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Ghidorah, the One who is Many. „ 

Ilene Chen (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)

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King Ghidorah
Godzilla King of the Monsters - Ghidorah poster - Clear keyart
Nomenclature
Nickname(s)

Ghidorah
Monster Zero
The Devil
Death Song of Three Storms
The One Who is Many
Mandandare Aqenomba
False King
Invasive Species
Moe, Larry and Curly
Ichi (Middle head), Ni (Right head), San aka Kevin (Left head)

Biological Information
Species

Titanus Ghidorah

Gender

Male

Height

521 feet

Weight

141,056 tons

Eye color

Red
Blazing yellow (when using his gravity beams)

Status

Deceased

Affiliation Information
Allies

Alan Jonah
Rodan (formerly)
Behemoth (formerly)
Scylla (formerly)
Methuselah (formerly)
MUTO 3 (formerly)
Leafwings (formerly)
Leviathan (formerly)
Mokele-Mbembe (formerly)
Sargon (formerly)
Abaddon (formerly)
Baphomet (formerly)
Kraken (formerly)
Bunyip (formerly)
Typhon (formerly)
Tiamat (formerly)
Sekhmet (formerly)
Yamata No Orochi (formerly)

Enemies

Godzilla
Mothra
Rodan
Madison Russell
Human military forces
Monarch
Behemoth
Scylla
Methuselah
MUTO 3
Leviathan
Mokele-Mbembe
Sargon
Abaddon
Baphomet
Kraken
Bunyip
Typhon
Tiamat
Sekhmet
Yamata No Orochi

Production Information
Portrayed by

Jason Liles (Motion capture)(Middle Head)
Alan Maxson (Motion capture)(Right Head)
Richard Dorton (Motion capture)(Left Head)

Roar
First appearance

Kong: Skull Island (cameo)

Last appearance

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The King Ghidorah (キングギドラ,   Kingu Gidora?) of the MonsterVerse, also dubbed Monster Zero and Titanus Ghidorah, is a giant three-headed dragon daikaiju created by Legendary Pictures that appears in the Legendary's  2019 film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as one of the two primary antagonists. 

Name

Ghidorah's full name is likely based on Zmey Gorynych from the 1956 Soviet film Ilya Muromets, the inspiration source of the monster and was called King Dragon in Japan.[1][2]

The word "Ghidorah" itself is a direct translation of the pronunciation of Hydra in the Russian language.

The names given to Ghidorah's heads during production, Ichi, Ni, and San, are the Japanese words for "one", "two", and "three". San's nickname, "Kevin", likely refers to how San is easily distracted.

Design

Appearance

Like most of his past incarnations, Ghidorah is larger than Godzilla, and each of his neck has a row of spines going down but the middle neck has two rows of spines while the left and right necks have one. The middle head's horns are notably straighter and longer than those of its peripheral heads. Ghidorah's wings are also much larger and more bat-like in appearance than most incarnations, and they can also act as forelimbs to support his massive body. Each of his heads has a crown of horns similar to the Heisei incarnation, but each horn is longer and more curved. The horns also tend to flare depending on Ghidorah's current mood. Ghidorah still has his traditional twin tails with spiked bludgeons at their tips that can rattle as an intimidation display. His legs are digitigrade with avian-like feet, similar to the 2001 incarnation. Ghidorah's eyes are fiery red which seem to glow yellow whenever he charges up and fires his gravity beams, and his tongues are forked, similar to a snake's.

Portrayal

Ghidorah is portrayed through a mix of motion capture and CGI. Jason Liles, who starred in Rampage, performed the mo-cap for Ghidorah's middle head, with Alan Maxson and Richard Dorton portraying the other two, while unnamed colleagues play the monster's body.[3][4]

Roar

According to Michael Dougherty, Ghidorah's roar in the MonsterVerse is meant to emulate his original high-pitched cackling roar from the Showa series, but far more intense and louder. The unique point of this incarnation's roar is that sometimes Ghidorah's heads will roar one by one continuously three times. Ghidorah also releases a series of growls similar to a lion's. There is even one moment where Ghidorah lets out his Heisei roar. 

