Welcome to the MonsterVerse Timeline. Here, you will find a chronological listing for all the major events seen in Legendary Pictures’ ongoing giant monster universe. Information from this timeline has been pulled from the 2014 feature film Godzilla, its 2017 prequel Kong: Skull Island, its 2019 sequel Godzilla King of the Monsters, 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, the novelizations, art books, and shooting scripts of all four films, the comics/graphic novels Godzilla: Awakening, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Godzilla: Aftershock, Godzilla: Dominion, Kingdom Kong, and promotional material released by Legendary and Warner Brothers – via social media, viral websites, and other sources – that pertain to the expanding universe.
(NOTE: This timeline is still very much a work in progress. Currently, the only material present below pertains to prequel events only referenced in the films and comics, along with some material either only seen in the comics or briefly witnessed in the films. Additions pertaining to further events (as well as new prequel information from Godzilla vs. Kong) are coming soon. Furthermore, since this is a currently ongoing universe of stories (with a fifth film, a Kong anime, an Apple TV+ series, and inevitable future comic spinoffs and related material still upcoming), this timeline will naturally remain incomplete for quite some time. As new MonsterVerse stories are told, this timeline will be updated to reflect new events and revelations. Until then, enjoy!)
This Timeline is dedicated to the memory of Godzilla fan George Root III.
Part 1: Prehistory
Permian Period (250 MYA)
- In a world ten times more radioactive than in the modern era, an ecosystem of massive organisms thrives. Feeding on the radiation in the atmosphere, these “radiomorphs” grow to immense sizes, and assume many forms occupying innumerable ecological niches.
- Among the many species of giants is included a particularly immense group of creatures that will one day be known as “Titans”. These creatures routinely battle for dominance of their ancient world, and take many forms resembling reptiles, insects, and even the eventual monsters of mankind’s myths, legends, and religions.
- Living amongst the various radiation-consuming Titans of this age is a dominant species of alpha predators, creatures so massive and powerful that few other species can contend with them. These incredible creatures act as a balancing force of nature, seeking out and confronting any other being that might threaten their existence. These beasts will come to be known by many names during the eventual era of man, but amongst these, one name – and one of these mighty monsters – will rise above all others: “Godzilla”.
- One such Titan of this era takes the form of a gigantic, insect-like “destroyer”, a monster capable of unleashing an unstoppable group of parasitic creatures upon the ancient world. This powerful beast, who will one day be known as “Jinsin-Mushi” in Japanese lore, exists for the sole purpose of luring out and battling the mighty alpha predators that rule the land. Once subdued, the creatures that will one day bear the name “Godzilla” are penetrated by Jinsin-Mushi’s ovipositors, which inject two eggs into their stomach lining. Over years of gestation, the growing offspring siphon the radioactive hemoglobin in the victims’ bloodstream, a process that eventually kills the host. After gestation, the two spores produce a male and female creature who, after mating, produce hundreds of eggs that will, in turn, hatch into innumerable drones that seek to siphon more power from their fellow Titans. Each female of these titanic drones (one day to be dubbed “MUTOs”, short for “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) carry the capability to metamorphose into a full-grown Jinsin-Mushi (or MUTO Prime) to begin the cycle all over again. (NOTE: While the MUTOs are the main focus of 2014’s Godzilla, the finer details of their life cycle – as well as their relationship to MUTO Prime – are never addressed in the film. Information on their full life cycle, and relationship to Godzilla, is fleshed out in the 2019 graphic novel, Godzilla: Aftershock.)
- At the height of their reign, the giants that rule the planet face the threat of annihilation. An unknown force brings about the great Permian Extinction event, eliminating much of the life on Earth. In order to sustain their continued existence, many Titans seek refuge deep beneath the surface of the planet, coming to rest in great chasms, deep abysses, and massive, hollow spaces within the Earth, where they can absorb the radiation of the planet’s core.
Between 250,000,000 and 12,000 years ago
- As the world changes, the many titanic creatures of the ancient, radioactive era continue an intermittent slumber, occasionally rising to the surface through massive entrances into their subterranean lairs.
- Over the eons, several small populations of various superspecies come to reside permanently on the surface, evolving to fill various ecological niches in their new homes. One such location – a large, south pacific island – becomes home to a population of massive mammals, bizarre insects, and ravenous reptiles presided over by a race of titanic yet intelligent primates. In the millennia to come, this hellish land will come to known as Skull Island: the “land where God did not finish Creation”.
- One of the ancient era’s alpha predators – the creature mankind will one day know as “Godzilla” – makes its presence known in the region that will one day become France, its visage painted onto the walls of the Chauvet Cave by primitive man. (NOTE: An image of this cave painting is used as evidence of Godzilla’s existence by Eiji Serizawa in 1953, as seen in the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening.)
