|“||Humans have been the dominant species for thousands of years and look what's happened. Overpopulation. Pollution. War. The mass extinction we feared has already begun. And we are the cause. We are the infection. But like all organisms, the earth unleashed a fever to fight this infection. Its original and rightful rulers, the Titans. They are part of the earth's natural defense system, a way to protect the planet, to maintain its balance. But if governments are allowed to contain them, destroy them, or use them for war, the human infection will only continue to spread, and within our lifetime, our planet will perish...and so will we. Unless we restore balance.||„|
|~ Emma explaining her goal to awaken the Titans and restore peace to Earth.|
|“||Long live.. the king.||„|
|~ Emma's last words before she dies after being injured by King Ghidorah.|
Dr. Emma Williams Russell was a major antagonist-turned-anti-hero of the 2019 film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the third installment of the MonsterVerse franchise and a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film and a posthumous character in it's 2021 sequel Godzilla vs. Kong. She is also the main human protagonist of the prequel comic, Godzilla: Aftershock.
She is a renegade Monarch paleobiologist with a history of environmental activism in league with eco-terrorist Alan Jonah while she was also the co-inventor of the Orca. Unlike her ex-husband, Mark Russell, Emma believes that humans and titans can co-exist peacefully. She did not see Godzilla as a threat, but as a potential savior in an age of catastrophic climate change. She was also the ex-wife of Mark, and the mother of Madison Russell and Andrew Russell.
Emma 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.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
In 2014, during Godzilla's battle against the MUTOs in San Francisco, Emma stood among the devastation cradling her young daughter Madison in her arms as her husband Mark searched desperately for their son Andrew. As they came to the realization that Andrew was gone forever, they witnessed Godzilla emerge from behind a nearby building and walk past.
Five years later, Emma was separated from Mark and working at Monarch Outpost 61 in China's Yunnan Rainforest, where she lived with Madison and attempted to complete her sonar device the ORCA. She entered the kitchen of her apartment one morning to find the smoke alarm going off after Madison accidentally burned the bacon she was trying to cook. After getting the alarm to stop, Emma asked Madison if she had replied to any of her father's emails. Madison said she hadn't and expressed her concern about her father, only for Emma to respond that he was in the safest place he could be right now. She then informed Madison that she had finally completed the ORCA, and was confident it would work.
Suddenly, the apartment was shaken by a deafening screech coming from outside. Emma was contacted over a communicator and told to head to the containment area immediately. Emma left her apartment with Madison and the ORCA and entered the Temple of the Moth. There, she asked Monarch entomologist Dr. Tim Mancini about the situation. He responded that the Titan in containment was sleeping peacefully beforehand, but suddenly became active. They entered an observation room overlooking a huge central chamber of the temple, with a gigantic egg inside it. They witnessed as the egg split open and a colossal larva emerged. Mancini introduced the creature as Titanus Mosura, otherwise known as Mothra. The containment field in the chamber inexplicably went down, causing Mothra to become agitated and attack the guards surrounding her.
Mancini prepared to give the order to terminate Mothra, but Emma protested, saying she would handle it. She ran into the chamber with the ORCA and approached Mothra. Emma attempted to calibrate the ORCA to Mothra's frequency, only to enrage her further and cause her to spit silk at Emma. Madison ran into the chamber to her mother's side as Mothra began to bear down on them both. Just before Mothra could strike, Emma successfully got the ORCA to calm Mothra. The giant larva began to emit a soft blue bioluminescent glow and backed off. Emma allowed Madison to approach Mothra and place her hand on the Titan's snout. Mothra emitted a burst of air through her nostrils which blew both Emma and Madison back. The peaceful moment was interrupted once a bomb struck the observation room, followed by a group of armed assailants who gunned down everyone inside including Dr. Mancini. The leader of the mercenaries, Alan Jonah, looked down at the ORCA in the chamber below as Madison and Emma stared up fearfully at him.