Personality

Ghidorah is malevolent in nature, which is supported by the skulls depicted surrounding him in the cave painting and a footnote in Vivienne Graham's notes that refers to him as "the devil". His sadistic and ruthless nature is elaborated when he willingly obliterates soldiers with his gravity beams instead of ignoring them. There are also glimpses of him smiling at his potential victims as he prepares to attack them.

Each of Ghidorah’s head has a distinct personality. The middle head (Ichi) appears to be the leader, being the most intelligent, dominant one of the three, and seems to be the most genuinely malicious and malevolent among the heads. The right head (Ni) is the middle one's loyal and obedient follower, as well as the most irritable and aggressive of the three, while also displaying a sense of pragmatism in battle. The left head (San, also called "Kevin") seems to be the least intelligent and calmest of the heads, and is always easily distracted and unfocused, often to the frustration and disappointment of the middle head who has to forcibly get its companion back on task.

Ghidorah apparently has some degree of rivalry with Godzilla , as he is depicted fighting Godzilla in various cave paintings. Vivienne Graham also said that Ghidorah is a rival Alpha to Godzilla, and the two have battled several times in the past for supremacy over all the other Titans.

Origins

From the Hydra to the Rainbow Serpent, myth was the compass that led us to the resting place of the three-headed Titan. A name, unspoken through millennia of whispered nightmares. A living extinction event, named "the one who is many". We call it Monster Zero.

At a Monarch containment facility deep in the frozen tundra of Antarctica, a three-headed winged serpent of ancient yet unknown origin lies frozen within a glacial tomb of ice. This is without question the largest superspecies ever discovered, easily dwarfing Godzilla at a height of over five-hundred feet tall.

Cranial scans reveal a divergent frontal lobe density in the brains of the three heads, denoting each head has disparate levels of cognitive functions, and possibly even independent thought.

Monster Zero's dermal layer is gilded with trace amounts of aurum (See Ark Record # 73.126). Metallurgical studies theorize the scales act as a conductor capable of carrying bioelectrical currents through the creature's body. Injuries have been discovered on several locations on the beast's body, reminiscent of claw and scorch marks. Exo-Forensics are currently investigating.

Muscle tendons on the wings are so hyper-tensile that their massive aerodynamics could generate hurricane-force winds when in flight. Coupled with its body's electro-receptor molecular biology capable of conducting electrical currents, water vapor in the air would be heated at extreme levels creating its own localized storm system as it travels. Simply put, if Monster Zero were to fly again, the stratosphere would be torn open by an otherworldly tempest of thunder and lightning our sky has never seen. Cryptolinguistics has analyzed translations of every worldwide case study of Monster Zero in the Monarch database across tens of thousands of years. The ancients called it Ghidorah.
„ 

— Cryptid Profile

The MonsterVerse version of King Ghidorah returns the character to its original roots as a villainous extraterrestrial life form. According to information recorded from ancient mythological texts by Ilene Chen, Ghidorah arrived on Earth during the planet's primordial ages. An outlier amongst Earth's giant monsters, it quickly established itself as a rival Alpha to Godzilla. Numerous mythological deities such as the Hydra from Greek mythology and the Rainbow Serpent of the Aboriginal Australian religion are credited as misremembered encounters with Ghidorah by ancient civilizations. For a time, Monarch initially believed that Ghidorah was part of Earth's natural order as one of the many Titans roaming the Earth itself, until it was discovered that Ghidorah survived the Oxygen Destroyer blast.

History

80px-Spoiler.png SPOILER WARNING: This section may contain major plot and/or ending details. Proceed at your own discretion.

Kong: Skull Island

In 1971, Houston Brooks and San Lin briefed James Conrad and Mason Weaver on multiple other monsters who once ruled the world alongside Kong. This included Ghidorah, along with Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan, who were shown to the two via classified Monarch cave paintings.

2016

In 2016, Vivienne Graham led an effort to build a containment and research facility around an extraordinary, but dormant creature in the Antarctic. Her classified field notes contained the mysterious footnote, "The devil has three heads."