- A colony of Phoenician travelers witness a battle between two ancient Titans: the “MUTO Prime” known as Jinsin-Mushi (referred to by the civilization as an “unclean thing”) and a Godzilla (dubbed “Dagon” and believed to be the holy son of the goddess Asherah). Jinsin-Mushi is successful in stabbing the Godzilla with its ovipositor tentacles, leaving the beast wounded and unconscious. However, the beast is able to recover, and returns to the ocean, leaving behind a grateful Phoenician people. (NOTE: These events are chronicled on ancient stone tablets seen as comic panels in the 2019 publication, Godzilla: Aftershock, a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla and a prequel to 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.)
- Sometime after the confrontation between Jinsin-Mushi and the Godzilla worshipped as “Dagon” by the Phoenicians, the wounded alpha predator (to be codenamed “Species 5146_Adam: Uncatalogued/Specimen 99_01” by the Monarch organization millions of years later) succumbs to the effects of Jinsin-Mushi’s gestating eggs. Its massive corpse is dragged into a massive underground “death chamber” (underneath what will eventually be known as the Philippine Islands) by its victorious opponent, who returns to claim its prize after detecting sonar waves emitted by the eggs within the Godzilla’s body. However, when the cave eventually becomes sealed off from both the surface and the remainder of the so-called “hollow earth”, the growing MUTO spores become dormant as the body of the dead Titan begins to decay and, ultimately, fossilize. (NOTE: This ancient account finally reveals the identity of the deceased Godzilla (codenamed “Adam”) seen at the beginning of the 2014 film to be that of the Godzilla witnessed loosing to Jinsin-Mushi by the Phoenicians. While it’s unknown just how many times the brutal cycle of life and death between the Godzilla species and the MUTO Prime took place in the ancient world (or how many other Godzilla carcasses might be buried in the Earth with dormant spores in their bodies), it’s now a fact that the two aforementioned creatures – the “Dagon” Godzilla and the “Adam” Godzilla – are one and the same.)
- Following its victory, Jinshin-Mushi retreats to a cave in Russia, where it lies dormant while awaiting its next opportunity to hunt a future Godzilla.
- A surviving Godzilla – the last of its kind – is witnessed in ancient Japan, and his massive form is depicted on a Choji-Giga, or a “Scroll of Frolicking Animals” created in the 12th Century. (NOTE: This scroll is used as evidence of Godzilla’s existence by Eiji Serizawa in 1953, as seen in the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening.)
Between 10,000 BCE and 1900 CE
- Over a 12,000 year period, various Titans make their presence known on the surface world, inspiring stories, of myth, legend, gods, and monsters among both early man and the world’s first civilizations. Ancient depictions of the creatures that will one day be known as Godzilla (designated by Monarch as Titanus Gojira), Rodan (Titanus Rodan), Mothra (Titanus Mosura), and Ghidorah (Titanus Ghidorah, also known as “Monster Zero”) are created in caves, temples, and other sacred places around the world, with some of these bygone peoples even forming as yet undescribed connections with these massive beasts. (NOTE: The above Monarch designations come from each monster’s bio found on the Monarch Sciences viral website, and are seen/heard in the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The name “Monster Zero” is, of course, a reference to the 1965 Godzilla classic, Invasion of Astro-Monster, also known as Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, in which the Xilian race give the three-headed beast its famous nickname. Likewise, “Mosura” is the Japanese name of Mothra, and the name “Gojira” is obvious to any long-time fan.)
- At an undetermined point within this stretch of time, ancient man witnesses the tumultuous advent of a new, terrifying Titan: a massive, three-headed demon who “falls from the sky”, creating massive storms that “swallow men and gods alike”. This horrific entity – an alien beast intent on reforming the Earth to its will and subjugating the Titans who call it home – is given the name Ghidorah: “The One Who is Many”. (NOTE: The exact time/era of Ghidorah’s arrival on Earth is not known, but based on ancient artistic depictions of the creature and dialogue in the film Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), his coming must have occured thousands of years prior to his 2019 awakening. His exact origins and place of birth in the cosmos are also unknown.)
- Sometime after Ghidorah’s arrival, mankind witnesses a war of Earth-shaking proportions as the last Godzilla – the alpha of his now bygone prehistoric era – clashes with the three-headed creature in an epic battle. Aiding Godzilla in the conflict is another Titan: the massive, godly “Queen of the Monsters” known as Mothra, whose species retains an ancient and strong symbiotic relationship to Godzilla’s. (NOTE: The exact time/era of this conflict is unknown, as is the ultimate outcome. The only evidence of this ancient rivalry between Godzilla and Ghidorah comes from a cave painting (date of creation unknown) depicting their fight, as well as Mothra’s involvement. This painting can be seen in the end-credit scene of 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.)
- Following his battle with Godzilla and Mothra, Ghidorah, bearing claw marks and other injuries from the fight, comes to rest within the ice of Antarctica. With Ghidorah’s dormancy comes a time of peace in which many Titans disappear, returning to the remote places from whence they came. The massive “Fire Demon” known as Rodan begins a long hibernation within the volcano of Isle de Mara in Mexico, and the egg of Mothra lays dormant within the “Temple of the Moth” in a rainforest in the Yunnan Province of China. The mightiest of the Titans – the final Godzilla – also disappears, retreating deep into the Pacific Ocean to his mysterious lair. (NOTE: The presence of “claw and scorch marks” on Ghidorah’s body is noted on the Monarch Sciences viral website in its main description of Ghidorah, which was also the first to reveal the creature’s “Monster Zero” moniker prior to the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The site also revealed the resting places of Rodan and Mothra, which are also seen in the 2019 movie. Information on Godzilla’s lair – an ancient, underwater temple complex of unknown origin – is currently scarce, but answers are expected to come as new MonsterVerse stories are told.)
- As the centuries march on, most of the world’s remaining Titans either remain in – or return to – a state of dormancy, coming to rest in a variety of locations around the world. (NOTE: Just how many Titans share the world with humanity is unknown, but the Monarch Sciences viral website confirms that Monarch operates at least 67 outposts across the globe by the 21st century. While its is not yet known just how many of these outposts are built around/upon the resting places of Titans, it is known that at least 17 of these giant creatures (not including Godzilla) arise around the same time in the year 2019, called into action by the recently crowned “King” Ghidorah. 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters reveals the names of these Titans (excluding Rodan, Mothra, Ghidorah, Kong, and the MUTO) to be Behemoth, Scylla, Baphomet, Mokele-Mbembe, Tiamat, Typhoon, Abaddon, Leviathan, Kraken, Sargon, Bunyip, and Methuselah. The respective histories, origins, and (with the exceptions Behemoth, Scylla, and Methuselah) physical natures of these creatures have yet to be revealed.)
- A series of massive chasms open on Skull Island, allowing a horde of ravenous, two-legged reptilian beasts to emerge from inner Earth. This race of deadly giants – dubbed the “Skull Crawlers” in the 20th Century – launch a campaign of bloodshed across the island, battling its population of titanic primates to the death and reducing their numbers to only a handful. Eventually, only two – a mated pair, and the strongest of the species – remain.
- As the centuries pass, a tribe of human travelers – one day known as the Iwi – arrive on Skull Island, and witness the imposing forms of two massive ape-like creatures. As the Iwi make themselves at home on the island, they come to venerate these god-like creatures – the last of their kind – as protectors, giving them the name of “Kong”. (NOTE: Its unknown at just what point in history the Iwi migrated to Skull Island, but their tribe has likely existed on the island for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. Their coming is seen in a bizarre psychic vision by Monarch operative Walter L. Riccio during the 1995 Skull Island expedition seen in the second issue of the comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong.)
- Sometime after the Iwi’s arrival on Skull Island, the horde of Skull Crawlers succeeds in penetrating the den of the final two Kongs, and a climactic and violent battle begins. However, the female Kong begins to go into labor, and at the height of the confrontation, delivers a male baby, whom she immediately hides within a nearby cave. Before the horrified infant’s eyes, his mother and father – the last surviving members of his species – are torn apart by the largest, deadliest Skull Crawler of them all. (NOTE: While the large Skull Crawler (known as “Ramarak” to fans and called “the Big One” by Hank Marlow) isn’t seen to deliver the killing blows in the comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, it’s culpability in the murder of Kong’s parents is mentioned by Marlow – and depicted in the sacred murals of the Iwi – in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island.)
- As night falls, the baby Kong crawls from his hiding place and weeps over the eviscerated corpses of his parents. He is now the last of his kind, destined to roam his island home alone. (NOTE: This heartbreaking scene – as well as the climactic battle between the Skull Crawlers and the final Kongs – is another in a string of visions seen by Walter L. Riccio during the 1995 Skull Island expedition seen in the third issue of the comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong.)
- In the wake of the Skull Crawlers’ decimation of the Kong species, the lone male survivor grows up in isolation, ultimately emerging as a pivotal balancing force within the island’s fragile ecosystem. The Iwi people – safely ensconced behind a massive wall – revere the Kong for his wisdom, and his kindness to humans. As time passes, Kong grows ever larger and stronger, and continues his mission to protect his island from the scourge of the Skull Crawlers. Meanwhile, the Crawlers take up residence within the former den of the Kong species, now littered with the bones of the massive primates and known to the Iwi as the “Valley of the Fallen Gods”.
- Godzilla makes a brief return to the surface, traveling through Europe and inspiring an artistic representation of his distinctive silhouette in a Hopper etching created in Augsburg, Germany. (NOTE: This etching is used as evidence of Godzilla’s existence by Eiji Serizawa in 1953, as seen in the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening.)
- Albert Einstein formulates his General Theory of Relativity. This discovery will ultimately give rise to the splitting of the atom and the harnessing of nuclear energy as a weapon by mankind.
The Early 1930’s
- The Wonderer, a 19th Century freighter, becomes shipwrecked on Skull Island. A temple to Kong, within which the story of the Skull Crawlers and Kong’s war against them is preserved on painted rock faces, is constructed within it’s fractured hull, becoming a sacred space to the island’s native Iwi people. (NOTE: In 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, Lt. Hank Marlow theorizes that the Wonderer crashed on the island “about ten years” before his arrival in 1944, placing it’s arrival in either 1934 or, more likely, 1933, the year the original King Kong was released. This was done as an intentional homage to the original film, with Skull Island‘s director stating that the presence of the Wonderer on the island was meant to imply that a version of the events seen in the 1933 film could have occurred in canon with the MonsterVerse. The name Wonderer comes from the 1933 Delos W. Lovelace novelization of the original Kong, in which the ship that carries the characters to Skull Island isn’t named the Venture, as in the finished film. Due to the book’s public domain status, many follow-ups/sequels/spinoffs of/to the original Kong story use the Wonderer name to avoid legal trouble.)
- Japan launches a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, subsequently declaring war on the United States and Great Brittan, drawing both nations into the Second World War.
- The naval steamer U.S.S. Lawton comes under attack from an unknown force. The ship is clawed as if by a wild animal, quickly sinking and leaving only one survivor: future Monarch operative Bill Randa. The incident is quickly covered up by the US government. (NOTE: This incident is noted in the opening moments of 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. While only images of the clawed ship are seen onscreen, the implication is that the Titan responsible for sinking the ship was Godzilla. The scene was to originally feature a photograph of Godzilla to further substantiate Randa’s claim, but the concept was ultimately dropped in favor of not distracting audiences’ focus from Kong.)
- During an areal skirmish in the South Pacific, US Air Force Leutenant Henry “Hank” Marlow is successful in shooting down a Japanese Zero fighter, but not before his own plane is critically damaged. Both Hank and his opponent, pilot Gunpei Ikari, safely land on the sandy shores of the isolated Skull Island, and begin a pursuit through the thick jungle. After a brief one-on-one fight, the men are stunned to see the massive face of an immense primate rise above them. Kong – the King of Skull Island and the last surviving member of his species – has made his presence known.
- Hank and Gunpei are eventually brought to the Iwi village on Skull Island, where their injuries are treated and an unlikely friendship is kindled between the former enemies.
Between January and August
- Ishiro Serizawa, son of future Monarch operative Eiji Serizawa and a leading member of the organization in the 21st Century, is born. (NOTE: The exact date of Dr. Serizawa’s birth is unknown, but since the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening depicts him as an infant on the day of the Hiroshima bombing (August 6th, 1945), its not improbable that he was born mere months before the tragedy occurred. However, these events present a slight hiccup in continuity, as this would make Dr. Serizawa 69 years old by the time Godzilla (2014) takes place. Actor Ken Watanabe, born in 1959, was 55 years old when the film was produced. Serizawa, it seems, aged shockingly well. The character’s name is a dual reference, paying homage to both the character of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa (played by Akihiko Hirata) from the original 1954 Godzilla, and legendary director Ishiro Honda, Toho’s leading kaiju director of the 1950’s and 1960’s whose crowning achievement was, of course, the original Godzilla.)
- The Allied powers call for the unconditional surrender of Japan’s armed forces, stating that the alternative will be “prompt and utter destruction”. The ultimatum is ignored.
- After nearly four years of warfare in the Pacific Theater, the Second World War is brought to an abrupt and violent end with the detonation of the “Little Boy” atomic device over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Delivered by the 393rd Bombardment Squadron’s B-29, the Enola Gay, the bomb kills more than 70,000 Japanese men, women, and children in seconds, with over 56,000 more casualties in the following days.
- Within the wreckage, young father Eiji Serizawa, his now shattered pocket watch clutched in his hands, searches desperately for his wife and infant son, Ishiro. By some miracle, the baby boy has survived, and Eiji holds his son close as the city continues to smoke around them. However, before Eiji Serizawa’s stunned eyes, a form begins to coalesce within the smoke, and the form of an insect-like creature is briefly seen in the skies above the city before disappearing, leaving the young man haunted with the vision of its ghostly visage. (NOTE: The broken pocket watch, its hands halted at the exact moment the bomb was detonated (8:15 AM), makes a brief appearance in Godzilla (2014), in which Ishiro Serizawa identifies the watch as having belonged to his father. The watch is seen changing hands in the final moments of the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening.)
- Off the coast of Japan, the head of a massive creature rises out of the sea. Drawn to the radiation of the atomic attack, the beast begins its search for the ghostly being that manifested above Hiroshima, determined to restore balance. (NOTE: This creature is obviously Godzilla, and his presence in this scene from the 2014 graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening clearly indicates that Godzilla was active – and most definitely awake – 9 years before 1954, when he is said to have been first discovered in dialogue from the 2014 film. As Awakening is considered cannon to the overall Monsterverse by Legendary Pictures, accounting for this discrepancy can be tricky, but is most easily explained as either Dr. Serizawa misspeaking in the 2014 film, or he (and likely Monarch) not giving Ford Brody the whole story out of a need for secrecy. Either way, its obvious this element of Godzilla’s history was retconned for the comic, and it won’t be the last time such continuity hiccups occur.)
- A second atomic bomb, code-named “Fat Man”, is dropped on Nagasaki. 35,000 to 40,000 people are killed, with thousands of further casualties in the following days.
- The nation of Japan formally announces its surrender to the Allied Forces.
