The entire human race will perish from the Earth. When the monster Ghidorah passes, only flaming ruins are left.
~ Mas Selina Salno about King Ghidorah
Ghidorah is a space monster. The monsters of Earth cannot win!
~ Queen Kilaak about King Ghidorah.
However strong Godzilla becomes, Ghidorah will kill it!
~ Chuck Wilson as Godzilla and King Ghidorah fight.

King Ghidorah, also known as Ghidrah or more simply just Ghidorah, is the main antagonist of the Godzilla franchise who first appeared as the titular main antagonist of the 1964 Showa movie Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. He is a giant three headed dragon-like kaiju and the archenemy of Godzilla.

In the original Showa series, Godzilla Island, and Rebirth of Mothra III, he is an evil space monster who has destroyed countless planets including Mars, either for himself or for the alien races that control him. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, he is a mutant created by the Futurians from creatures called Dorats. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, he is instead one of the three guardian monsters who awaken to battle Godzilla. Therefore, he is portrayed as a heroic monster for the first and only time. He will later appear in the sequel to Godzilla (2014).

He was portrayed by the suit actors, Haruya Sakamoto (Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster), Shōichi Hirose (Invasion of Astro Monster), Susumu Utsumi (Destroy All Monsters), Kanta Ina (Godzilla vs Gigan), Hurricane Ryu Hariken (Godzilla vs King Ghidorah), Tsutomu Kitagawa (Rebirth of Mothra III) and Akira Ohashi (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack).


Showa Series

Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster


King Ghidorah in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

King Ghidorah serves as the main antagonist.

King Ghidorah first arrived on Earth in a meteorite that crashed in the Japanese countryside. Ghidorah broke free from the meteorite and proceeded to terrorize Japan, destroying various cities with his deadly gravity beams. A prophetess who claimed to be from Venus said that King Ghidorah previously wiped out all life on Venus and destroyed their advanced civilization, and would do the same to Earth. Mothra arrived in Japan to try and convince Godzilla and Rodan to join forces with her to stop King Ghidorah. The two monsters refused and decided to keep fighting each other. Mothra attacked King Ghidorah on her own, and was mercilessly beaten. Inspired by Mothra's courage, Godzilla and Rodan entered the battle, and together the three monsters were able to drive King Ghidorah back to outer space.

Invasion of Astro-Monster

King ghidorah 1965 01

King Ghidorah in Invasion of Astro-Monster

King Ghidorah serves as the secondary antagonist behind the Xiliens and their leader.

After Ghidorah's invasion of Earth, two astronauts who arrived on the newly-discovered Planet X found an intelligent alien race, the Xiliens, living there. The Xiliens' leader, the Controller of Planet X, explained that his planet was constantly under attack by a horrible space monster they called "Monster Zero," in actuality King Ghidorah. The Controller, knowing that King Ghidorah was driven away from the Earth before by Godzilla and Rodan, asked if the Xiliens could "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan and use them to protect Planet X from King Ghidorah. The people of Earth complied and allowed the Xiliens to transport Godzilla and Rodan to Planet X, where they encountered King Ghidorah. After a brief battle, Godzilla and Rodan sent King Ghidorah into a retreat. The Xiliens thanked the Earthlings, and kept Godzilla and Rodan on Planet X.

Later, the Xiliens revealed that they planned to conquer and colonize the Earth for its resources, and threatened to unleash Godzilla, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, who were all under their control, on the Earth. When humanity refused to yield, the Xiliens unleashed all three monsters, who began to wreak havoc. Using special electromagnetic wave technology, the people of Earth were able to sever the Xiliens' control over the monsters and later destroy the Xiliens' invasion forces with sound waves. The monsters regained consciousness and began to fight again. Eventually, all three monsters toppled into the ocean. King Ghidorah flew out of the water and retreated back to space, while Godzilla and Rodan disappeared for the time being.

Destroy All Monsters - King Ghidorah 1968

King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters

King Ghidorah appears as the secondary antagonist behind the Kilaaks.

