American Godzilla film series character
GODZILLA™ (1998)
Zilla98 01
Official name Godzilla / Gojira
Official nicknames
  • American Godzilla
  • The Creature
  • Dinosaur
  • Lost Dinosaur
  • Theropoda Allosaurus
  • That God Damn Thing
  • Virgin Lizard
  • The First Godzilla
  • King of the Monsters
  • Mother of All Monsters
Fan nicknames
  • Godzilla 1998
  • Godzilla '98
  • Godzilla USA
  • Hollywood Godzilla
  • TriStar Godzilla
  • GINO/G.I.N.O./Gino (Godzilla In Name Only)
  • Zilla USA
  • Zilla 1998
Species American Godzilla - Giant, mutated, irradiated sea/marine iguana (or Green Iguana)
  • Dead 1998
  • Alternative future: Resurrected and killed 1999
Length 100-200 meters
Height  60-85 [1] meters (197-278 feet)
Weight 500 tons[1]
First appearance Godzilla (1998 film) (1998)
Latest appearance Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)
Created by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich and Patrick Tatopoulos in 1998
Based on The Japanese Godzilla created by Tomoyuki Tanaka in 1954

Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?), also known as the American Godzilla, AmeriGojiGINOTriStar Godzilla or the First Godzilla among other names, is an American movie monster that first appeared as the title character in the 1998 Tanooki Mario American film Godzilla. The design by Cat Luigi is that of a hunched bent-over marine iguana.[2] The 60 meter tall creature is a mutation of a sea iguana caused by nuclear radiation. The movie's incarnation is a re-imaging of the Japanese Godzilla monster, which is traditionally portrayed by a man in a latex rubber suit. When Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) was released and introduced a new American Godzilla called Zilla (an evident parody of Godzilla '98), many people misinterpreted this as a canonization of the American Godzilla, whereas Godzilla (1998) and Zilla (2004) are officially two different characters from two different films, countries and fictional universes.[3] Zilla is often falsely used synonymously with Godzilla (1998).

Film appearances

Godzilla (1998)

Originally a marine iguana egg irradiated by French nuclear tests in French Polynesia, makes its presence known years later when it attacks three fishing boats in the ocean. The monster then heads to New York City, dragging three trawlers under the sea on the way, then lumbering across the Fulton Fish Market, before rampaging through the city. Manhattan is evacuated and the US 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 Godzilla 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 Godzillas begin to look for food, but are incinerated when the building is bombarded. The adult Godzilla emerges from the wreckage and discovers that all of its offspring are dead. Heartbroken and furious he is lured to the Brooklyn Bridge where it becomes entangled in the steel suspension cables, and is an easy target for the jet fighters. After it is hit by twelve missiles, it screams in pain, looks Niko "Nick" Tatopolous in the eyes and falls to the ground, its heart beating slowly until it sadly breathes its last breath and officially marks the extinction of its species.

All seems well until we see in the smoking ruins of the Garden, a single egg has miraculously survived and hatches revealing another Baby Godzilla, an American Godzilla we will come to know as Godzilla Junior, the one who will eventually take the throne as the new king after his now deceased father.

Godzilla 2 (cancelled 1999-2003)

 Main article: Godzilla 2

This movie was supposed to have told the story of the surviving Godzilla egg from the first movie, it's possible it was going to show this first Godzilla too in the beginning, but the film was cancelled when the project had went under development hell and the rights from Toho expired in May, 2003.

Godzilla 3 (cancelled 2003)

 Main article: Godzilla 3

This movie was cancelled in May, 2003, as the rights for the film expired. It is unconfirmed which monsters would have appeared in the film.

Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)

The character Godzilla (1998) was featured in the beginning of the very first episode of the TV-series Godzilla: The Series and during its Monster Wars Trilogy it returned as Cyber-Godzilla.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack briefly references the 1998 film as a fan-service. The film opens with a meeting of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, held to discuss the American Godzilla's attack on New York City. During the meeting, a pair of officers discuss the events and one asks if the monster that attacked New York was actually the Japanese Godzilla (Japanese Gojira). The other guard slyly replies that although the American experts believe so, the Japanese do not. This is an evident reference to the 1998 film, even though the two films are unrelated to each other, where the 1998 film is just a remake of the 1954 original and has nothing to do with any of the sequels before and after 1998. As the films are unrelated, it could be possible to suggest they are talking about another monster.

