|“||This is our needle in a haystack, people: MUTO, Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism; it is, however, no longer terrestrial, it is airborne.||„|
The MUTO's name is an acronym for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism." According to Godzilla: Awakening, this is a designation Monarch gives to all giant monsters as a sort of placeholder name. In this comic, both Godzilla and Shinomura were known as MUTOs before being given their own individual names.
In one of the original screenplays for Godzilla, the MUTOs were called "Hokmuto" and "Femuto," which were short for "Hokkaido MUTO" and "Female MUTO," respectively.
In the final film, the MUTOs are referred to as such, but are also referred to numerically, with the male MUTO being designated as "MUTO 1" and the female as "MUTO 2" respectively on a monitor present near William Stenz.
The MUTOs are known to have been developed from Rokmutul and Pterodactyl, two early monsters from the development of Godzilla. In the Comic-Con 2012 teaser trailer for the film, an unnamed, tardigrade-like, multi-legged monster was created to confirm that Godzilla would be fighting another monster in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla.
According to witnesses of the Godzilla trailer shown in Comic-Con 2013, the MUTOs were originally spider-like creatures with long, thin limbs and scythes. This changed in the actual movie.
One of the original screenplays of Godzilla had the male MUTO emerge from its chrysalis in Hokkaido, Japan, instead of the fictional city of Janjira. The female MUTO still appeared in Nevada, however.
The MUTO went through several dozen concepts before Legendary settled on their final designs. Some concepts had the male MUTO with four wings, and others had him with only six total appendages (including wings). Many of the early designs featured a rougher-looking, more 'organic' appearance, rather than the smooth and metallic-looking final design.
The MUTO's bodies are covered in an iridescent, metallic grayish-black exoskeleton. They have orangey red, narrowly shaped eyes. The shape of their head is reminiscent of Gyaos, and they have triangular jaws resembling a hooked beak, with the male MUTO having two 'mandibles' in his chin while the female only has one.
The female MUTO has two pairs of forelimbs and a smaller pair on her chest, and is much bigger than the male MUTO, standing nearly twice the height of the male and being almost as tall as Godzilla. She also has a pouch-like structure on her abdomen, which while gravid visibly contains the glowing eggs. The male MUTO is nearly identical in appearance, except that one of the two forelimb pairs has been modified into his wings, which are long, pointed and membranous, similar to those of a pterosaur. The design possesses long, slender somewhat deer-like hind limbs, with flat, broad feet ending in two hoof-like toes. The forelimbs all end in a pseudo claw form, being curved like a sickle. When walking the MUTO use the front "knuckle" of their claws, giving it a hook-like appearance.
The MUTOs are portrayed by CGI.
The roar first appeared as an MP3 file hidden in the official Godzilla site. The roar can be heard when the official site loads up, though it is faint due to Godzilla's roar being much louder than the MUTOs' roar.
The MUTO have very unique roars, many of which are deep and blaring with occasional crackles and snapping noises. At a few points, the MUTO make trumpet-like cries and groans similar to creaking doors or Geiger counters. The male and female vocalizations are slightly different; the male emits higher-pitched calls and shrieks, while the female has deeper roars. Both MUTO emit distinctive chirping squeaks when they touch noses as a courtship greeting.
As individuals, the MUTOs aren't given much character development. Being prehistoric parasites, their sole goals revolve around consuming radiation and reproduction.
The male, being the first member to be encountered, is described as young, growing, and looking for food before meeting with the female, so he consumes radiation to gain strength. When he encounters Godzilla for the first time, he reacts with hostility and becomes defensive, attacking him whenever an opportunity becomes available and evading when possible.
The female, once the male had matured enough, awakened from her dormancy and traversed through Las Vegas and other environments to meet with the male, who brought with him a nuclear warhead as a sign of courtship for their eggs to feed upon, and showed some sign of affection as they rubbed their snouts together as a greeting. She seemed to exhibit pain when laying her eggs in the MUTO nest in San Francisco, and became hostile and defensive when Godzilla appeared and fought with him alongside the male MUTO to defend their nest.
As a team, they are powerful and able to best Godzilla with their combined strength. If nothing had distracted them from fighting Godzilla in San Francisco, they may have very well killed him.
