Mongo (fictional planet)
Map of the planet Mongo
|Notable locations||Mingo City (Capital city)
Frigia (Located on the first moon)
Land of the Lion Men
The Fire Lands
Syk, the Blue Magic Kingdom
|Notable races||Hawkmen, Lion Men, Gillmen|
|Notable people||Prince Barin
Ming the Merciless
Queen Desira of Tropica
Gundar, the Desert Hawk,
Mongo is inhabited by different cultures. Some are technologically advanced, but they are falling under the domination of the tyrant Ming. Flash Gordon succeeds in unifying them against Ming and eventually removes him from power.
Mongo is depicted as Earth-like. Its atmosphere is compatible with Terran life, and the dominant species on Mongo is the Homo sapiens. Other intelligent species exist, either Homo sapiens variants or others of a humanoid pattern, such as the Lion Men. Mongo is about the diameter of Mars, but is considerably denser, so its gravity is only slightly weaker than the Earth's, though it still allows Flash Gordon to put his gymnastics skills to good use.
Mongo has a variety of climates. Part of the planet is covered by the forest kingdom of Arboria, ruled by Prince Barin. An area of mountains and caverns makes up the frozen kingdom of Frigia, ruled by Barin's cousin, Queen Fria. Beneath the Sea of Mystery is the underwater kingdom of Coralia, ruled by Queen Undina. Bordering the sea is the Land of the Lion Men, ruled by King Thun.
East of the Lion Men's kingdom are the Magnetic Mountains, where Ming the Merciless established a new base of operations after he was defeated and removed from Mongo's throne. North of this is the Sky City of the Hawkmen, led by Vultan. To the South it is claimed the Monkey Men live. Between Mingo City and Sky City is the land of the Brown Dwarves. There is also the jungle continent of Tropica, ruled by Queen Desira, and the Fire Lands, home of Gundar the Desert Hawk. Mongo also has extensive underground domains.
These kingdoms and their rulers feature prominently in The New Adventures of Flash Gordon.
Mongo, and the wider Flash Gordon setting, was designed to be more fantastical and comic book-like than its contemporary, Buck Rogers. Despite its futuristic technology, the inhabitants of Mongo are frequently depicted in terms of sword and sorcery tropes. This is most evident in the underground caverns of the Witch Kingdom of Syk, a land that Ming has never been able to conquer. Its legendary founder, Ghor-Dhan (pronounced as "Gordon"), appears identical to Flash Gordon. Queen Azura, the ruler, becomes convinced that Gordan is the reincarnation of Ghor-Dhan.
Mongo, ruled under a unified world government, is ruled from Mingo City, site of the palace of Ming the Merciless, who appears to be the Emperor of all Mongo. Mongo's political structure is exclusively monarchical. Each realm Flash Gordon visits has its own king or queen. Most seem to give at least some deference to Ming the Merciless, the exceptions being Prince Barin and Thun, ruler of the Lion Men.
Thun informs Flash Gordon that Barin should be the emperor, but he adds that in his view this would be no improvement. Ming's authority appears to be based as much on his vast military power as on his legal position. A reference is made to legends that Ming once was the high priest of an ancient Mongovian king, and that he (Ming) launched invasions 'long and long ago'. Ming claims to be immortal, and these tales may be meant to support this.
When Flash Gordon arrives on Mongo, he finds Prince Barin is leading a guerrilla war against Ming from Arboria. Thun the Lion Man is also Ming's active enemy. However, Prince Barin is at odds with the Lion Men and almost everyone else. Gordon learns that "every race on Mongo is an enemy to every other race" and "each man stands alone on Mongo". Much of Gordon's effort is directed toward overcoming this mutual antipathy.
The social structure of Mongo is oppressive. Ming uses slave labor to mine radioactive elements for power and industry. Thun tells Gordon that one week in the mines can damage your health, and 100 days is the life span of the workers. Ming's beautiful daughter Aura hunts people for excitement.
The lesser rulers of Mongo also practice slavery. The Hawkmen of King Vultan use slave labor from rival states in high-radiation work, and even Prince Barin hunts political enemies for sport. King Vultan of the flying Hawkmen has ambitions of becoming Ming's son-in-law by a forced marriage to Ming's daughter Aura. The various nations view all outsiders as enemies to be slain or exploited. Of all the rulers Flash meets, Thun is consistently the most honorable, loyal, and decent.
Academic John Cheng identifies themes of yellow peril in depictions of Mongo's politics. Cheng calls these themes "different and more radical", as Ming's control of Mongo is absolute and openly acknowledged instead of a secret and shadowy conspiracy. Though they are the invaders, Flash Gordon and his friends are depicted as liberators of planet Mongo. Cheng states that their use excorporation in order to weaken and ultimately unseat Ming reinforces his nature as "familiarly Asian".
Flash Gordon revival
In the Scifi Channel series Flash Gordon, Mongo is a planet, "in another dimension" (i.e. parallel universe). It is explained that "the dimensional shift" is "quite small" and that there is an inherent connection between Earth and Mongo, where the quantum mechanics of Bell's theorem and EPR paradox are working on a planetary scale. That is why there are so many similarities between both worlds, including language and Homo Sapiens evolving on both planets. It is theorized that at some point in time and space, the two planets were much closer.
In the episode Sorrow, it is revealed that Mongo was once a prosperous blue and green planet; it relied on a glowing red ore called zerilium that was mined on the moon. Mongo's inhabitants even built two small artificial moons named Arkaylia and Surd to process zerilium and shelter the miners. An accident on Mongo released poisonous zerilium gas into the air, which caused acid rain, killed wildlife, and contaminated Mongo's water. The planet became uninhabitable. A small portion of Mongo's people emigrated to Arkaylia. After three generations on the artificial moon, Mongo's environment partially repaired itself. As a result, the people returned to the planet. Clean water, known as "source water", still remained scarce and came from underground. Centuries later, Ming seized power and began his rule.
Flash Gordon film
In the Flash Gordon film from 1980, Mongo is depicted as a barren world covered with tall, very slender hills that look like spikes, but with a very colorful extended atmosphere that is capable of supporting the weight of various miles-wide chunks of rock that are called "moons", including Arboria and Frigia. The people of Mongo resemble humans but with slight differences, such as having blue or green blood, or having their bodies undergo rapid disintegration when killed.
- Lucanio, Patrick; Coville, Gary (2002). Smokin' Rockets: The Romance of Technology in American Film, Radio and Television, 1945-1962. McFarland & Company. p. 38. ISBN 9780786412334.
- Cheng, John (2012). Astounding Wonder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780812206678.