

Post-Millennium Era

Godzilla's origin in Post-Millenium Era films was greatly altered, though the only thing that remained consistent is his nature as radioactive kaiju.

Godzilla: Resurgence

In Godzilla: Resurgence, Godzilla was proposed to be evolved from a prehistoric marine animal that was surrounded by nuclear waste at the sea floor during the 1950's and rapidly adapted to withstand it. As the creature evolved and began feeding on radioactive materials, it gradually grew over a period of 60 years before taking on a form capable of moving around on land. After coming ashore, the creature evolved further as means of adjusting its physiology until it sprouted arms and adopted an upright stance.

An essay included in The Art of Shin Godzilla theorizes that Godzilla's original form must have possessed large claws and fangs to feed on the canisters of radioactive waste. This was supported by damaged canisters uncovered from the bottom of the sea, as most of those canisters had been partially chewed and bitten by a reptilian creature bigger than a shark. The essay also theorizes that the creature must have spent its entire life underwater and its species was closely related to prehistoric marine reptiles which first emerged in the Paleozoic Era, whose physiology was more primitive than that of the Heisei Godzillasauruses.

Godzilla Anime Series

Rather being than an irradiated ancient reptile or marine creature, promotional materials state this incarnation of Godzilla was the ultimate product of evolution on Earth and originated as a plant that acquired new abilities via horizontal gene transfer. While he was still portrayed as a radioactive kaiju due to giving off radioactive pollutants, he was also endowed with electromagnetic abilities that allowed him to produce powerful electromagnetic pulses.

Toho Company Ltd Godzilla Movies

Showa Era (1954-1975)

64Godzilla2

Godzilla (MosuGoji) in the Showa series.

The Showa Era Godzilla films were among the first of the entire film series. In total, there are fifteen Showa-era films, amounting to over half the total Godzilla movies currently in existence. The first film, made in 1954, was simply titled Godzilla. In the original film, Godzilla was portrayed as a terrible and destructive monster. Following the success of Godzilla, Toho started filming a quickie sequel called Godzilla Raids Again. In this film, a new Godzilla was set up to fight another dinosaur-like creature, Anguirus. This second film started a trend for Godzilla films, where Godzilla would fight other giant monsters. In the 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla battles King Kong, and ends on a draw. In the film Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla battles Mothra, killing her, and then her two offspring, only to be cocooned in webbing by them and defeated.

In his fifth film, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla took the role of a hero. From that point on, to the end of the Showa series, Godzilla stayed a hero, protecting Japan against attacks from other monsters, aliens, etc. At one point, Godzilla even adopted a son, Minilla, in Son of Godzilla, who would make appearances in later Showa-era films. The Showa-era movies played on a lot of fears and interests of people during the period in which they were made. For instance, the original Godzilla film was a movie designed to warn people about the use and testing of nuclear weapons. Likewise, Godzilla vs. Hedorah was designed to carry a message about the dangers of pollution. As space exploration and the Space Age were extremely popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of Godzilla's films revolved around Godzilla fighting alien monsters, or involved an alien invasion in some shape or form. For instance, in the movie Destroy All Monsters, an alien race had managed to take control of all of Earth's monsters, who were eventually freed from their control, and destroyed the aliens who had put them under control.

Godzilla serves as the titular main antagonist of Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Mothra vs. Godzilla.

Heisei Era (1984-1995)

84Godzilla1

Godzilla (84Goji) in the Heisei series.

The Heisei Era Godzilla films were the second of the film series. In total, there were seven Heisei-era films, making them amount to one fourth of the total Godzilla movies in existence. The Heisei-era films differed drastically from the Showa-era films in a variety of ways. The most prominent difference is that Toho did away with Godzilla being the hero of the films. While occasionally Godzilla would take the role of an antihero, he was still consistently portrayed as hazardous to humanity throughout the films. The Godzilla outfit was updated to look more realistic and much more intimidating than previous suits. Another significant difference is that the series was given an overall plot line with story arcs. Each movie happened in some sort of sequence, and generally referenced previous movies to further the plot of the series. As in the Showa era, in the first Godzilla movie of the Heisei era, The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla was the only monster to make an appearance. All succeeding Heisei-era movies would have Godzilla fight other giant monsters.

