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MUTO, Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. „ 

William Stenz (Godzilla)

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The MUTOs (ムートー,   Mūtō?) are giant parasitic daikaiju created by Legendary Pictures that first appeared in the 2014 film, Godzilla, as the primary antagonists. A third MUTO appears in the sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as a minor Titan that obeys Ghidorah and later Godzilla.

Name

The MUTO's name is an acronym for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism."[4] 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 respective 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.[5]

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 third MUTO that was seen in Godzilla: King of the Monsters has been given the official title of "Queen MUTO", and also given the nickname "Barb" by the director and writer of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Michael Dougherty.[6]

Design

Development

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 film.

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.[5]

The MUTOs went through several dozen concepts before Legendary settled on their final designs. Some concepts had the male MUTO with four wings,[7] and others had him with only six total appendages (including wings).[8] Many of the early designs featured a rougher-looking, more 'organic' appearance, rather than the smooth and metallic-looking final design.

Appearance

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.
MUTO prepares to kiss with his nuke

The male MUTO's whole body, showing a slim, airborne titan.

As a species, the MUTOs are sexually dimorphic, as there are several notable differences between males and females. The female MUTO has two pairs of forelimbs and a smaller pair on her abdomen, 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 lower abdomen, which while gravid visibly contains the glowing eggs. The male MUTO is similar in appearance, except that he is much smaller with a more nimble build, and one of the two forelimb pairs has been modified into his wings, which are long, pointed and membranous, similar to those of a pterosaur. Both males and females possess 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 MUTOs use the front "knuckle" of their claws, giving it a hook-like appearance.
Female's appearance

The female MUTO's torso, head, limbs, and eggs.

MUTO 3, referred to as the Queen MUTO, looks slightly different in appearance to MUTO 2, the other female MUTO. This new MUTO has numerous spike-like protrusions running down her back that indicate older age, as well as leg joints that all end in a noticeable point. Unlike her deceased kin, the Queen MUTO's exoskeleton is more of a gray color instead of black. Her body is covered in scars from past battles and mating rituals.

Portrayal

The MUTOs are portrayed by CGI.

Roar

The roar first appeared as an MP3 file hidden in the official Godzilla site.[9] 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 MUTOs have very unique roars, many of which are deep and blaring with occasional crackles and snapping noises. At a few points, the MUTOs 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, more guttural roars. Both MUTOs emit distinctive chirps and clicks when they touch snouts as a courtship greeting.

Personality

As individuals, the MUTOs aren't given much character development. Being prehistoric parasites, their sole goals revolve around consuming radiation and reproduction. In Godzilla: Aftershock, Dr. Emma Russell explains that, like all invasive species, the MUTOs have evolved to destroy, dominate, and reshape entire ecosystems to their own needs. Once all the resources have been consumed, she theorizes that the MUTOs would then turn on each other, with only the strongest individuals surviving.

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.

MUTOs kiss

The MUTOs display courtship

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.

All tree monsters

The male MUTO drags Godzilla away from the female. This allows the latter to pick herself off the ground.

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. The male also noticed the destruction of the nest and flew towards it, briefly abandoning the fight with Godzilla. Upon discovering Ford Brody, the female correctly marked him as the one responsible for her eggs' demise.

They are shown to display concern toward each other, as the male was seen dragging Godzilla off of the female when the latter was pinned down by the Titan, showing a degree of 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.

In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, despite Godzilla being the natural enemy and prey of her species, a female dubbed the "Queen MUTO" can be seen bowing to him after the defeat of Ghidorah. This proves that the MUTOs conform to the Titan hierarchy to some extent.

Origins

The MUTOs are ancient parasitic Titans that evolved during the Permian period of Earth's history. The MUTOs reproduced by killing members of the Titanus Gojira species, as well as other species of Titans, and laying their eggs inside their prey's radioactive bodies. Like Godzilla, they feed off of the Earth's natural radiation but can adapt and feed off of man-made radiation, such as warheads and nuclear reactors. In Godzilla: Aftershock, several male MUTOs could be seen terrorizing an ancient human civilization, showing that the Titans were still around by the time of early humans. Geological dating on MUTO egg chambers corresponds with several mass extinctions in Earth's history, heavily implying that the MUTOs were responsible. At some point, the majority of the MUTOs died off, save for two eggs that were injected by a MUTO Prime into the body of Dagon, a member of Godzilla's species. The two eggs fed off of Dagon's nuclear-rich blood, which eventually killed him, before hatching a male and female in the year 2014. In 2019, a second surviving female MUTO was among the Titans who were awakened by Ghidorah's call and converged in Boston. The creature bowed to Godzilla in recognition of him as an alpha for slaying Ghidorah.

History

Godzilla

GODZILLA Japan 3

The male MUTO's spore

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.

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The male M.U.T.O. at the Honolulu airport

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 and flew over the ocean, with Godzilla in pursuit.

BarDestroyed

The female MUTO looks in on a bar she had recently attacked.

