Varan has membranes between his legs, which he uses for gliding, like a flying squirrel. Varan also has a row of spines on his body.
A pair of red-trimmed off-white butterflies are found living in the land of Siberia. The insects are native to Japan, so scientists find it strange that they would be discovered so far away from their homeland. In response, an expedition is dispatched to their habitat, located along the Kitami River, to discover why the insects might be living in Siberia. Two members of the scientific community helm the expedition, but are mysteriously crushed by something that the police can only describe as "powerful." The nearby villagers of the Kitami River insist that the deaths were a result of the wraith of their mountain god: Varan.
Further intrigued, a larger expedition is then dispatched to the area. This time the investigation is funded by the film company "20th Century Mysteries Solved", an organization that seeks to uncover the truth behind the two deaths to report on it. Staff of the firm Yuriko and Horiguchi lead the expedition along with Kenji, a member of the scientific community. The expedition travels further inland and stumbles upon a village doing a ritualistic prayer to their mountain god. The priest of the village warns the travelers that their presence will make the monster angry. The warnings fall of deaf ears, though, and the problem escalates when Ken, a young local boy, runs out of the village after his dog. The villagers are warned not pursue, as the priest explains that such action would anger the mountain god. Kenji challenges the priest's warning, asking if their beliefs are worth endangering the life of a child. The three members of the expedition then decide to take matters into their own hands and rescue the boy. The trio is separated, however, in the thick fog. Kenji and Horiguchi return to the village to rally the locals to help them, telling them their beliefs are little more than superstition. The villagers, minus the priest, agree, and head toward the lake to rescue Ken. Once there, Ken, along with Yuriko, are discovered. Their reunion is cut short, though, by the monster Varan rising from the Kitami River. The villagers flee back to their homes, but Varan gives chase. The aquatic monster enters the village, killing the priest who was guarding the entrance. The beast then proceeds to tear apart the huts inside. After the destruction, the monster retreats to his underwater lair.Reports of the creature's existence are sent back to Japan, and the defense force is mobilized near Kitami River to prepare for the beast's return. The nearby villages are evacuated, as tanks and ground artillery units move into position. Shortly after the evacuation, the military begins releasing toxins into the river to drive the monster out. The plan is a success, as Varan emerges from the water's surface. Phase two of the SDF's plan is put into operation, as tanks and artillery units began to unleash their destructive fury on the monster. The conventional weapons have no effect, though, and the military is forced to retreat. Amongst the confusion, Yuriko manages to get caught under a falling tree, placing her right in Varan's path. Kenji narrowly manages to save his colleague, though, and the two seek safety in a nearby cave. Varan pursues the two, reaching into the cavern with his claws. Luckily, the military intervenes, firing light bombs over the monster's head. Varan becomes attracted by the light, and climbs a nearby mountain in order to get a closer look. Once at the peak, though, Varan raises his arms to reveal hidden flaps of skins. The creature then leaps from the mountain and glides off into the sea.
As the next day breaks, Varan's reign of terror continues as he capsizes a fishing boat not far from Tokyo's shores. The defense force then remobilizes, sending a squadron of jets to intercept the creature. The aircrafts are met with little success, however, as Varan manages to sink one of them that ventures to close to the water's surface. Pleased with his success, the monster submerges and continues his descent toward Tokyo. The military moves into phase two of their counterattack, deploying battleships to the surrounding waters. Unfortunately, the battleship's artillery has no effect against the creature. The SDF quickly launches a third campaign to try and stop Varan's advancement, this time using mine sweepers to seal off Tokyo. The attack, like the rest, is met with failure, though. Out of options, the defense force again re-mobilizes its forces to the area around Tokyo bay, lining the water with battleships and dispatching a battalion of tanks near Haneda airport. A large amount of Special Gunpowder, which they hope will have better success at destroying the monster, is also readied. Tokyo is then evacuated, as the military awaits the appearance of Varan.Monsterland. When the Kilaakian take control of the island, and its inhabitants, Varan disappears as the alien invaders global assault is initiated. After the control is broken, Varan joins the other Earth monsters in the fight against King Ghidorah at Mount Fuji, although he does not participate directly in the conflict itself. Once the space demon is defeated, the spiked creature returns to Monsterland to live out his days with the rest of the kaiju.
Within the context of the film itself he is only seen gliding through the air prior to the fight against King Ghidorah, and in the last scene as a static model rather than as a suit.
