Can change between a land-based Monkey God Beast form when touching the ground, an aquatic Water God Beast form when in the sea, and a flying Dragon God Beast form when in the air; changing forms fully regenerates Bakan; able to merge all three forms into a larger Demon Beast form but can no longer transform or regenerate; (Monkey) flame attack from mouth; extraordinary jumper; (Water) liquid ray from mouth; adept swimmer; (Dragon) lightning beam from mouth; flight
First featured in producer Tomoyuki Tanaka's 1980 proposal for a "Resurrection of Godzilla" movie, Bakan was a powerful entity found in Chinese myths, made legendary for its ability to transform between three different forms: a Monkey God Beast, which excelled at melee combat and could only be used on the ground; a Water God Beast, which was frequently used for water-based combat and could only be used in the sea; and a Dragon God Beast, which flew the skies on giant wings and could only be used in the air. The shapeshifting monstrosity could alter its cells to change its appearance, so long as it made contact with the appropriate elements. It wouldn't be until Shuichi Nagahara's 1983 manuscript for a "Resurrection of Godzilla" that a fourth and final form for Bakan would be introduced, a Demon Beast that fused the three pre-existing forms into one collective monster. In both movies, Bakan would have had a temporary victory over Godzilla, only to exhaust itself when Godzilla is revitalized by absorbing nearby nuclear energy, and would eventually die at sea.
Unfortunately, despite the very unique aspects of the monster, its ability to change into so many different forms was one of the contributing factors that would have driven production costs too high, which Toho was not comfortable with doing. As a result, Bakan was written out of future drafts which would eventually lead to the creation of The Return of Godzilla (1984).
Despite no longer being on the table, Bakan was not forgotten. Somewhere down the line, the monster would be renamed "Bagan", and would have been featured in the 1990 movie Mothra vs. Bagan as the titular antagonist against one of Toho's most popular monsters. Despite the minor name change, Bakan's "three-form monster" concept would briefly live on in early stages of the movie, now in the forms of a Spirit God Beast (the Monkey God Beast equivalent), a Dragon God Beast (a mix of Bakan's Dragon God Beast and Water God Beast forms), and a Demon God Beast (a replacement to Bakan's Water God Beast). But as development continued, Koichi Kawakita would later axe the shapeshifting aspect and instead consolidate the three forms into one monster, similarly to Bakan's final Demon Beast form. This new breed of Bagan would share the many abilities that had been granted to Bakan's separate forms, while brandishing unique powers of its own - and it would gain the reputation as being Toho's most well-known unmade movie monster.
One of the most intriguing aspects regarding Bakan is the spelling of its name. A majority of publicized material have the creature named after its 1990's reinterpretation, Bagan. While Bagan was meant to be a revival of the 1980 concept, Bakan's name was slightly altered in the process, and it seems Toho has since retconned "Bakan" to "Bagan" ever since. Likewise, the Japanese spelling for both names is extremely similar: Bakan being バカン, and Bagan being バガン. While material containing Bakan's original name is scarce, three sources exist that specifically mention it: in issue #7 of the fanzine Godzilla Resurrection Committee (Japanese: ゴジラ復活委員会); in the Summer 1982 "Godzilla Special" No. 4 issue of Quarterly Magazine Cinema Eye (Japanese: 季刊誌「シネマアイ」); and in the 2010 book "Godzilla" Toho Special Effects Unpublished Material Archive: Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and His Era (ISBN: 9784048544658).
While no official word as to why Bakan's name was changed, there's the chance it was due to it consisting of the word "baka" (Katakana: バカ), which means "fool" or "stupid". It may also have been changed to Bagan so not to prevent confusion over the two, as both monsters are regarded as being one in the same by Toho.
No official concept artwork of Bakan exists. The sketches featured in the article picture were created by an artist in issue #7 of the fanzine Godzilla Resurrection Committee (Japanese: ゴジラ復活委員会), while the models in the gallery are 3D renditions of these sketches created by digital artist Digiwip. The black-and-white illustration featuring the "true" Demon Beast form of Bakan in the gallery was illustrated by Hurricane Ryu, while the colorized interpretation was done by artist hea777.
According to Tomoyuki Tanaka, Bakan's three forms were have been three different colors, one for each form. Only the Water God Beast's color is known, described in text as being a "slimy green sea dragon".
As Bakan has been referred to as Bagan for many years, in order to differentiate it from its 1990's counterpart, fans dubbed the monster "totem Bagan", after the merged final form.
Only the size of Bakan's Water God Beast form is known, being around 60 meters long. It can be assumed the Monkey God Beast and Dragon God Beast forms may also be around this size, however.