Near the end of the 20th century, Earth was invaded by an alien race called the Kilaaks, who attempted to mind-control all of Earth's monsters and use them to wipe out human civilization. When the humans managed to free the monsters from the Kilaaks' control, the invaders unleashed their trump card to destroy the Earth monsters, King Ghidorah. Ghidorah confronted the Earth monsters at Mt. Fuji, and despite being greatly outnumbered was able to hold his own for most of the battle. Eventually, King Ghidorah was knocked onto the ground when he was kicked in the back by Gorosaurus, allowing Godzilla and his allies to stomp him to death. After Godzilla destroyed the Kilaak's base, the ground below King Ghidorah split open, and King Ghidorah's lifeless body fell into the fiery pit below, which then exploded, destroying the King of Terror for good.

Godzilla vs. Gigan


King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. Gigan.

King Ghidorah serves as the secondary antagonist behind Gigan.

In the year 1972, a group of aliens called the M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens began a plan to invade the Earth by controlling King Ghidorah and a cybernetic monster called Gigan. The Nebulans unleashed both monsters in Tokyo, where they caused untold destruction. Godzilla and his ally Anguirus arrived to try and fight the space monsters off, but were at a tremendous disadvantage. Before King Ghidorah could finish his arch-enemy, a group of humans were able to destroy the Nebulans' base, severing their control over Gigan and King Ghidorah, leaving the two monsters confused and disoriented. Godzilla and Anguirus seized the opportunity and fought back, eventually forcing Gigan and King Ghidorah to retreat back to space.

Zone Fighter

ZF - King Ghidorah

King Ghidorah in Zone Fighter.

After King Ghidorah's most recent defeat, an alien race called the Garogas, who claimed to have created King Ghidorah in the first place, took control of him and enlisted him along with Gigan in the ranks of their Terror-Beasts, which they used to attack and destroy various planets. King Ghidorah was utilized by the Garogas to invade Earth on multiple occasions, but was defeated by the hero Zone Fighter. King Ghidorah was one of few Terror-Beasts that was not killed by Zone Fighter, while his former ally Gigan did meet his end at the hands of Zone Fighter.

Heisei series

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

King Ghidorah 91

King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

King Ghidorah serves as the main antagonist.

In the year 1992, time-travelers from the year 2204 (known as Futurians) arrived in Japan to warn of a terrible cataclysm. They claimed that in the future, Godzilla would return and completely destroy Japan. The Futurians received permission to travel back to the year 1944 and remove a Godzillasaurus from Lagos Island prior to the hydrogen bomb test ten years later, which they believed would prevent it from ever becoming Godzilla. In the dinosaur's place, the Futurians left three genetically-engineered creatures called Dorats, which were exposed to the bomb test ten years later, turning them into King Ghidorah.

In the present day the Futurians, revealed to be terrorists who wanted to prevent Japan's future economic reign, unleashed King Ghidorah in the city of Fukuoka, planning to bring the nation to its knees. The Japanese government mistakenly believed that the Godzillasaurus was still dormant in the Bering Sea, where the Futurians had moved it to, and that they could turn it into a new Godzilla by blasting it with nuclear energy. The government sent a nuclear submarine to the Bering Sea, but it was intercepted en route by the fully-mutated Godzilla, who destroyed it and increased in size and power. Godzilla had not actually been removed from history, but rather created in the first place by the Futurians, because the Godzillasaurus was exposed to a nuclear submarine crash in the Bering Sea in the 1970's. The re-energized Godzilla came ashore at Hokkaido, and prepared to challenge King Ghidorah. The two monsters battled, and King Ghidorah began to gain the upper hand against Godzilla, stomping him into the ground and strangling him with his necks. However, a group of people attacked the Futurians' base of operations, the time-traveling aircraft MOTHER, and destroyed the device that controlled King Ghidorah. With Ghidorah disoriented, Godzilla broke free from his grip and blasted off his middle head with his atomic breath. Godzilla then destroyed MOTHER, killing the Futurians' leader Chuck Wilson, his associate Grenchko, and their army of androids. King Ghidorah tried to escape, but was shot down over the ocean by Godzilla.

