Zilla is a heroic iguana kaiju protagonist of the 1998 film. Godzilla. He is a major antagonist-turned-anti-hero in the comic book Godzilla: Rulers of Earth and a minor character in the comic Godzilla: Oblivion.
His vocal sound effects were provided by Frank Welker.
A giant reptilian monster swam from the islands across the Pacific, attacking the cannery ship Kobayashi Maru, and then stomped across Panama.
From there it traveled up the American Eastern Seaboard, where it sank several American fishing boats. Later on, the creature arrived in New York City, wandering through the city and causing major damage. Eventually, it was lured into Flatiron Square with 20,000 pounds of fish. After escaping a military attack, the monster stomped through New York, necessitating the evacuation of the entire city. The monster was later labeled "Godzilla," after the lone survivor of the monster's attack on the Kobayashi Maru identified it as "Gojira." The military battled Godzilla extensively and seemingly killed it in the East River with torpedoes.
However, it had laid 228 eggs in and under Madison Square Garden (an arena in Midtown Manhattan), which hatched and filled the Garden with hundreds of Baby Godzillas. The military bombed the Garden, slaying the infant 'Zillas. However, Godzilla then revealed itself to have survived, bursting up from underneath the street, and, after seeing its dead offspring, chased the heroes through New York across the Brooklyn Bridge, where it became entangled in the suspension cables. It was then killed by F-18 Hornets.
Unlike his Japanese counterpart, the 1998 Godzilla behaves in a very different manner; being an animalistic, elusive and evasive, yet clever creature in his first film appearance, and he kept most, or at the very least some of these traits later on. He mostly ate fish, making him a piscivore, which he would also pass onto his offspring.
When being attacked, Godzilla would try to confuse his offenders and then attack them back, and he even faked his death when the two Ohio Class Nuclear-Powered Submarines shot two torpedoes at him.
After Godzilla's offspring were killed when the Madison Square Garden was bombed by the military, he showed sadness (nudging one of his offspring with his snout in an attempt to "wake it") and then a great amount of anger towards the main characters, whom he may or may not have known were somewhat behind their deaths. As a result, he begins attacking more relentlessly and aggressively similar to his Japanese counterpart (though it ultimately led to his downfall).
Godzilla also seemed to possess some form of higher thinking, as when three helicopters were chasing him, after eluding them, he began roaring and screeching to make them think he was hiding in the buildings in front of them, and after they exhausted all their ammo, he made sounds like he was defeated before smashing through the buildings behind them and destroying two of them with ease; after the third one eluded him, he made use of his camouflage to attack it from underneath.
In Godzilla's later appearances in Godzilla: The Series, as Cyber-Godzilla, he was shown to not run away nearly as much and tried to fight even when outmatched.
The 1998 Godzilla was a giant mutated marine iguana originating from a nuclear test in the Maruroa Atoll Islands of French Polynesia while it was still an egg. As the test was done in the summer of 1968, the creature grew over a period of approximately thirty years. His irradiated genes caused him to achieve a height of about sixty meters.
Powers and Abilities
- Amphibious Nature: The 1998 Godzilla was able to swim through the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans in a matter of days.
- Atomic Breath: When the 1998 Godzilla was revived and upgraded as Cyber-Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series, he gained a blue atomic breath, much like the Japanese Godzilla's. His son from Godzilla: The Series possesses a green atomic breath. In some of Patrick Tatopoulos' concept artwork for the 1998 film as well as in some artwork for merchandise related to the film, Godzilla is depicted firing atomic breath.
- Burrowing: The 1998 Godzilla possessed a remarkable burrowing ability, able to excavate the thick tar and concrete around New York with ease. Using this advantage, he was able to escape and hide from the United States Army.
- Camouflage: The 1998 Godzilla's skin color allowed him to blend in well with New York City's architecture. This Godzilla also possessed an incredibly low body temperature, which rendered him colder than his surroundings and unable to be detected by the military's thermal scanning.