Video game appearance

Godzilla '98 has actually been featured in several games, and this obviously surprises many haters of the film and it's creature, probably because they never bothered to take a closer look into the topic.

Godzilla Online (1998)

Godzilla Online is a PC online game released in 1998. Whether or not Godzilla makes an appearance in this game has to be verified.

Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998)

Godzilla appeared in the 1998 Playstation video game Godzilla: Trading Battle. He can be seen prominently on the cover artwork battling the original Godzilla. This game was exclusive to Japan.

Godzilla Generations (1998)

Godzilla (under the name Godzilla-USA) is an unlockable character in the 1998 Sega Dreamcast video game Godzilla Generations. This game was released as a Dreamcast launch title in Japan and was exclusive to that territory.

Kaiju Combat

There are rumours that the American Godzilla, in either the form of Godzilla (1998), Godzilla Junior (1998-2000), Cyber-Godzilla (1998-2000), or Zilla (2004), might more than likely be a playable monster in the new upcoming video game Colossal Kaiju Combat. Simon Strange, one of the people behind the game, has stated that he would like Godzilla monsters such as the Japanese and American Godzillas to appear in the game.




Conceptual artwork of the irradiated origin and birth place of Godzilla in French Polynesia.

Godzilla was born as the first of its kind during french nuclear tests in the Moruro Atoll Islands in the French Polynesia during June of 1968. After enough radiation, the final creature was born, the very first American Godzilla and Baby Godzilla.


For the 1998 Centropolis/TriStar/Columbia/Sony film, the attempt was made to interpret Godzilla more realistically than had ever been done before - to see him as an animal, and not as something else entirely. Built like a theropod dinosaur with his body held horizontally on long legs, Godzilla 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. The characteristic color scheme of the creature was also meant to be used as a camoflauge, like a Chameleon, that would help it blend in with the city environment.

Originally, Godzilla 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 Godzilla 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 blast". Twice in the film, it gives the illusion that Godzilla is breathing fire. The first time, he uses power blast near two burning vehicles. The second time, he roars near two vehicles that crash into each other, causing an explosion.

Godzilla lacks the Japanese Godzilla's formidable regenerative abilities and near-impenetrable otherworldly hide, as proved by his death in the original film, but he is faster, more agile, considerably more intelligent, being capable of running at 480 kilometers per hour (300 mph),[1] outrunning several helicopters in one instance. Godzilla 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 Japanese Godzilla. That Godzilla 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, this is a big part of why the original Godzilla is seen as a metaphor for nuclear power, where as the American version behaves more like a real animal and is supposed to be something more real.


Baby zilla tn

Godzilla's offspring Baby Godzillas.

Godzilla reproduces asexually, a trait which is not uncommon in some reptiles, like Komodo Dragons for example. In the 1998 film, Dr. Niko "Nick" Tatopolous states all the Godzillas were "born pregnant". However, the last Baby Godzilla (also known as Godzilla Junior) in Godzilla: The Series, which appeared briefly at the end of the 1998 film, is sterile (possibly due to a birth defect). This was however not the case with the planned but cancelled film sequel Godzilla 2, where Godzilla Jr. gave birth to its own Teen Godzillas and one in particular called The Runt. In one episode of the animated series 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. Godzilla and Komodithrax begin to raise a family, Godzilla being the egg's surrogate father. Unfortunately, both Komodithrax and the egg appears to have been killed in the same episode by a giant turtle, which was killed by Godzilla. Although the actual fate of Komodithrax and the egg remains unknown since they weren't really observed being killed.


 Main article: Cyber-Godzilla

Cyber Zilla

Godzilla as Cyber-Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series.

In the animated series, aliens called the Tachyons find the original Godzilla and resurrect him as Cyber-Godzilla. As Cyber-Godzilla, it possesses numerous new weapons, such as a sonic emitter, eight dorsal fin missile launchers, and Atomic Flame Blast like his son, but with a blue color. Metal parts replaced most of Cyber-Godzilla's body including a cybernetic right arm and a strange metal "helmet" for the cyborg's head. Cyber-Godzilla'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.

