|“||Gentlemen, you are being sent in via halo-jump. Now, I realize that not all of you have had hands-on experience... And frankly, none of us have ever faced such a situation quite like this one before. But I would not be asking any one of you to take this leap if I did not have complete faith in your ability to succeed. Your courage will never be more needed than it is today.||„|
— William Stenz (Godzilla)
Admiral William Stenz (ステンズ提督?, Sutenzu Teitoku, lit. Admiral Stenz) is a navy commander character that first appeared in the 2014 MonsterVerse film, Godzilla. He returned in the 2019 sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Stenz has a sort of calm, cold and no-nonsense demeanor about him, coming off as very serious. He's dedicated to his military objectives to a fault, but he's consequently often short-sighted to greater-scope issues, such as the Titans' ecological importance and the other potential ramifications of killing them. He lacks Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham's reverence for the Titans and views on their importance in nature; generally just perceiving the Titans as little if anything more than "things" and as a potential hazard to people's lives that are best destroyed. However, despite his distrustfulness of the Titans, Stenz doesn't seem to truly hate them so much as fear the harm they can cause, and struggle to comprehend the idea of coexisting with them. Serizawa observed that Stenz is a good soldier but his mission-oriented mind is limited when it comes to comprehending more naturalistic concepts, and he plainly and simply doesn't understand what he and the military are messing with when it comes to the Titans. Stenz notably won't go out of his way to try and kill Titans nor to avoid effectively allying with Godzilla, when he realizes benevolent Titans are humans' best and only hope of fighting off the threat of other Titans to many people's lives.
Stenz differs from the stereotypical depiction of military commanders/government agents as commander contrarians in that he respects the experts and advisors he's provided; hearing them out and usually being polite with them without outright shooting them down or being rash. Additionally, although Stenz quickly decides to attempt nuking Godzilla and the MUTOs in an attempt to kill all three during the 2014 crisis, he seemed to genuinely somewhat dread the strike and have his doubts about it, but he still decided to go through with it even after Serizawa pleaded with him to the contrary.
He also notably has his military priorities straight and is willing to compromise; this trait was seen when he at first deemed in "preferable" that the world remain unaware of the escaped male MUTO, but promptly deemed that secondary to safeguarding civilian lives when the MUTO surfaced on Honolulu. He was likewise realistic enough to seriously consider and relent to Serizawa's suggestion that the military let Godzilla and the MUTOs fight, once the initial plan to nuke them completely fell apart and the MUTOs were mating. Stenz displayed a hint of a softer side when Serizawa made him aware whilst protesting the use of nuclear weaponry that his father was a Hiroshima survivor.
By the time of the Titans' mass awakening, Stenz's personality hasn't changed much following the devastation of San Francisco. He has remained skeptical of the idea of human-Titan coexistence and the idea that Godzilla's behavior at San Francisco indicated benevolence. His role in the Oxygen Destroyer's development suggests that he's learned from a tactical viewpoint after the San Francisco incident with the stolen nuke put thousands of lives in danger, but hasn't changed his method preferences to dealing with Titans in the slightest, and he's visibly regretful when informing Monarch of the untested prototype's deployment. It's overall clear from Stenz' actions following the 2014 crisis and his failure to grasp the idea of Titans being benevolent, that he's strategic but close-minded with a narrow outlook.
Based on their interactions when Stenz warned her and Monarch of the Oxygen Destroyer's deployment, Foster respects the Admiral but also distrusts him to some extent, looking to confirm Stenz wasn't lying about the missile immediately afterward. In his deleted death scene, Stenz spent his final moments telling Diane he was extremely proud of her and her soldiers.
Though they only interacted briefly, Ilene appeared to be quite happy to correct Stenz' assumption that the Titans' global attacks were "random" and "erratic", and from her demeanor appeared to somewhat dislike or distrust the admiral. Stenz meanwhile treated her with the same professional lack of bias as he did most others.
Despite not knowing him before the MUTO crsis, Stenz appears to have great respect for Dr. Serizawa from when they meet. He doesn't agree with Serizawa's naturalist beliefs, and considers Serizawa somewhat naive for his beliefs about Godzilla and the latter being there to restore natural balance. But Stenz is polite when turning down Serizawa's suggestions that they let Godzilla neutralize the MUTOs or Rodan and Ghidorah respectively. Notably, Stenz tried to privately reassure and apologize to Serizawa somewhat after deciding to nuke Godzilla and the MUTOs, a compassionate display he did not show Graham. By contrast, Stenz seemed somewhat exasperated when Serizawa protested for the same reasons to the Oxygen Destroyer's use years later; Serizawa in turn by this time was inwardly wary about Stenz getting involved due to the latter's narrow-mindedness, despite respecting him. Stenz notably went to Serizawa for advice again when the former was completely out of feasible ways to destroy the MUTOs before they could reproduce.
