Fictional Characters Wiki



Zilla in 1998's 'Godzilla'

, also known as the American Godzilla, is a movie monster that first appeared as the title character in the 1998 Roland Emmerich film Godzilla. The design by Patrick Tatopoulos is that of a hunched bent-over marine iguana.[1] The 60m tall creature is a mutation of a sea iguana caused by nuclear radiation.

The movie's incarnation is a CGI re-imaging of the daikaijū Godzilla, which is traditionally portrayed by a man in a latex rubber suit. For its subsequent appearance in Godzilla: Final Wars, director Ryuhei Kitamura renamed the creature Zilla.[2]

Film appearances[]

Zilla killa

Zilla smashes New York City


Originally a marine iguana egg irradiated by French nuclear tests in French Polynesia, Zilla makes its presence known years later when it attacks a Japanese fishing ship. The monster then heads to New York City, dragging three trawlers under the sea on the way, then creating havoc in the Fulton Fish Market, before rampaging through the city. Manhattan is evacuated and the military attempt to kill the monster, first luring it out with a huge pile of fish. It takes the bait, but then is scared off by small arms fire, and is chased by three AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. They fire, only to knock the top two dozen stories off the Chrysler Building. The monster escapes, but not before it is realized that it reproduces asexually, and is collecting food not only for itself, but also for its offspring. The military lures Zilla out again, into the waters of the Hudson River and seemingly kill it with a torpedo. Meanwhile, hundreds of eggs are discovered in Madison Square Garden. The Baby Zillas begin to look for food, but are incinerated when the building is bombarded. The adult Zilla emerges from the wreckage, and is lured to the Brooklyn Bridge where it becomes entangled in the steel suspension cables, and is an easy target for the fighters. After it is hit by twelve missiles, it screams in pain and falls to the ground, its heart beating slowly until it sadly breathes its last breath. All seems well until we see in the smoking ruins of the Garden, a single egg has survived and hatches revealing another baby Zilla.

Godzilla: Final Wars[]

Under Xilian control, Zilla attacks Sydney, Australia, and later battles Godzilla there. He charges at Godzilla and jumps over his atomic breath, but is sent flying by a tail swipe from Godzilla into the Sydney Opera House. Godzilla releases his atomic breath at the famous structure, destroying it and atomizing Zilla in the process. The fight itself lasts 13 seconds, giving Zilla the record of the shortest battle in Final Wars, and one of the shortest defeats in any Godzilla film. Zilla (along with Manda and Kamacuras while flying) is one of the few monsters in Final Wars realized completely through CGI instead of suitmation. Zilla was originally called Godzilla in his American movie but the name was changed being that the true Godzilla is that of the Toho company. On the DVD release of Godzilla: Final Wars, the Zilla vs Godzilla battle has its own chapter titled "Pretender To The Throne". Zilla is suggested to eat two people in his initial attack on Sydney, something few other Toho kaiju have done. Though disputed, it appears as if Zilla possesses a breath weapon, as the film shows a crowd of people running until they are all blown away by a wall of fire which precedes the appearance of the monster walking into camera view. In an interview, the director of Final Wars confirmed this and stated that Zilla was emitting an acid fire from its stomach. Godzilla: Final Wars references the 1998 Godzilla movie when Zilla is defeated. The Controller, in the Japanese version, says, "I knew that tuna-eating lizard was useless," a reference to the American creature's diet of fish in the 1998 film. In the American version, he calls Zilla a "tuna-head". The line was, "I knew that tuna-head wasn't up to much!" Controversy between the Godzilla fan base comes in when people talk about which Zilla appeared in Final Wars. Fans of the animated series dispute that it was not Zilla Jr. because the color scheme was different. Others say that it was Zilla Jr. because in the film there was only one offspring that survived the bombing in Madison Square Garden. The controversy ended when the it turned out it was indeed Zilla from both the film and animated series. The proposed sequel for the Tri-Star version of Godzilla had details about what happened to the surviving offspring. The military along with Totopulous went back to Madison Square Garden to see if any of the baby Godzilla's survived. Totopulous found the survivng spawn injured and snuck him out, away from the military's sight. It turns out that Zilla Jr. was nursed shortly by Nick Totopulous and was let go shortly there after Zilla regained it's health. The next destination for Zilla Jr. ended up being in Australia. It turns out that the appearance of Zilla Jr. in Australia was not a random selection considering Toho has borrowed concepts from their own films that were never made. The decision to have Zilla Jr. in Australia was initiated by the proposed sequel that never happened. Both the 1998 film along with the Animated Series thoroughly explain that Zilla Jr. was the only surviving offspring from the bombing of Madison Square Garden.

Godzilla: The Series[]


Zilla in 'Godzilla: The Series'

In 1998, Godzilla: The Series, a Saturday morning cartoon not to be confused with the original series from Hanna-Barbera (which once had a partnership with Screen Gems, the predecessor company to Columbia TriStar Television, which produced the 1998 series), continued the story of Zilla's surviving offspring from the 1998 film in a role reminiscent of the Japanese films of the late Shōwa era.

