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|“||Ghidorah. The One Who is Many.||„|
|~ Ilene Chen on Ghidorah.|
|“||The Devil has three heads.||„|
|~ Dr. Vivienne Graham's field notes about King Ghidorah.|
King Ghidorah, also known as Monster Zero, Titanus Ghidorah or simply known as Ghidorah, is the main antagonist of the 2019 action film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film and the third film in the MonsterVerse, as well as the overarching antagonist of the 2017 film Kong: Skull Island.
He is an ancient extraterrestrial three-headed dragon kaiju who came to Earth, seeking to conquer it and terraform the entire planet into a state more to his liking. He is Godzilla's oldest and most formidable arch-nemesis as they have fought many times over the course of Earth's history for the title of alpha.
He was portrayed by Jason Liles, Richard Dorton and Alan Maxson in motion capture.
|“||It tells of a great dragon who fell from the stars a hydra who's storms swallowed both men and gods alike. You mean an alien? Yes he's not part of our natural order and he is not meant to be here. A false king. An invasive species. That could explain how he is able to create these massive storms and the effect he has on the other titans. It almost like he is reshaping the planet to his own liking. In these legends what do they call him? Ghidorah the One Who Was Many.||„|
|~ Ghidorah origins|
While King Ghidorah's past is largely unknown, it is known that he arrived on Earth from another world in the past, seeking to convert it into a habitat suitable for himself. Ghidorah's goals would then bring him into conflict with Godzilla a number of times, who would continuously foil his attempts to terraform the planet, turning the two into bitter enemies. At some point, Ghidorah was frozen in Antarctica and kept in suspended animation for several million years.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
In the present, Emma Russell, Madison Russell, Alan Jonah and his eco-terrorist organization go to Antarctica to free Ghidorah, as they believe that he will be able to complete their goals to let the monsters overthrow humanity. Upon being released, Ghidorah instantly destroys everything in his path, before Godzilla arrives and tries stopping him, but Ghidorah manages to defeat Godzilla by shooting him with his gravity beams and knocking him into the crater Ghidorah came out of. Ghidorah proceeds to kill Dr. Vivienne Graham and eat her, and then flies away after being attacked by Monarch jets and the Argo. After locating Ghidorah, Monarch manages to lead Rodan, who was awakened by Vivienne, to Ghidorah's location planning to have the two kill each other, but it ends up with Ghidorah easily defeating Rodan, before going after Monarch. However, before he can kill them, Godzilla comes and stops him from doing it and tackles Ghidorah into the ocean, but once again Ghidorah manages to defeat Godzilla, this time more devastatingly than last time. Godzilla does get up again though and rips off one of Ghidorah's heads, but the military had something else in mind; using a de-oxygenator called an Oxygen Destroyer to kill both of them. Godzilla is hit by the Oxygen Destroyer and seemingly dies, but Ghidorah survives the attack, flying away and preparing to get his plan in motion now that his main opposition is dead.
Ghidorah flies to the volcano that Rodan used to be imprisoned in and regenerates his lost head by absorbing energy. Rodan flies to Ghidorah and, recognizing him as the new Alpha Titan, submits to him by bowing, becoming his right-hand. Ghidorah begins to awaken other titans across the world to become his henchmen as well, and he and minions set across the globe to massacre entire cities with no opposition. Ghidorah and Rodan team up to wreak havoc on Washington D.C. However, Godzilla is revealed to be barely alive and recuperating in his lair within the submerged and highly radioactive ruins of an ancient city; and, knowing that it will take years for him to return to his full strength and engage Ghidorah again, Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself to manually detonate a nuclear warhead which fully rejuvenates and empowers Godzilla. Ghidorah is lured to Boston by Madison Russell activating a device known as the Orca, and upon arriving there he starts chasing Madison, who is carrying the Orca, before Godzilla arrives. Mothra and Rodan start fighting, while Godzilla and Ghidorah battle to the death. Ghidorah is winning again, until Godzilla gets atomic and thus becomes more powerful, and nearly defeats Ghidorah. But Ghidorah decides to absorb electricity to get more powerful as well, and becomes stronger than Godzilla again. Ghidorah once again defeats Godzilla and manages to get Godzilla down on the ground by carrying him up in the sky before dropping him back to earth but as he's about to kill him, Mothra comes and sacrifices herself after defeating Rodan.
