Having wound the clock back to 1973 for Kong: Skull Island last year, next year's Godzilla: King of the Monsters is finally bringing us back to the present day in the MonsterVerse. 2014's Godzilla was our first taste of this shared universe, and while the eponymous monster successfully defeated the MUTOs, Earth's troubles with these Titans (as they're known) were far from over. This time around, Godzilla will face off against a battery of more well-known foes, which sucks for the people living on this Earth, but is dynamite for the moviegoers who enjoy giant monsters clash.
With seven months to go until Godzilla: King of the Monsters' release, we've compiled a list of all the confirmed Titans who are showing up in the sequel. It's possible that even more monsters will show up and are simply being kept as a surprise, but even if that's not the case, this is quite the lineup of creatures. And judging from what was shown in the first King of the Monsters trailer, they are definitely raising the stakes and then some from what the previous Godzilla movie offered.
It's a Godzilla movie. Of course the big guy is going to be front and center! In his first MonsterVerse appearance, we learned that Godzilla was first awakened accidentally by an American nuclear submarine, leading the United States military try to kill him using nuclear bombs. Needless to say they were unsuccessful, but after dropping a hydrogen bomb on Godzilla, the creature disappeared for 60 years, and subsequently Monarch was formed to study him and other monsters. Godzilla returned in the 21st century when the first MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) surfaced, and with some human assistance, he defeated his adversaries before they could reproduce. Although initially believed to be dead, Godzilla awoke the next morning and returned underwater.
So what can we expect from the reptilian, atomic breathing kaiju in Godzilla: King of the Monsters? Like last time, he'll be battling the antagonistic monsters. While we didn't get any sense that Godzilla gives a damn about humanity in the earlier movie, there's a shot in the first King of the Monsters trailer of him roaring as jets fly over and around him, so perhaps there will be closer teamwork between him and the military. Beyond this, it remains to be seen specifically why Godzilla returns and how he'll cross paths with his fellow Titans, but one is certain: this won't be his last MonsterVerse appearance. More on that later.
Introduced in 1961, Godzilla: King of the Monsters market Mothra's first American appearance. It's about time, because Mothra is among the most popular kaiju in this franchise. Like Godzilla, she is considered to be more of a heroic monster, living on Infant Island and protecting its culture. So far we've gotten two shots of Mothra in King of the Monsters. The first show her in her larval form and moving towards Madison Russell's (played by Millie Bobby Brown) outstretched hand, letting the audience know that she's more friendly than the other Titans. The second is Mothra in all her evolved glory unfolding her bioluminescent wings behind a waterfall. It's unquestionably the most majestic shot in the trailer.
Just like they've done many times in the past decades, Godzilla: King of the Monsters' plot synopsis states that Godzilla and Mothra will "collide." However, given who the other starring monsters in this sequel are, even if Godzilla and Mothra come to blows, I doubt that the former will be worrying too much about the latter. Maybe Mothra will be taken off the board early, either by Godzilla or one of the other creatures, or maybe Mothra will ally with Godzilla. Regardless, don't count on Mothra being the most dangerous threat.
You may be wondering why so many monsters are appearing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In the trailer, Dr. Emma Russell (played by Vera Farmiga) narrates that the Titans, Earth's "original rulers," need to be found and awakened so that Earth and humanity can be saved. Boy, is that all kinds of wrong (I think Emma has been coerced into saying all that by unseen parties, but that's neither here nor there). Because once those monsters unleashed, untold destruction is following behind, and Rodan appears to be one of the primary sources of it. Resembling a pterodactyl, Rodan, who debuted in 1956, hasn't had major roles in as many Godzilla movies, but he's nonetheless a formidable foe.
So far our only looks at Rodan have been of him emerging from a volcano and him flying over a devastated Washington D.C. Roman's wings can generate thunderclaps powerful enough to level cities, so it's a good bet he's the one that laid waste to our nation's capital and probably created those lingering wind vortexes. Although Rodan isn't Godzilla's arch-enemy (that honor belongs to the next entry), it definitely seems like we should worry about him causing irreparable damage to our world. Then again, maybe that's what the human villains in this movie actually want: for these monsters to take back control of Earth so that humanity can't hurt it anymore.
You'll recall that in the Kong: Skull Island post-credits scenes, we saw cave drawings of other monsters Monarch learned about. This was deliberate foreshadowing for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and the final drawing showed Godzilla and the three-headed King Ghidorah about to come to blows. Just like in the Japanese Godzilla movies, King Ghidorah is described as Godzilla's "ultimate nemesis" in the MonsterVerse continuity. Like Rodan, King Ghidorah can fly, and he can also shoot "gravity beams" from his mouth, giving Godzilla's atomic breath a run for its money.
Thus far, all we've seen of King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is him frozen in ice and later stretching its wings behind fog cover as lightning strikes in the background. But even with the limited footage thus far, if his history with Godzilla (which stretches back to 1964) is any indication, King Ghidorah is being set up as the principal antagonist of the sequel. In fact, I'm calling it now: King Ghidorah will be the final opponent that Godzilla battles in the movie. For centuries these two have been at odds with one another, and King of the Monsters will (presumably) mark the end of their rivalry.
Honorable Mention: Kong
Along with Godzilla, the MonsterVerse's other anchoring monster is Kong, who also usually shares the King title. Rather than re-tell Kong being taken from Skull Island to New York in the 1930s, Kong: Skull Island was set in 1973 and kept the action on Kong's home turf. When we left off with the giant gorilla, he'd defeated the biggest of the Skullcrawlers and allowed the surviving humans to leave his island. The only reason Kong attacked the expedition at the beginning of the movie was because they were dropping explosives on his home; as long as he's left alone and unharmed, he won't have any issues with visitors. We don't know what Kong has been up to in the four+ decades since Kong: Skull Island, but pretty soon we'll reunite with him.
Officially speaking, Kong hasn't been announced for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but let's not forget that in 2020, he and Godzilla will finally go mano a mano with one another for the first time on the American silver screen in the appropriately-named Godzilla vs. Kong, and you can count on Warner Bros teasing that conflict. So while it's highly unlikely that Kong will show up as one of the main players in King of the Monsters' main story, don't be surprised if he either appears in a mid or post-credits scene or is teased through more artwork, video footage, someone telling the main characters that a freakishly large gorilla has fled from its island habitat, etc.