King Ghidorah (キングギドラ, Kingu Gidora), also known as Monster Zero, is a giant three-headed dragon and Godzilla's arch-enemy. Ghidorah first appeared in the 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and since then has become one of Godzilla's most famous recurring enemies.
King Ghidorah is a large three headed golden wyvern-like kaiju with two large wings, two tails, and no arms that is covered in golden scales. Ghidorah is usually shown to dwarf Godzilla in size. In the Showa era, King Ghidorah is 100 meters tall with a 150 meter wingspan and weighs 30,000 tons. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, he is 150 meters tall with a 175 meter wingspan and weighs 70,000 tons. In Rebirth of Mothra III, Ghidorah is 60 meters tall with an 80 meter wingspan and weighs 50,000 tons. In GMK, he is 49 meters tall with a 93 meter wingspan and weighs 20,000 tons.
King Ghidorah's origin varies from film to film. In the Showa era and in Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah is an evil space monster responsible for wiping out all life on many planets across the universe. He attempts to destroy Earth as well but is usually opposed by Godzilla. In 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Ghidorah is the result of three genetically engineered creatures from the future called Dorats being fused together in a nuclear explosion. In Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, King Ghidorah is an ancient Yamata No Orochi guardian that has not had time to develop all eight of its heads. It is unknown what King Ghidorah's origin will be in the upcoming film Godzilla 2.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
King Ghidorah came to Earth in a meteor in 1964, intending to wipe out all life on the planet. Ghidorah emerged from the meteor and flew across Japan, ravaging city after city with his gravity beams. Mothra attempted to stop Ghidorah, but she was savagely beaten by the more powerful hydra. Godzilla and Rodan witnessed the battle and decided to put aside their differences to help Mothra stop Ghidorah. Together, the three monsters forced Ghidorah to retreat back to outer space.
Invasion of Astro-Monster
A year later, Ghidorah fell under the control of an alien race called the Xiliens, who intended to use him in their plan to colonize Earth. The Xiliens pretended that their planet was under constant attack by Ghidorah and asked to "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan from Earth to stop him. The Earthlings agreed, and Godzilla and Rodan were taken to the Xiliens' home planet of Planet X. Godzilla and Rodan defeated Ghidorah there, leaving the humans satisfied that they were seemingly rid of Godzilla and Rodan. However, the Xiliens soon released all three monsters on Earth under mind control and demanded that Earth surrender to Planet X. Thankfully, the humans were able to defeat the Xiliens' forces and free Godzilla and Rodan from mind control. Godzilla and Rodan joined forces once again and drove Ghidorah back to space.
Godzilla vs. Gigan
In 1972, the aliens from the Space Hunter Nebula M took control of King Ghidorah along with their own cyborg monster Gigan and sent them to Earth to conquer it. Godzilla and his ally Anguirus teamed up against Ghidorah and Gigan and after a difficult battle forced the space monsters to retreat.
The next year, Ghidorah was an agent of the Garoga aliens, who sent Ghidorah to Earth once again. Ghidorah was driven off by the alien hero Zone Fighter on multiple occasions.
Destroy All Monsters
In the year 1999, King Ghidorah was under the control of the Kilaakian aliens. The Kilaakian sent Ghidorah to kill the Earth monsters when the humans sent them to destroy the Kilaakian's Earth base. Despite his size and power, Ghidorah was helpless against the combined forces of Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, Mothra, Minilla, Gorosaurus, Manda, Kumonga, Baragon, and Varan. Ghidorah was knocked to the ground and stomped to death by the Earth monsters. Ghidorah's lifeless body then fell into a fissure in the ground and exploded.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
A group of radical terrorists from the 23rd century traveled back to 1945 to Lagos Island, Godzilla's home before he was exposed to radiation and grew to his massive size. The Futurians removed Godzilla from the island and in his place left three genetically engineered pets called Dorats. The Dorats were fused together into one gigantic three-headed monster called King Ghidorah by the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb test and in the present day became the pawn of the Futurians. King Ghidorah destroyed Fukuoka and brought the Japanese government close to surrendering to the Futurians' demands before Godzilla suddenly appeared, still in existence despite the Futurians' time tampering. The Futurians ordered Ghidorah to kill Godzilla. Godzilla was nearly defeated by Ghidorah until the Futurians' control over him was interrupted. Godzilla seized the opportunity and defeated Ghidorah, decapitating his middle head and blasting out his wings, sending him plummeting into the ocean.
