King Ghidorah's name is composed of "King" (キング?) and "Ghidorah." The "Ghidorah" part of King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese word for "hydra" Kingu (ヒドラ?), which is spelled very similarly to the HidoraJapanese katakana for Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah is a golden dragon monster with two legs, three heads on long necks, giant bat-like wings, and two tails. King Ghidorah's multiple heads were inspired by Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology. King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate three-piece suit, with a team of puppeteers to control the suit's many appendages allowing realistic movement. His design was mostly created by Eiji Tsuburaya based on a minimal description in the script: "It has three heads, two tails, and a voice like a bell."
King Ghidorah does not have much of a developed personality because he is under someone's control in most of his appearances. Whenever he isn't, he became confused due to no longer receiving commands from his masters and was overwhelmed by Godzilla and other opponents, eventually trying to retreat. It seems that each of King Ghidorah's heads can think for themselves separately, although the middle head appears to be dominant which could easily be a cause of not being coordinated. In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah caused the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period instead of other theories, then returned to Earth in the modern day to feed on humanity.
In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, King Ghidorah is part of a scheme by time-traveling terrorists known as the Futurians to destroy Japan in the past to prevent it from becoming a global economic superpower. He is the result of the Futurians placing three genetically-engineered creatures from the future called Dorats on Lagos Island in the year 1944. In 1954, the Dorats were exposed to the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll, which caused them to merge and mutate into King Ghidorah. According to the novelization of the film, the Dorats were engineered using DNA recovered from the corpse of another King Ghidorah found on the surface of Venus, suggesting that like in the Showa series King Ghidorah is originally an alien creature, but the one created by the Futurians is simply a clone of him and not the original.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah, a more powerful relative of Desghidorah, arrived on the Earth millions of years ago and caused the Cretaceous extinction. He returned to Earth in the present in order to feed off of humans, especially children.
HistoryJapan in the past and prevent it from becoming a corrupt economic superpower by the 23rd century, a group of time-traveling terrorists known as the Futurians traveled to 1992 Japan and claimed that Godzilla would return to destroy Japan in the near future, rendering the nation uninhabitable in the future. The Futurians assembled a team of Japanese citizens and traveled to Lagos Island in 1944, where it was believed a Godzillasaurus would later be exposed to the Castle Bravo H-bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll in 1954 and transform into Godzilla. The Futurians teleported the Godzillasaurus to the Bering Sea, where they believed it would die, and in its place secretly left behind three genetically-engineered creatures called Dorats. In 1954, the Dorats were exposed to the H-bomb test and merged together into King Ghidorah, who was taken control of by the Futurians in 1992 and unleashed against Japan.
King Ghidorah first attacked Fukuoka, tearing the metropolis apart with his gravity beams. The Futurians demanded that the Japanese government surrender to them and follow their demands for rebuilding the country. The government, unwilling to comply, sent a nuclear submarine owned by a private corporation to the Bering Sea, believing the Godzillasaurus was still dormant there and could be transformed into a new Godzilla by the sub's torpedos. Instead, the sub was intercepted en route by Godzilla, who was never actually erased from the timeline in the first place. Godzilla fed on the submarine's radiation, curing his Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria infection and causing him to grow to 100 meters in height. Godzilla came ashore in Hokkaido, much to the Futurians' irritation. The Futurians sent King Ghidorah to kill Godzilla, and the two titans battled near Hokkaido. King Ghidorah seemed to have the upper hand, until Emmy Kano and her android M11, defectors from the Futurians, assaulted their comrades' ship MOTHER and destroyed the computer controlling King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah was stunned, allowing Godzilla to knock him to the ground and sever his central head with his spiral breath. Emmy used MOTHER's subship KIDS to teleport MOTHER in front of Godzilla, who promptly destroyed it with his atomic breath. King Ghidorah tried to fly away, but Godzilla blasted out his wings with his atomic breath and caused him to fall into the North Sea. The empowered Godzilla began a new rampage across Japan, leaving the nation helpless. Emmy believed that King Ghidorah could be revived with technology from her time so long as his corpse was preserved by the cold water, and traveled back to 2204 in KIDS.
