Note: This article is about two specific M.U.T.O., not the entire species. This might change if more M.U.T.O.s are discovered throughout the MonsterVerse franchise.
|“||M.U.T.O.: Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. It is, however, no longer terrestrial; it is airborne. Now, the World still thinks this was an Earthquake and it would be preferable that that remain so. Before we lost sight of it, it was heading east across the Pacific and had emitted enough E.M.P. disruption to create havoc with our radar and satellite feeds and reduce us for the moment, to a strictly visual pursuit. I emphasize for the moment, because we will get on our game and we will find this thing. It is operative that we do so.||„|
|~ Rear Admiral William Stenz on hunting the Male M.U.T.O.|
|“||The Arrogance of Man is thinking Nature is in their control and not the other way around.||„|
|~ Dr Ishiro Serizawa|
The Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, more commonly and simply referred to as M.U.T.O.s, are prehistoric parasitic kaiju and the main antagonists of the 60th Anniversary 2014 Godzilla reboot film, which is the first installment in Legendary's MonsterVerse franchise.
Similarly to the Shinomura, they are giant, prehistoric, parasitic creatures of unexplained origin and are ancient parasites that come from the same era and ecosystem as Godzilla. Much like Godzilla, the M.U.T.O. feed off of radiation. However, unlike the surviving Godzilla, who adapted to live at the bottom of the ocean and feed off the planet's natural radiation, the M.U.T.O. are actively drawn to sources of man-made radiation such as nuclear warheads and chemical weaponry.
They were motion captured by Matt Cross and Lee Ross.
The M.U.T.O. are ancient parasites that come from the same era and ecosystem as Godzilla. Much like him, the M.U.T.O. feed off of radiation. However, unlike the surviving Godzilla, who adapted to live at the bottom of the ocean and feed off the planet's natural radiation, the M.U.T.O. are actively drawn to sources of man-made radiation such as nuclear warheads and energy plants.
The M.U.T.O.s were discovered in the Philippines in 1999 after a mining operation drilled into a cave containing two parasitic spores, one of which had already hatched. The newly hatched male M.U.T.O, who had hatched after being disturbed by the cave collapsing, burrowed its way to the Janjira nuclear power plant in Japan, where it caused the plant to collapse from underneath, killing Sandra Brody and several other workers, and causing the entire are to be evacuated because of radiation leaking from the plant.
This was the work of the recently hatched male M.U.T.O., who was looking for a source of radiation that would be able to grow and sustain it while it entered hibernation. Despite the destruction of the plant, the M.U.T.O. linked itself to the radiation hot spot and entered a cocoon-like state, absorbing all the radiation from the surrounding area. The second pod containing the female M.U.T.O was taken by the Americans to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository in Nevada.15 years later, the male M.U.T.O. finally emerged from its cocoon and let out a mating cry for its female counterpart. It laid waste to the power plant once again, killing dozens including Joe Brody before sprouting its wings and taking off. It later was tracked to Hawaii feeding on radiation and later fought off the military and caused destruction, where it faced Godzilla but fled after a short battle. Meanwhile, the female M.U.T.O. hatched as well and broke out of the mountain it was contained in, and began to make its way through Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both the winged and eight-legged M.U.T.O. arrived to fight Godzilla in San Francisco, California, after the M.U.T.O.s were lured there with a nuclear bomb, and Godzilla, in turn, was lured there by the M.U.T.O.s. In the following hours, after setting up their nest and using the bomb to feed their eggs, they were attacked by Godzilla who fights at first against the eight-legged M.U.T.O. and quickly overpower her, but before he can kill her, the winged M.U.T.O. comes to her aid.Together, the M.U.T.O.s were able to overpower and mercilessly pummel Godzilla. Meanwhile, Ford Brody found the M.U.T.O. nest and destroyed the eggs in an explosion, which drew the rage of the female M.U.T.O. onto him and away from Godzilla. Godzilla then rose back up and attacked the female with his atomic breath, but before he can finish her off, the male attacked Godzilla once more. The two battled until Godzilla killed the male by smashing it into a building with his tail, impaling it on a loose support beam, but by then, the female had already fled to chase after the bomb.
Ford's team was slaughtered by the M.U.T.O., leaving Ford alone to try and get the bomb out to sea where it can explode safely. Despite this, the M.U.T.O. was easily able to catch up, both seeking a new source of radiation and knowing Brody was the one that destroyed her nest. Before she could destroy the boat and kill Brody though, Godzilla re-emerged and killed the eight-legged M.U.T.O. by holding her mouth open and firing his atomic breath into her throat, causing her neck to explode. After letting out a victory roar, Godzilla dropped her decapitated head into the ocean, and fell onto some destroyed buildings, exhausted, before regaining enough strength to return to sea the next morning.
As individuals, the M.U.T.O.s are not given much character construction. Being prehistoric parasites, their sole goals revolve around consuming radiation, reproduction and survival. In spite of this, what was made them villains in the film are their frightening presence and indifferent with death and destruction that they left as they only cared for their brethren and nothing else.