Stenz doesn't interact with Dr. Graham as much as he does Serizawa. Although he respects her scientific expertise and treats her with the same professionalism as the other experts, he seemingly doesn't have the same respect for her as he does for Serizawa. Notabbly, when he concluded the meeting about nuking Godzilla and the MUTOs, he silently told Graham to leave by giving her a cold glare so he could speak to Serizawa privately; Graham in turn at this point seemed to lose whatever respect she might have had for Stenz due to this and his decision.
Rear-Admiral Stenz is the commander of an elite navy squadron that includes Ford Brody, which is sent into the ruins of San Francisco, California, where a battle between Godzilla and the MUTOs is taking place. He was adamant about destroying both the MUTOs and Godzilla using a nuclear bomb, even though Dr. Serizawa told them to stand down and let Godzilla fight, believing he was here to kill the MUTOs and restore balance to nature.
This plan went south after the male MUTO stole the nuclear bomb and took it to San Francisco to build a nest with its mate, endangering thousands of civilians. After this, Stenz finally agreed to leave the MUTOs in Godzilla's hands and focus all military personnel to extract the bomb for it to detonate safely elsewhere.
Stenz, now a four star admiral, is first seen attending a debate between Monarch and the U.S. Senate on whether or not the Titans should be exterminated due to the events in San Francisco, and it's hinted that Stenz is backing the government's plan to see the Titans killed. He sits silently but watches intently as Dr. Serizawa and his associates try to convince the politicians that the Titans are essential to Earth's ecosystem, but he's visibly stunned at the senate not taking the hearing seriously when they all respond with laughter to Serizawa's comment that humanity will likely be Godzilla's pet in a coexistence.
Several days later, while the Monarch team aboard the Argo watches as Godzilla nearly kills Ghidorah after pulling him into the ocean, Stenz reveals that the military has developed a specialized missile, dubbed the Oxygen Destroyer, which eliminates all oxygen and kills all life within its blast radius. Before anyone can protest, the missile is fired and detonates right on top of Godzilla and Ghidorah. While Godzilla is seemingly killed by the blast, Ghidorah emerges from the water unscathed, albeit missing a head that had been torn off by Godzilla during their fight. This leads the team to believe that Ghidorah is an alien, as any normal organism on Earth, including Titans, would be destroyed by the blast.
Shortly afterward, Stenz arrives at Castle Bravo to brief Monarch and military personnel on their current situation. He reveals that Titans all over the world have awoken from their dormancy, and were proceeding to attack cities whilst triggering natural disasters at the same time. He further reveals that all attempts to lure the creatures using nuclear material, as done with the MUTOs several years earlier, was not working this time around. Mark Russell steps in and explains to Stenz that the Titans must be acting on orders from Ghidorah, who had just usurped the position of Alpha from Godzilla. Mark deduces that if they stop Ghidorah, the Titans will cease their aggressive behavior. Shortly after, Mothra arrives at Castle Bravo and reveals to everyone that Godzilla is still alive.
Stenz is last seen during Foster's meeting summarizing the four-branch military joint operation to assault Ghidorah in Washington D.C. and keep it Titan preoccupied.
- In Godzilla, Stenz was shown wearing a two-star Rear-Admiral insignia in his U.S. Navy camo uniform. But during the hearing between U.S. Senate and Monarch in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Stenz was clearly seen wearing a four-star Admiral insignia in the sleeve stripes of his U.S. Navy uniform and a four-star insignia can also be seen in his U.S. Navy camo uniform when Admiral Stenz briefed both Monarch and U.S. Armed Forces personnel in Castle Bravo. It is likely that sometime during the five-year gap between the films, Stenz managed to get promoted into Four-Star Admiral or Full Admiral, currently the highest rank in the United States Navy.
- In a deleted scene, the Monarch team receives a video feed of Stenz inside a submarine and informing the crew that there are several system-wide failures across the ship alongside the ship taking on too much water and cannot go on. He then says he is proud of Diane's troops and has been an honor working with them until one of Ghidorah's gravity beams hits the ship, an explosion is seen impacting Stenz, which then cuts the signal out. At this, it can be assumed that Stenz perished during the battle. However, this scene was cut in the theatrical release, and it was insinuated by Michael Dougherty that the scene was cut precisely because killing off Stenz didn't feel right to him, to leave the possibility of him returning in a future film open.
- In Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization, it's stated that Stenz was present at the Washington D.C. battle against Rodan and Ghidorah onboard a submarine. When the military fleet is being annihilated by the two Titans, Stenz's submarine attempts to contact the Argo, and the video feed gives a brief glimpse of "the interior of his submarine full of smoke and water, rocking crazily" before the signal cuts out, heavily implying that Stenz may have died at the battle.
List of appearances
- Godzilla: The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization indicates he may have died, and he isn't seen or mentioned in Godzilla vs. Kong nor its novelization
- Cox, Greg. Godzilla: The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. ASIN: B00MLDU6TO.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 33. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 151. ISBN: 9781789090925.
- Keyes, Greg. Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization. Titan Books. p. 237. ISBN: 9781789090925.