- The United States’ Occupation of Japan begins, during which time the nation is heavily westernized, its infrastructure rebuilt, its political system reformed, its military reduced to self-defense-only status, and its art/film industries censored and controlled.
Between August and December
- Eiji Serizawa leaves his young son Ishiro with the infant’s grandparents in Kyoto, seeking a job in the ruins of postwar Japan. He eventually joins the crew of a shipping vessel. (NOTE: The exact month that Ishiro is left with his grandparents is never mentioned, but was likely relatively close to the Hiroshima attack, hence its placement within the year 1945 on this timeline. Ishiro’s grandparents go unnamed, and its unknown if they are Eiji’s parents or the parents of his late wife. The identity of the ship Eiji sails on is also unknown, but it certainly isn’t a military vessel, as the country was currently facing demilitarization under the US occupation forces, and the Japanese Self Defense Force wouldn’t be founded until 1954, nine years later.)
- Japan’s surrender is finalized aboard the USS Missouri, ending hostilities and bringing the Second World War to an end.
Part 2: We Awakened Something
- One year after Hiroshima, Eiji Serizawa’s shipping vessel receives a distress call from an American military ship, asking for assistance after running aground somewhere on a South Pacific island. Serizawa, bitter and seething with hatred for the American forces, reluctantly joins a group of fellow sailors who venture onto the island to look for survivors.
- After a trek up the island’s mountainside, Serizawa’s group locate a survivor hiding in a tree. The terrified man – whose pleas for help are translated into Japanese by the bilingual Serizawa – leads his rescuers to his ship, which is laying upside-down in the center of the island. The American tells Serizawa that the lower decks are still filled with survivors, and that some “thing” attacked them at sea.
- Before a plan of rescue can be hatched, one of the Japanese sailors – Sato – is impaled through the chest by the tail of a massive creature that retreats behind the overturned ship and begins to crush it. In the mayhem, another sailor – Nakamura – breaks his leg, and his friend Ito tends to the injury. As the creature continues clawing at the ship, an opening appears, allowing Serizawa and the American sailor to enter and save the trapped men. However, a violent swipe from the creature sends the remains of the US ship tumbling down the mountainside and into the ocean. Serizawa and the American, who introduces himself as Shaw, swim to safety, and Shaw commends Serizawa on how well he handled the situation. Obviously impressed, Shaw asks if Serizawa would consider working for the US government.
- In the distance, the mysterious creature flies away from the island, and the massive form of another monster rises from the ocean and gives chase. (NOTE: Once again, this creature is Godzilla, but is not identified as such just yet, owing to the fact that the creature’s existence is not yet known by the as yet unfounded Monarch.)
Between August and December
- A series of mysterious disappearances of US NAVY vessels – all part of the Pacific Fleet – prompts the gathering of scientists and researches on the part of the US government. Among these men are Eiji Serizawa, Shaw, and a handful of both Japanese and American witnesses to the attack of the mysterious monster. It’s this creature, and others like it, that are blamed for the various US ship disappearances, and with proof of their existence now incontrovertible, US President Harry Truman officially establishes the “Monarch Unit” – the first joint US-Japanese unit since the end of World War II – to investigate and combat these giants. General Douglas MacArthur is placed in command of the off-the-book research team, whose members immediately begin a systematic research on the history, behavior, biology, strengths, and potential weaknesses of the creatures now referred to as “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms”, or MUTOs. As far as the public is concerned, however, the men of “Monarch Unit” have normal jobs, and the blooming organization’s existence is kept a classified secret. (NOTE: The birth of Monarch is another instance of slight retconning within the MonsterVerse. In Godzilla (2014), Dr. Vivienne Graham tells protagonist Ford Brody that Monarch was founded in the wake of Godzilla’s discovery in 1954. However, the comic Godzilla: Awakening, the 2017 film Kong: Skull Island, Legendary’s official Monarch timeline, and various examples of viral marketing for the MonsterVerse films clearly cite 1946 as the founding year for the organization. As such, that date is the one this timeline will stick to. In addition, dialogue in Godzilla (2014) seems to imply that Godzilla himself was responsible for sinking the ships, and in the early 1950’s as opposed to the mid 1940’s. Whether these are different shipping disasters or not is unknown, but its a discrepancy worth noting nonetheless.)
- Despite backing from Truman, many of the President’s closest political allies privately question the validity of the group’s theories. This will eventually lead to an overall dismissal of the organization in the following decades. (NOTE: This bit of info comes from Legandary’s official Monarch timeline, and lays the groundwork for the sorry state we find Monarch in during the events of Kong: Skull Island (2017), which is set in 1973.)
- Shortly after the foundation of Monarch, the flying creature appears over a power plant in Novosibirsk, Russia. Serizawa and Shaw are dispatched to interrogate witnesses.
- The flying monster returns a short time later, striking the Philippines. After its retreat, Monarch are able to collect what they believe is a severed limb from the monster.
- The flying monster again makes landfall, this time in Busselton, Australia. Serizawa begins to wonder why the creature retreats from its attacks so quickly.