When Emmy discovered King Ghidorah's comatose body in 2204, she outfitted the beast with cybernetic enhancements, including a mechanical central head, metal wings and a metal chest containing electrical capture cables and a machine hand. Emmy and M11 took control of the new Mecha-King Ghidorah (メカキングギドラ?) and traveled back to 1992 Tokyo, where Godzilla had reached the heart of the city. Mecha-King Ghidorah attacked Godzilla with its advanced new weapons, subduing him with its capture cables and machine hand. Mecha-King Ghidorah flew out over the sea with Godzilla, only for him to blast out Mecha-King Ghidorah's wings and send them both plummeting into the ocean. Emmy and M11 escaped the mech inside of KIDS and teleported back to 2204, leaving Godzilla defeated, but still very much alive. Meka Kingu Gidora
Cretaceous King GhidorahKing Ghidorah's younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah (白亜紀キングギドラHaku Aki Kingu Gidora?), first arrived and attacked the Earth 130 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. Cretaceous King Ghidorah quickly caused the KT extinction event, exterminating the dinosaurs and almost every other life form on the planet and feeding on their life forces. Cretaceous King Ghidorah then encased himself within a meteor and left the Earth, using the life-essence of the creatures he had destroyed to live as he traveled through space. However, Mothra Leo managed to transform into Light Speed Mothra and travel back to the Cretaceous period and attack Cretaceous King Ghidorah while he was still on Earth. King Ghidorah's younger form was still more than a match for Leo, shredding both of his wings and mortally wounding Leo before being dropped into a volcano and seemingly killed. Unbeknownst to Leo, one of King Ghidorah's tails was severed in their battle, and burrowed underground to hide and regenerate.
Modern Type King Ghidorah130 million years later, Cretaceous King Ghidorah arose again as Modern Type King Ghidorah (現代型キングギドラ?). King Ghidorah came to Japan in a meteor to feed on humans, mainly children, but he soon started to eat adults. King Ghidorah built a dome in the Gendai-Gata Kingu GidoraMount Fuji area where he kept his victims and absorbed their life forces. Rainbow Mothra heard of this monster, and he quickly took action to defeat it. Even with all of Rainbow Mothra's power, King Ghidorah quickly defeated him. Rainbow Mothra touched down nearby, but was healed and transformed into Light Speed Mothra by his priestess Moll and traveled back to the Cretaceous period to defeat King Ghidorah's younger form. When Leo returned to the present day, King Ghidorah had vanished and it appeared he had been victorious. However, King Ghidorah reappeared in the sky and resumed his reign of terror, having regenerated from the tail Leo had left behind millions of years ago. Leo was reborn as Armor Mothra and engaged King Ghidorah in battle again, this time proving to be the more powerful combatant. Armor Mothra sliced off King Ghidorah's wing with his own razor-sharp wing then completely destroyed him with a powerful laser beam. Xilien Zaguresu controls the monsters into fighting against each other and sends King Ghidorah to Earth. The humans break the mind-control, but most are too injured to continue fighting. Godzilla and Rodan battle King Ghidorah and all three monsters are knocked off the cliff. King Ghidorah lay at the bottom of the ocean, but Zaguresu zapped him with her beam and revived him. He battled furiously against Godzilla, who's atomic ray did nothing. Godzilla finally went down, but Torema unleashed a psychic wave that knocked King Ghidorah back. Godzilla fired his ray again, and this time King Ghidorah could feel it. She eventually weakens from an attack from Zaguresu earlier and King Ghidorah continues his fight with Godzilla. Godzilla eventually gains the upper hand, biting one of King Ghidorah's necks. King Ghidorah tries to fly away but Godzilla bites on King Ghidorah's leg. King Ghidorah uses all of his strength to free himself, even lifting Godzilla into the air, and eventually breaks free and flies away.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah's scales can manipulate the light from projectiles to form a protective barrier.
In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, King Ghidorah constricted his necks around Godzilla in an attempt to strangle him, causing him to foam at the mouth.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah is able to create a dome that allows objects to pass through, yet has a corrosive effect when they try to leave. The dome's exterior is laced with tentacles that pull outside victims inside. Living creatures inside the dome slowly have their life-force drained and transferred to King Ghidorah.
King Ghidorah is usually portrayed as being extremely durable and resistant to damage, often to an extent close to Godzilla. He withstands conventional weaponry with no noticeable effect, and can even shrug off point-blank blasts from Godzilla's atomic breath. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, he survives having his middle head decapitated and his wings shredded, and remains alive but comatose for over 200 years laying on the sea floor. In Rebirth of Mothra III his mature form cannot be damaged at all by Mothra Leo's attacks until the latter transforms into Armor Mothra.
King Ghidorah tends to use his durability to his advantage, as he often prefers to escape from a battle that he can't win before he suffers more injuries than necessary.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah can shoot six bolts of electricity from each of his wings.
King Ghidorah is able to fly up to speeds of mach 3 in the Earth's atmosphere. He exceeds this speed while flying through space. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah can encase himself within a meteorite while traveling from planet to planet. In Godzilla vs. Gigan he encases himself in a large diamond-like structure while traveling through space. In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah is able to fly even with the loss of one of his wings using a zero gravity field.
King Ghidorah's most famous ability is the golden lightning bolt-like gravity beams he spits from his three mouths. These beams are roughly equal in power to Godzilla's atomic breath, and are capable of causing large-scale explosions when fired at buildings. King Ghidorah's younger form from Rebirth of Mothra III, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, spit fireballs from his mouths instead of gravity beams.
King Ghidorah can produce hurricane-force winds by flapping his wings, which are capable of blowing away buildings and knocking other kaiju off their feet.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah can install a weak mind control on other beings susceptible to it.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, King Ghidorah can teleport smaller beings inside his dome.
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