Ghidorah starts absorbing Godzilla's energy. The Russel family try escaping from the ongoing chaos, and to prevent that anything bad happens, Emma, distracts Ghidorah by driving with her car in front of him with the Orca so that he would chase her. Ghidorah kills her, but the rest of the family manage to escape. Godzilla awakens again, but this time gaining a glowing fiery form full of atomic energy and maximum radiation, activating a nuclear pulse that obliterates Ghidorah's wings. Ghidorah attempts to use his Gravity Beams on Godzilla; instead of injuring Godzilla, his beams inadvertently and seemingly charges up Godzilla's next nuclear pulse explosion, this time disintegrating Ghidorah's two side heads. Finally, Godzilla stomps on top of Ghidorah's body and crushes it in an electrical explosion. Once the explosion dies out, the city of Boston is left in ruins. When the dust clears, Ghidorah's last remaining still-living head emerges from the rubble, but is hanging from Godzilla's jaws. After a struggle, Godzilla fires his atomic breath which disintegrates the head, avenging the deaths of Mothra and Dr. Vivienne, and finally destroying Ghidorah for good. Nevertheless, the other Titans who were awakened, including Rodan, begin to accept Godzilla as their new leader.
However, the post-credits scene shows Alan Jonah with one of Ghidorah's heads, the one that Godzilla ripped off earlier, and planning on using it for unknown purposes.
|“||It wasn't the expression of one animal that had bested another, or of a predator regarding its prey. Ghidorah enjoyed killing. He lived for it.||„|
|~ The film novelization on Ghidorah's sadism.|
Ghidorah, as he often is in the Godzilla franchise, is a malicious creature who frequently commits sadistic acts. That said, Ghidorah isn't shown to be as openly sadistic as previous incarnations as most of his singular human victims are people who got in his way, rather than complete innocents; for example he kills the soldiers in Antarctica because they were attacking him, went after Madison and Emma because they have the Orca and destroyed the jets in Boston because they were attacking him. There are only two times he goes after innocent people unprovoked; he eats Graham in Antarctica despite her running away and tries to destroy the Argo despite it fleeing away from him after he defeats Rodan.
Ghidorah, while his middle head occasionally smiles sadistically, never shows the sadism he had in the Showa films where he frequently cackled when causing mayhem. Also, though he's still a destroyer being, it's stated that he wants to only cause destruction to terraform the Earth to his liking rather than completely destroy it, unlike the one in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and nothing says he has destroyed others planets before.
Ghidorah, despite being revealed to be an alien, is very intelligent and aware of the consequences his actions cause. He is surprisingly capable of manipulation, managing to get multiple titans to help him with his goals in destroying big parts of humanity to adapt the environment to him. Ghidorah and Godzilla have been archenemies for an unspecified amount of time, but most likely they've been enemies for a very long time.
Ghidorah's heads each have different personalities. The middle one is obviously the leader of the other heads and the colder, more focused of the three and also the more psychopathic, sadistic and intelligently evil as he occasionally smiled sadistically when about to kill humans. The head on the right is more focused on battle, smarter and not as calm as the others but doesn't show that much sadism or evilness compared to the middle head. The head on the left is the calmest of the three and also the most harmless and less intelligent, being very unfocused on battle and preferring to analyze what is happening out of curiosity, leading into the middle head sometimes being disappointed in the left head, as shown by occasionally snapping at it. The left head initially shows curiosity towards humans when Ghidorah wakes up, as he responds to the G-Team who shoots him by bending his neck to take a closer look and even rubbing one of them with his chin; he attacks the G-Team in unison with the other two heads only after the middle head forcefully pushed it back to work.
When Ghidorah sees Godzilla for the first time since waking up, the left head seems hesitant to face him, unlike the other two heads who challenge Godzilla with defiance; although the left head looks a little more confident when Godzilla is fighting Ghidorah for the alpha position in Boston. The left head appears to function as a sentry during the battle in Antarctica, rearing up and looking mainly while the other two heads engage Godzilla, and watching when Godzilla's tail fins light up before he uses his atomic breath. Micheal Dougherty even stated that the left head would probably not cause destruction or mayhem if it was up to it's own will. However, when the left head regenerated after being severed by Godzilla, he became dangerous and ruthless as the two other heads.
Faced with imminent death, Ghidorah is visibly afraid as Godzilla begins to cremate him with thermonuclear impulses, and when he doesn't have the upper hand, he starts to panic as seen during the under water battle with Godzilla.
