|Godzilla film series character|
Male MUTO as it appears in the film
|Created by||David Callaham
Designer: Matt Allsopp
|Portrayed by||Matt Cross
|Aliases||Winged MUTO (male)
Eight-Legged MUTO (female)
M.U.T.O. refers to a species of giant monsters that appeared as the main antagonists in Legendary Pictures 2014 film Godzilla. The term "MUTO" (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) is a military acronym used to identify giant creatures that are yet to be named. Director Gareth Edwards stated that "it's basically the UFO of monsters". They are the first completely original monster-characters to have appeared in a Godzilla film since Orga from Toho's 1999 film Godzilla 2000.
"MUTO" is an acronym for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. 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 is mainly 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.")
Upon acquiring the license for Godzilla, Legendary Pictures had planned to feature two new monsters in addition to Godzilla. 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 director 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 with The Verge, 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.
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, the MUTOs are capable of emitting EMP shockwaves from their claws.
Oliver Gettell of the LA 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.
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