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Monster Icons - Zilla

Mutant Marine Iguana

American Godzilla,
Tuna-Head, TriZilla, Godzilla USA,
Godzilla 1998
60 metersG98[1]
90 metersGFW
100 meters*G98[1]
180 metersGFW
500 tonsG98
20,000 tonsGFW

Jet JaguarGRoE, GodzillaGRoE,
King CaesarGRoE,

U.S. Armed Forces,
Zilla Junior[2],

Numerous offspring, Zilla Junior (Son)[3]
Controlled by
Created by
Roland Emmerich[1]
Dean Devlin[1]
Patrick Tatopoulos[1]
Portrayed by
Frank Welker (Vocal effects),
Kurt Carley (Suit),
First Appearance
Latest Appearance
Godzilla: Final Wars
Animated Zilla, IDW Zilla
More Roars
I knew that tuna-head wasn't up to much! „ 

X (Godzilla: Final Wars)

Zilla (ジラ,   Jira?) is a mutated marine iguana kaiju co-created by TriStar and Toho that first appeared in the 1998 American film, GODZILLA.


The 1998 incarnation of Zilla is called "Godzilla" in the film, and is still legally trademarked under that name.

Toho has declared that any subsequent appearances of the 1998 character will be under the name "Zilla," because according to Shogo Tomiyama it "took the 'God' out of 'Godzilla.'"[4]


Main articles: ShodaiJira and FinalJira.

Physically, Zilla resembles a giant-sized, flesh-eating dromaeosaur, with some inspiration from iguanas. He has a rough, square-shaped underbite, a long neck, large, fin-shaped scutes[5] (which differ greatly from Godzilla's maple leaf-shaped dorsal plates), and long, powerful legs and arms. He also possesses a seemingly vestigial toe, on the back of, and three dinosaur-like toes on the front of each of its 13.7-meter-long feet.


Zilla was originally a very animalistic, illusive and evasive, yet clever creature in his first film appearance, and he kept most, or at the very least, some, of these traits later on. He mostly ate fish, making him a piscivore, which he would also give his offspring. When being attacked, he would try to confuse his offenders and then attack them back, and he even faked his own death when the two Ohio Class Nuclear-Powered Submarines shot two torpedoes at him. After his offspring were killed when the Madison Square Garden was bombed by the military, he showed a great amount of anger towards the main characters, who he may or may not have known were somewhat behind their deaths.

In his later appearances in Godzilla: The Series, Godzilla: Final Wars, and Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla, or Cyber-Zilla in Godzilla: The Series' case, was shown to not run away nearly as much and tried to fight. In Godzilla: Final Wars, he faced Godzilla head-on, a move that, while not smart, was brave. Although this could be because he was under the Xiliens' control and was forced to fight Godzilla. In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, he retained many of the same characteristics as its 1998 appearance, although he lost his cowardly nature. He faced Godzilla head-on once again, evaded his attacks, and landed several attacks of his own. However, he retreated to the sea when Godzilla was close to killing him and he had just barely escaped Godzilla's grip.


Zilla is a giant mutated marine iguana originating from a nuclear test in the Maruroa Atoll Islands of French Polynesia.[6] As the test was done in the summer of 1968, the creature grew over a period of approximately thirty years. His irradiated genes caused him to achieve a height of about sixty meters.



Zilla 1998


Zilla swam from the islands across the Pacific, attacking the cannery ship Kobayashi Maru, and then stomped across Panama. From there it traveled up the American Eastern Seaboard, where it sank several American fishing boats. Later on, Zilla arrived in New York City, wandering through the city and causing major damage. Eventually, Zilla was lured into Flatiron Square with 20,000 pounds of fish. After escaping a military attack, Zilla stomped through New York, necessitating the evacuation of the entire city. The military battled Zilla extensively, and seemingly killed it in the East River.

However, it had laid 228 eggs in and under Madison Square Garden (an arena in Midtown Manhattan), which hatched and filled the Garden with hundreds of Baby Zillas. The military bombed the Garden, slaying the infant Zillas. However, Zilla then revealed itself to have survived, and chased the heroes through New York across the Brooklyn Bridge, where it became entangled in the suspension cables. It was then killed by F-18 Hornets (although later on, in the sequel TV series, he was resurrected as a cyborg by the Tachyons).

