|“||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 no-nonsense demeanor about him, coming off as very serious. He's dedicated to his objective of protecting and preserving civilian lives 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 furthermore lacks Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham's reverence for the Titans and views on their importance in nature, generally just seeing the creatures as "things" and as potential hazards to people's lives that are best destroyed; although he doesn't possess any real hatred of them either.
He's not the stereotypical depiction of military commanders/government agents. Rather than aggressively refusing Dr. Serizawa's suggestion of letting Godzilla fight and having him thrown out, Stenz politely refuses his suggestion and shows he respects him to a degree; additionally, he is willing to compromise, as when his initial plan of using a nuclear warhead to wipe out Godzilla and the MUTOs backfires, he agrees to Serizawa's idea and lets Godzilla fight the MUTOs. He displayed this trait again when he allowed Ilene Chen and Mark Russell to explain the Titans' behavior during the global awakening. Stenz also displays a softer side, as when Dr. Serizawa tells him the story behind his father's pocket watch, he somberly realizes Serizawa survived the bombing of Hiroshima.
By the time of the Titans' mass awakening, Stenz's personality hasn't changed much following the devastation of San Francisco, still holding the same views on the Titans such as Rodan and Ghidorah. His role in the Oxygen Destroyer's development indicates he's learned at least from a tactical viewpoint following the San Francisco incident with the stolen nuke, and he's visibly regretful at the military's deployment of the untested prototype. He appears to have lost some of his former respect for Serizawa, as he's audibly exasperated when Serizawa insists on allowing Godzilla to neutralize Ghidorah and Rodan.
Despite not knowing him long, Stenz appears to have great respect for Dr. Serizawa. Initially, though, when Ishiro tells him to let Godzilla fight against the MUTOs, he politely refuses his suggestion and prioritizes rescuing the civilians. Later, when the male MUTO steals the nuclear warhead intended to kill Godzilla and the MUTOs, Stenz finally relents and allows Godzilla to fight. When the Oxygen Destroyer is deployed years later, Stenz appears to have lost some of his former respect for Serizawa, being audibly exasperated at the latter's insistence on putting faith in Godzilla rather than human intervention and declaring Serizawa "had [his] chance" at resolving the crisis his way.
Though Stenz respects Dr. Graham's scientific expertise, he considers her naïve for her religious-like views towards Godzilla. Graham meanwhile, was unimpressed by Stenz and his colleagues' quickness to resort to using nuclear weaponry during the MUTO crisis, walking away in frustration. Overall, they didn't have the same mutual respect as Stenz did for Serizawa.
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 based on how she looked 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's assumption that the Titans' global attacks were "random" and "erratic". Stenz meanwhile treated her with the same professional lack of bias as he did most others.
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 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. 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.
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.
While the Monarch team sets off to locate and revive Godzilla, Stenz takes his fleet to Washington D.C., where Ghidorah is roosting, to distract the Titan and buy time for Monarch.
- In a deleted scene, the Monarch team receives a video feed of Stenz inside a submarine and informing system-wide failures across the ship. He then proceeds to say that the room is 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 his ship, causing an explosion near 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 was insinuated by Michael Dougherty that Stenz survived the battle.
- While the film does not show Stenz's fate in the DC battle, the novelization reveals that Ghidorah and Rodan have annihilated Stenz's fleet.
List of appearances
- Godzilla: The Official Movie Novelization
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization