Where have I seen this before?
If that image doesn't look familiar to you, either you are the wrong audience for this article, or you at the very least need to go back and read part 4.
I am of course skipping from #22 to #28 because Final Wars is a sequel to Godzila vs. Destroyah, and the only millenium film that occurs within the Heisei timeline. Because this is ABOUT the timeline, I'm skipping the other millenium films for now.
"But wait a minute..." you think to yourself as your left eyebrow rises in intrigue, "since when is GFW a sequel to Destroyah?"
"Since the beginning, my dear lad," I answer, twirling the ring which had only moments ago brought about the downfall of Con. Bearsign's limitless army between fore and index fingers, "'twas always the plan, and so the plan maintains."
You bolt upright in your chair, your brow becoming more furrowed with each resounding tick from the old grandfather clock which filled the massive study with its echos. "This is madness!"
"Madness?" I question with the flat sting a man who's seen too many madm'n but not enough time, "no," I say as I begin to correct you, "THIS IS JUNIOR!!!"
So, I'm not going to "argue" or anything, because you can't argue with facts, but I am going to tell you what happened in case you haven't heard or, as would be the ideal case, figured it out on your own.
The first draft of GFW was hammered out by Wataru Mimura (GvsMGII, 'nuff said) and Shogo Tomiyama and was almost identical to the finished film. The differences? Well, I'm not certain, but Gorosaurus, Oodako, and Ookondru may have still been there (Oodako must have stayed into pre-production, not long into it, but there is concept art of him and Zilla, which means this is after Kitamura signed on) and there wasn't any Zilla yet.
But the BIG difference between the script and the film is that the setting of the movie is actually explained. It is made directly known to the audience that Junior was frozen in antarctica in the late '90's, and woken back up in 2032. This is the information we are getting from Tomiyama himself, not the film. It is unknown what or even whether the other monsters were given any exposition other than what is in the film.
When Kitamura rewrote it, the only things he changed were some of the monsters and removing any unwanted orientation. He made it open-ended... sort of. So then, if this is all a first draft and didn't make it to the final movie, then how does that make the Godzilla in this movie Junior?
Well... have you seen the movie? More importantly, did you see the two pictures at the top of the article? Yes, no one ever says the line "It's Junior," but somewhere along the line somebody just forgot to tell the editor that they were leaving this (and all other) plot element out.
So, it's still in there. There may not be any dialogue references to the heisei films, but the fact is that the opening scene (and ESPECIALLY the scene directly following the credits) makes it very obvious that the Godzilla in Final Wars is in fact Junior. There really isn't any way around it.
So, in regards to timeline, nothing else survives of the original backstory. So, while it is still made clear that this film follows GvsD, the dialogue leaves out direct referances, so nobody ever really tells us how Rodan returned from the grave.
And we can't ignore this, because the Junior thing is un-ignorable, even with the strictest interpretation, but there is simply no other timeline that allows for adult Junior to exist other than the heisei timeline. Even if we could say "well, only these couple of films count," it isn't said by the characters so all we have is a direct affiliation with a previous set of events in a movie where the finished cut lacks the specifics to tell us what the hell is going on. So, to take the Heisei timeline exactly as it is given, all we have is this:
12000bce-1996: Events of G54, and G84 through GvsD
Sometime after that: Junior is frozen in Antarctica by the Atragon
Between then and now: Lots of monsters appear, Mothra returns to Earth (more about the mothra trilogy in the next part), Rodan magically comes back to life somehow
Like, around 40 years after that other thing: Events of Godzilla: Final Wars
So, as you can see, this is pretty shitty. But what can we do? Well, being that I've already finished the official timeline, its time to figure out what in the hell was happening before the movie stopped telling us.
Now, this is pretty damn easy because, although they aren't given an explanation other than "and because of all the radiation...," the monsters brought back for Final Wars were being petitioned by fans to return to the series ever SINCE the original heisei films.
Nowadays, there is new, more disturbing, variety of "g-fans" who actually seem to hate everything about the series, and may have a hard time understanding what I'm talking about. These are the ones who must have just not seen Zilla's original movie, and seem to think he has some sort of... not-hate. I'm not sure what you'd call it. They also overlap with the faction who hates all the nostalgia and classic Toho references present in GFW. This is the side I'm most at odds with, as I was part of the "put Angilas in a heisei movie!" crowd. I was also part of the "put Angilas in a millenium movie!" crowd, which had more success.
