UPDATE: Stranger Things star Randy Havens is joining Godzilla: King of the Monsters as a member of Monarch. Director Mike Dougherty made the announcement via Twitter. Havens – who played teacher Mr. Clarke in the show – will apparently work for Monarch Sciences. Which now has its own Twitter account.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have spotted the same secret organization popping up in both Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. In their quest to find out everything they can about the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms (aka MUTOs), members of Monarch help drive the narrative in both movies. But who are they? What do they represent? Is Monarch a force for good? And how does the company fit into the forthcoming sequels? Fandom investigates…
The opening credits of the 2014 Godzilla movie feature a montage of newsreel footage and redacted Monarch documents that detail the organization’s history with the MUTOs. The action then kicks off in The Philippines in 1999, a helicopter carrying Monarch representatives Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) to a remote mine where high radiation levels have been found and a huge skeleton unearthed.
Then in the present-day, on the USS Saratoga off the coast of Japan, the pair explain Monarch’s back-story. Serizawa explains that Godzilla is an ancient alpha predator, millions of years older than mankind. Following the monster’s discovery, this “multi-national coalition” was established to search, study and learn from the creature in an effort to both understand and contain Godzilla.
The Monarch pair are therefore key to figuring whether the MUTOs are here to mate, hunt, or destroy. Serizawa believes Godzilla is here to restore balance to the planet. As he puts it, “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in their control, and not the other way round.”
Kong: Skull Island
In this (kind of) prequel, it’s 1973 and Monarch’s Bill Randa (John Goodman) is in Washington with geologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) to appeal for money to fund an expedition. The company has discovered an island in the South Pacific, surrounded by a perpetual storm system, where “myth and science” apparently meet. In an effort to beat Russia to the location, the U.S. government funds the voyage, with Monarch biologist Jing Tian (San Lin) joining the team, as well as assorted and expendable soldiers and mercenaries.
As well as setting the story in motion, Monarch also supplies the film’s post-credit sting. Brooks and Tian enter an interrogation room where they explain to merc James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and photo-journalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) that Kong is not the only king. The creatures they discovered on the island – as well as assorted monsters found elsewhere, including Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah – have been around for a long time. And are looking to take the planet back.
But with the forthcoming follow-ups set in the present, Kong director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is unsure if we’ll get a direct sequel. “I don’t know if you’ll see Brie and Tom’s character again because the next Godzilla movie does take place modern-day,” he exclusively told Fandom. “In theory, yes I think they go and work for Monarch, but whether you see that story, we’ll see. I think the brass tacks of that are probably ultimately on whether audiences want to see that.”
Monarch is nevertheless set to be the connective tissues in Legendary Picture’s two forthcoming entries in what the studio is calling its “MonsterVerse” series. Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be released in 2019, while Godzilla vs. Kong hits screens a year later. And while we don’t know how the company fits into either storyline, with Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham both surviving the 2014 Godzilla, don’t be surprised to see them playing some kind of role in the first flick.
As for Monarch itself, we asked Vogt-Roberts if they are to be trusted. “I think that Monarch is a tricky organization that I think probably want to understand these things,” he explained. “I would say they’re not quite as nefarious as the company in Alien. I don’t think they want to exploit it necessarily in that way. I think that someone like Randa, John Goodman’s character, genuinely is sort of obsessed with the beauty of these creatures and wanting to understand them. But I think it’s probably a big organization that has different expectations. So who knows?”