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 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 MUTOs and Godzilla out to sea with a nuclear warhead, then detonate it in an attempt to kill all three. Two warheads were transported 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.

MUTO bite

With a powerful bite, the female MUTO violently shoves Godzilla.

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 MUTOs 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 MUTO eggs. The explosion attracted the attention of the MUTOs, 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.

MUTo slammed

The male MUTO is tricked into flying into Godzilla's trap.

THE KISS OF DEATH

The female MUTO is killed by Godzilla's "kiss of death"

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.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

MUTO3News

The second female MUTO pacified during its rampage in a news headline

Following the battle of San Francisco, the severed head of the female MUTO was recovered and stored at Castle Bravo, the outpost where Monarch studied Godzilla, along with the male MUTO and MUTO Prime's corpses.

A second female MUTO, called a Queen MUTO, was among the Titans being awakened by Ghidorah's call from her slumber deep beneath a strip mall in Hoboken, New Jersey. Following her new alpha's orders, the MUTO begins to hunt on Earth with her new pack by attacking a city.

Female Muto bowing

The Queen MUTO bowing to Godzilla in submission

However, she later hears Madison Russell activate the ORCA in Boston, causing her to become docile. The Queen MUTO makes the journey there but does not move quickly enough to arrive before Godzilla kills Ghidorah. Following Behemoth and Scylla, the MUTO confronts Godzilla. After Rodan bows to Godzilla, the Queen MUTO also bows, followed by Scylla, Behemoth, and Methuselah, acknowledging Godzilla as the new alpha of the Titans.

Abilities

Claws

Both male and female MUTOs are armed with hook-like claws that are used to hack at and stab any Titan aggressors. The MUTOs used their claws to stab Godzilla during the battle in San Francisco, with these attacks being strong enough to draw blood.

Durability

Both MUTOs were durable enough to take barrages of both small and large arms fire without any damage. However, the attacks from Godzilla are shown to harm them greatly, as both the male and female screeched in pain whenever they were bitten or clawed by him.

Echolocation

Both MUTOs can use echolocation to communicate, find sources of radiation, and locate each other.

Electromagnetic pulse

MUTO EMP

The male MUTO's EMP charge

The male MUTO can 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.

Flight

The male MUTO has wings that 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.

Intelligence

Muto's agility

The male MUTO ambushes Godzilla, distracting him from finishing off his mate.

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.

Upon witnessing Godzilla’s victory over Ghidorah, the Queen MUTO was intelligent enough to not challenge the former and decided to yield to her new alpha.

Reproduction

Muto-eggs

A group of MUTO eggs latched around the warhead

The female MUTO can 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 lay their eggs inside the radioactive carcasses of the larger Godzilla species 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. The will to reproduce for MUTOs is their main driving force and is so rapid that it is described as a "breeding force" that can quickly overwhelm/over-populate the Earth. In Godzilla: Aftershock, it is revealed that any female MUTO can eventually metamorphose into a MUTO Prime, becoming even more powerful and efficient at reproduction.

Speed and agility

Godzilla vs Hokmuto

The male MUTO evades Godzilla

The male MUTO was able to outmaneuver Godzilla due to his wings and smaller size, while the female MUTO possessed enough speed to outrun humans.

Stamina

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 of days, tearing through any obstacles between her with her massive size. She fought alongside the male in San Fransisco, even while being incredibly injured from Godzilla's attacks, most notably his atomic breath.

Strength and combat

Both the male and female MUTOs possess immense physical strength. The male MUTO was strong enough to drag Godzilla away 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 to toss Godzilla himself around a few times, despite his immense size and weight.

Weaknesses

Inner mouth

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.

Parental instinct

The MUTOs are excellent parents and were fiercely protective of their eggs. Though the two MUTOs 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.

Relative fragility

Why, just why, MUTO, why

Godzilla easily spins the male MUTO around before sending him flying.

The male MUTO, despite being able to evade all of Godzilla's attacks with his speed and agility, was killed by a single stroke of the latter's tail into a building and got embedded into the rubble.

Video games

Godzilla: Smash3

MUTO appears in Godzilla: Smash3 as an enemy that Godzilla fights against.

Trivia

  • 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 MUTOs 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 possess vertebrate biology.
  • 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 the 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 readily-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.
  • The production crew were readjusting the MUTO's design in the 2014 film until the very last minute.[10]
  • In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in Saw Gerrera's cave, paintings of the MUTOs can be spotted. Gareth Edwards directed both Godzilla and Rogue One, 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. She may possess an ovipositor that allows her to adjust her eggs to the source of energy.
    • This is further implied by the fact that MUTO Prime possesses one.
  • The MUTOs are some of the few kaiju to almost kill Godzilla.
  • Michael Dougherty added a MUTO to Godzilla: King of the Monsters because he liked the design of the species and loved the idea that there are still other living MUTOs in the world.[11]

In other languages

  • Russian: ГННУС (Гигантское Неопознанное Наземное Уникальное Существо)

List of appearances

Films

Comics

Novels

Video games

References

Poll

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