So, back in the 90's, when the g-fan community was in it's infancy, and all you had to do to have the coolest site on the internet is get alot of animated gifs and digimon codes (see, all you have to do to get Skull Teddymon is press A 100 times, then B 200 times...), and the heisei series was a HUGE deal, and everyone had a crush on Megumi Odaka. G-fan the magazine the only source of news, Barry's Temple was the only place to find cool monster pictures, and Conster was still not sickening to read. Those were simpler times.
Naturally, there was also a shit-ton (a metric shit-ton, even) of fan-fiction, and they all seemed to be about the same things: bringing older monsters back into the heisei continuity, adapting Godzilla vs. Bagan, and getting Godzilla to fight himself, crossover characters, or as many monsters at once as possible. It is this first point we are concerned with.
From here, I'm going to go over the monsters that aren't Godzilla and cover how they fit into the GFW background:
ANGUIRUS: Never changed. I've never read of Angilas being anything other than a mutant Angilosaur. Sometimes they would change it up and say "mutant ankylosaurid (which is impossible if you know anything about Thyreophorans)" or "mutant stegosaurid (much more plausible, but why the hell can't you just say it's basal? Godzilla is as basal as you can possibly be while still being a theropod [read my rant about Tawa for more on that])," but the idea is always the same. Godzilla Gurps lists the monster as being a radiovorous dinosaur like Godzilla, as does Matt Frank's Godzilla Neo thing, and... every other source ever.
What's more, the scene where Godzilla kills Rodan, Anguirus, and King Shisa is cut from GFW, giving the impression that he spared their lives. Why do this if he had no prior relationship with them? Rodan we already know, and Anguirus we are conditioned to expect to be Godzilla's ally.
What GFW is basically saying is "it's Angilas." There shouldn't really be any mystery to his origins. The M base was artificially introduced to most of the monsters, so that rules out a wacky space origin. Angilas is the easiest one, a mutant Angilosaur, same as Godzilla, that never appeared until after Junior matured. The two met at some point before Junior was frozen, and that's all that can be said with certainty.
RODAN: Another easy one. Remember the end of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II where Rodan sacrifices his energy to Godzilla (II) in order to save his and Godzilla (III)'s lives? Well, a big question concerning g-fans around 1995 was "what's going to happen with Rodan once Godzilla meltsdown?" We all figured Rodan would reconstitute himself from the energy left over, otherwise the adult Junior would just meltdown too. This may sound crazy, but within the rules established in the Godzilla films it makes perfect sense.
Now this is a weird one because it requires a larger leap of information than Angilas's origin. Not only that, but we know that Rodan was planned from the beginning, when the heisei refferences were more overt and the story was fleshed out, meaning we have to assume they had a real reason for Rodan's reappearance written ahead of time, but that was lost in the rewrites. And not only is there nothing left of this in the finished film, there is no information about the previous drafts to help us understand this. Also, the decision to make Godzilla 100m again is because of the fact that he is the adult Junior, but the Rodan in this film is much bigger than the one from GvsMGII. So not only is the standard fan fic answer a big leap, but the knowledge gap in the film is equally enormous.
So does it fit? Sure, but let's be carefull here. I totally accept that the new Rodan is reconstituted from GII's meltdown, but this isn't indicated in the film. Nothing is said about it in the finished film, and I'm trying to explain the backstory of GFW as is here, without adding something that isn't the final cut, nor even in the early drafts. It's stupid and a cop-out, I know, but clearly the easiest answer is to just say "it's another Rodan." Had we gotten Tomiyama's and Wataru's original script, I'm certain it would have been the phoenix-style origin I've been waiting on for 15 years, but whatever.
MANDA: This monster gives us the first "does it count" trouble of the lot. Manda, as you know, is the Muvian dragon guardian from the film Atragon who later appeared in Destroy All Monsters where he joined Godzilla II, Mothra IV, and Rodan II in destroying Tokyo. It has been said there were two Mandas in the showa series, the one lacking horns being female, but as Manda was only frozen, and not killed, in Atragon, there isn't a need to say this.