In the 23rd century, Emmy Kano, a former member of the Futurians, converted Ghidorah's preserved body into a cyborg known as Mecha-King Ghidorah. Mecha-Ghidorah was sent to the present to battle Godzilla, who was attacking Tokyo. Godzilla and Ghidorah battled once again, this time with Ghidorah grabbing an advantage over Godzilla and carrying him into the air. Ghidorah carried Godzilla over the ocean, but Godzilla blasted out his wings and sent both monsters plummeting into the ocean. Although Ghidorah was destroyed, Godzilla would arise yet again.
Rebirth of Mothra III
King Ghidorah arrived on Earth at the end of the Cretaceous period and caused a catastrophic extinction event, which ended the age of the dinosaurs. Thankfully, a race of giant advanced moths drove Ghidorah into space. Ghidorah returned millions of years later to feed on the human race. He began to trap children in a giant dome and absorb their life force. Mothra Leo, the last living descendant of the ancient moths that drove Ghidorah away, tried to battle Ghidorah, but was easily defeated. The Elias transported Leo back in time, hoping that he could defeat Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah. Leo destroyed Ghidorah in the past, leaving only one tail intact. When Leo returned to the present, King Ghidorah was still there, having regenerated his entire body from the tail. Leo transformed into Armor Mothra and battled Ghidorah again, this time destroying him for good.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
King Ghidorah was once a Yamata no Orochi, a legendary eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology. Ghidorah was slain by ancient Japanese warriors and laid to rest in a cave. The warriors prayed for Ghidorah's soul, believing that he would return one day to protect Japan, along with his fellow guardian monsters Mothra and Baragon.
In the present day, the prophet Isayama awakened the three guardian monsters to stop Godzilla, who returned after almost 50 years. Ghidorah was the last guardian to be awakened, and only had time to regrow three of his heads. Ghidorah flew to Yokohama, where Godzilla was doing battle with Mothra. Godzilla easily handled the weaker Ghidorah, knocking him unconscious before destroying Mothra with a blast of his atomic breath. Mothra's spirit entered Ghidorah, reviving him and turning him into King Ghidorah, the Thousand-Year Old Dragon. King Ghidorah deflected Godzilla's beam back at him, knocking Godzilla into the bay. Ghidorah flew over the bay and engaged Godzilla in battle. Ghidorah bombarded Godzilla repeatedly with his golden gravity beams, angering and hurting Godzilla. Godzilla managed to absorb the energy from the beams and combined it with his atomic breath, unleashing a powerful blast that completely destroyed Ghidorah. However, the combined spirits of all three guardians entered a wound on Godzilla's shoulder, eventually causing Godzilla to blow himself up with his own atomic breath.
King Ghidorah will be featured in Godzilla 2. His role is unknown at this time.
- Gravity Beams - King Ghidorah's signature attack is his ability to spit powerful gravity beams from his three heads. Ghidorah's gravity beams can singe Godzilla's skin and level entire city blocks in one hit.
- Durability - King Ghidorah's scales are incredibly thick and cannot be pierced with conventional weaponry. Even Godzilla's atomic breath cannot pierce through the scales, only burn them.
- Supersonic Flight - King Ghidorah can fly at mach 3 on Earth, and presumably is able to fly at light speed through outer space.
- Hurricane Winds - Ghidorah's wings can produce powerful hurricane force winds capable of blowing away buildings with ease or knocking enemies like Godzilla over.
- Thunder Spark - King Ghidorah can withhold his gravity beams and release a strong electric surge through his bite.
- Energy Shield - Ghidorah can surround himself in a golden energy shield that can absorb projectile attacks and fire them back at their source with increased force.
- Light Barrier - King Ghidorah's scales can manipulate light from energy-based attacks and form a protective barrier.
