This article contains spoilers for Monarch: Legacy of Monsters season 1.
The history of the MonsterVerse stands revealed in the Apple TV+ original series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Set in the aftermath of Godzilla’s cataclysmic emergence in San Francisco, as chronicled in 2014’s Godzilla, a young woman named Cate Randa (Anna Sawai) travels to Japan after her father’s apparent death only to learn her family is part of a global conspiracy involving Titans like Godzilla. Teaming up with Kentaro Randa (Ren Watanabe), the half-brother she never knew she had, Cate travels the world with her father’s old associate Lee Shaw (Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell in flashback) to learn more about Monarch, the clandestine organization overseen by her adoptive grandfather Bill Randa (Anders Holm).
Here is how the first season finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters leaves its characters, what earth-shattering revelations are made, which characters don’t make it to see the ending alive, and how the finale sets up a colossal direction for a potential second season.
The Story So Far…
After traveling to Japan to gather her late father Hiroshi Randa’s belongings, Cate was shocked to learn that Hiroshi had an entire secret family in Tokyo, including a son named Kentaro. Along with Kentaro and his ex-girlfriend May Mateo (Kiersey Clemons), Cate tries to decipher Hiroshi’s files to learn what other secrets her father kept from them. This places them on the radar of Monarch, who pursues Cate and her friends after they break out Hiroshi’s old associate Lee Shaw from house arrest.
The 2015 narrative is juxtaposed by Shaw’s younger days as a military officer in the years after World War II assigned to protect scientists Bill Randa and Keiko Miura. After witnessing the emergence of Godzilla in the South Pacific, Randa theorizes that the Earth is hollow and home to similar behemoths, referred to as Titans. While on an expedition in Kazakhstan in 1959, Keiko falls into Hollow Earth and is presumed lost, with Randa adopting her young son Hiroshi and raising him as his own.
In 1962, Shaw leads an expedition into Hollow Earth only to learn that time passes differently due to the changes in gravity in the fantastical realm, returning to the surface in 1982 relatively unaged. In 2015, Kentaro discovers Hiroshi faked his death while continuing his investigation into Monarch, Hollow Earth, and Titans in the wake of Godzilla’s appearance in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Cate, May, and Shaw crash into Hollow Earth after being attacked by a Titan where they meet an unaged Keiko.
The Legacy of Monsters season finale opens with two very different family reunions, each bittersweet in their own way. Because of the temporal fluctuations in Hollow Earth, Keiko feels like only 59 days have passed since she arrived and is horrified when Shaw and the others inform her it’s been 56 years since she was on the surface. Keiko is heartbroken to learn Randa has died in the decades since her disappearance, but the blow is softened when Cate introduces herself as her granddaughter, even with the women relatively close in physical age.
On the surface, Kentaro and Hiroshi assume Cate and the others who crashed into Hollow Earth are dead, with Kentaro angrily blaming his father’s obsession for causing it. Initially, Kentaro wants nothing to do with his father and storms out to a local bar where he is intercepted by Monarch operative Tim, who had pursued him for much of the season. Disillusioned by the current leadership of Monarch, Tim persuades Kentaro to reconcile with his father and work with them to continue their investigation into Titans and Hollow Earth, with Kentaro reluctantly agreeing.
The Death of Lee Shaw
Traveling through Hollow Earth together, Shaw leads the assembled group to the vehicle he used during his failed rescue mission in 1962, which is still operational due to the difference in time lapses within this realm. Powering it with a large device Keiko has been safeguarding during her own time in Hollow Earth, the group prepares to return home to the surface. Keiko initially feels she is better off remaining in Hollow Earth, believing she wouldn’t fit in the world she left behind, but Shaw convinces her to join their escape.
As the team powers up their vehicle to return to the surface, the Titan that knocked the group into Hollow Earth in the first place resurfaces and disrupts the power connection. Shaw leaves the vehicle to reconnect the power source, manually holding the cables together as Godzilla appears and battles the Titan, killing it after an epic battle. Though the vehicle is finally able to escape, Shaw willingly lets go and falls to his apparent doom to prevent his weight on the outside of the vehicle from throwing off its balanced trajectory, upsetting Keiko as she loses the one of the few people from the surface that she actually knows.
Returning to the surface, Keiko and the others are greeted by Kentaro, Hiroshi, and Tim, who are now working together for Apex Cybernetics, a splinter faction from Monarch that May has history with and destined to create MechaGodzilla in Godzilla vs Kong. As Keiko reunites with Hiroshi and meets the grandson in Kentaro that she never knew she had, Cate accepts the family she only just discovered over the course of this adventure. As Kentaro catches up with the others on what has transpired, he explains that the group in Hollow Earth were gone for two years on the surface, now in 2017, despite approximately a day or two passing for them while they were trapped underground.
This happy reunion is cut short, however, as another Titan begins to approach the Apex station: King Kong, with the station revealed to be located on Skull Island. As Kentaro leads the personnel to safety, humanity’s renewed connection to the super-sized simian prior to capturing the beast in Godzilla vs. Kong begins to take shape with this cliffhanger ending. And with the narrative now in 2017, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters moves closer to the events of 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters as the MonsterVerse saga continues, filling in the creative spaces between the movies while detailing the lore behind Hollow Earth and the Titans.
Will There Be Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 2?
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters certainly leaves the door open for a season 2, especially given its final tease as its main characters return to the surface. Just as season 1 explored the history behind Monarch, season 2 could delve into the history of Apex Cybernetics and how they became the organization to eventually create MechaGodzilla. Monarch itself is still active, as the clandestine organization approaches the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which could bring in some familiar faces from the 2019 movie.
The first season employed a dual narrative, jumping between the young adventures of Lee in the ‘50s and ‘60s and his final days in 2015. Season 2 could focus its time-shifting stories on someone else, including Keiko’s lengthy ordeal in Hollow Earth and her acclimating to modern civilization. And, of course, with King Kong now in the mix, his history in the MonsterVerse can be unveiled just as Godzilla’s was in season 1, offering a closer look at the backstory of Skull Island.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is available to stream on Apple TV+.