During the kaiju renaissance in which the heisei Godzilla films were produced, there was a cartoon called Super Atragon that was created by Toho. It makes no direct reference to the original film, going so far as to call the Muvians "subterraneans," but there isn't any indication that it DIDN'T happen. No appearance by Manda or any other monster occurs in the cartoon, and even the submarine is different, called the "Ra," and clearly a different vessel altogether. Now the heisei series isn't "all-inclusive" like the Showa series was, and officially, Super Atragon has no connection to the heisei Godzilla (nor does Sayonara, Jupiter or Orochi, the Eight Headed Dragon). So it appears that Manda may exist unchanged, but may not.
To make matters worse, the only other origin I've seen for manda is "mutant snake." Without any explanation for Manda's appearance in GFW, could he simply be a mutant snake? Couldn't be. But, then again, Tomiyama and Wataru would needed to acknowledge one of the Atragon films as part of the timeline in order for Manda to stay true to the original. Not only is there no evidence of this being the case, but neither has yet to say this since 2004. No one asked them, sure, but you'd think it would come up, since all anyone ever asks Tomiyama about is heisei continuity. That, and "when is [monster name here] coming back?"
Is there a simple origin for Manda that doesn't add or contradict while simultaneously not being so stupid as to make it the opposite of an origin? Sure. We can say it is a sea serpent. Whats more, we can actually bring the phoned in replacement story about the reason monsters appear into play by making the phrase "environmental changes" apply to the oceans, where doubtless some monsters responsible for Ogopogo sighting have been driven into populated areas. It's simple, doesn't contradict, doesn't add, and is downright cool.
KING SEESAR: uhhhg. In GFW, King Seesar appears in Okinawa, but this time as a bad guy. This means that he was in Okinawa before then, meaning he must be the same as the old King Seesar, meaning he's a good guy, meaning once more that the M base was introduced into his system by the Xiliens sometime after his creation.
The problem here is that he, along with Angilas and Rodan, is spared by Junior, implying they have some sort of prior relationship. But this would mean we have to add something that wouldn't be intuitive to the timeline, namely, Junior and KS teaming up against some other threat. Now we have to add in another monster and, after having looked at this for a while, no one can be used who wouldn't make the timeline into more fan fiction than observation. To make matters worse, the UNGCC already knows who KS is, and isn't surprised at all by the legend being true, so KS MUST have manifested before humans before, and he must have defended Okinawa from some monster during that time... or else he wouldn't have showed up. So, while his origin is the same, his history is impossible to reconcile.
Also, Junior doesn't seem particularly nice to anyone, and from what we can tell about his personality before being frozen, he was just as much of a threat as the second Godzilla. Wouldn't it make more sense if Caesar attacked HIM? Yes, it would.
It is also the only way to add him while making sense. Junior may have simply spared King Ceasar by virtue of him being in the same pile as Rodan and Anguirus, and until somebody comes up with a better explanation, this is what I'm going with.
ZILLA: It has been made very clear that the Zilla in GFW is NOT the Zilla from either the 1998 film or the cartoon series. Actually, he was given an origin. The Xiliens tried to make a monster like Godzilla, and failed. I'm not being more specific because I'm not going to look for the source of this now and I don't want to say something that's flat out wrong, but I do remember it is supposed to be an Xilien creation. I can't say if they made it from an Amblyrhynchus like the original Zilla or used G-cells, but that's the story.
And because I've seen some confusion about this: Zilla in GFW is 90 meters... tall? The original was only 60 meters. Godzilla (junior) in GFW is 100 meters tall, just like the second Godzilla. This is all readily verifiable if you want to check yourself. I don't know what size Zilla Jr. is and I couldn't fucking care less.
KAMACURAS: We're going to have to look back to the "war and such much" crap for Kamacuras. If you remember, his original origin had them being already too-big-to-breath mantises enlarged by a failed weather control test. I've never really seen Kamacuras in fan fiction (even less than Kumonga), as he seems to be rather unpopular. In fact, I can't remember a single heisei conversion proposed by a fan. And really, all you can do is make him a mutant mantis, and change the reason why he mutated (secret military project, accident, wreckless expirementation, etc.). We probably can't expect much more here.