When she noticed their nest had been destroyed, the female exhibited a sense of loss over the demise of her eggs, roaring in sorrow as she tried to salvage through the nest in a desperate attempt to search for surviving eggs (in contrast to the male, who kept fighting Godzilla for a few more moments before finally looking in the nest's direction and flying towards it). Upon discovering Ford Brody, she immediately marked him as the one responsible for her eggs demise (which he was). However, she was unable to take action when Godzilla used his atomic breath on her, knocking her out.
They are shown to display concern toward each other, as the male attacked Godzilla just before he could attack the female again, showing a protectiveness for her, even willing to risk his own life for her until she recovered. He ultimately dies in the process of defending her, and the female reacts in vengeful rage against the human forces after the deaths of her mate and offspring.
The MUTOs are ancient parasitic arthropods that evolved during the Permian Period of Earth's history. The MUTOs reproduced by killing members of the Godzilla species and laying their eggs inside their radioactive bodies. Like Godzilla, they feed off of the Earth's natural radiation. At some point, the majority of the MUTOs died off, save for two nymphs that sealed themselves in cocoon like structures and went into dormancy for millions of years until being discovered by Monarch.
The MUTOs were discovered in the Philippines in 1999 after a mining operation unknowingly drilled into a cave containing two pods containing the MUTOs, one of which had already hatched. The newly hatched male MUTO, who had hatched after being disturbed by the cave collapsing, burrowed his way to the Janjira nuclear power plant in Japan, where he caused the plant to collapse from underneath, killing Sandra Brody and several other workers, and causing the entire area to be evacuated because of radiation leaking from the plant. Despite the destruction of the plant, the MUTO attached himself to the reactor and entered a cocoon-like state, absorbing all the radiation from the surrounding area. The second pod containing the female MUTO was taken by the Americans to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository in Nevada.
For the next 15 years, the organization Monarch maintained a research base in the ruins of the Janjira plant, where they observed and studied the MUTO while it fed on the reactor. As the reactor was depleted and the MUTO matured, it began giving off electromagnetic pulses which interfered with Monarch's equipment. Ishiro Serizawa, who was in charge of the operation, regretfully gave the order to kill the MUTO before it could destroy their base. The cocoon was destroyed with electrical currents released from cables surrounding it. A group of armed operatives approached the remains of the cocoon to confirm the MUTO was destroyed, but the creature was still alive and attacked them. The MUTO laid waste to the power plant once again before sprouting his wings and taking off. The United States Navy, under the command of Admiral William Stenz, began to pursue the MUTO as it crossed the Pacific Ocean. Eventually, the male MUTO arrived in Hawaii, where it had dragged a Russian nuclear sub ashore and was feeding on its torpedoes. A group of soldiers were sent to investigate, but were attacked by the MUTO Fighter jets were sent in to try and stop the creature, but the MUTO released an EMP, causing the jets to fall out of the sky and crash. The MUTO proceeded to terrorize the Honolulu airport, but was confronted by Godzilla, who had come ashore to hunt it. The two monsters briefly battled until the MUTO retreated back over the ocean, with Godzilla in pursuit.
Meanwhile, Serizawa and his assistant Vivienne Graham concluded that the male MUTO was using echolocation to signal to the female MUTO that he was mature and ready to mate. Serizawa worried that the spore containing the female was not actually dormant, and the military sent a team to the waste depository to investigate. When the soldiers arrived, the facility was destroyed and the female MUTO had already broken out. The female MUTO. terrorized the city of Las Vegas and began to head west to California. The military formed a plan to lure both MUTO and Godzilla out to sea with a nuclear warhead, then detonate it in an attempt to kill all three. Two warheads were tranported via a train, but the female MUTO intercepted it in the California wilderness, killing all the personnel except for Ford Brody and eating one of the warheads. The other warhead was recovered and airlifted to San Francisco Bay, where it was armed, but it was stolen by the male MUTO, who presented it to the female in downtown San Francisco.
After acquiring the warhead, the female MUTO created a nest and attached her eggs to the warhead, nourishing them with the radiation. The male meanwhile attempted to distract Godzilla, who had broken through the Golden Gate Bridge and come ashore. Eventually, Godzilla reached the nest and took on both MUTO at once, while an extraction team led by Ford Brody arrived to recover the armed warhead. The bomb was removed from the nest, and Ford ignited a gas explosion to destroy the MUTOs' eggs. The explosion attracted the attention of the MUTO, who had overpowered Godzilla, and they went to investigate. The female MUTO was stricken with grief after seeing her young killed, but became enraged when she saw Ford, the man responsible. Before the MUTO could kill Ford, Godzilla emerged from behind her and pummeled her mercilessly with his atomic breath. The male MUTO attacked Godzilla from behind, allowing the female to pursue Ford and his team as they attempted to take the bomb out to sea. When the male MUTO attempted to strike Godzilla from behind once again, Godzilla anticipated it and smacked the M.U.T.O. with his tail, impaling him on a building and killing him.
