Godzilla Sequel Calls in Back-Up by Jerry Whitworth
In the ever-changing environment of American cinema, a new trend has emerged in blockbuster films. As the Expendables franchise unites action stars of old and today, the Avengers franchise key characters of several different Marvel films, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice some of DC Comics’ most iconic properties, Toho’s most well known franchise will be bringing together some of the company’s other notable players. At the San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced a sequel is being planned for the hit 2014 film Godzilla. An American reboot of the popular sixty year old franchise, Godzilla saw the titular character return to his Kaiju fighting roots battling two giant monsters (referred in the film as MUTO for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Produced by Legendary Pictures, the studio may very well become known as the giant monster movie makers with a sequel to its cult hit Pacific Rim, a prequel to King Kong in the upcoming Skull Island, and now a sequel to Godzilla scheduled for the future (though, Legendary isn’t the only Kaiju game in town with Lionsgate’s upcoming Power Rangers film). Lets examine who will be joining the King of the Monsters on the big screen.
Likely Godzilla’s most well known frenemy, Mothra premiered in her self-titled 1961 film where she acted as a guardian for a pair of fairies of Infant Island. When the fairies were kidnapped and taken to Tokyo, Mothra carved a path of destruction until they were returned unharmed. Three years later, Mothra returned to battle Godzilla. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, Mothra’s egg washes up on the shores of Japan and is bought by a businessman hoping to make it a tourist attraction. When the twin fairies arrive to ask for the egg, they are refused and Godzilla attacks Japan. A group of people from the country travel to Infant Island to beg for Mothra’s help, eventually convincing the twins to send the giant monster. Mothra would give her life protecting her egg from the King of the Monsters. When the egg hatched, a pair of larvae emerged and fought Godzilla, trapping him and sending him off to sea. The single larvae that survived the encounter with Godzilla matured into Mothra and would return to join forces with Godzilla and Rodan against the threat of King Ghidorah.
The eponymous stars of 1956’s Rodan, this Kaiju pair’s film was Toho’s first movie of the genre filmed in color and featured a pair of Pteranodon-like Rodans hatch from eggs in a mine at the base of the volcano Mt. Aso. At film’s end, it was believed both creatures were killed thanks to a forced eruption of Aso. However, in the 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, one of the Rodan managed to survive and emerged to fight Godzilla. When King Ghidorah arrived on Earth, Mothra tried to rally Godzilla and Rodan to save the world but was rebuffed. Alone, Mothra battled Ghidorah until her resolve inspired the other two Kaiju to align with her. The film would be a turning point as the trio became a loose association of allies (similar to Marvel’s Defenders) as the three Kaiju largely changed into heroes. In Godzilla’s next film, Rodan would return as his ally and in the next film it would be Godzilla and Mothra. The trio emerged together again in 1968’s massive film Destroy All Monsters (which was originally intended to be the end of the franchise). In the story, Earth’s monsters are collected and moved to Monsterland where they were enclosed and observed. However, it ends up being a ploy by the alien race the Kilaaks who take over the monsters’ minds and turn them against humanity. Earth’s forces manage to free the beasts but still face the threat of King Ghidorah who guards the Kilaaks’ base at Mt. Fuji.
If Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan were a group, King Ghidorah would be their nemesis. First appearing in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Ghidorah is an intergalactic three-headed dragon that travels from world to world wiping out life wherever he may find it. When the monster razed Mars, its sole survivor came to Earth to warn of his arrival. Only the combined effort of Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan was able to force the retreat of such an imposing foe. The next year, the menace returned referred to as Monster Zero only for Godzilla and Rodan to again force its retreat. Its final battle would be when the Kilaaks took over the minds of Earth’s monsters and turned them against the planet. When mankind freed the beasts, Godzilla led them against the alien threat only for the Kilaaks to reveal their trump card: their control of the great and powerful King Ghidorah. Godzilla along with Mothra, Rodan, and four other Kaiju fought a seemingly hopeless battle against Ghidorah at Mt. Fuji. Despite how invincible the three-headed giant seemed, Godzilla’s forces would finally destroy the space-faring monster once and for all. However, miraculously, the monster was resurrected four years later and joined fellow space monster Gigan in order to wipe out humanity. Godzilla would join forces with fellow monster Anguirus to defeat the duo and force their retreat.