MUTOs featured in their film debut.
|First appearance||Godzilla (2014)|
|Last appearance||Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)|
|Created by||David Callaham
|Designed by||Matt Allsopp|
|Portrayed by||Matt Cross
|Alias||Winged MUTO (male)
Eight-legged MUTO (female)
Titanus Jinshin-Mushi (MUTO Prime)
“Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism” (or MUTO for short) refers to a species of giant monsters that first appeared in Godzilla (2014).[external_link_head]
“MUTO” is an acronym for “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism”. Director Gareth Edwards stated that “it’s basically the UFO of monsters”. The film’s first draft differentiated the male and female MUTO as Hokmuto and Femuto, respectively. Official merchandise connected with the film refer to the male MUTO as “Winged MUTO” and the female as “Eight-Legged MUTO”. While the term “MUTO” is used to identify the two parasitic creatures in the film, it was originally used to reference giant monsters who are yet to be named. Such was the case in the official prequel comic, Godzilla: Awakening, where a hive-minded superorganism from the Permian era that feeds on radiation, is identified as a MUTO before being designated as Shinomura (“Swarm of Death.”) In Kong: Skull Island, Bill Randa (played by John Goodman) states that the Monarch agency (first introduced in 2014’s Godzilla) specializes in the hunt for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) changes the monsters’ designation from “MUTOs” to “Titans”.[external_link offset=1]
Male MUTO featured in Godzilla: The Art of Destruction
Upon acquiring the license for Godzilla, Legendary Pictures had planned to feature two new monsters in addition. David Callaham’s first draft featured early versions of the MUTOs where they were established as ancient enemies of Godzilla but never established as to why. When Gareth Edwards came aboard the project, he created a back story to bridge the gap between Godzilla’s connection with the MUTOs. Edwards brainstormed the idea that, “When these Godzillas were on Earth, there was another creature that would kill them and lay its eggs inside their dead bodies. Therefore, if these creatures ever came back, part of their life cycle would be the ability to attract Godzillas to the surface to kill them for reproduction.”
In an interview, Edwards commented that it took over a year to design the MUTO creatures, stressing that it took that long to create something that was aimed to be new and different for today’s day and age. Edwards and the design team looked towards past monster characters from such films as Jurassic Park, Alien, Starship Troopers and King Kong for inspiration and reflected back on what made these monsters and their designs so iconic. From this, the design for the MUTO monsters kept evolving and “mutating”, according to Edwards, into a design he felt was more cohesive. Edwards has credited artist Matt Allsopp for creating the majority of the MUTO’s designs. Edwards stated, “The DNA of the MUTO is 80 to 90 percent from Matt, he was the main guy”. Others contributed to the design of the MUTOs as well such as Weta, Rob Bliss, Steambot, and Legacy, who provided a 3-D model of the MUTOs.[external_link offset=2]
The film depicts the MUTOs as a sexually dimorphic species. The female is much larger and walks on eight limbs – the male is much smaller, with one pair of his eight limbs modified into wings for powered flight. Though the MUTOs have an arthropod-like appearance, filmmaker Guillaume Rocheron likened them more to vertebrates. The angularity of the male MUTO’s wing design was inspired by stealth aircraft. As a side-effect of the radiation they absorb as food, the MUTOs are capable of causing electromagnetic interference, the male emitting EMP shockwaves from his claws and the female having an EMP field “Sphere of Influence” surrounding her instead.
Oliver Gettell of the Los Angeles Times called the MUTOs “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 MUTOs’ design, which was perceived to be similar to that of the monster from Cloverfield.
The term “MUTO” (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) was referenced in Kong: Skull Island (2017). The parent super-species to the MUTO’s, dubbed MUTO Prime and Titanus Jinshin-Mushi, appears in the graphic novel Godzilla: Aftershock. A Queen MUTO was featured in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
- Godzilla (2014)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godzilla Smash3
- Godzilla: Strike Zone
- Godzilla: Aftershock (comic – 2019)
- ^ “Screenwriter Profile: Dave Callaham”. Fresh Voices. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- ^ a b “Godzilla (2014) Licensed Product Guide”. SciFi Japan. April 15, 2014. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
- ^ “Facebook Q&A with Director Gareth Edwards – May 4, 2014”. facebook.com. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- ^ Godzilla: Awakening, Max and Greg Borenstein, Chapter 1
- ^ a b c Orquiola, John (July 21, 2018). “Godzilla 2 Has Renamed The MonsterVerse Creatures”. Screen Rant. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- ^ “Godzilla” Director Gareth Edwards explains why monsters still matter on YouTube
- ^ Godzilla, 2014, Legendary Pictures
- ^ Gettell, Oliver (May 20, 2014). “‘ Godzilla’s’ monstrous costars: What do MUTOs mean for the franchise?”. LA Times.
- ^ Woerner, Meredith (March 12, 2014). “First descriptions of the new Godzilla monster (that isn’t Godzilla)”. io9.
- ^ Millican, Josh (April 2, 2019). “Meet MUTO Prime: The Latest Confirmed Titan in Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. Dread Central. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
- ^ Whalen, Andrew (May 31, 2019). “Godzilla: King of the Monsters Monster List: All 17 Titan Names Revealed”. Newsweek. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
- ^ JB Augustine (April 26, 2020). “Godzilla: King of the Monsters Director Michael Dougherty Reveals Design for Film’s Mysterious “Queen Muto” “. Bounding Into Comics. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- Cotta Vaz, Mark (2014). Godzilla: The Art of Destruction. Insight Editions. ISBN 0908603917.
- Edwards, Gareth (2014). Godzilla. Warner Bros. Pictures.
- Nelson, Arvid (2019). Godzilla: Aftershock. Legendary Comics. ISBN 0908603917.