Jonah and his men commandeered a stolen Monarch Osprey and made their way to Outpost 32 in Antarctica with Emma, Madison, and the ORCA in tow. The Osprey landed outside the base, after which Jonah's men exited and gunned down the Monarch guards. Emma and Madison listened in horror to the sound of gunfire from inside, after which Jonah entered and told them to get moving. They made their way to the central chamber of the outpost; a wall of ice containing the frozen three-headed Titan known only as Monster Zero. Jonah asked Emma if she had everything she needed, and when she replied affirmatively he told her to get started. Emma began calibrating the ORCA to Monster Zero's bioacoustics as Jonah's men began boring into the ice with drills and planting explosives. Once Monarch learned of the ORCA's location and headed to Antarctica aboard the flying fortress known as the USS Argo, Jonah began to escort Emma and Madison out of the base.
Jonah's men ambushed G-Team when they breached the facility, but Mark charged in after them after seeing Emma and Madison on a video feed. He finally came face-to-face with them on a catwalk in front of the wall of ice. G-Team's Colonel Diane Foster shot and killed Asher, a mercenary holding the detonator for the charges, while Mark held Jonah at gunpoint and told Madison to come to him. To his shock, she both stayed behind with Emma instead as her mother picked up the detonator. She apologized to Mark before telling him to flee and pressing the detonator. The charges in the ice exploded, causing the ice to crack and the outpost to crumble.
Emma and Madison escaped with Jonah in an elevator while Mark stayed behind to help G-Team escape. Emma boarded Jonah's Osprey which began to take off as the ice below split open and Outpost 32 sank into the fissure. Once the ORCA was fully calibrated, Jonah ordered Emma to wake up Monster Zero. She activated the device, which emitted a series of sonar pulses which reached into the ice below. Monster Zero's three heads gradually emerged from the ice and saw the members of G-Team before them. After G-Team opened fire, Monster Zero broke through the ice and began to attack them. Madison snatched the ORCA from her mother and tries to use it to stop Monster Zero before he could attack the Osprey that Mark was on. Emma and Jonah's mercenaries seize it back from her, but Emma uses it to stop Monster Zero for a split second before he destroyed the Monarch Osprey. Jonah's Osprey then escaped as Godzilla emerged from the ice to face off with his ancient enemy.
Back on the Argo, Monarch detected that Emma's Osprey was apparently heading for Isla de Mara, Mexico, the site of Outpost 56. To their surprise, Emma contacted Monarch through the emergency channel and broadcast herself on a screen aboard the Argo. She said she could only imagine what everyone was thinking of her right now, but insisted she was only doing what was neccessary. Emma explained her actions by stating human activity had irreparably damaged the planet to the point that a mass extinction was inevitable. The Earth's natural defense mechanism against this threat was the Titans, but the government was intent on exterminating them before they awakened once more. This was why she had to take matters into her own hands and awaken the Titans herself before they could be killed. Mark and Dr. Ishiro Serizawa were horrified by Emma's actions, accusing her of having lost her mind and gambling with the lives of billions. Emma defended herself, claiming she was the most sane she'd ever been and was keeping her promise to ensure Andrew's death was not in vain. Mark retorted that this would not bring Andrew back to them, but Emma ended her message by suggesting the members of Monarch seek shelter before signing off. Monarch then learned that Emma was not broadcasting from Isla de Mara, but rather was bouncing her transmission off of Monarch satellites and could be broadcasting from anywhere. In reality, Emma was operating from a Monarch bunker in Boston with Jonah's men.
From this bunker, they were able to disable the containment field at Outpost 56 surrounding the crater of the Isla de Mara volcano. Seeing the people fleeing the village in Isla de Mara, Madison urged her mother not to broadcast the ORCA and awaken the Titan within the volcano. Jonah became furious and asked what Madison thought was going to happen. He demanded that Emma ignore Madison's pleas and broadcast the ORCA first. Emma apologized to her daughter and activated the ORCA, its signal being broadcast through loudspeakers at Outpost 56. The winged Titan known as Rodan promptly burst from the erupting volcano, and became engaged in a dogfight with the Argo and G-Team as they lured him into the path of Monster Zero. Monster Zero defeated Rodan before being attacked from underwater by Godzilla, only for the military to intervene with the experimental Oxygen Destroyer. Monster Zero, while wounded in his fight with Godzilla, was unharmed by the Oxygen Destroyer and perched atop the Isla de Mara volcano, where he regenerated his left head which Godzilla had torn off. Emma and Jonah then watched through a video feed as Monster Zero shrieked out to the heavens, causing virtually all of the dormant Titans across the globe to awaken and bend to his will. Jonah remarked that he thought they would be awakening the Titans one at a time, but Emma replied that she wasn't responsible for this. Jonah smugly remarked "Long live the king" before leaving Emma standing bewildered in front of the screen.