The series revolves around the only surviving offspring of the first Zilla seen in the climax of the 1998 film. After the original monster was killed, Niko "Nick" Tatapolous the NRC scientist who first studied Zilla convinces the military to conduct a search for any eggs that may have survived. Nick offers his assistance, and ends up falling into a small cavern containing amniotic fluid and one large egg. The egg immediately hatches, though the infant does not attack, and escapes by burrowing to safety after Nick scares it away. Nick's wish to capture and study the infant is met with opposition by the military who wish to destroy it. With the help of Dr. Mendel Craven, Elsie Chapman, and Randy Hernandez, Nick sets a trap for the infant. Unfortunately, the trap was designed for something the size of a human; the hatching had gone through a rapid growth spurt and is now 35 feet tall. He quickly destroys the trap and snatches Nick. However, before he can eat Nick, Zilla detects the scent of his own kind on Nick and releases him. Nick realizes that the infant had imprinted on him, believing him to be his parent. Over the next few weeks, HEAT studies Zilla. They realize that he is sterile. Unfortunately, Monique Dupre, a French secret agent assigned to monitor HEAT's activities, tips off the military, who immediately attack and apparently kill Zilla. HEAT has no time to mourn, as they have to go to Jamaica to investigate reports of people being attacked. They get ring side seats as giant squids attack the HEAT Seeker, but Zilla, who had survived, now fully grown to 180 feet tall, and followed HEAT, quickly deals with the squids. Not long after, HEAT discovers that another creature was responsible for the attacks, a giant, mutant, tar-eating crustacean called Crustaceous Rex (or "C-Rex"). After an intense fight, Zilla manages to collapse a cliff on top of C-Rex, apparently killing it (since it returned in the three-parter "Monster Wars," it seems the mutant was only buried and managed to escape). Major Hicks, an army commander and recurring character in the series, is persuaded by Nick that having "at least one mutation" on the side of humanity is a good thing, and orders his men to stand down and let Zilla remain free.

Powers and abilities[]


Built like a theropod dinosaur with his body held horizontally on long legs, Zilla has a rectangular box-shaped head with a thick lower jaw - a "proud chin" - and long powerful arms similar to those of a spinosaurid. The characteristic maple leaf dorsal fins, of the Toho Godzilla, are instead rows of large curved dorsal spikes. Those fins begin at the back of the head and continue down the length of the body and whip-like tail, growing larger on the back. The two largest fins on the shoulders. Originally, Zilla was not to have any sort of breath weapon in the 1998 film, but an angry-fan petition forced Emmerich and Devlin to include one in their screenplay. Since Zilla is such a large animal, whenever he roars, a blast of powerful wind blasts out of his mouth. This breath weapon has many fan-created names, but in the script and the DVD audio commentary, it's called "power breath". Twice in the film, it gives the illusion that Zilla is breathing fire. The first time, he uses power breath near two burning vehicles. The second time, he roars near two vehicles that crash into each other, causing an explosion. Z illa lacks the Toho Godzilla's strength, size, formidable regenerative abilities and near-impenetrable hide, as proved by his death in the original film, but he is faster and more agile, being capable of running at 480 kilometers per hour (300 mph),[3] outrunning several helicopters in one instance. In Final Wars, Zilla also showed the ability to make fast enormous leaps, demonstrated when he jumped over Godzilla's atomic breath to attack. Zilla is also not as aggressive or combative. It only acts aggressively when severely provoked and will usually flee. Most of the damage caused by it is purely unintentional, as opposed to the original Godzilla, who is a vicious and savage fighter, and more than willing to destroy anything in his path and would aggressively pursue and fight anything until he has killed and/or destroyed it. In the animated series, aliens called the Tachyons find the original Zilla and resurrect him as Cyber-Zilla.

Zilla, it possesses numerous new weapons, such as a sonic emitter, eight dorsal fin missile launchers, and Atomic Flame Breath like his son, but with a blue color. Metal parts replaced most of Cyber-Zilla's body including a cybernetic right arm and a strange metal "helmet" for the cyborg's head. Cyber-Zilla's roar was also changed to a more metallic sound. When he becomes a cyborg his skin changes from gray to brown and his back plates change from blue to gray. The color change is most likely indicating decay, since he became a cyborg a couple years after he had originally died.