- Monarch Unit 5 investigates Carmichael Caves (site 48_07), a suspected burrow site for a MUTO. (NOTE: The identity of the monster responsible for burrowing through this cave system is currently unknown, as is the exact date in 1948 when this investigation took place. Footage of the investigation can be seen in the video “Monarch: The M.U.T.O. File”.)
- The flying monster is seen again, this time on Moansta Island in the South Pacific. During interrogation, the natives claim a second monster arrived and chased the first one off, leaving giant footprints in the sand as evidence. (NOTE: Moansta Island is a not-so-subtle homage to Monster Island, a frequent location in the latter Showa-era Godzilla films.)
- The flying monster appears in Rotorua, New Zealand, where residents once again claim a “giant lizard that stood up like a man” chased the creature back into the skies.
- The Island of Yap receives a visit from both the flying monster and the mysterious second creature. Serizawa becomes more and more fascinated by the second beast, while Shaw becomes dismissive of the notion of its existence.
- After the flying monster is yet again chased off by the second beast, this time in Guam, Serizawa interrogates a witness who identifies the larger monster as “Gojira”.
- Serizawa investigates the history and identity of the mysterious “Gojira”, discovering the name to be a conjunction of the Japanese word for “whale” (“kujira”) and the English word “gorilla”. The beast, it seems, is a local legend, a mythical sea monster known to many of the South Pacific Islands. Serizawa speculates that the creature known as “Gojira” might be living in the Challenger Deep, east of the Philippines. (NOTE: The origin of Gojira’s name in the MonsterVerse is itself a conjunction of the real-world story behind the monster’s naming (the character’s creators really did combine the words “kujira” and “gorilla” to create the name) and the concept presented in the original Godzilla from 1954, in which the monster’s name comes from the myths of a sea monster revered – and feared – on Odo Island.)
- One week after sharing his hypothesis on Gojira’s whereabouts, Serizawa is brought onboard the world’s first nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus. He and Shaw begin an expedition to venture into the deepest depths of the sea to track down the mysterious monster. (NOTE: While the U.S.S. Nautilus was a real nuclear sub, its real-life launch wasn’t until 1954. This date jives with the explanation given of the discovery of Godzilla in the 2014 film, in which Serizawa states that the monster was awakened by the nuclear sub penetrating the lowest depths of the ocean. However, the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening negates both the real-world and film accounts of the sub’s exploits, placing the date of the sub’s launch four years earlier and instead insinuating that the sub attracted Godzilla’s attention, but did not awaken it.)
- After several unsuccessful weeks of searching, Serizawa and Shaw abandon their search for Gojira. Monarch’s top brass are doubtful of the monster’s existence, and decide to recall the sub to so it’s occupants can instead search for the flying monster. As the sub retreats from the Challenger Deep, they fail to notice the eerie form of Gojira emerge from the depths beneath them, lured to the surface by the nuclear powered sub.
- An unexplained weather phenomenon (dubbed “The Great Smog of London”) sees the city’s streets overwhelmed by huge clouds of air-polluting smoke, baffling meteorologists and defying atmospheric physics. Monarch theorizes that the beating wings of a giant creature could have created an anticyclone that unleashed airborne pollutants across the city. (NOTE: This entry appeared, nearly word for word, in the official Monarch Timeline released by Legendary via social media in 2017. The identity of the monster responsible for the incident is currently unknown.)
- Eiji Serizawa is called away from a ballgame with his son – now 8-year-old Ishiro – on “shipping company business”. In the years since its founding, Monarch has grown in scope, and the site of the supposed “Monarch Cargo Company” is actually the headquarters of the still-secret unit.
- The facility is home to a massive collection of artifacts related to the mysterious creatures – dubbed MUTO’s – that the organization studies. Under the leadership of the bizarre Dr. Zamalek, Lead “Problematica” Biologist for Monarch, the unit has even acquired various deceased specimens of various anomalous beings, including a gigantic nautilus, a massive bird resembling a giant ostrich, the bones of a dragon-like being, a giant gorilla-like creature, a massive, carnivorous plant, a humanoid reptile, a brain-like creature preserved behind glass, and a piece of the mysterious flying monster recovered in 1946. (NOTE: None of the aforementioned monsters have names, but all are seen in a single comic panel in the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening. The gorilla-like beast is an obvious reference to King Kong, made all the more interesting by the fact that Legendary did not yet have the Kong rights, nor any immediate plans to include Kong in the MonsterVerse, when this graphic novel was released.)
- Dr. Zamalek reveals his findings on the dismembered monster limb to Serizawa and Shaw, stating that the severed body part isn’t a limb at all, but rather a single cell. Zamalek blasts the cell with a massive amount of radioactivity, increasing its size tenfold. Zamalek revels in the cell’s power, stating that the flying monster is not, in fact, a single monster, but an aggregate creature; a colony of smaller, independent creatures moving and surviving as one. All this super-organism needs to regrow its entire colony from a single cell is radiation. Stunned, Serizawa dubs the creature the “Shi No Mure”, or Shinomura (literally meaning, “Swarm of Death”). (NOTE: The aggregate nature of the Shinomura is reminiscent of two previous Godzilla opponents: Hedorah, and Destoroyah. Whether or not this creature is an intentional homage to these two classic Toho kaiju is unknown.)
