This feature contains Godzilla vs. Kong spoilers. Read our spoiler-free review here.
Despite existing for only four movies, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse has become one of the densest and most colorful cinematic universes. It may not be as long (or smoothly executed) as Marvel Studios’ MCU, or as high-minded as WB’s own superhero stable, the DCEU, but the MonsterVerse has successfully crafted an interconnected world where Titans rule over all. The best we humans can do is make peace with that hard truth.
In this strange, fearful vision of a primal world, enormous behemoths the size of mountains are just another force of nature coming for you–and one that’s been here since the beginning. Below is a MonsterVerse timeline to show just how long that’s been the case.
More Than 10,000 Years Ago
- While there are no exact dates for its rise and fall, below the Atlantic seafloor is a collapsed city with architecture reminiscent of ancient Egypt and Rome. We’re also told this civilization is “far older.” Ancient Egyptian civilization dates back to roughly 5,000 years ago, and the oldest city-state civilization is about 8,500 years old. But this a lost world has seniority over all, complete with its throne room for King Kong at the center of the Earth. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Kong).
Around 4,500 Years Ago
- An extraterrestrial kaiju who humans would name King Ghidorah falls to Earth and does battle with Godzilla. Afterward the alien Titan is trapped in the ice of Antarctica. Multiple civilizations record fragments of their epic duel, including Egyptians around the time the Pyramids of Giza were built. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
- The USS Lawton is sunk by an unnamed kaiju, presumably during World War II. The events are covered up by the American government, but lone survivor Bill Randa becomes obsessed with chasing hidden monsters. (Kong: Skull Island)
- U.S. Army pilot Hank Marlow and Japanese pilot Gunpei Ikari crash land onto Skull Island. Their war ends the moment both men meet King Kong. (Kong Skull: Island)
- The U.S. drops nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending World War II and ushering in the atomic age. Dr. Ishiro Serizawa’s father is killed in the Hiroshima blast, with his watch frozen at 8:16 A.M. (Godzilla)
- U.S. President Harry Truman secretly begins funding a new government program to monitor unidentified creatures: Monarch. (Kong: Skull Island)
- The USS Nautilus (named after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) becomes the first nuclear-powered submarine and dives to new depths in the Pacific Ocean, awakening the kaiju we call Godzilla. (Godzilla)
- The U.S. military’s Operation Castle is revealed in the press to be a series of nuclear tests–beginning with Castle Bravo detonating the first thermonuclear weapon on Bikini Atoll. But in reality, this is a covert operation to kill Godzilla. The fallout from the blast on Bikini Atoll poisons a Japanese fishing vessel, killing one of the crew. (Godzilla)
- The U.S. government continues to “test” hydrogen bombs in the Pacific with the hope of killing Godzilla. Monarch becomes a multinational coalition with the objective to discover, monitor, and ideally kill giant monsters. They rename these creatures “Titans.” (Godzilla)
- Bill Randa leads a Monarch expedition with a U.S. Army escort to the mysterious Skull Island during the Vietnam War. They discover the great ape Kong and other Titans named Skullcrawlers. Most of the party, including Randa, are killed. But Hank Marlow is rescued 29 years after his plane crash. (Kong: Skull Island)
- An industrial strip mining operation in the Philippines accidentally discovers Titans—later dubbed MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms)—when a cavern floor collapses. One MUTO escapes. (Godzilla)
- The free male MUTO latches itself onto a nuclear power plant’s reactor in Janjira, Japan, triggering a barely contained meltdown. Five employees are killed, and Monarch covers up that the MUTO has permanently lodged itself to the reactor. It’s feeding. (Godzilla)
- Dr. Nathan Lind’s older brother leads the first attempt to track a path from Antarctica to the Hollow Earth—a journey to the center of the Earth. The entire party dies upon discovering a gravitational inversion. (Godzilla vs. Kong)
- The MUTO in Janjira, Japan finishes feeding and attacks Honolulu, Hawaii. This catches the attention of the long unseen Godzilla. Titans become public knowledge. (Godzilla)
- The thought-to-be dormant female MUTO awakens in the U.S. Energy Department’s nuclear disposal site in Nevada. It destroys Las Vegas and then draws the male MUTO and Godzilla to San Francisco. The lizard kills both MUTOs in an epic brawl. (Godzilla)
- Monarch scientists Dr. Mark Russell and and Dr. Emma Russell lose their son in the devastation wreaked on San Francisco. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
- Mark and Emma Russell separate, and Emma begins developing the Orca, a device to communicate with Titans. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
- Monarch discovers a Mothra egg, long worshipped by some East Asian communities, in the Yunnan Rainforest, China, as well as a sleeping dinosaur-like creature called “Rodan” in a volcano on the Isla de Mara, Mexico. They also discover “Monster Zero” (Ghidorah) in the Antarctic ice. Fourteen other Titans are likewise covered. Monarch returns to Skull Island. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
- Emma Russell goes rogue and helps eco-terrorists steal the Orca device. Using the technology, they awaken Ghidorah and Rodan to cull polluting populations, but then Ghidorah seemingly awakens all Titans to destroy the planet. Dr. Ishiro Serizawa sacrifices himself to supercharge Godzilla with a nuclear bomb, and the big guy kills Ghidorah by essentially nuking Boston. All monsters now bow to Godzilla. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
- Positive effects of the Titans’ rampage justify (to a precious few) Russell’s actions, including rainforests blossoming in the Sahara and ice sheets refreezing where monsters now trod. Another Mothra egg is discovered.
- Seismic disturbances on Skull Island lead Monarch to discover Godzilla and Kong cave drawings beneath the island, suggesting rivalry. Soon perpetual storms kill almost all inhabitants and Titans. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Kong)
- Apex Cybernetics CEO Walter Simmons acquires the lone remaining Ghidorah skull and incorporates it into his developing Titan-killer, Mechagodzilla. (Godzilla vs. Kong)
- Dr. Nathan Lind and Dr. Ilene Andrews lead an expedition to the center of the Hollow Earth with King Kong as their guide. They discover an ancient world in Hollow Earth, complete with dinosaurs, a new nuclear power source, and a throne room for Kong. But by moving Kong off Skull Island they anger Godzilla. (Godzilla vs. Kong)
- Godzilla begins attacking Apex facilities, sensing Mechagodzilla’s threat. Mechagodzilla becomes sentient and kills its creators. The machine is ultimately destroyed in the ruins of Hong Kong by new BFFs Godzilla and King Kong. (Godzilla vs. Kong)