Madison furiously stormed off to her quarters, with Emma giving chase and trying to calm her down. Madison scolded her mother, saying that they were supposed to be doing this "for Andrew." She bitterly asked her mother if Andrew would want this. Emma pleaded with Madison, claiming she could get things back under control, but Madison ignored her and locked herself in her room. Emma later spoke to Jonah stating that they could use the ORCA to take control of the other Titans rather than allow the monster now dubbed "Ghidorah" to command them, but Jonah responded that maybe it was time for them to really give the planet back to the Titans. Overhearing this conversation, Madison managed to steal the ORCA while it was unguarded and escaped the bunker. She brought the device to Fenway Park and activated it, causing the Titans rampaging under Ghidorah's command to suddenly cease. Upon finding out, Jonah confronted Emma, saying that Madison had stolen the ORCA from them. Emma gathered gear and prepared to pursue her daughter in a jeep, but Jonah's men surrounded her and held her at gunpoint. Jonah accused Emma of losing sight of her mission and risking everything they worked for just because of her daughter. Emma pointed a gun at Jonah, who told his men to stand down as they already had everything they needed. Emma drove out of the bunker and made her way to Fenway. When she arrived, the city was under seige by Ghidorah who had been drawn by the ORCA's call.
In addition, the revitalized Godzilla had arrived in the city to confront Ghidorah, while Mothra and Rodan dueled in the sky. She came upon Mark and members of G-Team searching through the ruins of Fenway, where they only managed to find the damaged ORCA. Emma called out to them to get in the vehicle, and drove off in search of Madison. Mark and Emma argued about whose fault it was that Madison was missing, prompting Chief Warrant Officer Jackson Barnes to remark that if he had the two of them for parents, he'd "run away from home too." This prompted Emma and Mark to realize that Madison must have gone to their old home in Boston to seek refuge. They arrived to find the house in ruins, and Madison lying unconscious in the bathtub. They pulled her out and were relieved when she regained consciousness.
The Russell family, reunited at last, shared an embrace before they turned their attention to escaping before Godzilla went thermonuclear and exploded. They witnessed Ghidorah drop Godzilla from above the clouds, rendering him limp on the ground. Mothra, wounded after overcoming Rodan, crawled atop the helpless Godzilla as Ghidorah closed in, and flew directly at him only to be disintegrated by his gravity beams. Mothra's energy rained down onto Godzilla, but Ghidorah bit down on his foe and began draining Godzilla's energy through his mouths. The Russells knew they had to stop Ghidorah from killing Godzilla, and worked together to repair the ORCA.
Once they were successful, Mark and Madison boarded an Osprey with G-Team, but Emma had to stay behind to finish calibrating it. Once she activated the device, Ghidorah dropped Godzilla and began to approach her. However, Emma realized that the Osprey would not be able to escape at this rate, and got back into her jeep and drove away with the ORCA, allowing the Osprey to take off. Ghidorah took flight and pursued Emma, destroying her vehicle with his gravity beams and launching Emma into the concrete. As she lay mortally wounded on the ground with Ghidorah bearing down on her, Emma defiantly uttered "Long live the king" and succumbs to her injuries before Ghidorah turned to see Godzilla, now in a fiery form, behind him. Eventually, Emma was avenged as Godzilla in his burning form easily annihilated Ghidorah with thermonuclear pulses, and when the smoke cleared, all of the other titans once serving Ghidorah submitted to Godzilla, the new king of the titans. In the aftermath, rather than having the planet reset back to it's natural order as Emma intended, Godzilla instead forced his fellow titans to undo the wrongdoings of mankind by repairing the damage caused to Earth.
Godzilla vs. Kong
Emma does not appear in Godzilla vs. Kong (due to her now being long dead) but she is mentioned several times throughout the movie and seen in a newspaper photo.
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.
- Emma is the first villain in MonsterVerse to be redeemed; followed by Rodan.