Just like his previous incarnations, MonsterVerse's version of King Ghidorah still maintains the same design as being a giant bipedal dragon with three heads on long serpentine necks, two twin tails, and two large bat-like wings at his sides, which stands upright on his two hind legs. His body is covered in overlapping golden scales, which according to Monarch actually contain trace amounts of gold. The membranes of Ghidorah's wings are still gold in color, but are made of smooth skin and not covered in scales. Like his past designs, the fronts of King Ghidorah's necks are also not covered in scales, but rather skin with a ridged texture. This skin pattern extends to King Ghidorah's chest, a trait unique to this incarnation. This King Ghidorah's heads are designed similarly to his Heisei incarnation, with a set of horns on each side as opposed to his Showa incarnation's single pair of horns and manes of hair. Unlike the Heisei King Ghidorah, each of the MonsterVerse King Ghidorah's heads has ten horns, five on each side rather than eight, and one of the right head's horns is chipped. These horns are also slightly larger and more curved, while the left head's horns appear to be straighter than the others, as opposed to the thin straight horns of the Heisei design. Depending on Ghidorah's emotions, the horns can also flare up or flare down. There is also a small ridge atop each head. All three of King Ghidorah's necks are very muscular in addition to being very long. Two rows of spikes run down the back of his center neck, while the left and right necks feature one row apiece. The undersides of his necks glow yellow when he is charging his gravity beams. The MonsterVerse King Ghidorah's central neck is positioned in front of his left and right necks much like Keizer Ghidorah's, whereas all of his previous incarnations of the character had their middle neck positioned behind the others. Ghidorah's heads each have crocodilian-looking jaws with flaring nostrils, forked tongues, and brows with a generally furrowed appearance.
King Ghidorah's body is considerably thinner than that of his past incarnations, with the outline of his ribcage visible through his skin. Unlike his past incarnations, he has defined arms which extend into his wings, with talons at the end of each fold. His wings are much larger than those of his past incarnations and attach to his body well below his hips. When fully outstretched, they extend well above his heads. This incarnation also uses his wings for support when standing at times. King Ghidorah's legs are thin but muscular, with his knees bent forward in such a way that he has a slight forward hunch while his feet have at least four digits with defined claws. King Ghidorah's tails end in spiky retractable fans similar to his Heisei incarnation. When Ghidorah's left head is ripped off, his blood is shown to be black and oil-like.
Powers and Abilities
- Dragon Titan Physiology: As an extraterrestrial dragon titan, Ghidorah was incredibly powerful; as he possesses several physical and supernatural attributes that surpasses that of most other titans. The only titan who rivals Ghidorah in "terms of raw power"; is Godzilla.
- Advanced Strength: Ghidorah was much stronger than humans and most other titans; for example, he was strong enough to lift Godzilla thousands of feet into the air with little effort, before dropping him onto the ground. The only titan who rivals Ghidorah in "terms of physical strength"; is Godzilla.
- Advanced Durability: Ghidorah was far more durable than humans and most other titans; for example, his golden scales make him highly impervious to any form of weaponry, including the anti-Titan Oxygen Destroyer. He was also able to withstand a full-force charge from both Rodan and Godzilla, as well as the sheer power of Godzilla's atomic breath. However, even Ghidorah could not withstand the thermonuclear pulses released by Godzilla in his burning form, which easily melted away his wings and heads within seconds. Even after the complete destruction of his entire body, Ghidorah's center head still continued to struggle while in Godzilla's jaws and was only destroyed when he was incinerated by the latter's atomic breath.
- Advanced Speed: Ghidorah was much faster than humans and most other titans; for example, each of his heads were very flexible and quick, able to lash out and quickly strike their intended target(s) like snakes. When Ghidorah was flying at his top speed; he could reach up to 550 knots.
- Advanced Stamina: Ghidorah possessed far more stamina than humans and most other titans; allowing him to remain physically active for long periods of time.
- Advanced Bite: Just like Godzilla, Ghidorah has a particularly strong and powerful bite, either because of his sharp teeth, jaw-muscles, unusual jaw-structure or some other reason. Exactly what he can bite depends on the jaw-strength, resilience of his teeth/bite-surface and his shape.
- Bio-electrical Nature: Ghidorah's skin was covered with traces of gold which act as a conductor that carries bioelectrical currents throughout his body. He had electro-receptor molecular biology and can conduct electrical currents, make water vapor heat up to extreme levels, and create localized storm systems, otherworldly tempests of thunder and lightning.
- Energy Drain: Ghidorah was able to bite down onto power lines and absorb the power to himself, significantly boosting his strength. He was also able to siphon the life force of his opponent(s) through his bite, attempting to do so on Godzilla during their final battle in Boston.