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla King of the Monsters - Ghidorah rising

Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Ghidorah is first seen frozen in Antarctic ice, with the designation 'Monster Zero'. Eco-terrorist organization leader Alan Jonah and rogue Monarch agent Dr. Emma Russell preparing to free him with explosives and awaken him with the ORCA.

Upon awakening, Ghidorah slaughters the human forces on the ground, before turning his attention to a grounded Osprey aircraft. Shortly after, Godzilla emerges from the ice and the two Titans engage in battle, decimating the Monarch outpost. Ghidorah then eats Graham alive and gains the upper hand, but escapes into the sky before Godzilla has the chance to retaliate.

Ghidorah later reappears in a massive storm near Mexico, shortly after Rodan, is freed from his volcanic nest. Monarch attempts to goad the two monsters into fighting each other, with Ghidorah easily defeating Rodan by sending him falling into the ocean. He proceeds to attack the Monarch crew, but Godzilla emerges from the sea to fight him off. Godzilla tears off Ghidorah's left head. Desperate and left with no options, the military is forced to detonate the Oxygen Destroyer missile, seemingly killing both Titans. However, Ghidorah is unaffected by the effects of the missile, which was specifically designed to eliminate all lifeforms in the area by removing all surrounding oxygen. Ghidorah flies to Rodan's volcano, where he regenerates his missing head. He then calls out to the other Titans around the world, Rodan included, who all acknowledge him as their new Alpha. Ghidorah instructs the Titans to behave hyper-aggressively, attacking major cities across the world and forms a roost in Washington DC, where Rodan acts as his vanguard to defend the Alpha Titan. Ilene Chen deduces that Ghidorah is actually an extraterrestrial, who seeks to destroy all life on Earth and terraform the planet in his own image. Realizing they need Godzilla more than ever, Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself to detonate a bomb to bring Godzilla back to full strength.

Ghidorah is lured to Boston by Madison Russell, who broadcasts the ORCA's signal from Fenway Park. Godzilla appears to challenge his rival once more, with Mothra joining by his side. However, Ghidorah calls upon Rodan to distract Mothra while he takes on Godzilla himself. The battle is at first a stalemate, both Titans being evenly matched. Ghidorah manages absorb massive amounts of electrical energy by biting down on a nearby transformer and proceeds to incapacitate Godzilla. He carries Godzilla into the sky and drops him down thousands of feet, mortally wounding him. After slamming into the ground, Godzilla lies defenseless. Mothra, who is greviously injured from her fight with Rodan, attempts to defend him, but is killed by Ghidorah's gravity beams. As she dies, however, she releases a cloud of energy, which Godzilla absorbs. Godzilla begins to glow a fiery orange.

Seemingly realizing the threat posed by this energy, Ghidorah grapples Godzilla and begins draining it through his bite. However, a repentant Emma Russell uses the ORCA to distract Ghidorah, who then chases her into the city and mortally injures her with his gravity beams, destroying the ORCA. The few moments were enough for Godzilla to recover, who then enters the scene supercharged and glowing a burning red. Ghidorah tried to stop Godzilla with his gravity beams but in seems too late. Godzilla lets out two thermonuclear pulses, the first of which incinerates his wings, and the second which destroys his two side heads. The remaining middle head struggles vainly, but Godzilla steps on the fallen Ghidorah's chest, and releases a final thermonuclear pulse that obliterates the rest of Ghidorah's body. After the chaos dies down, Godzilla rises from the rubble with Ghidorah's middle head dangling from his mouth, still frantically struggling. Godzilla fires his atomic breath through Ghidorah's neck, incinerating it, seemingly leaving behind no remains and presumably killing him for good.

In a post-credits scene, it is revealed that Ghidorah's severed head, lost in the battle in Mexico, has been recovered by fishermen from the ocean. Alan Jonah, seeing potential use for it, purchases it from a trader.

Abilities

Alpha Call

When Ghidorah becomes the Alpha, he is able to let out an powerful call that can be heard by Titans all over the world.

Bio-electrical Nature

Ghidorah's skin is covered with traces of gold which act as a conductor that carries bioelectrical currents throughout his body. He has 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.