- Dr. Zamalek puzzles over how the Shinomura haven’t yet taken over the entire planet, citing that it should be extremely easy for them to do so. Against the urging of Shaw, Serizawa once again states his firmly held belief that Gojira not only exists, but is responsible for fending off the Shinomura. He postulates that the creatures were ancient enemies, and that both were driven underground by the Permian extinction event. It was Hiroshima, and mankind’s splitting of the atom, that lured the Shinomura out from hiding. Serizawa stresses that the world, now littered with enough radioactive material to feed the Shinomura for a lifetime, is now perfect for these ancient creatures to rise. With each attack, the Shinomura feeds on more radiation, growing larger and more powerful. Serizawa fears that eventually, not even Gojira will be able to stop it.
- Serizawa pleas with the Monarch brass to fund a research team to find and aid Gojira in his quest to restore the balance of nature, but his requests fall on deaf ears. Gojira’s existence is still considered doubtful at best, and delusional at worst. In light of this, it is heavily intimated that the US government is considering resorting to a nuclear strike to take out the Shinomura once and for all.
- Mere days after Serizawa’s warning about the Shinomura’s growth rate, the specimen at Monarch HQ breaks free and destroys the facility. Serizawa theorizes that the specimen, having regrown a full body, is searching for the larger Shinomura with the goal of combining with it to form an even larger monster. Serizawa bids a tearful goodbye to Ishiro as he sets off alone in a small research vessel to find Gojira by himself. (NOTE: The concept of two smaller, aggregate monsters finding each other and joining into a larger creature is straight out of 1971’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, in which a smaller Hedorah – grown from a smaller specimen that detached from the larger monster during a fight with Godzilla – eventually joins with the original Hedorah to create a the 60 meter tall “Final Form” of the monster. Its unknown if this is an intentional homage, but given that Hedorah‘s director/co-writer, Yoshimitsu Banno, was an executive producer on Godzilla (2014), its definitely possible that the reference was on purpose.)
Between January and March
- The US military begins preparations to test a new type of atomic weapon – a hydrogen bomb – in a remote location in the South Pacific. The weapon is codenamed “Castle Bravo”, and plans for its deployment move rapidly toward an early March Zero Hour. (NOTE: The Castle Bravo H-bomb was, of course, an all too real device that ushered in a new era of atomic testing. Its deployment in the real world would partially inspire the creation of the first Godzilla film in 1954.)
- Gojira and the now gigantic Shinomura make landfall on Moansta Island in the South Pacific. A local boy runs to earn “Papa Brava”, an informant of Serizawa’s living on the island. Brava places a call to the “Monster Man”: Serizawa, who has continued his ocean-wide search for Gojira for nearly a year. In that time, Serizawa has befriended the natives of many South Pacific Islands, learning their legends and forming partnerships with their leaders to ensure a network of eyes and ears across the region. Serizawa radios Monarch, alerting Shaw to the appearance of the two monsters, and the danger facing the island’s forty or fifty locals. Shaw tells Serizawa that a military escort is on the way and he’s not to get his ship too close to the island. Serizawa promptly ignores the order, and docks on the island, intent on saving anyone he can.
- As Serizawa beckons the local boy who hailed Papa Brava to run down the wooden pier to his ship, Gojira emerges from the fires of the jungle, stunning Serizawa as his eyes behold the monster for the first time. A few seconds later, a NAVY sub emerges from the water, also catching sight of Gojira. Serizawa and the boy safely escape the island, but not before Serizawa sees the Shinomura fly out of the fiery jungle.
- The following day, the island is combed for traces of the Shinomura. Only charred remains are found, and Serizawa’s claim of seeing a piece of the monster flee the island are ignored.
- After several more days, it is determined that Gojira – the only surviving MUTO still on the radar – is en route for the Bikini Atoll. With the site believed remote enough to successfully destroy the monster with no loss of human life, the decision is made to designate a new Zero Hour for the upcoming “Castle Bravo” H-bomb test. The operation – now codenamed “Operation: Lucky Dragon” – will be carried out on March 1st, with the goal of eradicating Gojira from the face of the earth. (NOTE: To any longtime Godzilla fan, the significance of the name “Lucky Dragon” isn’t easily overlooked. This real-life Japanese fishing trawler (known as the Daigo Fukuryu Maru #5 in its homeland) strayed too lose to the 1954 “Castle Bravo” atomic test, resulting in the crew becoming irradiated and one man – Akichi Kuboyama – eventually dying of radiation poisoning. It was this horrific international incident – and the “atomic tuna” scare that followed it – that partially inspired the events of the original Godzilla, released just eight months after the tragedy.)
