King Ghidorah, also known as Monster Zero, was an extraterrestrial three-headed dragon-like Titan and the main antagonist of 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters. As an extraterrestrial from outer space and a member of the Titanus Ghidorah species, Ghidorah sought to terraform the Earth into a suitable habitat for himself. He was defeated once and for all by Godzilla during their epic showdown in Boston.
According to Dr. Ilene Chen, Ghidorah was an ancient creature who was feared by many early human cultures, and was said to have been a "dragon who fell from the stars", heavily suggesting that he is of extraterrestrial origin. Judging by his appearance in ancient cave paintings, Ghidorah invaded Earth by the time early humans had evolved, and clashed frequently with Godzilla and Mothra. He was eventually defeated by Godzilla in Antarctica and sealed beneath the ice. He was discovered buried under ice in modern-day Antarctica in 2016 by a Monarch team headed by Vivienne Graham. The massive wall of ice surrounding Ghidorah was dubbed the "Wall of Serpents." Monarch theorizes that King Ghidorah influenced mythical creatures such as the Hydra and the Rainbow Serpent, and describes him as a "living extinction event".
King Ghidorah was a powerful extraterrestrial creature who arrived on Earth during the planet's primordial ages. He sought to terraform the planet by enslaving the Titans into dong his bidding. His reputation as an alpha Titan caused him to establish a rivalry with Godzilla, who was considered to be the alpha of all the Titans. For thousands of years, Godzilla and King Ghidorah clashed for supremacy over the Titans and the planet itself. However, during their last clash in region that would later be known as Antarctica, Godzilla ultimately triumphed over Ghidorah, resulting in the latter being frozen in the ice for thousands of years. King Ghidorah's legacy was feared by many early human civilizations, with many refusing to even mention his name or existence. Many dubbed him as a false king/alpha due to him manipulating the Titans and not being apart of Earth's natural order.
After the 1973 Monarch Expedition to Skull Island, Monarch members Houston Brooks and Lin San showed James Conrad and Mason Weaver two cave paintings of King Ghidorah, along with paintings depicting Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan, as proof that the inhabitants of Skull Island were not the only monsters in the world. In the second painting, he was shown fighting Godzilla.
In 2016, Monarch discovered a new super-species sealed beneath an Antarctic Ice Sheet. Dr. Vivienne Graham led an effort to build a Covert Containment and Research Facility around the dormant creature. Her classified field notes contained the mysterious footnote "The devil has three heads".
Ghidorah is first seen frozen in Antarctic ice, with the designation 'Monster Zero'. Eco-terrorist organization leader Alan Jonah and rogue Monarch agent Dr. Emma Russell prepare to free him with explosives and awaken him with the ORCA.
Upon awakening, Ghidorah slaughters the human forces on the ground, before turning his attention to a grounded Osprey aircraft. Shortly after, Godzilla emerges from the ice and the two Titans engage in battle, decimating the Monarch outpost. Ghidorah then eats Graham alive and gains the upper hand, but escapes into the sky before Godzilla has the chance to retaliate.
Ghidorah later reappears in a massive storm near Mexico, shortly after Rodan is freed from his volcanic nest. Monarch attempts to goad the two monsters into fighting each other, with Ghidorah easily defeating Rodan by sending him falling into the ocean. He proceeds to attack the Monarch crew, but Godzilla emerges from the sea to fight him off. Godzilla tears off Ghidorah's left head. Desperate and left with no options, the military is forced to detonate the Oxygen Destroyer missile, seemingly killing both Titans. However, due to being an extraterrestrial, Ghidorah is unaffected by the effects of the missile, which was specifically designed to eliminate all lifeforms in the area by removing all surrounding oxygen.
Ghidorah flies to Rodan's volcano, where he regenerates his missing head. He then calls out to the other Titans around the world, Rodan included, who all acknowledge him as their new Alpha. Ghidorah instructs the Titans to behave hyper-aggressively, attacking major cities across the world and forms a roost in Washington, D.C. with Rodan acting as his vanguard. Ilene Chen deduces that Ghidorah is actually an extraterrestrial, who seeks to destroy all life on Earth and terraform the planet into a suitable habitat for himself. Realizing they need Godzilla more than ever, Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself to detonate a bomb to bring Godzilla back to full strength.
Ghidorah is lured to Boston by Madison Russell, who broadcasts the ORCA's signal from Fenway Park. Godzilla appears to challenge his rival once more, with Mothra joining by his side. However, Ghidorah calls upon Rodan to distract Mothra while he takes on Godzilla himself. The battle is at first a stalemate, both Titans being evenly matched. Ghidorah manages to absorb massive amounts of electrical energy by biting down on a nearby transformer and proceeds to incapacitate Godzilla. He carries Godzilla into the sky and drops him down thousands of feet, mortally wounding him. After slamming into the ground, Godzilla lies defenseless. Mothra, who was grievously injured from her fight with Rodan, attempts to defend him but is killed by Ghidorah's gravity beams. As she dies, however, she releases a cloud of energy, which Godzilla absorbs. Godzilla begins to glow fiery orange.
Seemingly realizing the threat posed by this energy, Ghidorah grapples Godzilla and begins draining it through his bite. However, a repentant Emma Russell uses the ORCA to distract Ghidorah, who then chases her into the city and mortally injures her with his gravity beams, destroying the ORCA.
The few moments were enough for Godzilla to recover, who then enters the scene supercharged and glowing a burning red. Ghidorah manages to shield himself against Godzilla's first thermonuclear pulse, which incinerates his wings in the process. Panicking, Ghidorah tries to stop Godzilla with his gravity beams, which fails as Godzilla incinerates Ghidorah's two side heads with a second pulse.
The remaining middle head struggles vainly, but Godzilla steps on the fallen Ghidorah's chest and releases a final thermonuclear pulse that obliterates Ghidorah's body. After the storm ceased, Godzilla rises from the rubble with Ghidorah's middle head dangling from his mouth, still frantically struggling. Godzilla fires his atomic breath through Ghidorah's neck, incinerating it, seemingly leaving behind no remains and presumably killing him for good.
It is revealed that Ghidorah's left head that was severed by Godzilla during their battle in Mexico has been recovered by fishermen from the ocean. Alan Jonah, seeing a potential use for it, purchases it from a trader.
King Ghidorah is shown to be a very malevolent creature. He lives up to this reputation upon awakening, acting as an invasive species and commanding the other Titans around the world to help him decimate the planet's ecosystems. Ghidorah demonstrates hostility toward humans which are far too small to injure him, such as when he vaporizes a group of soldiers with his Gravity Beams, when he chases down and kills Vivienne Graham, and when he stalks and attempts to kill Madison Russell. King Ghidorah's three heads each have their own personalities, and are akin to conjoined triplets rather than a single individual with three heads. The center head (Ichi) is the leader and the most intelligent of the three, and appears to control the majority of the body. The left head (Ni) seems to be the most easily irritated and aggressive of the three, and is very pragmatic in combat. The right head (San/Kevin) seems to have a rather curious and calm demeanor in comparison to the other heads, but possesses an air-headed personality which is seen several times throughout the film. In terms of general behavior and body language, King Ghidorah is very snake-like. He is seen spreading his wings out to intimidate Godzilla, similar to how a Cobra expands it's hood when threatened. Ghidorah is also seen flicking his tongues out and "tasting" the air, similar to snakes.
Behind the Scenes:
- Ghidorah was portrayed in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.