Like the Showa series, Godzilla adopted a son, Baby Godzilla, as his own child. In the final Heisei-era movie, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla dies after undergoing a nuclear meltdown, and his son (by that point almost half as tall as his father and called Godzilla Junior) absorbs the radiation and quickly matures to become the new King of the Monsters. In much the same way that the Showa-era played on fears and interests of people during the time period of production, Heisei-era Godzilla films made some attempts at making statements on popular topics for their time period. One good example would be Godzilla vs. Biollante, which made explicit warnings against research involving genetic engineering. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah touched on US-Japanese relations stemming from World War II and introduced a time-travel plot. Other themes in the movies included commenting on research into hazardous material and making environmental statements.

Millennium Era (1999-2004)

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Godzilla (SokogekiGoji) in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

The Millennium Era of Godzilla films are the third of the film series. There are six of these films, making them slightly under a fourth the total of the series. The Millennium series attempted to bring Godzilla back to his roots by eliminating a few of the things that the Heisei-era films had done. The most notable of these changes are, with one exception, the lack of any real continuity in the movies. Godzilla is, however, still a hazard in the Millennium series and is always a destructive force. He serves as the main antagonist of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S..

Post-Millennium Era (2016-present)

Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla

Godzilla (ShinGoji) in Godzilla: Resurgence.

The Resurgence Era starts with the 2016 film Shin Godzilla (also known as Godzilla: Resurgence outside of Japan). The film was written and directed by Hideaki Anno with special effects by Shinji Higuchi. Godzilla served as the main antagonist of the film. The film was released in Japanese theaters on July 29, 2016. It will not be connected to the Legendary series, marking the first time two individual Godzilla film series have been in progress at the same time. The film is notable for its use of "hybrid" special effects, a combination of traditional tokusatsu effects techniques and CGI. It is also the first and currently only Toho Godzilla movie to have no connections with the original 1954 film whatsoever.

In 1950s, when humanity dumped their nuclear waste to the ocean, they unknowingly poured the waste around a prehistoric marine animal in its habitat that happened to be within the site where nuclear waste being dumped at. As result, the creature, whom later become Godzilla, irradiated by the waste, and mutates where he rapidly adapted to withstand it. As the Godzilla evolved and began feeding on radioactive material, he gradually grew over a period of 60 years, and eventually become the nuclear powered kaiju that began to approach mainland.

When the Japanese coast guard investigated a small yacht floating in Tokyo Bay, it discovered that the craft was completely abandoned with no sign of a struggle or the owner's whereabouts. Suddenly, the water began to erupt and steam, causing the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line to collapse and become flooded by a strange red liquid. The Japanese government concluded that the disaster was due to an underwater volcanic eruption, but assistant cabinet secretary Rando Yaguchi proposed the incident was caused by a gigantic living creature. Yaguchi's claims were dismissed until a huge tail breaking the ocean surface not far from Tokyo Bay. The government assured the citizens that the creature would not surface, only for it crawl out of the bay and into Tokyo with it's evolved form that enable it to walked on land. Stumbling around on its hind legs and pushing itself forward with its tail, the monster destroyed everything in its path while secreting the red liquid from its gills and pouring it onto the streets. The Prime Minister deployed a squadron of helicopters to attack the beast, but when they approached, the monster suddenly evolved again, where the evolution enable it to stood up on two enlarged legs and sprouted arms. The attack was called off when the Prime Minister learned civilians were still evacuating the area, while the still-evolving monster, whom for an unknown reasons, sprints off for the ocean.

Kayoko Ann Patterson, the representative of the American ambassador, revealed that the abandoned yacht at Tokyo Bay was belonged to a zoologist named Goro Maki, who was researching a huge living creature moving on the sea floor that he named "Gojira" after a legend in his hometown on Odo Island. The said living creature is the same kaiju that attacked Tokyo earlier. His research later learned by American Department of Energy whom dubbed the monster "Godzilla" instead. Based on this information, the researchers concluded that Godzilla was feeding on nuclear waste on the sea floor, and sustained himself through nuclear fission in his body that explained how he leave a trail of radiation in his wake during the rampage in Tokyo, but also made him overheat and forced him to return to the ocean to cool off just as he evolved to the point of sprouted developing arms and having his legs enlarged for better locomotion.

Godzilla once again emerged shortly afterward at Kamakura, with new, better form after cooling himself off in the ocean. The J.S.D.F. scrambled its forces to engage Godzilla, with the Prime Minister finally giving the order to fire. Unfortunately, the J.S.D.F.'s weaponry had absolutely no effect on Godzilla thanks to the kaiju's nigh-impenetrable hide. Godzilla himself on the other hand, ignore the assault and proceed to Tokyo due to him not seeing them as threat, right toward the gorvernment's current meeting location. Once Prime Minister allowed United States to deployed several B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers, however, that was the moment Godzilla decided to fought back: Their bombs successfully penetrate and injured his hide, enraging him that he released his atomic breath that also obliterating three districts of Tokyo. The stray atomic breath unexpectedly downing the helicopter holding the Prime Minister and the high-ranking government officials. After expending such a huge amount of energy from counterattack, Godzilla stopped moving and entered a state of hibernation.