- Serizawa attempts to bring his case to Douglas MacArthur, but the General, although sympathetic, believes that the new world he has fought to build since 1945 is worth killing for. With his approval, the operation to nuke Gojira is in effect. (NOTE: In the real world, MacArthur was relieved of his command in 1951, meaning that in the world of the MonsterVerse, either this event didn’t occur, or his command was retained in secret until at least 1954.)
- The US Army completes its evacuation of Bikini Atoll, relocating the natives to modern accommodations on other islands. Only farm animals – to be used as test subjects on the island – are left behind. (NOTE: This event occurred in real life. To this day, the original residence of Bikini Atoll have been unable to return to their home due to heightened radioactivity in the area. The graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening seems to imply that the evacuations took place within only couple of days, when in reality the process took much longer. However, its also implied – both in the book and Legendary’s official Monarch Timeline – that the US military was already preparing to test the device, making it easier to believe that evacuations were already underway before the discovery of Godzilla’s approach.)
- The H-Bomb to be used in the test is painted with the silhouette of Gojira, a sly indication of the weapon’s true purpose.
March 1st, 8:50 AM Local Time
- Under the guise of a nuclear “test”, “Operation: Lucky Dragon” officially commences. The atomic “Castle Bravo” atomic device is deployed at drop point Alpha 341. Gojira is seen to swim right into the trap. The initial fireball measures 4.5 miles across and the predicted 6 megaton explosion is eclipsed by 250%, with a total yield of 15 megatons. Within minutes, the mushroom cloud reaches heights of more than 30 miles and stretches 62 miles across the Pacific Ocean. The explosion is 1,000 times more powerful than each of the atomic bombs leveled against Japan 9 years earlier. (NOTE: These stats are all real. As mentioned before, it was this real-life nuclear test that contaminated the crew of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 fishing trawler, led to a massive tuna scare, and ultimately inspired the story of the original Godzilla in 1954.)
- Within seconds of the explosion, Gojira’s breaching spines are lost amidst a blinding flash of light. Nearby, the massive fireball reduces the Shinomura – whom Gojira had been persuing – to dust. However, its death is not witnessed by the military and Monarch brass, who already believed the aggregate monster to have been killed several days earlier by Gojira. (NOTE: This sequence – minus any mention or sighting of the Shinomura – plays out behind the opening credits of Godzilla (2014). While many consider the lack of Shinomura to be a continuity error, its worth noting that the Castle Bravo “test” was never stated to be an attack against any monster besides Godzila. As such, the events of the movie and the comic do not neccessarity conflict in this instance.)
- The reentry team is unable to confirm eradication, although no sightings of Gojira are immediately made after the detonation. The fleet remains in the area to moniter for any signs of activity.
- The day ends with no sightings. Owing to the magnitude of the explosion, the US military, government, and Monarch declare Gojira as dead.
- Six days after Gojira is spotted heading to the Bikini Atoll, a filmed record of “Operation: Lucky Dragon” is created, utilizing narration, available footage, and still images, for Monarch eyes only. The reel highlights Monarch’s involvement – and necessity – in tracking the monster. The final image is of a Monarch memo with the following words written in pen: “THE TARGET IS STILL OUT THERE”. (NOTE: This filmed record can be viewed, in its entirety, as a bonus feature on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of Godzilla (2014). The newsreel-style video was created as a tie-in to the world of the film, and is revealed in another bonus video – The Godzilla Revelation – to be an actual artifact from the MonsterVerse when it is leaked to the public following the San Francisco incident. Although never named in the record, the most likely culprit behind the warning written on the memo in the video’s final shot is Eiji Serizawa, who remained adamant that no nuclear attack had killed – or could kill – Godzilla, telling his son Ishiro of this belief the year before his passing.)
- Monarch creates the “M.U.T.O. Archive Files”, containing recorded data on various subjects and events. Survey H54 contains information on the subject of “Species 5146” (aka: Gojira).
Between 1954 and 1958
- Despite the initial belief that “Operation: Lucky Dragon” succeeded in killing the monster known as Gojira, the beast proved to be far more resilient than first thought. An Atomic Deployment Report is created by the Department of the Navy, citing the “Castle Bravo” detonation – and any future nuclear explosions – as “atomic testing” in the public’s eyes. However, these so-called “tests” are actually full-scale military attacks. In the years following the 1954 test, the monster appears on several other occasions, each time prompting a concurrent H-bomb “test” on the part of the US government in an attempt to kill the beast. Each time, the attacks fail. Gojira – whose name would ultimately be transliterated into “Godzilla” by Monarch – eventually disappears from radar, leaving its ultimate fate a mystery for nearly 60 years. (NOTE: On October 30th, 1958, President Eisenhower placed a ban on H-bomb testing in the South Pacific, meaning that no further nuclear strikes against Godzilla could take place in the region after this date. Just why – and when – Godzilla disappears (until the events of the 2014 movie) are currently unknown, as is the total number of supposed nuclear tests he endured during the 1950’s, but its obvious that these attacks did little to harm him. Godzilla would remain M.I.A. throughout the next nearly six decades, until a new threat to the balance of nature manifested itself, requiring the King to rise and restore order to the world once again.)