In the year 2204, Emmy Kano, a Futurian who defected from Wilson's horrific scheme, uncovered King Ghidorah's preserved body and using advanced 23rd century technology transformed him into the cyborg Mecha-King Ghidorah. Mecha-King Ghidorah was sent back to 1992 to battle Godzilla in Tokyo and prevent him from destroying the city. Godzilla fought fiercely against the cyborg, but was finally restrained by Mecha-King Ghidorah's capture cables and giant mechanical hand. Godzilla was carried over Tokyo Bay, where he blasted Mecha-King Ghidorah with his atomic breath, sending both monsters crashing into the sea below. Godzilla survived, but Mecha-King Ghidorah was destroyed. The cyborg's remains were later salvaged by the United Nations and used to construct a new anti-Godzilla weapon, Mechagodzilla.

Rebirth of Mothra III


Cretaceous King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III.

King Ghidorah serves as the main antagonist.

King Ghidorah first came to Earth 130 million years ago in his younger form, Cretaceous King Ghidorah, and drained the life of almost every creature on the planet. With this done, the space demon encased himself in a meteor to leave the Earth, living thanks to all the life-essence he had taken. However, King Ghidorah descended upon the Earth again during a meteor shower in the present day, seeking to use the planet's children as a new source of life, but eventually began going after adults as well. King Ghidorah transported his prey to an enormous pulsating dome that he hid within the Fuji forest. Mothra Leo showed up to fight against the monster, but was completely overpowered. Knowing he had no chance of beating King Ghidorah now, Leo managed to transport himself back in time to face Cretaceous King Ghidorah and apparently defeated it. However one of the space demon's tails was cut off in the fight and burrowed into the Earth, regenerating into a new King Ghidorah that appeared on the day that the first one had. Meanwhile, Leo was on the point of death after the battle, but was encased in a cocoon by a trio of ancient armored Mothra catepillars. Meanwhile in 1999, King Ghidorah was collecting more prey, now with nothing to oppose him. However the space demon soon found opposition as the ancient cocoon that Mothra Leo had been encased in opened, releasing the far more powerful Armor Mothra. King Ghidorah engaged this new opponent, but his attacks did nothing against his new opponent's armored body, and Armor Mothra eventually succeeded in destroying the space demon for good.

Millennium series

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

Main article: w:c:hero:King Ghidorah
King Ghidorah GMK

King Ghidorah in Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

King Ghidorah was an ancient Yamata no Ororchi, an eight-headed dragon from Japanese mythology, that was slain by warriors thousands of years ago. After Ghidorah was slain, the warriors prayed for Ghidorah's soul, that he would one day be revived to protect Japan from any threats. By the year 2001, Ghidorah had only regrown three of his eight heads, but the appearance of Godzilla in Japan caused him to awaken early and join forces with the other two guardian monsters, Mothra and Baragon. After Baragon was killed, Ghidorah and Mothra intercepted Godzilla in Yokohama before the beast could reach Tokyo. Godzilla overpowered both monsters, eventually killing Mothra. Mothra's energy entered King Ghidorah and revived him, transforming him into the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah battled against Godzilla and opened a wound on his neck, which later proved critical in defeating him. Godzilla absorbed King Ghidorah's gravity beams and combined them with his own atomic breath, allowing him to completely vaporize King Ghidorah in one powerful blast. However, a submersible craft was swallowed by Godzilla and fired a D-3 missile from inside the monster, which blasted out the wound on Godzilla's neck. When Godzilla attempted to use his atomic breath, the beam fired out of the wound. After Godzilla continued to attempt to fire his beam, it eventually caused him to explode.