One important thing Son of Godzilla tells us about Kamacuras is that they had a breeding population before the weather control expirements. Kumonga, who was already huge, managed to survive by eating these things, so they must have been on the island in huge numbers. Also, they can fly. So sticking to what we know about the showa Kamacuras, and accepting that the primary difference between the showa and heisei timelines is the teleportation of the second Godzilla in 1944, then it must be inevitable that at least one Kamacuras becomes mutated what with all the wars and radiation.
We can even go so far as to say there may have been more Kamacuras before GFW, and their death may have been some of the first successful missions of the MDF.
This is important: the only monsters which must have met Junior or another Godzilla at some time in the past are Mothra and any one of Anguirus, Rodan, or King Seesar (which I just went over). Manda, Zilla, Ebirah, Kamacuras, Kumonga, Gigan, Keizer Ghidorah, Hedorah, and even Minilla show no signs that neccessitate their meeting any Godzilla before GFW. Hence, all monsters spawned by "war and environmental changes" can safely occur as early as 1999 and as late as 2033.
KUMONGA: Kumonga was originally a giant spider. I'm just not seeing anyone refer to it as a radioactive mutant. I think this is really cool, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's a nice change of pace from "everyone is a mutant." Because Kumonga originally had such a "non-origin," I don't feel any real need to question his existence. If the initial incident seperating the showa and heisei timelines is teleporting Godzilla II to the bering sea, why the hell SHOULDN'T Kumonga exist? In fact, I'm not even entirely convinced that Kumonga ever attacked humans. He seemed perfectly happy on Sogell island, and when the pressure was on he showed himself to be an Earth Defender, and not a mutant.
I think Kumonga was found by the Xiliens first. This means we don't have to say anything about him that isn't said in the final cut: he is a monster brought under control of the aliens. Done.
EBIRAH: Giant shrimp. In the showa series, it is clearly the result of the nuclear waste the Red Bamboo deposit on the island. That's right, another mutant. Is the new Ebirah the same thing? Well, there isn't much to go on, but I think we can make him a little more mysterious. In the final cut of GFW, there is no indication anyone has seen Ebirah before (much like Kumonga, Zilla, and Minilla), and he is so easily dispatched by the mutants that it seems as though he wouldn't have made it past them before.
So right away we can say the Xiliens may have invented Ebirah. Taking a cue from "sea serpent" Manda and the unrelated Clover as well as real life, we can also say that the "evironmental changes" have stirred up things in the ocean that we would have prefered not knowing existed.
As far as heisei rewrites go, I've never really seen Ebirah in any context other than a creation of the Red Bamboo. In the new era stories, in fact, GvsSM is actually taken as part of the timeline along with the rest of the heisei series. Thats fine, because we can add him in without any major edits or changes. He is, like Kumonga, a really big shrimp.
Oh, but I forgot to mention this: 50 meters is an acceptable size for a really big animal in the real world, so a 45 meter tall arthropod is acceptable in the Godzilla universe. Once we're on the heisei scale, however, things get much less plausible. I can deal with a naturally occuring 50 meter long shrimp, but 100 meters is pushing it. GFW already has a built in excuse to bring the older monsters up to size. Remember, none of the Earth monsters had M base to begin with, and they were modified by the aliens prior to the attack on Earth. Hence, M base made natural, non-mutant monsters even larger than before. So, where once Ebirah would have been a mere Marianas Trench anomaly, now it is a full blown monster.
HEDORAH: This one seems like a no brainer to me. Everytime I see the movie, I just automatically assume that Hedorah in GFW is a genetically engineered bacteria used to clean up oil spills. I watch the news and think "that's not even science fiction anymore, that's just what they need to make." And this is always what the heisei Hedorah was. Individual parts were sometimes called "hedrons." Gurps Godzilla has this same idea. Shit, everyone did. It was the one time I can think of where the whole fandom used the same damn unique origin for all of their fan fics. It has been beat into my head so hard that I can't really shake the image.
But, let's save this for #29 and let the movie speak for itself: there is no sign that anyone knows who Hedorah is. Moreover, Hedorah was originally a space monster, and shows up only during the full-blown Xilien attack, and not while they are pretending to be good guys. He shares this trait with only Gigan and Keizer Ghidorah.
The evidence is overwhelming that Hedorah is essentially the same, and was brought to Earth as a space monster and is only a space monster. I don't honestly believe the original origin for GFW was any different.