Godzilla (the series)[]

Zilla's only surviving son who appears briefly at the end of the 1998 film and the star of Godzilla: The Series, differs from his parent in many ways. He is the same size as his parent and is extremely fast and manuverable. He also possesses many of Godzilla's notable abilities, including a fast healing factor, a much tougher hide, and the ability to fire a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth, which is green in color and resembles a flamethrower. His dorsal fins and neck frills glow blue and his eyes flash yellow (in some episodes red) just before he uses it. Unlike his parent, who was asexual, this Godzilla is sterile. There's a popular rumor that Toho honored this one by calling him "Godzilla Jr." seeing it was worthy of the Godzilla name, but it turned out that the rumor was completely false mainly because the name "Godzilla Jr." still belongs to the creature of the Heisei series from the mid 90's. People sometimes confuse themselves with the name Godzilla Jr. and Zilla Jr. Toho's Godzilla Jr. appeared in 3 films of the Heisei series years before the 98' film and the animated version. He first appeared as Baby Godzilla in "Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II" in 1993. The second film in which he appeared in as Little Godzilla was in "Godzilla vs Space Godzilla" back in 1994. It was then that Little Godzilla continued to grow and earned the nickname Jr. when he appeared in "Godzilla vs Destroyah" in 1995. Jr. looked very much like his father with the exception of his size and dorsal fins. But Jr. has developed his fathers fighting ability and even defeated the second incarnation of Destroyah by himself.

Baby Zillas[]

The first Zilla asexually laid over two-hundred eggs in Madison Square Garden. When they hatched, they fed on fish that their parent had left for them. When they ran out of fish to eat, they began hunting for other sources of food. They also began eating humans who smelled like fish. Devlin and Emmerich's baby Zillas received much criticism due to the scene by scene recreation (or ripping-off) of Jurassic Park's raptor sequences. All the baby Zillas were killed by a missile strike to the Garden, except for one. He appeared briefly at the end of the 1998 film and later starred in Godzilla: The Series.


Zilla reproduces asexually, a trait which is not uncommon in some reptiles. In the 1998 film, Nick Tatopolous states all the Zillas were "born pregnant". However, the last baby Zilla, which appeared briefly at the end of the 1998 film and would later star in Godzilla: The Series as an adult, is sterile (possibly due to a birth defect). In one episode he falls in love with a mutant komodo dragon named Komodithrax. She has the ability to fertilize her own eggs, thus laying a giant egg all by herself. Zilla and Komodithrax begin to raise a family, Zilla being the egg's surrogate father. Unfortunately, both Komodithrax and the egg are killed in the same episode by a giant turtle, which was killed by Zilla.

Other appearances[]

Godzilla made an appearance in a 2006 Doritos commercial, in which he picks up a truck of Doritos and shakes chips into his mouth. In another Doritos commercial, he devours a spicy variant of Doritos, roars in pain, and dives into the Hudson River. Both were meant to parody the bait scene in the 1998 movie. At the time of the release of the 1998 movie, he made several commercials for Taco Bell, crossing paths with the Taco Bell chihuahua. He also made an appearance in Armageddon alongside other Godzilla toys during the opening sequence in New York, when a little dog attacked the Godzilla toys on sale. This was a friendly jab at the other big special effects movie of that summer, which was released a month and a half earlier. In the Robot Chicken episode "That Hurts Me", the segment "Godzilla Remade Again" featured Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich remaking Godzilla once more; the segment goes on to show a scene of baby Zillas attacking, only to begin inexplicably roller skating and dancing in a rink. When the studio head bemoans the fact that he trusted Devlin and Emmerich to make a decent Godzilla film, for the second time, and that they instead have produced an unmarketable pile of crap, for the second time, Devlin and Emmerich give each other a high-five. Godzilla's roar is uttered by a garden snake in the very beginning of the Camp Lazlo episode "Snake Eyes". The roar is also audible in the trailer for Spider-Man 3, when the Sandman dives down from the sand truck. In a Phineas & Ferb episode a T-Rex is shown being over 100 ft tall and using Godzilla/Zilla's trademark roar. In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Fin Fang Foom had his distinctive roar during the fight with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts.

Video games[]

Zilla was a playable character in Godzilla Generations for the Sega Dreamcast. Unlocked after finishing the game with "Godzilla 1954", he is the fastest of the playable characters. His roar restores less health than the other Godzillas, but he is a bit tougher to compensate. His breath weapon is a powerful blast of air; while the shortest-ranged, it has the longest duration, able to take down the Super X in one blast and the Super X-II and Super X-III with two blasts if timed right. His special attack is a fast run that crushes and smashes everything he runs over and into. He doesn't take damage while charging and it lasts a fair amount of time. "Godzilla '98" (in-game "GODZILLA") also appeared in Godzilla Trading Battle for the PlayStation. For Game Boy Color, the game Godzilla: The Series, and its sequel Godzilla: The Series - Monster Wars featured Godzilla Jr.


  1. Rickitt, Richard (2006). Designing Movie Creatures and Characters: Behind the Scenes With the Movie Masters . Focal Press. pp. 74–76. ISBN 0-240-80846-0
  2. Trivia for Godzilla: Final wars on (retrieved on March 19, 2011)
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named QA

External links[]