- Gravity Beams: Ghidorah could shoot powerful gravity beams (concentrated beams of electricity) from each of his three mouths. Much like how Godzilla's dorsal plates glow whenever he is about to release his atomic breath, Ghidorah's throats glow before he fires his gravity beams. After absorbing enough amount of power, Ghidorah could even project gravity beams from the tips of his wings. The beams were golden in color and they were more than powerful enough to obliterate humans, buildings and aircraft. These gravity beams were so powerful, that when Mothra was struck by all three at once, she was almost immediately disintegrated. This did not affect Godzilla in his fiery form, as it had no effect on him and seemingly charges up his last nuclear pulse attack.
- Prehensile Heads: Similar to snakes; such as pythons and anacondas, Ghidorah could use his three prehensile heads to wrap around and grip his enemies like Godzilla in combat, possibly to constrict them.
- Hurricane Winds: Ghidorah had hyper-tensile muscle tendons in his wings that were capable of generating hurricane-force winds while in flight.
- Rattling: The spikes on Ghidorah's tails could be used to create a rattling sound as a form of intimidation; similar to rattlesnakes.
- Flight: Due to Ghidorah's wings; he could fly at high speeds and at high altitudes.
- Accelerated Healing Factor: Ghidorah could heal/regenerate much faster, more extensively, and efficiently than humans and most other titans; for example, he was able to regenerate one of his three heads that was decapitated by Godzilla almost instantaneously. He was also able to heal tears in his wing membranes during his fight with Godzilla in Boston.
- Genius-level intellect/Leader: Ghidorah was amazingly intelligent; each of his heads possessed different levels of cognitive function and independent thought. The middle head was the most intelligent, acting as the leader, while the left and right heads were more akin to it's lackeys or trained dogs.
- Alpha Call: When Ghidorah become the alpha titan; he was able to let out a powerful call that can be heard by titans all over the world and make them compliant to his commands. However, this cry only works on lesser titans and did not work on other titans with their own alpha status; such as Godzilla, Mothra and Kong, who were unaffected by Ghidorah's cry. When Godzilla destroyed him he no longer had this ability.
- Advanced Combatant: Ghidorah's intimidation style was very similar to that of a king cobra. Much like cobras rise up their head and spread their neck, Ghidorah rises up his heads and spreads his wings, making himself appear twice as large as Godzilla. Ghidorah was able to use his jaws, claws, wings and two tails in combat against his enemies. Ghidorah's combat style was similar to that of a snake; quickly lashing out and biting onto opponent(s). Also like that of a snake, Ghidorah was seen coiling his prehensile heads around Godzilla several times in an attempt to strangle him to death. Ghidorah could also use his massive wings as a shield, tucking his heads behind them to protect himself from projectiles.
- Advanced Bite: Ghidorah had a particularly strong and powerful bite, either because of his sharp teeth, jaw-muscles, unusual jaw-structure or some other reason. Exactly what he could bite depends on the jaw-strength, resilience of his teeth/bite-surface and his shape.
- Freezing temperatures: Ghidorah was neutralized by freezing solid in ice after being rendered inert by Godzilla in Antarctica; this incapacitated him for centuries to millennia and Ghidorah only recovered; due to human interference deliberately freeing him from the ice.
- Thermonuclear Pulses: Despite Ghidorah's immense durability; he could not withstand the thermonuclear pulses that Godzilla released in his burning form; which incinerated Ghidorah's wings and two of his heads in a matter of seconds.
- Water: Since Ghidorah's physical structure was that of an airborne creature; he was not entirely suited to move underwater. When Godzilla dragged him into the ocean near Isla de Mara; Ghidorah struggled to fight back and got his left head easily decapitated by the former.
Rodan and Ghidorah were initially enemies. When Rodan woke up from his volcano and encountered Ghidorah, the two engaged in battle. Ghidorah won and blasted Rodan into the ocean, though he didn't kill Rodan and spared him. After Ghidorah seemingly defeated Godzilla and became the Alpha titan, Rodan bowed to Ghidorah and became his right-hand man, seeing Ghidorah as the Alpha titan. Rodan and Ghidorah teamed up to cause destruction in Washington D.C. Rodan even saved Ghidorah from Mothra during the final battle in Boston as Mothra was attacking him.
Godzilla was King Ghidorah's primary arch-rival as they fought over the course of history for the alpha titan title. He and Godzilla were always enemies. Ghidorah manages to defeat Godzilla two times over the course of the movie and becomes the new alpha titan. However, Ghidorah ended up getting killed by Godzilla in which he then retakes his title as the alpha titan.
Mothra is one of Ghidorah's enemies; he killed in his final battle against Godzilla.