Being the first member to be encountered, the male is described as young, growing, looking for food before meeting with the female, so he consumes radiation to gain strength. When he encounters Godzilla for the first time, he reacts with hostility and becomes defensive, attacking him whenever an opportunity becomes available and evading when possible.
Once the male had matured enough, the female awakened from her dormancy and traversed through Las Vegas and other environments to meet with the male, who brought with him a nuclear warhead as a sign of courtship for their eggs to feed upon. She seemed to exhibit pain when laying her eggs in the M.U.T.O. nest in San Francisco, and became hostile and defensive when Godzilla appeared and fought with him alongside the male M.U.T.O. to defend their nest.
As a team, they are powerful and able to best Godzilla with their combined strength. If nothing had distracted them from fighting Godzilla in San Francisco, they may have killed him.
When they noticed their nest had been destroyed, the female exhibited a sense of loss over the demise of her eggs and then anger, but how much of this sense of loss is debatable, as she became angry and looked at Ford Brody, possibly marking him as the one responsible, but was unable to take action when Godzilla used his atomic breath on her, knocking her out.
The male attacked Godzilla just before he could attack the female again, showing a protectiveness for her, even willing to risk his own life for her until she recovered.
Powers and Abilities
Both M.U.T.O.s have several abilities:
Both M.U.T.O.s can use echolocation to communicate, find a source of radiation, and locate each other.
The M.U.T.O.s are able to unleash electromagnetic pulses from their claws, which can disable electric apparatuses in a 5-mile-wide radius, labelled the "Sphere of Influence" by the news. There doesn't appear to be any limit to how often they can do this. In the official novelization, it is explained the EMP ability evolved as a defense mechanism, used to prevent Godzilla's species from using the atomic breath.
The male M.U.T.O. has wings which he can use to fly. The speed at which he can fly is undetermined.
The female M.U.T.O. has the ability to reproduce sexually. She lays hundreds of eggs near radioactive objects so that when her offspring hatch, they can immediately feed off the radiation. As parasites, the females of the M.U.T.O. parasitic species lays their eggs inside the radioactive carcasses of the larger Godzilla species in order to reproduce.
Physical Strength and Durability
Both the male and female M.U.T.O.s possess immense physical strength and durability. The male M.U.T.O. was strong enough to dredge up a Russian Typhoon-class sub from the depths of the ocean and pull it dozens of miles inland on the island of Hawaii; the fact that he could perform such a feat, and later attack a ship in San Francisco Bay to collect a nuclear warhead, implies that he posses some swimming capabilities. The female was able to claw herself out of Mount Yucca, as well as being able to destroy buildings with ease. She was also able toss Godzilla himself around a few times, despite his own immense size and weight. Both M.U.T.O.s were durable enough to take barrages of both small and large arms fire without any damage. However, their strength and durability appears to be inferior to Godzilla's.
Oliver Gettell of the Los Angeles Times called the M.U.T.O.s "Godzilla's most important co-stars", praising them as threatening antagonists that encourage the audience to root for Godzilla. Some viewers have been critical of the M.U.T.O.s' design, which was perceived to be similar to that of the Cloverfield monster. WatchMojo.com listed the M.U.T.O.s as #10 on their "Top 10 Godzilla Villains" list.
- Originally, Godzilla's opponents in the film were intended to be a six-legged ankylosaurus-like monster called Rokmutul and a pterosaur-like creature called Pterodactyl. Both monsters closely resembled the classic Godzilla monsters Anguirus and Rodan, and were most likely designed as stand-ins for them. A different concept monster appeared in the original Comic-Con teaser trailer for the film. This monster, nicknamed "Vishnu" by fans, only appeared briefly laying dead, and looked like a giant tardigrade.
- The M.U.T.O.s' role in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla mirrors that of the Gryphon from the scrapped 1994 American Godzilla film.
- The M.U.T.O.s are the first American-made kaiju to be specifically created for a Godzilla film, not counting the Gryphon from the unmade 1994 American Godzilla film, and the TriStar Godzilla from the 1998 American film, which later became the monster Zilla in Godzilla: Final Wars.
- The M.U.T.O.s are Godzilla's first completely original opponent since Titanosaurus in Terror of MechaGodzilla and Orga from Godzilla 2000. Every other enemy Godzilla has fought since then are either enemies he has fought before, clones of him, or are derived from or based on an existing monster.
- The M.U.T.O. were portrayed in a more realistic manor than many other Godzilla villains as they were prehistorically mutated creatures instead of aliens or deities and are less evil than many other Godzilla villains as they wanted to reproduce and ensure the survival of their species instead of just taking over the world for themselves, though granted the M.U.T.O.s did want that.
- The M.U.T.O.s have about 15 minutes of screen-time, surprisingly longer than Godzilla's 11 minutes. This was likely made to give the M.U.T.O.s more development as villains.
- The M.U.T.O.s are one of the few Kaiju to almost kill Godzilla.
- The M.U.T.O.s are the first monster villains in the Cinematic Universe, MonsterVerse.