Did The Monarch Finale Actually Change Godzilla Canon?
How the Monsterverse was (and wasn't) impacted by the epic new series.
In the finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, three generations of monster hunters were united and two famous monsters made surprising appearances. After all the globe-spanning adventures and time-skipping shenanigans, has the canon of Godzilla, King Kong, and the “Monsterverse” films been altered?
At the end of the Monarch Season 1 finale, “Beyond Logic,” the answer is... kind of. In its 10 episodes, Monarch redefined the history of its titular monster-hunting organization, while delivering a twist ending that dropped a Kong-sized bomb. But how much did the show actually change? Let’s dig in.
Spoilers for Monarch Season 1 ahead.
Monster time travel
In most of the existing Monster-verse movies, the idea is that a hollow Earth exists and that the Titans, or the MUTOs, emerge from specific portals throughout the Earth. In Monarch — specifically in the final two episodes — we learn that this “other realm” is basically a timeless Doctor Who-ish dimension, in which you can enter for a few hours, and have several years pass on the outside. In the episode “Axis Mundi” (also a name for the other realm), Lee Shaw jumps from 1962 to 1982. This fact later explains how Kurt Russell’s older Lee Shaw manages to look roughly 70 even though he should be in his 90s. And, at the end of the series, in the final moments of “Beyond Logic,” we learn that Cate, May, and Keiko have traveled two years into the future, putting them in 2017, instead of 2015.
The revelation that Axis Mundi is a kind of temporal envelop in which time flows differently is, by far, the biggest contribution to the Monsterverse canon from Monarch. While we’re meant to assume that other parts of the Hollow Earth don’t have this timey-wimey feature, we witness Godzilla and several other monsters using Axis Mundi to get around. That, right there, is the biggest twist of Monarch: Godzilla is a time traveler.
How Monarch twist ending sets up two existing Monsterverse movies
As producers, Chris Black and Matt Fraction told Inverse at the start of the season, “We were just looking at these Legendary films, and those have big, big open spots on that timeline... There are big gaps in that cinematic timeline.” At the start of the show, you’d think that these gaps mostly applied to the time between the 1950s and the 1970s — IE early ‘50s flashbacks in the 2014 Godzilla and the events of Kong: Skull Island, which was set in the 1970s. But by the end of the show, the gaps where most of the story takes place happen in the 21st century, but not the present day.
As was made clear early in the series, the majority of contemporary plotlines in the “present” of the series occur in 2015, a year after “G-day” happened in the first Godzilla reboot movie in 2014. But at the very, very end of the Monarch finale, after spending some time in the “other realm,” Cate, her grandmother Keiko, and May all end up two years into the future, which would put them in 2017. We see that they’ve popped out on Skull Island and that, yes, King Kong is out there monkeying around.
But, funnily enough, this puts our Monarch characters into the action a few years prior to Monster-verse movies that have already been released, Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021). This also means that everyone is hanging out well before the upcoming 2024 film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.
So, what does that mean long term? Relative to the monsters themselves, oddly, not much. Monarch may have jumped across seven decades thanks to flashbacks, split timelines, and actual time travel. But in the end, his mid-quel is very self-contained. And that was kind of the point of Monarch. As Chris Black told Inverse: “We’re creating our own characters and telling our own story.”
In the end, Monarch was probably the first of its kind for a big franchise show: a sci-fi monster series that required no homework at the beginning, and no big movies to worry about at the end.