The attempt to study his physiology by both Japanese and American forces once he become incapacitated proved difficult with nuclear radiation that emmited from his body would threatened to damage their equipment should they went too close. At the same time, Yaguchi and the other members of his research team uncovered the rest of the zoologist's research on Godzilla's physiology. The combined research led to the conclusion that Godzilla expelled so much radiation (which worsened with him exhausted his powers) that he would be unable to move again for approximately fifteen days. It was also determined that Godzilla came about as result of prehistoric marine animal feeding on nuclear waste on the sea floor evolving into a superorganism he has become now. Aside nuclear fission in his body that become source of his powers, Godzilla is capable to survive as long as air and water is available as additional sustenance for his survival. Also, due to nature of his creation, Godzilla's healing factor was so potent that not only he able to regenerate his wounds in an instant, but any pieces of his flesh that broken off from his body (whether it was due to injuries from his enemies' attack or self mutilation) can continue to live on their own and evolve and regenerate into entire creatures in the same manner with starfishes, becoming new Godzillas. In this scenario, Earth could be overrun by rapidly-evolving progenies of Godzilla if Godzilla himself was not stopped.

The UN, headed by the US government and unware of this weakness, inform Japan that the use of thermonuclear weapons against Godzilla is inevitable after learned the Godzilla's physiology. Unwilling to see nuclear weapons detonated in Japan again, Patterson decides to use her political connections to buy Yaguchi's team as much time as possible to finish the better plan in handling the kaiju, even if it puts her own career at stake. Fortunately for her and Yaguchi, they discovered that Godzilla's blood and dorsal plates acted as a natural cooling system for his body. With it, Yaguchi had his team worked on a blood coagulant that would cause Godzilla to overheat and die as Patterson convinced the French government to make the U.S., China and Russia to postpone the nuclear strike until the day Godzilla was to awaken.

On the day Godzilla was to awaken, Yaguchi officially began Operation Yashiori, the name given to his plan to use blood cogulant against Godzilla. To render Godzilla incapacitated once again, Yaguchi provoke Godzilla to waste his own energy with trains laden with explosives that sent to attack him. Predictably, Godzilla become enrage and retaliate by attacking the approaching enemies on sight with his atomic beams that fired from his back, mouth, and dorsal plates. Once Godzilla become weakened after realized that he wasted too much energy, skyscraper buildings near him detonated by Yaguchi's men, pinned him underground and render him helpless as the operatives force-fed Godzilla the blood coagulant. Realizing that the coagulant's effect would stopped the blood flow in his body, Godzilla attempted to resist by fires his atomic breath on the trucks that fed him the coagulant before rose and continue the counterattack. Unfortunately, small ounce of coagulant that entered Godzilla's body weakened him that allowed Yaguchi's team pinned him again with bombs that carried by unmanned trains and force-feed the kaiju with the whole remaining coagulant. Yaguchi's team believed Godzilla was defeated after they force-fed the kaiju with the rest of the coagulant, but Godzilla, with the last of his strengths, manipulate remaining nuclear energy in his body that made him freeze himself solid to prevent himself from overheating, leaving him in a state of suspended animation. In spite of his unexpected last resort defense to save his life, the operation was declared a success, and the American nuclear strike was called off. Scientists concluded that the half-life of Godzilla's radiation was only 20 days, allowing Tokyo to recover quickly from the nuclear fallout. The Americans warned that if Godzilla were to reawaken, they would not hesitate to use the H-bomb against him. Yaguchi, meanwhile, expressed his desire to rebuild the Japanese government to be better prepared to combat Godzilla should he reawaken.

As Godzilla stood frozen in the streets of Tokyo, several humanoid skeleton-like creatures with Godzilla's dorsal plates on their backs were seen sprouting from the end of his tail, reaching out to the sky. This indicated that when Godzilla reawakened, he would likely broke into smaller, numerous Godzillas that had better and stronger forms.

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters

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Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters promotional poster.