Following the success of 2014's Godzilla, Legendary Pictures confirmed a trilogy was in production, which will include Godzilla's archnemesis, King Ghidorah, along with two other classic monsters, Mothra and Rodan.

Kong: Skull Island

In a post-credits scene, Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah can all be seen in cave paintings. One of them depicts Godzilla fighting his old nemesis, King Ghidorah, thus indicating that either there's a prophecy that Godzilla will defeat King Ghidorah, they have fought each other in the past, or even both.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Editing begins after film's release.


Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters

King Ghidorah was awakened from an ancient temple by a monk, who believed Ghidorah was the key to stopping the giant monsters that were terrorizing the planet. Ghidorah broke free of the temple, killing the monk, and flew to the United States to battle Godzilla. The two monsters battled outside of Washingon D.C., and appeared to be evenly matched. Mechagodzilla soon arrived and used his shock anchor cables to electrocute both monsters, knocking King Ghidorah unconscious.

Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths

In this miniseries, King Ghidorah is briefly seen living alongside the other monsters on Monster Island.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War

King Ghidorah and the cyborg monster Gigan were drawn to Earth by Dr. Deverich's monster beacon, and began terrorizing the planet. The Anti-Megalosaurus Force (AMF) developed a miniature black hole gun called the Dimension Tide with the hope of imprisoning both monsters inside the black hole. The AMF lured both monsters to Antarctica, and deployed their new Mechagodzilla, Kiryu, to distract the space monsters while the Dimension Tide was prepared. Godzilla arrived in Antarctica as well and briefly joined forces with Kiryu to battle Ghidorah and Gigan, helping to imprison both monsters inside a black hole.

Godzilla: Rulers of Earth

King Ghidorah's badly-wounded body was found outside of Washington D.C. following his earlier battle with Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. The leader of the Cryog aliens, Rhizon, ordered Gigan to sever King Ghidorah's middle head, then converted him into Mecha-King Ghidorah to be used as an anti-Godzilla weapon.

It was later revealed by Rhizon that King Ghidorah was responsible for destroying the Cryog homeworld in the past.

Godzilla: Cataclysm

King Ghidorah is seen only in flashbacks, showing him doing battle with Godzilla and being defeated.

Powers and Abilities

In his basic form, Ghidorah can fly at Mach 3, fire lightning like blasts called gravity beams out of his mouths, and generate hurricane winds from his wings. In the Millenium series, he could also use an electric bite attack. As Mecha-King Ghidorah, he could fire capture cables from his chest, which would shock whatever they caught and a laser beam out his middle head and fly at Mach 4. As Cretaceous King Ghidorah, he could breath fire, fly at Mach 3, unleash hurricane winds with his wings, and regenerate. As King Ghidorah, he could still fly (even without his wings) and generate hurricane winds. He could also fire gravity bolts, generate a zero gravity field, use his scales to manipulate light from projectiles to form a shield, fire bolts of lightning from his wings, use a low level of mind control, and create a prison dome that allows things to pass through, but is corrosive to anyone on the inside.

Related Monsters

King Ghidorah is a unique monster, but other monsters of his species have appeared in other films. These other Ghidorahs are Desghidorah and Keizer Ghidorah.