GIGAN: Gigan is one of the only monsters that is actually given an origin. I don't need to cover this, but for the timeline's sake, I should note that he first appeared in 12,000 bce during an invasion thwarted by Mothra. This is the same year Mothra fought off Battra, and we know the elder Mothra died during this fight, so Gigan must have appeared prior to Battra.
MOTHRA: So Mothra returns from her journey to destroy the comet. All of the protests against Toho's official stance on the connection between the heisei Mothra series and the heisei Godzilla series were for naught. This isn't Eternal Mothra, it's just normal Mothra. I do have some thought on this, but thats for another article. If anything else needs to be said about Mothra, it's that she couldn't have been around to defend Japan from Junior in the late 90's, or else they wouldn't have needed King Caesar and the Atragon. So, I'm guessing she actually came back in 1999.
KEIZER GHIDORAH: a.k.a. Bombshell Ghidorah. Ha ha. That's a joke, and if you get it, you get my personal congratulations, because I thought that story was wicked cool. The part about the "Manda is a mutant anaconda thing" was, as I mentioned earlier, quite stupid.
So there are implications created by Keizer Ghidorah that stretch into both lost projects, the showa timeline, and the nebulous "Godzilla-Mothra Leo" connection, which I will continue to save for later. From the outset, the decision to change King Ghidorah's origin seemed like an odd idea. KG brought the crowds, for sure, but there was a little resentment about changing an origin that is so fundamental to the character. Unfortunately, this wasn't even the last time Toho would do this.
Back in 1992, somebody had the bright idea to do a direct sequel to GvsKG that explains what us G-fans had just taken for granted: that the designer pet dorats were engineered from the cells of the original, alien King Ghidorah. In the second screenplay named "The Return of King Ghidorah," the futurian future pet hybrid's namesake arrives on Earth and shows Godzilla who the real king is. It was scrapped because girls like Mothra. Stupid girls.
This is one of the hardest problems people have with Toho vehemently denying any relation to Mothra Leo and Heisei Godzilla, as the real King Ghidorah appears in Mothra's fourth non-Godzilla film and KG's second, Mothra 3.
Here, with a new name to set him apart from the other Ghidorah, we meet the real "King" Ghidorah, the original space monster for which the futurian beast was named. Not only do we finally get to see the real deal, but befitting the heisei version of the king of terror, this Ghidorah is MUCH more deadly than the showa one. Here's an example: you remember how the showa Ghidorah fell to Earth in a meteor?
Keizer Ghidorah plummeted to Earth inside of the fucking collapsed star Gorath. Plus, Godzilla blew it up from Earth's surface. EVERYTHING is bigger in the Heisei timeline.
MINILLA: Minya is never getting any easier to understand. His size changing ability that he only had in the dream world is now part of his moveset in the physical world. He doesn't get frozen like Junior, but just sort of shows up in the middle of the movie. He looks the same. Godzilla recognizes Minya's wishes as if he were Godzilla's son... and, uh, Junior could only have been mature for 3 years before being frozen, and I seriously doubt there was a fourth Godzilla that appeared during that time that we aren't hearing about for some reason.
And the worst part? We've seen Junior as a hatchling, so we know baby Godzillasauruses don't look like that. So I'm sticking with the same thing I said about the showa Minya: it must be the spawn of two fully grown Godzillas, not Godzillasauruses.
Those are wierd plurals, and this in nonsense. Well, there's only one way this could've happened, which means there MUST be a fourth Godzilla.
Insane? Yes. And that's just one of the reasons I hate Minya. It should not surprise anyone that I'm ignoring the fourth Godzilla from now on, even though there must have been one.
Minya was created through artificial insemination, and then everyone forgot where they put the egg. Also, Minya doesn't seem to be born radioactive, as that kid and his grandpa never got cancer that whole time. I'd hate to think Minya can somehow survive off background radiation AND power his ray, but that seems to be the case.
Next time: Probably finish the Alien thing. I might also write something about the MK ninjas, or, depending on when I do the next one, something about the Ariel Pink show.
Godzilla-wise, we are going to have a serious look at the Atragon, all possible heisei futures, the actual branching pattern of the Godzilla multiverse (so far), and write up the actual timeline.