Ford's team arrived at the docks with the bomb, but were all slaughtered by the female MUTO, leaving Ford the only one left. Ford grabbed the bomb and placed it on a boat. Unable to defuse it, he started the boat in an attempt to take it out over the bay before it could detonate. However, the female MUTO's EMP field disabled the boat, leaving her face-to-face with Ford. Ford drew his pistol and aimed it at the MUTO, but knew he stood no chance and closed his eyes as she prepared to kill him. Suddenly, the female MUTO was pulled back by Godzilla, who pried open her jaws and fired his atomic breath down her throat, severing her head from her body and killing her.
Durability and stamina
Both MUTOs were durable enough to take barrages of both small and large arms fire without any damage. Though the attacks from Godzilla shown to harm them as the female MUTO went down from the first atomic ray shown to weaken her for short period of time.
The MUTOs were shown to have excellent stamina and resilience. The male spent most of his time after hatching flying around in a constant hunt for radiation, and most importantly, a potential mate. In his final confrontation in San Francisco, the male fought Godzilla for several hours by himself, from afternoon to well into the night, while the female built a nest for their eggs. The female also displays excellent stamina, traveling from Nevada to San Francisco in the span of a couple days, tearing through any obstacles between her with her own massive size. She fought alongside the male in San Fransico, even while being incredibly injured from Godzillas attacks, most notably his atomic breath.
Both MUTOs can use echolocation to communicate, find sources of radiation, and locate each other.
The male MUTO is able to unleash electromagnetic pulses from his claws, which can disable electric apparatuses in a five-mile-wide radius (though it is also implied he does not necessarily have to rely on his claws to unleash an EMP, as when he gets the warhead, he unleashes it from within mid-air). The female can instead surround herself with an EMP field (labeled the "Sphere of Influence" by the news) which performs the same function. There don't appear to be any limits to how often either MUTO can use their EMP abilities. In the official novelization, it is explained the EMP ability evolved as a defense mechanism, used to prevent Godzilla's species from using their atomic breath. This purpose is never alluded to in the film, but in an earlier screenplay, it is explicitly mentioned that Godzilla cannot use his atomic breath whenever he is near the female MUTO.
The male MUTO has wings which he can use to fly through the air, but his top speed is undetermined. Naturally, these wings aided him in seeking out radiation to offer to the female. The wings also gave the male a massive combat advantage against Godzilla, being able to ambush him from the skies with a series of strafing and grappling attacks. He would usually be able to escape back into the skies before Godzilla could retaliate.
The MUTOs have shown to be intelligent enough to work as a team as the male MUTO was able to drag Godzilla away from the female MUTO, who then attacked him in unison. The female was also able to quickly determine Ford's involvement in destroying her nest.
Physical strength and combat
Both the male and female MUTOs possess immense physical strength. The male MUTO was strong enough to drag Godzilla way from the female MUTO without difficulties and dredge up a Russian attack submarine from the depths of the ocean and pull it dozens of miles inland on the island of Hawaii; the fact that he could perform such a feat, and later attack a ship in San Francisco Bay to collect a nuclear warhead, implies that he posses some swimming capabilities. The female was able to claw herself out of Mount Yucca, as well as being able to destroy buildings with ease. She was also able toss Godzilla himself around a few times, despite his own immense size and weight.
The female MUTO has the ability to reproduce sexually. She lays hundreds of eggs near radioactive objects so that when her offspring hatch, they can immediately feed off the radiation. As parasites, the females of the MUTO parasitic species lays their eggs inside the radioactive carcasses of the larger Godzilla species in order to reproduce. If no carcass is present, the female will create an improvised nest by smashing a large hole into the earth to lay and protect the eggs in.
While the MUTO's exoskeletons were durable enough to withstand a point-blank atomic breath blast, the insides of their mouths and throats are not armored as such, and a blast of Godzilla’s atomic breath into the female's mouth easily decapitated her.