The second film in the Reboot series was Godzilla: Monster Planet (otherwise known as Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters), which was released in November 2017 in Japanese theaters and worldwide through Netflix. Set in a post apocalyptic world 20,000 years in the future, Godzilla and other monsters have dominated the Earth, leading the surviving humans, along with their alien allies the Exif and Bilusaldo, to clash against the kaiju forces in order to reclaim their planet. It was the first animated film of the franchise.

American Godzilla Movies

TriStar Pictures remake

Zilla

Godzilla's look in 1998 (ShodaiJira).

In 1998, TriStar Pictures produced a remake set in New York City, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Matthew Broderick; the film's name was simply 'Godzilla'. Despite negative reviews from film critics and negative reception from the fans of the original Japanese Godzilla, the film made over $379 million at the box office, and spawned an animated television series called Godzilla: The Series, which drew much better reception all-around. However, the 1998 film was still a weak leak in the franchise and being a complete flop, all sequels were cancelled. Toho classifies the monster in this movie as Zilla, and it was featured briefly in their film Godzilla: Final Wars. Makers of this film stated in cinematic magazine interviews that the American incarnation of the monster did not merit having "God" in his name. Zilla's roars were partly by Frank Welker.

MonsterVerse series

Main article: w:c:hero:Godzilla (MonsterVerse)

Godzilla (2014)

Legendary Godzilla

Godzilla's new updated look (LegendaryGoji).

For the MonsterVerse Series, Godzilla is a prehistoric amphibious reptilian monster who fed off of Earth's natural radiation and appeared as the titular character (and one of the two main protagonists, alongside Ford Brody), in the 2014 reboot and first film of the franchise.

Over the years, however, as the radiation emitted from the planet gradually declined, Godzilla retreated to the ocean depths, where he could absorb radiation from the Earth's core. He did, occasionally appeared at various points in human history, inspiring the mythologies of several cultures. In 1954, an American nuclear submarine unwittingly awakened Godzilla when it reached the lower depths of the ocean, drawing him to the surface in search of new sources of radiation. Godzilla attacked and fed on American and Soviet nuclear submarines in the South Pacific Ocean, with each nation believing the other was responsible for the attacks. When Godzilla's existence became known, the American military began detonating a series of nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands to try and kill him, under the guise of nuclear testing. At the same time, humanity also awakened Shinomura, another prehistoric kaiju whom used to fight against Godzilla in the past, whom proceed to fight Godzilla. In the middle of their battle, another nuclear bomb sent to the location where it killed Shinomura, but Godzilla survived and went to hiding for decades.

Godzilla comes to restore the balance of nature when the M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms), prehistoric creatures who are the main antagonists of the film, awaken and wreak havoc while traveling to meet each other in San Francisco. Godzilla follows the male, winged M.U.T.O. to San Francisco and arrives.

The military fails to stop Godzilla when he arrives at the Golden Gate Bridge and pulls back to allow the monsters to fight. During the ensuing battle between the monsters, Lt. Ford Brody (the main human protagonist of the film) and a team of soldiers enter the city by HALO jump on a mission to disarm the warhead. Unable to disarm it, they take onto a boat for disposal at sea.

Meanwhile Godzilla seems to be gaining the upper hand in his battle with the female, until the male arrives and the two gang up on Godzilla, injuring and battering him all over, gaining the upper hand. Ford incinerates the nest of the M.U.T.O.'s eggs, causing the female to leave the battle while Godzilla regains the advantage and kills the male with a powerful swipe of his tail, impaling the male on wreckage of a nearby building.

The female M.U.T.O. wipes out the team at the boat, but before she can kill Ford, Godzilla fires his atomic breath down her throat, decapitating her, restoring all power to the city and balance to nature. Godzilla then collapses out of a victorious exhaustion, and Ford pilots the boat out to sea, rescued just before the warhead exploded.

The next day, Ford is reunited with his family and Godzilla, thought to be dead, suddenly awakens. He rises and lets out a final roar before returning to the sea surrounded by Seagulls with the city cheering and remarking him as the "King of the Monsters - savior of our city?".

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Godzilla cave painting

A cave painting in a post-credits scene of Kong: Skull Island, depicting Godzilla fighting King Ghidorah.

In a post-credits scene for the film, Godzilla, along with Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, can be seen in cave paintings; one of them depicts Godzilla fighting King Ghidorah, meaning that either there's a prophecy that Godzilla will defeat King Ghidorah, or that Godzilla has fought him before.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

After the events of 2014, Godzilla had dissapeared without being found for Five years.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)

The film's plot is not yet disclosed, but it is confirmed that Godzilla will encounter and battle King Kong, making it the first time the two duel since 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla.

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