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Entertainment & Arts

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ director explains that Mothra Easter egg

la-et-hc-godzilla-director-ghidorah-mothra-rodan
Mothra, right, takes on Rodan in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Godzilla and Ghidorah were plenty destructive in their battle to be recognized as the King of the Monsters. But Mothra is the undisputed Queen.

The giant moth-like monster first appeared in the 1961 Toho film “Mothra” and is among the most popular kaiju in the “Godzilla” franchise. And unlike the majority of her fellow kaiju, Mothra has always been depicted as a hero and a protector of humanity.

[Warning: Some spoilers for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” below.]

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” remains faithful to her legacy, and Mothra is the only Titan shown not rampaging her way around the planet in response to Ghidorah’s call.

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Mothra “is always worshiped as a goddess,” said the film’s director and co-writer Michael Dougherty in a recent interview. “She hatches out of an egg, usually surrounded by a group of followers during a song and dance number, and she’s always been worshiped as a very benevolent protector.”

“King of the Monsters” features plenty of blink-and-you-miss-it Easter eggs in homage to the many kaiju movies that came before it. And there are a number of references that acknowledge Mothra’s history.

Mothra’s larval form emerges at Monarch’s Outpost 61 — a number that is clearly a reference to the year Mothra made her debut.

After cocooning under a waterfall, Mothra eventually emerges in her winged form. Briefly seen watching over the creature is a Monarch scientist named Dr. Ling, who appears to be Dr. Ilene Chen’s twin, as both women are played by Ziyi Zhang.

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Then, when Dr. Chen reveals she is a third-generation Monarch recruit, she shuffles through a few photos that also appear to feature a few generations of twin sisters. The most prominent photo shows one set of twins at “Infant Island, 1961.”

Infant Island is the fictional island featured in 1961’s “Mothra” inhabited by indigenous islanders who worship the kaiju. Among them are tiny twin fairies (originated by identical twin sisters Emi and Yumi Ito, a.k.a. the Peanuts) whose singing is key to awakening their goddess/protector. The relationship became a fixture in subsequent Mothra appearances.

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“I was determined to try and make the twins work because I love the twins,” said Dougherty. “They always represented so much to me because they were a perfect example of how humans and creatures could theoretically work together — that hope that giant monsters and human beings could form a symbiotic relationship with each other.

“The twins are an example of a very successful, long relationship,” added Dougherty. “So I wanted to make sure that we found some way to incorporate them, even if it was a little bit of an Easter egg.”

Although Mothra does not survive the final showdown between Godzilla and Ghidorah, fans know there’s no need to worry: Mothra always leaves an egg behind.

In fact, one of the headlines shown during the end credits is about a mysterious egg discovered by Monarch. So it’s possible another Mothra could be born in a future installment if her presence is needed to save the world again.

tracy.brown@latimes.com

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Twitter: @tracycbrown


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