  • King Ghidorah's name comes from the Japanese transliteration of the word "hydra", hidora.
  • Throughout most of the Showa Series, King Ghidorah was referred to as "Ghidrah" in English releases of the films. Toho also translated his name to English as "King Ghidora" or "Kingghidorah" during the Heisei series, but has stated that his official English name is "King Ghidorah."
  • King Ghidorah is the most common recurring enemy of Godzilla in the series, next to Mothra. Because of his total of six appearances in the Godzilla series as a villain, he is considered to be the main antagonist of the series, and Godzilla's arch-enemy.
    • King Ghidorah was also the main antagonist in the film Rebirth of Mothra III, making him the only monster to debut in a Godzilla film and later appear in a film not featuring Godzilla.
  • In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, King Ghidorah is portrayed as a heroic monster for the first and only time. This is because his role was originally written for the monster Varan, but Toho demanded that the more-popular King Ghidorah be worked into the film for marquee value. This also explains why King Ghidorah is so much smaller and weaker in the film, while in all previous films he was much bigger than and just as powerful as Godzilla.
  • King Ghidorah, Keizer Ghidorah, Gigan, Destoroyah, SpaceGodzilla and X are the only Godzilla Villains to be Complete Monsters.
  • WatchMojo listed King Ghidorah as #1 in their "Top 10 Godzilla Villains" list and as #6 in their "Top 10 Giant Movie Monsters" list.
  • King Ghidorah is arguably the fourth most dangerous and evil Godzilla villain as he is a Complete Monster with the intent of Hegemony. He is incredibly powerful and returns more often than any other villain (even from death).
    • However, he is by far the most recurring opponent of Godzilla,more than any other villain possibly more dangerous than him, meaning that he is Godzilla's most dangerous and personal enemy, cementing his status as main antagonist of the entire franchise.
    • Furthermore, he is set to be the main antagonist of the Godzilla sequel movie in 2018.
      • Arguably, the only reason Controller X would be considered more dangerous is because of the large arsenal of monsters at his command, including both Gigan and the supremely powerful Keizer Ghidorah, placing him at #1. Alone, however, he is quite helpless, despite being far more powerful than the average human thanks to his Kaiser Energy.
      • Arguably, SpaceGodzilla would be more dangerous because of his gravity, psychokinesis, and levitation abilities, which is why he is placed in #2.
      • Arguably, Keizer Ghidorah is even more physically powerful, which is why he is at #3.
      • While Ghidorah is arguably behind these three (at #4) he is a far more recurring personal enemy to Godzilla and is more the main antagonist than any of them.
      • He is also by far the most popular Godzilla villain.
           Godzilla Villains

Anguirus | Baby Zilla | Battra | Bio-Major | Biollante | Clark Nelson | Dagahra | Desghidorah | Destoroyah | Shinzo Mafune | Susumu Okubo | Ebirah | Fire Dragon | Futurians | Gabara | Gaira | Gezora | Gigan | Godzilla | Gorosaurus | Hedorah | Kamacuras | Keizer Ghidorah | Kilaaks | King Ghidorah | Kumonga | Kuronuma | M.U.T.O. | Malness | Manda | Mecha-King Ghidorah | Mechagodzilla | Megaguirus | Megalon | Millennians | Millennian UFO | Mitsuo Katagiri | Moguera | Mugal | Oodako | Orga | Planet X Controller | Queen Kilaak | Red Bamboo | Rodan | Skullcrawlers | SpaceGodzilla | SSS9 | Titanosaurus | X | Xiliens | Zilla

Alexandra Springer | Battra | Cameron Winter | Cyber-Zilla | Destoroyah | Gigan | Godzilla | Hedorah | King Ghidorah | Megalon | SpaceGodzilla | Tachyons | Xiliens | Zilla

Video Games
Anguirus | Bagan | Battra | Biollante | Desghidorah | Destoroyah | Ebirah | Gabara | General Gyozen | Gezora | Gigan | Godzilla | Gorosaurus | Hedorah | Kamacuras | Keizer Ghidorah | King Ghidorah | Krystalak | Kumonga | Mecha-King Ghidorah | Mechagodzilla | Megaguirus | Megalon | Millennians | Obsidius | Orga | Rodan | SpaceGodzilla | Titanosaurus | Xiliens | Zilla

Comics and Manga
Bagorah | Battra | Biollante | Destoroyah | Ebirah | Gezora | Gigan | Godzilla | Hedorah | Kamacuras | Keizer Ghidorah | King Ghidorah | Kumonga | Manda | Mecha-King Ghidorah | Mechagodzilla | Mechani-Kong | Megaguirus | Megalon | Mugal | Orga | Rodan | Shinomura | SpaceGodzilla | Titanosaurus | Zilla