The MUTO's were excellent parents, and were fiercely protective of their eggs. Though the two MUTO had tag-teamed Godzilla, having gotten the upper hand and were about to kill him, the sight of an explosion near their nest immediately caused them to both abandon the fight, which gave Godzilla enough time to recover and charge up his atomic breath.
The male MUTO, despite being able to evade all of Godzilla's attacks with his speed and agility, was killed by a single strike of the latter's tail into a building side, impaled by the rubble.
MUTO appears in Godzilla: Smash3 as an enemy that Godzilla fights against.
- The MUTOs; role in Legendary's Godzilla mirrors that of the Gryphon from the scrapped 1994 American Godzilla film.
- In the unmade script Godzilla is viewed as a threat by the humans, but is eventually realized to be a lesser evil when a more dangerous monster (who is Godzilla's enemy) attacks. The script also has Godzilla decapitating the Gryphon with his breath, and the humans allow him to leave in peace, just like in the 2014 film.
- They are also similar to the Queen Bitch, from the unmade sequel to the 1998 film. Both are insect-like kaiju whose populations are kept in check by the predation of Godzilla's species.
- The MUTOs are the first American-made kaiju to be specifically created for a Godzilla film, not counting the Gryphon from the unmade 1994 American Godzilla film, and the TriStar Godzilla from the 1998 American film.
- Strangely for Godzilla antagonists, the MUTO are portrayed with a hint of sympathy for their plight: they are not outright evil or malicious creatures, merely animals trying to survive and raise a family in a strange hostile world, a fact emphasized by scenes of the affectionate courtship or the mother mourning the destruction of her young.
- Despite their resemblances to arthropods, the MUTOs are of vertebrate biology.
- The MUTOs are Godzilla's first completely original opponent since Titanosaurus in Terror of Mechagodzilla. Every other enemy Godzilla has fought since then are either enemies he has fought before, clones of him, or are derived from or based on an existing monster.
- The MUTO's behavior combines aspects from various real-life insects:
- The male remains dormant for 15 years before emerging as a winged adult, similar to a periodical cicada
- The female is twice the size of the male but lacks wings, like fireflies and certain wasps
- They use long-distance mating calls, similar to crickets
- They grow and mature inside living hosts like endoparasitoid wasps do
- The female lays her eggs on a ready-prepared food source, as flies and beetles do
- The courtship is somewhat like that of some spiders and mantises, where the male presents the female with a nuptial gift
- In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in Saw Gerrera's cave, paintings of the MUTOs can be spotted. Both Godzilla and Rogue One were directed by Gareth Edwards, leading to the cameo.
- Some aspects of the MUTO's life cycle are unclear:
- The male was said to have emerged from the spore as a larva, yet the developing young seen inside the eggs already resembled the full-grown adults.
- While the female remained dormant the whole time, the male emerged as a larva and pupated before emerging as an adult: in contrast, the female emerges from the spore already fully grown, seemingly having skipped the larva and pupa stages.
- Though the female MUTO simply crouches into the nest when she lays her eggs, the eggs are neatly arranged in rows when Ford and his team enter the nest. It is possible that she possesses an ovipositor that allows her to adjust her eggs to the source of energy.
- The MUTOs are some of the few Kaiju to almost kill Godzilla.
- The story of the two MUTO and Godzilla share certain similarities to the Rudyard Kipling 'Jungle Book' story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi":
- Both the MUTO and the two cobras from the story are a mated pair trying to find a place to rear their young, with the female being larger and more dangerous
- Both pose a threat to nearby humans, especially if they reproduce and produce a brood of deadly young
- Both are threatened by their natural enemies (Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the mongoose/Godzilla) who is indirectly an ally of the humans
- In both cases the natural enemy battles against the male first, managing to kill him
- The unhatched eggs are destroyed, inciting the wrath of the deadlier female
- The female directly threatens the main human protagonist, but Rikki-Tikki-Tavi/Godzilla arrives in time and manages to kill her
- Both Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Godzilla are considered as heroes, even though their actions were of no noble intent but merely their natural instinct to hunt their natural enemy
In other languages
- Russian: ГННУС (Гигантское Неопознанное Наземное Уникальное Существо)
List of appearances
- Godzilla (First appearance)
- Kong: Skull Island (mentioned only, but as a generic term)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (cameo)