Durability

Ghidorah's golden scales make him highly impervious to any form of weaponry. He is also able to withstand a full-force charge from both Rodan and Godzilla, as well as the sheer power of Godzilla's atomic breath.

Energy Drain

Ghidorah has shown the ability to bite down onto power lines and absorb the power to himself, significantly boosting his strength. He is also able to siphon the life force of his opponents through his bite, attempting to do so to Godzilla during their fight in Boston.

Flight

Ghidorah's massive and powerful wings enable him to fly with great speed over long distances.

Gravity Beams

Ghidorah can shoot gravity beams (concentrated beams of electricity) from his mouths. Much like how Godzilla's dorsal plates glow whenever he's about to release his atomic breath, Ghidorah's throats glow before he fires his gravity beams. After absorbed enough amount of power, Ghidorah can project gravity beams from the tips of his wings. The beams are golden in color, and they are more than powerful enough to obliterate humans, buildings, and aircraft. These gravity beams are so powerful, that when Mothra was struck by all three at once, she was almost immediately incinerated. 

Hurricane Winds

Ghidorah has hyper-tensile muscle tendons in his wings that are capable of generating hurricane-force winds while in flight.

Intelligence

Cranial scans indicate each of Ghidorah's heads possess different levels of cognitive function and independent thought. The middle head is the most intelligent, acting like the leader while the left and right heads are more akin to its lackeys, or trained dogs. The right head, however, is somewhat smarter than the left head, as he recognizes an electrical transformer as a power source.

Oxygen Independency

As an extraterrestrial Titan, Ghidorah does not require oxygen to survive, which makes him completely immune to the Oxygen Destroyer.

Rattling

The spikes on Ghidorah's tails can be used to create a rattling sound as a form of intimidation, similar to a rattlesnake.

Regeneration

Ghidorah is able to regenerate one of the three heads that was decapitated by Godzilla almost instantaneously. During the battle in Boston, Ghidorah was able to regenerate patches in his wing membranes that had been torn or burnt during his fight with Godzilla within seconds. 

Speed and Agility

Each of Ghidorah's heads are very nimble and quick, able to lash out and quickly strike their intended targets like snakes. When flying, his top speed can reach up to 550 knots.

Strength and Combat

Ghidorah's intimidation style very similar to a king cobra. Much like the cobras rise up their head and spread their neck, Ghidorah rises up his heads and spread his wings, making himself appear twice as large as Godzilla.

Ghidorah is able to use his jaws, talons, wings, and tails in battle. He was strong enough to lift the 99,634-ton Godzilla thousands of feet into air with little effort, before dropping him onto the ground.

Ghidorah's fighting style is similar to that of a snake quickly lashing out and biting onto opponents. Also like that of a snake, Ghidorah is seen coiling around Godzilla several times in an attempt to strangle him.

Ghidorah can use his massive wings as a sort of shield, tucking his heads behind them to protect himself from projectiles.

Weaknesses

Even though Ghidorah is extremely powerful, he has several notable weaknesses.

Thermonuclear Pulse

Despite his tremendous durability, Ghidorah could not withstand the thermonuclear pulses released by Godzilla in his burning form, which easily incinerated his wings and heads within seconds. Even after the complete destruction of his entire body, Ghidorah's middle head still continued to struggle while in Godzilla's jaws, and was only destroyed when he was vaporized by the latter's atomic breath.

Water

Since Ghidorah‘s physical structure was that of an airborne creature, he was entirely not suited to move underwater. When Godzilla pushed him into the ocean, Ghidorah struggled to fight back and got his left head easily decapitated by the former.