One unhatched offspring survived the destruction of Madison Square Garden. When it hatched, it imprinted upon Dr. Niko Tatopoulos shortly after the doctor discovered the egg. From there, Zilla Junior accompanied Tatopoulos and his team, H.E.A.T., on their missions against various monsters mutated by nuclear experiments in Godzilla: The Series.

Godzilla: The Series

Godzilla The Series - Monsters - Zilla

Zilla in Godzilla: The Series

Main articles: Cyber-Zilla and Zilla Junior.

An animated Zilla appears in the first episode of the series in a recap of the 1998 film's ending.[3] Zilla later returns in the Monster Wars trilogy as Cyber-Zilla.[2]

Millennium Series

Godzilla: Final Wars


Zilla in Godzilla: Final Wars

In Godzilla: Final Wars, Zilla is one of the monsters controlled by the Xiliens, and under their control he attacks Sydney, Australia. The towering reptile topples down buildings, chomps on vehicles, incinerates a crowd with his acidic flame breath, and even eats a couple of civilians. Then suddenly, the Xiliens teleport the reptile and the other monsters around the world. They tell the humans that they took the monsters away to save Earth. However, the humans find that the Xiliens were controlling the monsters and the Xiliens release all the monsters again to finish destroying the cities they were attacking. When Godzilla is freed from the south pole and defeats the Xilien warrior Gigan, through the alien leader's command Zilla is re-released in Sydney to do battle with Godzilla. He is defeated rather quickly by Godzilla himself, who sends him flying into the Sydney Opera House and finishes him off with his atomic breath. The battle was the shortest in the Godzilla series.

Critics say that this short battle was meant to show Toho's displeasure towards Sony and TriStar with their handling of the Godzilla franchise. Other say the significant difference in size, speed, and abilities between the two showed it truly played out the way it should have.


Physical Strength

While not as physically powerful as Godzilla, Zilla has shown a high amount of physical strength. He is able to sink three fishing boats by pulling them underwater despite them moving at full speed. He also dredged a large freighter onto shore with ease.


Zilla is extremely agile, possessing a land speed of 300 miles per hour.[1] This speed was showcased in the film by having Zilla be able to outrun multiple squadrons of AH-64 Apaches and, despite being point blank, being able to dodge and avoid missiles launched at him with ease.

Biting and Slashing

Zilla has five-foot-long teeth and six-foot-long talons,[1] which allow him to burrow through tough surfaces and chomp steel helicopters with little recoil.


He also has shown a remarkable burrowing ability, able to excavate the thick tar and concrete around New York with ease. Using this advantage, he was able to escape and hide from the United States Army.[1]


Durability-wise, small arms fire is useless on him as well as standard tank rounds. The F-18 Hornet's missile compliment proved strong enough to kill him, however it required at least twelve missiles to kill him.

Power Breath

Zilla lacks Godzilla's iconic atomic breath, though he possesses a Power Breath (strong flammable winds of gas) which he can also ignite to form a wall or blast of flames. This Power Breath can send things weighing several tons flying away, including cars.[1]

In Final Wars, Zilla is said to possess an "acidic flame breath." This is most likely a variation of his previous incarnation's power breath, but it is never seen in use, only hinted at when Zilla emerges from behind an explosion similar to the one caused by his power breath in the 1998 film.

Atomic Breath

When Zilla was revived and upgraded to Cyber-Zilla in Godzilla: The Series, he gained a blue atomic breath, much like the Japanese Godzilla's.


In Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, Zilla displayed the ability to use his scutes as a weapon. Zilla ran at a Trilopod and bent downward, causing his scutes to slice its neck.


Video Game Appearances


Godzilla: Rulers of Earth

Zilla appears in the first issue of Godzilla: Rulers of Earth as a rogue kaiju. He is first sighted by a submarine which mistakes him for Godzilla. He later makes landfall in Honolulu, Hawaii and is given the identification as "Zilla" due to radio interference. He then goes on a rampage while fighting the CKR forces stationed there before being attacked by Godzilla who has also arrived and the two monsters prepare to fight. Godzilla tail-smacks Zilla into a building and blasts him with his atomic breath, similar to the way Godzilla finished him in Godzilla: Final Wars. However, Zilla burrows underground and avoids the blast. Zilla then digs behind Godzilla and ambushes him. Godzilla and Zilla engage in a heated physical battle until Godzilla grabs Zilla by the neck and chokes him. Before Godzilla can kill Zilla, CKR opens fire on Godzilla, distracting him long enough for Zilla to escape to the sea.