- At an estimated 521 feet in height, this is the largest live-action incarnation of King Ghidorah and the second largest Kaiju in the entire franchise (next to his anime counterpart).
- This is the first incarnation of King Ghidorah to have the ability to regenerate his heads, while Grand King Ghidorah, however, regenerated an entire body from a tail.
- This incarnation of King Ghidorah is the second kaiju to almost kill Godzilla in the MonsterVerse, following the M.U.T.O.s.
- Director Michael Dougherty revealed on his Twitter that, during the production of the film, he named King Ghidorah's individual heads. The center one being named Ichi, the right head is named Ni, and the left head is named Kevin, or sometimes San.
- Unlike the MUTOs and Skull Crawlers, who were simply animals (if intelligent ones) acting on instinct, King Ghidorah is the only monster in the MonsterVerse who is genuinely malevolent and evil, and ultimately acting on a plan with an actual endgame rather than simple instinct.
- The theme of Ghidorah has a Buddhist chant, the Heart Sutra, which refers to the phenomenon of Sūnyata, that everything comes from nothing and comes back to nothing. In fact, Sūnyata also means Zero, as his nickname Monster Zero.
- The movie does not show really Ghidorah's sadism, as while he sometimes will kill or attempt to kill innocent people (such as eating Graham and trying to destroy the Argo while it's running away from him), he normally only attacks people when they are shooting him or have the Orca, though his sadism is occasionally implied by his smiles when he is about to attack or kill someone (though this really only applies to the middle head with the right head being more pragmatic and simply aggressive but not outright sadistic and the left head being more curious and playful than anything). The novelization however, explains more this element by a citation : "It wasn't the expression of one animal that had bested another, or of a predator regarding its prey. Ghidorah enjoyed killing. He lived for it." The novelization also explains his storm generated by his wings would allow to cover the Earth in an endless hurricane that would destroy all life on Earth in no time, something not mentioned in the movie.
- King Ghidorah in a sense, represents the climatic change. He is released from Antartica, creates powerfuls hurricanes who destabilize completely the wheater and makes terraforming not compatible with life, like humans activities in real world damaged the wheater and the atmosphere.
- Although he is obviously the archenemy of Godzilla, he shares more differences with Mothra.
- Mothra is associated with insects, Ghidorah with reptiles.
- Mothra's passage clears the sky of any clouds while Ghidorah creates catastrophics tempests in his track.
- Mothra is actively worshipped by some humans even in the present time while with Ghidorah, the humans want nothing to do with him.
- Mothra is actively benevolent towards any form of life in Earth; Ghidorah, on the other hand, is actively malevolent towards life.
- Mothra is associated with life and has a theme who is associated with grace and hope while Ghidorah brings death and has a very dark theme associated with fear.
- Mothra is multicolored while Ghidorah's colors is only brown and gold.
- Mothra's relationship with Godzilla is symbiotic and possibly romantic while Ghidorah's relationship with Godzilla is one of animosity and shared hate.
- Mothra allies with others Titans via symbiose and common goals whereas Ghidorah dominates Titans to force them into obedience.
- Ghidorah's inability to cope with the water is the reason of his congelation and imprisonment in the ices of Antartica. Long time ago, he fought with Godzilla and the latter dragged him into the water. The water froze, imprisoning the dragon.
- His presence has inspired several myths in the universe, like the Greek Hydra and like him, he can regenerate his head. He also gets killed the same way, by being burned.
- King Ghidorah was the antagonist of an early script draft of Godzilla (2014), after crashing in the Arctic during the last ice age and being kept frozen in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (a MONARCH cover), before escaping and fighting Godzilla in San Francisco. Gareth Edwards, who felt that Ghidorah (being an alien) did not fit the film's "wrath of nature" theme, and to avoid similarities to the popular alien film Transformers (2007), removed him.
- When designing the dragon, he wanted to create a "unique" design that still looked like the previous versions of Ghidorah and worked closely with Toho to make sure the new design respected past incarnations; he also studied various animals, especially king cobras, in order to add a sense of realism to the design.
- The way Ghidorah is presented has Satanic's undertones. Dr. Graham's notes call him the Devil; in the last book of the Bible, the devil appears as a dragon with many heads; in Dante's Inferno, the devil is pictured as a three-headed monster stuck in a frozen lake in the last circle of hell. In the movie proper, he is stated to be a great dragon fallen from the stars (an analogy with the heavens). But the most blatant reference is in a scene where he makes his powerful call to the Titans on Rodan's volcano under a scorching sky while a cross in foreground occupes an half of the screen.