- Wing Lightning - King Ghidorah can fire six bolts of powerful lightning from his wings.
- Dome - King Ghidorah is able to create a gigantic dome which can pull lifeforms inside of it with tentacles. The dome drains its victims' life force and transfers it to King Ghidorah, making him stronger. The dome is completely impenetrable and has a corrosive effect on anything that tries to escape it.
- Meteorite - King Ghidorah is able to encase himself within a meteorite which has magnetic properties and travel to planets while inside of it.
The front of King Ghidorah's necks are not covered in scales, and have been exploited as a weak point by Godzilla and his allies. Godzilla's atomic breath was able to sever Ghidorah's middle head by hitting him directly in the front of the neck. If Ghidorah is pinned down, he can be made helpless and attacked mercilessly by his enemies. Despite his great power, King Ghidorah is somewhat cowardly and has attempted to retreat from Godzilla multiple times when the tide of battle has been turned against him. King Ghidorah often relies on orders being relayed to him by his masters and when this communication is severed he is often left confused, giving his enemies an opportunity to attack him.
King GhidorahKing Ghidorah's base form.
DoratDorats are small genetically engineered pets from the future. Three Dorats were placed on Lagos Island in 1945 by time-traveling terrorists and later exposed to the Castle Bravo bomb test, which merged and mutated the Dorats into King Ghidorah.
Mecha-King GhidorahAfter being defeated by Godzilla in the present, King Ghidorah was resurrected as a cyborg in the 23rd century and sent back in time to fight Godzilla. In his cybernetic form, Ghidorah can fire gravity beams from his two organic heads and a plasma laser from his robotic head. Mecha-King Ghidorah possesses electrical capture cables and a massive machine hand it can use to grab and immobilize Godzilla.
Cretaceous King GhidorahKing Ghidorah's younger form was powerful enough to cause the Cretaceous extinction single-handedly. Cretaceous King Ghidorah retains his older form's powers except for his gravity beams, instead possessing the ability to spit fireballs.
GhidorahAfter being awakened from his several thousand-year slumber, Ghidorah emerged with his wings folded and without the ability to spit gravity beams. In this weaker form, Ghidorah's only major power is the ability to release an electric shock through his bite.
Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King GhidorahAfter absorbing Mothra's spirit, Ghidorah's wings unfold and he becomes surrounded in a golden energy shield. In this form, King Ghidorah can spit powerful gravity beams and even breathe underwater.
- King Ghidorah is one of three monsters besides Godzilla himself to appear in all four eras of Godzilla films, the others being Mothra and Rodan.
- King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese translation of the word "hydra", "hidora."
- King Ghidorah directly inspired two other monsters, Death Ghidorah and Keizer Ghidorah, that appeared in later Toho kaiju films.
- King Ghidorah is considered to be Godzilla's true arch-enemy, and has never teamed up with Godzilla in any medium.
- King Ghidorah was designed based only on Eiji Tsuburaya's instructions that "It has three heads, two tails, and a voice like a bell."
- King Ghidorah's design was inspired by the Hydra from Greek mythology, the Yamata no Orochi from Japanese mythology, and the Wyvern. Ghidorah was given three heads rather than eight because Tsuburaya felt eight heads was too excessive.
- King Ghidorah's original color scheme was a purple body with rainbow-colored wings.
- In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah reused Rodan's roar rather than his own signature cackle.
- After the box office success of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Toho intended to make a direct sequel entitled The Return of King Ghidorah, which was also the name of an early draft of Godzilla vs. Gigan. In this film, King Ghidorah would be given an extraterrestrial origin similar to his origin in the Showa series. Instead, the film Godzilla vs. Mothra was made instead and King Ghidorah would not appear again until Rebirth of Mothra III.
- King Ghidorah's role in GMK was originally filled by Varan, but Toho forced Shusuke Kaneko to work King Ghidorah and Mothra into the film. Despite Varan being scrapped, some of his facial features were placed on Ghidorah's heads. This is also why King Ghidorah is a hero and appears so much smaller in GMK.