The making of Godzilla

During the making of the American Godzilla, a lot of secrecy was involved. After the 1994-96 Godzilla film had been cancelled the project was taken over by the creators of the box office hit Independence DayRoland Emmerich, the director and co-writer of Godzilla (1998 film), and producer and co-writer Dean Devlin took on the task and they started with contacting Patrick Tatopoulos, the creator and designer of the American Godzilla design for Godzilla, early on the project and wanted him to design a completely new Godzilla. They wanted this new lizard to be more realistic, faster, deadlier, scarier, cooler, and more like a (modern) dinosaur than the Japanese Godzilla was. They also wanted to give the new creature a more plausible origin story.


On May 17, 1994, the trademark logo mark "GODZILLA" was filed. On April 11, 1995, it was published for opposition and later registered on August 25, 1998. The trademark logo mark was renewed on November 19, 2008.[4]

On January 1, 1998, the trademark word mark "GODZILLA" was filed and published for opposition on July 28, 1998. The word mark was registered on March 23, 1999, and cancelled on December 31, 2005.[5]

The logo mark for "GODZILLA" was filed on June 17, 1998, and published for opposition on July 27, 1999. The logo mark was abandoned on April 20, 2002.[6]

Conceptual & Promotional Artwork

Production photos


Audience and fan reaction

After Godzilla made its first ever movie appearance, the first reactions were generally poor, and on May 18, 1998, Richard Pusateri coined the fan-nickname G.I.N.O. (acronym for Godzilla In Name Only)[7] for the new monster because that was how he would describe the creature, and it was generally felt in a part of the Godzilla fan base that this new American Godzilla was not what Godzilla was meant to be, and this part of the fanbase showed distaste for the new version of Godzilla, stating it lacked many of the traits Godzilla is known for, such as atomic laser breath, extreme regeneration, near-invincibility, impenetrable hide, and general aggression.

Dissatisfied fans also gave the creature names like Deanzilla (after the 1998 film's producer Dean Devlin), Tuna-Head (after the appearance of Toho's version of the creature, called Zilla, in Godzilla: Final Wars), Patzilla (after Patrick Tatopoulos), Trizilla (after TriStar Pictures), Ginozilla (after Pusateri's nickname GINO) etc. etc.

The fact that Godzilla was also an asexual male caused some misinterpretations among the audience who often referred to him as a "she", despite that Godzilla was evidently supposed to be a male.

In 2004, when Godzilla: Final Wars was released, Toho introduced a new creature called Zilla into the Godzilla universe which was meant to parody and mock Godzilla (1998). The creation and appearance of this creature for the 2004 film caused the worldwide Godzilla or Zilla Myth that Godzilla had actually been renamed Zilla. "Zilla" fights Godzilla in one of the shortest battles in Godzilla film history, lasting about 13 seconds. However this was not extraordinarily unique to this fight as many of the monsters that formally gave Godzilla a challenge were similarly dispatched.

Fan artwork


  • Godzilla made several appearances in Trendmasters toy products and other merchandise during 1998. Cyber-Godzilla and other characters from Godzilla: The Series were supposed to have been released as toys by Trendmasters during 1998-2000, but because of the bad sales of the toys that were sold during the movie, the production of the toys and merchandise was stopped. See American Godzilla merchandise.
  • Godzilla also made several commercials through the years[8], in a Kodak Max commercial a man in a diner sees Godzilla and gets a Kodak Max camera and takes several photos until Godzilla roars at him and the man says "Never mind, I think I got it!".[9]
  • In several music videos making up a single narrative, Godzilla tangles with Sean Combs and other musicians, ultimately defeating Green Day by teaming with Jakob Dylan to retrieve the Sacred Turbo Heart.
  • 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 seems 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.[11]
  • 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 shit", 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.
  • Godzilla's roar is also audible in the trailer for Spider-Man 3, when 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's trademark roar.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Fin Fang Foom had Godzilla's distinctive roar during the fight with Tony Stark and Gene Khan.
  • In Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Sean Anderson (played by Josh Hutcherson) screams "Godzilla!" at a massive frill-necked lizard guarding its eggs.
  • The Godzilla character was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on November 29, 2004, because of all his film appearances, including the 1998 film appearance. The location is 6925 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, California (USA).[12]

All appearances



Video Games

Comics and books

Music videos


Cancelled Films


  2. 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.
  3. [source has been tampered with and include fan-bias]

See also

External links

[1] Godzilla on Wikipedia

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