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I've already lost one child. I'm not losing another. I have to fix this.
~ Emma Russell betraying Jonah before rescuing her daughter.
Long live.. the king.
~ Emma's last words before she dies after being injured by King Ghidorah.

Dr. Emma Russell (née Williams) is a scientist who serves as a former major antagonist-turned-anti-hero of the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

She is portrayed by Vera Farmiga, who also played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring franchise.

Biography

Background

Emma Russell was born to Gene Williams and Josephine Williams. From a young age, she was considered a brilliant but rebellious Maverick as she was involved with environmental activism, and she took part in protests that resulted in the occasional arrest. She went on to get her Masters of Science in Biology and PHD in Paleobiology at the University of Rochester and Ohio State University respectively. At some point in her life, Emma married a man named Dr. Mark Russell, nine months later, she gave birth to their first and only son, Andrew, born in 2002, and five years later, she gave birth to a daughter named Madison.

In 2014, Emma lost her son Andrew (who was 12 years old) during Godzilla's battle between the MUTOs in San Francisco, while her daughter Madison survived. Sometime after Andrew's funeral, Emma and her husband Mark, began to divorce, mainly because Emma was working seriously for the Monarch expedition, and she was given their surviving daughter's custody, Madison.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

At some point prior to the movie, Emma contacted Alan Jonah and his ecoterrorist group and offered to give them the ORCA her ex-husband Mark Russell had designed so that they could use it to awaken the other Titans. After Jonah and his men killed the other members of Emma's MONARCH expedition during the birth of Mothra, they retrieved Emma and her daughter Madison along with the ORCA.

Russell then traveled with them to Antarctica where they intended to use the ORCA to awaken a Titan called "Monster Zero". However, while there, they were attacked by MONARCH forces and Emma found herself confronted by Mark. Mark attempted to convince Madison to come over to him so that he can escape with his family, but before he could do so, Emma activated a detonator which sets off the explosives around the area Monster Zero was contained in, releasing King Ghidorah from his icy prison. Emma and the rest of Alan Jonah's forces then made their escape on helicopter as Ghidorah rampaged and attacked the Monarch forces before Godzilla intervened and fought the Titan until Ghidorah escaped.

After Ghidorah's escape, Emma contacts MONARCH for a negotiation, claiming that by awakening the Titans, she can restore the natural order and revert the wrongdoings of humanity. Afterwards, Jonah plans on awakening a destructive Pteranodon-like Titan named Rodan in Isla de Mara, Mexico. He orders Emma to use the ORCA to awaken Rodan from a nearby volcano in Mexico, despite Madison's pleas to her mother not to listen to Jonah as there are still people evacuating the city, although Emma sadly apologises and activates the ORCA under Jonah's orders. Upon being awakened after responding to the ORCA's call, Rodan instantly starts destroying everything in his path, but is somehow defeated by Ghidorah, who now steals Godzilla's title as the new alpha after the latter's supposed death by a nuclear warhead known as the Oxygen Destroyer while fighting his rival underwater (although it turned out that Godzilla had survived, but badly injured from the blast, although later revived after Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself by detonating another warhead to increase Godzilla's power). Ghidorah then makes Rodan his right-hand man and calls out to the other Titans, ordering them to cause numerous massacres under his command. Madison, upon seeing Ghidorah and the Titans cause destruction to the world on a computer screen and realizing restoring the natural order was all a lie, angrily scolds Emma for her actions while saying that they were supposed to be doing this "for Andrew" and disowns her following an argument, despite Emma pleading with her daughter that she could get things back under control.

Later, Emma eventually starts doubting that Jonah's goals are as effective as he says they are, and suggests that they quit the operation, but Jonah disagrees. Emma however discovered that Madison, having overheard her and Jonah's conversation, had stolen the ORCA and was heading to Boston to transmit a signal to disrupt Ghidorah's communication with the other Titans and get them to stop attacking.

After Jonah decides to let Emma go once he finds out, she then went to Boston herself to rescue her daughter, encountering Mark and the remaining members of MONARCH before finally reuniting with Madison while Godzilla battles Ghidorah and Mothra fights Rodan. While there, Emma, realizing her wrongdoings, allows Mark and Madison to escape with MONARCH before sacrificing her life to use the ORCA as a distraction in order to lure away Ghidorah and save Godzilla so that she can give him time to recover, but this results in Ghidorah severely injuring her and destroying the ORCA in the process. Emma was most likely killed and disintegrated after Godzilla, achieving a fiery form due to having Mothra's energy transferred into him when she sacrificed herself to Ghidorah, activated thermonuclear pulses that incinerate and obliterate Ghidorah instantly. Despite Emma's death, the titans acknowledge Godzilla as their rightful alpha, as Godzilla decides to have them clean up the wrongdoings of humanity.

Personality

Emma was described as a brilliant and independent, but somewhat unorthodox, she was passionate about the well-being of the planet stemming from her pre-Monarch days as an environmental activist. Emma was also dedicated to her daughter Madison, and feeling a duty to both her and the planet, Emma seeks to prepare her daughter for the post-Godzilla world. Emma also holds resentment towards Mark for running out on the family after Andrew's death; that bitterness probably manifested in parental alienation, in which Emma tried to turn Madison against her father by telling Maddie that he was drunk who left them because he couldn't be strong for Madison's sake and he didn't care about them anymore.

Emma's grief over Andrew's death gave her the desire to right old wrongs by secretly joining Alan Jonah's eco-terrorist group so she can help them awaken the titans to reverse humanity's destruction on the world and ensure he didn't die for nothing. Despite this, after being let go by Alan as she was just used as a pawn by him, she redeemed herself by saving Godzilla from Ghidorah, and luring him away in order to save her daughter and ex-husband before eventually getting killed.

Trivia

  • Emma is the first villain in MonsterVerse to be redeemed followed by Rodan.

See also

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Godzilla | Monarch (Mark Russell, Ishiro Serizawa†, Vivienne Graham†, Emma Russell†, Sam Coleman, Ilene Chen, Houston Brooks & Rick Stanton) | Madison Russell | William Stenz | Mothra | Rodan | Behemoth | Scylla | Methuselah | Queen MUTO | King Kong
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