Through its portrayal of King Ghidorah, the MonsterVerse flipped one of the worst trends in Toho’s Godzilla movies. Having appeared in more movies than any other Toho villain, Ghidorah has a well-earned reputation as Godzilla’s archenemy. For that reason, it was fitting that Legendary chose the three-headed monster to serve as Godzilla’s main rival in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
His MonsterVerse debut provided a unique twist on his conflict with Godzilla. Unlike previous versions of Monster Zero, Ghidorah was depicted as an ancient rival to Godzilla who lost to the Titan thousands of years ago. One aspect of him that was consistent with his Toho counterpart was that the MonsterVerse’s Ghidorah turned out to be an extraterrestrial threat. Having failed to account for this key difference between him and other Titans, the human villains miscalculated his place in the natural world, which led to Ghidorah nearly bringing humanity to its knees at the end of the film.
King Ghidorah Was Mind-Controlled In Most Of His Godzilla Movies
Interestingly, the story given to Ghidorah in King of the Monsters stands in stark contrast to most of the movies that used character. Despite being Godzilla’s main opponent in so many movies, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is the only one where he was used as a truly evil force acting of his own volition. After his debut movie, Toho moved in a different direction. In the sequel, Invasion of Astro Monster, Ghidorah was back as the villain, but wasn’t actually responsible for his actions; instead, he was under the control of an alien race known as the Xiliens. This scenario repeated itself in Destroy All Monsters, which saw Ghidorah under the thrall of another alien species, the Kilaaks.
Courtesy of the Nebulans, Ghidorah was a victim of mind control for a third time in Godzilla vs. Gigan. When it reintroduced Monster Zero for the Heisei era reboot in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, it brought back the same plot device, making Ghidorah a mindless weapon of the Futurians. After he was killed by Godzilla and revived as Mecha-King Ghidorah, he was finally free of their influence, but still unable to fight under his own power. This time, he was a minion of the humans, who mind-controlled him into serving as a guardian against Godzilla. Again, Ghidorah was allowed no semblance of free will.
The MonsterVerse Proved Its Ghidorah is Nothing Like Toho’s
If Emma and Jonah’s scheme in Godzilla: King of the Monsters had gone as planned, the MonsterVerse version of Ghidorah would have fallen sway to this all too familiar trope as well. Their intention was to use the Titans to effectively reset civilization. Under the impression that all Titans adhere to a natural order, they were confident that the destruction caused by the Titans wouldn’t get out of hand. What they didn’t count on was the reveal that Ghidorah isn’t from Earth; as an alien, Ghidorah had no regard for the planet’s ecosystem and sought to terraform it in his image.
By behaving in this manner, Ghidorah demonstrated how different he is from the kaiju that terrorized Earth in Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and Invasion of Astro Monster. Whereas those interpretations of the fan-favorite kaiju were pawns in other people’s plans, the MonsterVerse’s Ghidorah answered to no one. The humans’ failure to understand that until it was too late is ultimately what set up the bulk of the movie’s action.
Godzilla vs. Kong Continued King of the Monsters’ Best Ghidorah Change
Even while shifting focus from Ghidorah to Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Kong found a way to double down on this new theme. The movie revealed that Ghidorah’s missing head from King of the Monsters was used by APEX to bring the MonsterVerse’s take on Mechagodzilla to life. And apparently, it was the head that was to blame for Mechagodzilla’s destructive rampage at the end of the movie. Mechagodzilla was meant to be a weapon of APEX, but this plan was derailed when the monster developed a mind of its own. This can only be attributed to the role Ghidorah’s head played in Mechagodzilla’s origin, meaning that it was Ghidorah’s spirit that took control of the creature.
By taking this route, Godzilla vs. Kong reinforced the notion that Ghidorah can’t be controlled. Similar to what went wrong in King of the Monsters, humans wrongly believed that Ghidorah could be used to serve their interests, only for it to backfire horribly. In a sense, the MonsterVerse made its Ghidorah immune to mind control, which is the reverse of his susceptibility to it in Toho’s movies. Taking the classic Godzilla villain’s greatest weakness and flipping it on its head helped cement the MonsterVerse’s Ghidorah as the best version of the monster yet.