Back at last year's Comic-Con, Gareth Edwards assured the masses that he would return for the 2018 sequel and showed the some "top secret" footage from the Project Monarch vaults as a tease on what to expect. Fans of the 2014 [Godzilla](movie:45291) will recognize Project Monarch as the organization run by Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham to keep tabs on Earth's monsters. In the first film we had the main big guy and a couple of giant bugs that unceremoniously got dubbed by Project Monarch as MUTOs.
So it was greeted with some excitement when Edwards showed the Comic-Con crowd that indeed Project Monarch is keeping files on the likes of Mothra, Rodan and Ghidrah. They are what I'll go ahead and dub as the holy triumvirate of [Godzilla](movie:45291) monsters. Sure, some might hold a soft spot for Hedorah or even Mechagodzilla - but really they can't hold a candle to these three monsters of mayhem.
Likely the best known monster aside from the big G is this misunderstood mega moth. Mothra came to life in it's own 1961 film before going head to head a few years later in Godzilla vs. Mothra. It's origins also make it one of the stranger creatures in the Godzilla legacy (which is really saying something).
On an irradiated island there is an odd tribe of tiny people who worship Mothra as their god and when a couple of their miniature ladies get taken prisoner to be part of a freak show, Mothra is awoken by theses natives and set loose for revenge. The destruction Mothra causes in this initial outing is all in service of getting the 12-inch twins back to safety. Try replicating this trippy tale!
When Godzilla and Mothra finally clash, Mothra and a couple of her recently hatched babies are the ones who save civilization from a rampaging Godzilla. Godzilla gets caught in a giant moth-spun web and kicked back into the ocean. The people even give thanks to Mothra at the end.
Mothra would go on to make numerous return visits to movies throughout the 60's and 70's and is second only to Godzilla itself in number of appearances.
Rodan also started off in its own film from 1956 before getting into a brouhaha with Godzilla. A giant pteranodon, Rodan hatched deep down in a mining cave and has been wrecking havoc ever since. Flying at supersonic speeds, Rodan can lay waste to entire cities by creating massive sonic booms and windstorms.
Originally defeated as the military caused a volcanic eruption and trapped it under lava, it returned (along with Mothra) to battle with and alongside Godzilla in Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster. The uneasy alliances these monsters have may again play a role in the 2018 Godzilla sequel as in Ghidrah sometimes it's in the beasts best interests to team up and stop an even bigger baddie.
Ghidrah (or Ghidorah, or King Ghidorah as he is also rightfully known) is a three headed, fire breathing dragon that has a nasty knack for destroying entire planets. Ghidrah makes it's debut in Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster by arriving on earth via a meteor after reportedly destroying Mars (!) - that's how much of a badass this dragon is.
But he's no natch for the combined force of Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. When Ghidhrah arrives, Godzilla's already popped back out of the ocean and Rodan has emerged from its lava nap. The two a too busy duking it out with each other to bother with this three-headed creep until Mothra convinces them otherwise by basically explaining to them the logic of "hey, we won't have any planet left to destroy if this guy has his way".
It'll be interesting to see if this is the same path the sequel follows. It's a tantalizing possibility since Mothra, Rodan and Ghidrah are the exact three characters that Legendary Pictures picked up the rights to for the movie.