Trivia

  • In the official Monarch timeline posted on the Facebook page for Kong: Skull Island, the label given to Ghidorah is 'Monster Zero', which was the name given to him by the Xiliens in Invasion of Astro-Monster.
  • According to Monarch Sciences, Ghidorah (like his arch-rival Godzilla) has been alive for millennia and influenced the depiction of numerous mythological creatures (such as the Rainbow Serpent and the Hydra) which were in fact sightings of him.
    • This trait where monsters had inspired humanity to create mystical creatures from the real world is very similar to the cases seen in Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera Trilogy and his Godzilla. Both incarnations of King Ghidorah have bird-like with three large claws and a smaller fourth digit, and wings with phalanges that can be folded at side. They also possess electrical abilities in addition traditional Gravity Beams.
    • Shusuke Kaneko pointed multiple similarities between his GMK and King of the Monsters including "King Ghidorah in ice" and "a father in a submarine".[5]
  • This is the largest live-action incarnation of Ghidorah as well as the second largest next to the anime incarnation.
  • Monarch Outpost 32, where Ghidorah is contained, functions as a reference to Outpost 31 of the 1982 film The Thing. This is backed up by its location that is set in a tundra environment.
    • Additionally, it is a more subtle homage to 1964, the year Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was released (as 32 is half of 64).
  • This is the second incarnation of Ghidorah that is able to fire lightning from his wings, with the first being his Rebirth of Mothra III incarnation.
  • Mike Dougherty has stated that, although King of the Monsters is not a comedy, he likened Ghidorah to Rip Van Winkle, having a sense of curiosity and cruelty.[6] Additionally, producer Alex Garcia described Ghidorah as "not part of the natural order".[7]
  • In one interview, Mike Dougherty likened Ghidorah's three heads to conjoined siblings. Additionally, when designing Ghidorah, he wanted to create a "unique" design that still resembled Ghidorah and worked closely with Toho to make sure the new design respected past incarnations; he also studied various animals, specifically king cobras, in order to add a sense of realism to the design.[8] He also told the design team to maintain an eastern dragon influence, and to avoid any western dragon influences, stating "They're not traditional western dragons. So those were marching orders from the beginning... We don't want it to look like Game of Thrones' dragons."[9]
  • Several features of this King Ghidorah could have been inspired by Smaug the Golden from the live-action Hobbit trilogy, specifically the foldable wings that can be used as front limbs for walking, similar facial structures, menacing facial expressions, and their throats glow when using breath attacks. Additionally, both Smaug and this King Ghidorah were portrayed via motion capture.
    • Weta Digital Workshop participated in the CGI effects for both film series. The studio is known for their innovational introduction of motion capture into live-action films, and Andy Serkis, known for his usage of motion capture for Gollum in the Lord of the Ring and the Hobbit trilogies, later played King Kong in the 2005 film.
  • The dragons from the 2002 film Reign of Fire share similarities to the facial structures of this King Ghidorah: the male dragon from Reign of Fire and the middle head of this King Ghidorah have more curved horns, and both play the "Alpha" role, while the female dragons from Reign of Fire and the other heads of this King Ghidorah possess more linear horns and their heads are less built than their "Alphas".
  • This is the fourth incarnation of King Ghidorah to have an extraterrestrial origin.

List of appearances

Films

Comics

References

  1. Mount Light Cooperation (Pastel Video), 1984, the official pamphlet of Soviet SF Movie Festival
  2. Sony Magazines, 1998, Godzilla Chronicle, ISBN 978-4789712941
  3. Verhoeven, Beatrice (April 26, 2018). ‘Rampage’ Breakout Star Jason Liles Joins ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ (Exclusive). The Wrap. Retrieved April 26, 2018
  4. White, James (April 26, 2018). Rampage's Jason Liles Playing King Ghidorah In Godzilla: King Of Monsters. Empire Online. Retrieved April 28, 2018
  5. Eiga Hiho July 2019 Special, 2019, Yosensha, p.2, ASIN: B07RQ3VBFM
  6. https://www.tohokingdom.com/blog/visiting-the-set-of-godzilla-king-of-the-monsters/
  7. https://www.dreadcentral.com/news/291523/godzilla-king-of-the-monsters-producer-reveals-ghidorah-not-part-of-the-natural-order/
  8. https://tamashii.jp/t_kokkaku/113/
  9. https://www.comingsoon.net/movies/features/1051515-from-the-set-michael-dougherty-calls-his-godzilla-the-aliens-of-the-franchise?fbclid=IwAR1jT0D7ohbwgsEgQruf6AhTFSS_8g8WecV5fkCclej7xIgpa9wmxe6sS-M#kYv1HAsPa3FzwSvf.99
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