Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is here! Dive into Monarch’s mysterious origin and legacy with this new series. The first two episode are available to stream exclusively on Apple TV now, with new episodes airing every Friday up until January 12th, 2024.
Monarch closes in on Cate, Kentaro, and May as they try to track down a key individual. Keiko, Lee, and Billy stumble on a major find.
If people were sceptical after the first episode, then this is the episode that changes that. The first episode was very much focused on establishing the foundations of this show, introducing us to new characters and plotting them on Monarch’s timeline. Episode two gets the ball rolling in a massive way, and actually highlights the benefits of two-episode premieres.
Taking us to the very beginning, episode two shows us how Keiko, Lee Shaw and Billy come together to form the idea of “Monarch”. It’s a very situational and relucant partnership to begin with. Lee and Keiko are forced to work together, which actually brings forth the very real American hostility towards the Japanese following WWII, as well as attitudes towards women in positions of power and authority. It doesn’t spend a lot of time on those issues, but they’re brilliantly used to bring Lee and Keiko together without making them enemies, and without deminishing Lee’s character.
There’s a charming yet slightly cautious connection between them that is further complicated by the arrival of Bill, who actually alleviates some of that pressure despite being quite the anomaly. What’s more, Bill’s character really makes the MonsterVerse feel truly connected. Not only is he a fun and compelling character, he also has a tragic history that is so vital to Monarch’s past that it’ll make you rethink his appearance in Kong: Skull Island. The Bill we see in Monarch, and the future Bill we see on Skull Island (John Goodman) are drastically different, but it seems as though this show may be paving the way to that gradual change; that intense and dangerous hyperfixation.
Of all the characters that this show has introduced, Lee Shaw, played by both Wyatt and Kurt Russell, is by far the greatest human character implemented into the MonsterVerse, Now, that’s not to say that the other characters don’t shine, not at all. Each character has their own unique personality and they contribute in vastly different ways, but they don’t quite have that dominating presence that Lee Shaw has. Wyatt embodies Shaw with charisma and endearing stubborness, yet their’s this natural curiosity that he can’t quite ignore. Flash forward to 2015 and Kurt’s older version of Shaw, who is confusingly still rather young, exhibits those same traits. The decision to cast both Russell’s as the same character may prove to me Monarch: Legacy of Monsters‘s greatest strength since the transition is utterly flawless.
Episode two is a fantastic character-driven rollercoaster that ups the ante with more intriguing teases, a real escalation on both sides of this narrative, and the arrival of a brand new Titan. As mentioned previously, this show isn’t just about the monsters. However, they certainly know how to handle the Titans. These new (and much smaller) monsters look awesome, and they’ve really allowed the creators to experiment without having to rely on Godzilla’s iconic list of adversaries. Despite being a huge fan of the many Kaiju in Toho’s arsenal, it is incredibly refreshing to see what else the MonsterVerse has cooking.
While this new Titan does look amazing, what’s even more impressive is how this show is actually expanding our understanding of these unknown creatures. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is offering us a fresh perspective while also respecting what has already been established. The same can be said for the monsters. They’re new, but they follow the same rules. King of the Monsters mentioned how each Titan has a profound effect on nature, and this is the really the only occassion where we actually get to see how these beasts interact and adapt to the surface world. It’s a very small detail, but it illustrates the level of care and detail that is being utilized to widen and evolve the franchise.
Episode Two is such a thrilling ride that slowly allows us to start piecing things together. It’s a very gradual process, and this series really excels at building tension and elevating our curiosity across two very different time periods. This method of storytelling is utterly sublime and addictive. After each episode, you’ll find yourself wanting more immediately. The diverse cast do an outstanding job at finding their own place in the MonsterVerse, but it’s Wyatt and Kurt who steal the show. There’s a beautiful relationship blossoming between the cast, and this episode is very much a catalyst that ignites a series of life-changing events on two fronts- the past and present.
Hailing from Legendary Television, the series is executive produced by Black, Fraction and Shakman alongside Joby Harold (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts) and Tory Tunnell (Spinning Out, Underground) from Safehouse Pictures, Matt Shakman (Wandavision), Andy Goddard (Carnival Row, Downton Abbey), Brad Van Arragon (Yellowjackets, Carnival Row), and Andrew Colville (Severance, Star Trek: Discovery).
Are you ready to learn the truth behind Monarch? The first two episodes are available on Apple TV right now! Episode 3 will air on November 24th. For more Godzilla and MonsterVerse goodness, click here.