Varan does not have any beam weapons in any of his film appearances,in common with many of the older kaiju. However, in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, Varan has the ability to emit a sonic beam from his mouth, and also what appears to be a ball of energy, that he can fire out of his mouth. His one special ability is gliding at around the speed of Mach 1.5, like Rodan. Varan has skin flaps or membranes between his arms and legs, rather like those of a flying squirrel. In his debut film, he jumped off a cliff and glided to another island: Japan. In Destroy All Monsters, he glides into view for the final battle, and later on Monster Island. Varan did not fight King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters; he merely watched.
Varan has never actually been seen in combat against any other monsters. He used his tail to level buildings in his original film, which may indicate how he'd fight in combat. He also has dorsal spines which might possibly be of use against other giant monsters. His skin texture is extremely interesting - it is covered with huge blisters or lumps. In amphibians, such blisters contain poison glands. In reptiles, lumps like these are usually osteoderms - armor plates. Also in the Marc Cerasini novel Godzilla 2000, Varan's lumps filled with Helium and made him rise so he could glide. Either option would mean Varan has some tricks up his sleeve. Osteoderm-like armor might make the most sense, since Varan was almost invulnerable to human weapons (in common with most Kaiju, however), and had to internally eat bombs before they affected him.
Varan was considered for Godzilla: Save the Earth, but was scrapped at some point. Varan appeared in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, but otherwise has not appeared in any games. He appeared in Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender.
He appears in several fan games, including Solgell Island Kajiu Volleystone, Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack II and Dimension Tide.
Varan made his first playable video game appearance in the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed as an Earth Defender. He is given the ability to fire a sonic beam and a concentrated sonic energy ball. He has a gliding ability that works much like Rodan's flying, he can be unlocked by destroying the three purple objects on the Vortaak mothership while playing as an Alien. Varan himself appeared purple in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters.
Godzilla Monster of Monsters BioAppearing on the second world, Varan will assault Godzilla or Mothra with a variety of melee attacks; the most devastating attack of which is his punch, a move that has excellent range and does noticeable damage. Varan can also attack with his claws in rapid succession, which can score several hits against Godzilla or Mothra if in range. Varan may also attack his foes with a kick, or attempt to head butt them while advancing forward. Varan also has the ability to jump high into the air to avoid attacks. Despite a healthy amount of moves, Varan shouldn't cause much trouble for Godzilla or Mothra because of his lack of a projectile and his habit of reeling back in pain after sustaining heavy damage; furthermore, unlike other bosses, Varan will not trap the player in the corner but will stay just in arms reach if Godzilla or Mothra is backed into the corner.
Godzilla Unleashed BioHeight: 50 meters
Weight: 15,000 tons
"Varan is an Earth Defender with special affinity for forested and hilly areas. Although not capable of true flight, Varan's extraordinary leaping capabilities and gliding capacity mean that he rarely, if ever, touches the ground for more than an instant. Although he naturally lives in solitude, Varan has developed very finely-honed sonic projection capabilities which can be used to communicate over vast distances. These same pinpoint sonic waves can be used in battle to disrupt an opponent's sense of balance. Varan is quite possibly the most mysterious of Earth's native monsters—first-hand sightings of him by humans remain relatively rare."
Few figures of Varan have been issued compared to other kaiju. Bullmark released the first Varan vinyl toy in 1970. Bandai has only issued Varan in gashapon form as part of High Grade series 6, in promotion for the film Godzilla 2000. Y-MSF has also released a figure on the 6" scale in 2005. Other companies, such as CCP, Marmit, Trendmasters, and the modern version of Marusan have also released Varan figures.
Varan appears in Issue #5 of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.
Varan's roar became very popular and it was reused for Gorosaurus, Megalon and the Showa Baragon. A little known fact to most Godzilla fans, the high pitched screeches of Rodan were quick recycles of Varan's roar. They then were recycled for the Ultraman show as well. The roars are basically roars that belonged to Godzilla from 1954.
- Varan was meant to be in The Return of King Ghidorah, a TV version of Varan, and Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, a proposed movie replaced with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. However, in the latter film, King Ghidorah has facial features similar to those of Varan in order to give tribute to the monster.
- Just as with the Baragon suit, the Varan suit was heavily damaged from water exposure and deterioration. Because of this, he could only appear in Destroy All Monsters for a few seconds as an immobile (gliding) toy. Varan's name is in fact briefly mentioned in the U.S. version of the film, at least. Contrary to popular belief, Varan was not thrown in for a few seconds just to say the film had more monsters. He was to have a bigger role, but Toho chose not to repair the suit damage and so Varan was relegated to being part of the backdrop.
- Varan's name comes from the scientific name Varanus, commonly known as the Monitor Lizard. It's safe to say that Varan could be a mutated monitor lizard.