- Advanced Durability: Durability-wise, small arms fire is useless on the 1998 Godzilla as well as standard tank rounds. The F-18 Hornet's missile compliment proved strong enough to kill him. However, it required at least twelve missiles to do so.
- Advanced Intelligence: While the 1998 Godzilla relies on instinct to a greater degree than the Japanese Godzilla, he was still shown to be capable of thinking during battles and forming strategies. Throughout the 1998 film, Godzilla eludes the United States military, causing them to ultimately cause more damage to New York City than he does. Using his speed and camouflage, Godzilla evaded several military helicopters and attacks them from behind. Later, he faked his death by two torpedoes, causing the military to call off their attacks and allowing Godzilla to resurface. Another testament to his intelligence was where he sticks his arm into the Park Avenue tunnel in an attempt to grab the taxi that Niko Tatopoulos, Audrey Timmonds, Philippe Roaché and Animal were hiding in after sticking his head in failed.
- Power Breath: The 1998 Godzilla originally lacked the Japanese Godzilla's iconic atomic breath, though he possessed a Power Breath (strong flammable winds of gas) which he can also ignite to form a wall or blast of flames. This Power Breath can send things weighing several tons flying away, including cars.
- Reproduction: The 1998 Godzilla was capable of asexual reproduction and is shown to have laid over 200 eggs in Madison Square Garden. The fact that this Godzilla laid eggs has led to a prevalent misconception regarding the character's gender. However, like all other versions of Godzilla, the 1998 Godzilla is officially recognized as a male creature, even in spite of its reproductive ability. Despite the monster's official gender, designer Patrick Tatopoulos has revealed that female genitalia was sculpted onto Godzilla's CGI model, though this is not visible clearly in the film. (It is far more likely that despite being referred to as a male and with male pronouns, it is asexual or hermaphroditic.)
- Advanced Speed and Agility: The 1998 Godzilla was very fast and agile, possessing a land speed of 300 miles per hour. This speed was showcased in the 1998 film when Godzilla was able to outrun multiple squadrons of AH-64 Apaches and, despite being in point-blank range, was able to dodge and avoid missiles launched at him with ease.
- Advanced Stamina: The 1998 Godzilla was able to run and swim for a long time without showing any signs of exhaustion.
- Advanced Strength and Combat: The 1998 Godzilla had five-foot-long teeth and six-foot-long talons, which allowed him to burrow through tough surfaces, destroy helicopters with little effort, be it by hand or jaw strength, and can gut a large ship's hull with ease.
Originally intended to be a more realistic depiction of Godzilla, the 1998 design is a very drastic redesign, to the point of looking almost nothing like his Japanese counterpart. The CGI model's appearance and stance seem to be based on Tyrannosaurus rex, with certain features of iguanas and dromaeosaur dinosaurs such as Velociraptor.
The color of the design's skin is a very dark blue on the top of his body, to the point of looking black during some scenes, a silvery light-blue color on the sides of the body, and tan on the underside, as if to blend in with the urban environment.
The design has a notably big underbite with a huge chin, and teeth that stick out of the mouth, much like crocodiles'. In contrast to Godzilla's maple leaf-shaped dorsal plates, the 1998 design has curved, spike-like scutes, curving towards the front, described as looking somewhat like reversed shark fins.
The design has powerful, long legs and arms, which enable for very swift movement; something it was specifically designed to have, as well as being able to move on all fours while tunneling.
The 1998 Godzilla possessed long, powerful legs and arms. He also possessed a seemingly vestigial toe on the back of his foot, and three dinosaur-like toes on its 13.7-foot-long feet.
- While Godzilla® 1998 and Zilla are by technicality the same character by design, they are legally different characters. All media and merchandise of the character before 2004 is under the trademark of Godzilla®. All media and merchandise released after 2003 is under the title and trademark Zilla.