In this series, Zilla bears more of a resemblance to his 1998 design as opposed to his 2004 Final Wars design. Although any real powers have yet to be seen, he appears to have an extremely thick hide as implied to him sustaining multiple hits from artillery fire. He also is very quick and actually does not run away strictly like his 1998 film incarnation, but instead has an attitude more like the Zilla Junior incarnation, not running away until Godzilla almost kills him.

Zilla reappears in Rulers of Earth #13, where he is spotted swimming in the waters around the Monster Islands. Zilla apparently avoided capture when the Trilopods invaded the Monster Islands, as he was not seen inside the Trilopod hive.

Zilla returned in the final issue, where he suddenly appeared in Los Angeles and saved Jet Jaguar from a Trilopod with Godzilla's characteristics. Zilla then took part in the final battle against the Trilopods alongside Godzilla and the other Earth monsters, managing to injure and kill several of the creatures. Zilla attempted to battle Magita, the gigantic Trilopod queen, but was kicked aside by its massive legs. After Godzilla destroyed Magita, Zilla and the other monsters followed Godzilla out to sea.


Main article: Zilla/Gallery.



Zilla's roar seems to be a mix between Godzilla from the 1960's-1970's and an elephant. An example would be when he got hit by torpedoes, he groaned like an elephant. When submerged, Zilla made a moaning sound created from the song of a humpback whale. Zilla's roars were made by Gary A. Hecker and Frank Welker.

Zilla's roars were later used for Godzilla in the American version of Godzilla 2000 and his cameo appearance in Always: Sunset on Third Street 2.

In Other Languages

  • Russian: Зилла
  • Bengali: জেলা
  • Chinese: 斯拉
  • Gujarati: જીલ્લા
  • Hebrew: זילה
  • Hindi: जिला
  • Kannada: ಜಿಲ್ಲಾ
  • Korean: 질라
  • Marathi: जिल्हा
  • Telugu: జిల్లా
  • Urdu: ضلع
  • Yiddish: זיללאַ


  • Zilla was considered for Godzilla: Unleashed, but didn't make the cut due to his lack of popularity during production on the previous games.[7][8]
  • Despite appearances, Zilla is a mutated marine iguana, and not a dinosaur like Godzilla.
    • According to the movie, Zilla was created by nuclear fallout on French Polynesia. However, marine iguanas are indigenous to the Galápagos Islands.[10]
  • Zilla was designed based on only the instructions that he should be agile and fast.
  • Zilla's design's colors suits him to better camouflage within an urban environment, so as to be harder to spot.
  • The attack on New York by Zilla was referenced in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack; although the American experts believe that it was Godzilla, the Japanese do not.
  • Toho had clear communication with TriStar during the development of the 1998 film. When asked about Hollywood's 1998 film interpretation of Godzilla, Shogo Tomiyama stated: "There was always very good communication between Tokyo and Hollywood. We knew exactly how they were going to do it, and we knew what Godzilla was going to look like."[4]


This is a list of references for Zilla. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Weinberger, Kimberly, and Dawn Margolis, comps. The Official GODZILLA Movie Fact Book. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1998.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Monster Wars - Part 1/Part 3". (February 13, 1999/February 27, 1999). Godzilla: The Series. Season 1. TriStar.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "New Family - Part 1/Part 2". (September 12, 1998/September 19, 1998). Godzilla: The Series. Season 1. TriStar.
  5. [1]
  6. Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich (writers) & Roland Emmerich (director). GODZILLA. (May 19, 1998). Film. TriStar.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Zilla, Cloverfield and Bagan Scrapped From Unleashed - Simon Strange Interview
  8. 8.0 8.1 Zilla Scrapped From Unleashed - Simon Strange Interview
  9. Mefjus feat. Dope D.O.D - Godzilla (Official Video) - YouTube
  10. Marine Iguanas - NG


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