Mothra vs. Bagan

Unmade Film
Intended Release:
1990

Conceived by:

Kazuki Omori

Mothra vs. Bagan


Japanese Title

モスラVSバガン
[Mosura vs. Bagan]

A large avalanche occurs in the Himalayas, awakening the legendary monster Bagan and sending it on a wave of destruction.

Meanwhile, while monitoring the deforestation status in China using the Landsat, Global Environment Conference staff member Masako Tezuka discovers a strange object in the depths of Borneo Island. Together with TV director Kenji Andoh, photographer Takuya Fujita, and two of the locals Jouji Minamigaki and Puto, Masako and the other four meet up at the designated location and find a giant egg accompanied by two small beautiful fairies, the Shobijin. However, Minamigaki concocts a selfish plot to kidnap the Shobijin to take with him to Japan as souvenirs, and he succeeds. While Masako and company track Minamigaki, the giant egg hatches, and Mothra Larva is born.

Mothra Larva pursues the fairies and appears in Singapore, preventing Minamigaki from escaping to Japan. The larva ends up fighting with and temporarily repelling the nation's army but is seriously weakened, and she cocoons herself against the Westin Stanford Hotel. The army takes this opportunity to counterattack using four heat masers, but this strategy ends up having the opposite effect as the larva's metamorphosis is sped up, and the adult form of Mothra emerges from the cocoon.

After easily dispatching the masers, Mothra resumes her pursuit of Minamigaki, who at the time is on a train headed to Bangkok while being confronted by Masako and company. Suddenly, Bagan appears, and Minamigaki is killed amidst the fierce fight between the demon beast and Mothra. When Bagan vanishes into the sea, Andoh secretly snatches the Shobijin and heads to Bangkok with the others.

Mothra is once again attacked by the nation's Armed Forces, this time in the sky, but the agitated goddess outmaneuvers and destroys the aerial fleet. She then appears in the skies of Bangkok, but by this time Masako, now accompanied by Miki Saegusa, who was hired to track Bagan but ended up hearing the S.O.S. call of the Shobijin in the process, retrieve the fairies successfully and quell Mothra's anger.

Masako and company take the Shobijin to the Royal Racecourse to meet up with Mothra. The Shobijin use their language transformation abilities to communicate, and explain the history of Mothra and Bagan: "Mothra was the forest-protecting god from long ago, and Bagan was the god of darkness. In an ancient battle, Bagan was sealed away in the Himalayan Mountains, but the monster has been revived due to recent deforestation."

Before the Shobijin and Mothra can depart, Bagan launches a surprise attack from the sky, and Mothra is gravely injured in their battle. Seeing the weakened adult's plight, the Shobijin sing their song, giving birth to a new Mothra Larva from a giant egg in the depths of Borneo Island. Weakening Bagan enough with her poison powder, Mothra takes Bagan to an island and is accompanied by the newborn Mothra Larva, who rushes to the battlefield. Fighting with their lives on the line, the combined powers of the larva's web attack and the adult Mothra's poison powder finally defeats Bagan. Everyone cheers. The adult Mothra then carries Bagan's wrapped body out to sea, where with the last of her power she seals the demon in the depths of the ocean. Soon after, Mothra's dead body dances down from the sky.

Before leaving with Mothra Larva, in their final wish to everyone, the Shobijin plead: "Please do not awaken Bagan again. Mothra bet her life and confined it in the sea. Please, do not waste Mothra's death." Masako and company see the new Mothra and the fairies off, promising to do their best to better the world. Boarding helicopters, they find the adult Mothra's floating body, her shiny wings spread out on the ocean's surface, drifting away on the waves...

Deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, something begins to stir. The violent battle between Mothra and Bagan influenced the condition of a sleeping beast, restoring it to full health. The world would soon be at the mercy of a familiar threat: Godzilla.

Background - Images - Concept Evolution

LOST PROJECT HISTORY

Following production of Godzilla's 17th outing, Toho set out to return their second most popular character, Mothra, to the big screen. For this project, Toho intended to pit Mothra against Bagan, a heavily revamped version of what was first conceived in Resurrection of Godzilla (Tanaka Proposal) under the name "Bakan". The movie was also going to be a direct sequel to Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), taking place one year after and being on a more global scale, with segments occurring in Thailand, Nepal, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The screenplay was finished on April 4th, 1990 and the attached staff included: Kazuki Omori as writer/director; Koichi Kawakita as special effects director, with Tomoyuki Tanaka and Shogo Tomiyama as producers; Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa; Yuko Asano as Masako Tezuka; Masahiro Takashima as Takuya Fujita; Masato Furuoya as Kenji Andoh; and Sachiko Suzuki and Shoko Aida of the Japanese pop group WINK as the Shobijin.

Unfortunately, Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) didn't meet the firm's expectations at the box office, and Mothra vs. Bagan was canceled as the company deemed it too risky to do a monster film without Godzilla in a leading role. With the project lost, Kazuki Omori proposed a totally different screenplay in 1990 titled Mothra vs. Godzilla, having Mothra face off against Toho's most iconic monster. Though Bagan was never realized, Kazuki Omori very briefly played around with the idea of adding the monster in the movie. However, Omori started having second thoughts as he began to wonder about the appeal of Mothra among audiences, if the impact of her debut would be lessened due to the introduction of a new monster and Godzilla, and if this would cause a dip in video sales. As a result, his screenplay went unused, and to instead commemorate their 60th anniversary as a company, Toho began work on Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), as the three-headed monster placed highly in a "favorite monsters" theatrical poll among Japan's young male demographic, with Mothra being the favorite among the young female demographic.

Eventually, Omori would be given another chance at reviving his Mothra vs. Bagan screenplay in 1992. An altered draft of the movie had Godzilla completely replace Bagan's role, an edit done half-jokingly by Omori to see what would stick. Eventually, Godzilla would be included in the script in a totally new role, while the antagonistic part of Bagan would be handed over to the "evil Mothra" concept Gigamoth from Godzilla vs. Gigamoth, who would later become Battra. In the end, the story of Mothra vs. Bagan would be heavily revised into what would eventually become Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).

Out of all the unused projects, Mothra vs. Bagan is especially noteworthy for being one of the furthest along in development before being canceled, even garnering the approval of current Toho president Tomoyuki Tanaka. Another interesting thing to note is that this movie was also planned to be the first reoccurring appearance of the Miki Saegusa character from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), and would have been her only role outside of the Godzilla films.


Monsters



Aliens, SDF & Misc.

Shobijin (1990)
Shobijin (1990)
Atomic Heat Ray Gun (1990)
Atomic Heat Ray Gun (1990)
F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
F-15 Eagle
F-15 Eagle
Indian Nuclear Submarine
Indian Nuclear Submarine



Background and Trivia

  • The article picture featuring the Bagan model was created by digital artist dopepope using Yasushi Nirasawa's concept art as a basis and commissioned for use on Toho Kingdom by staff. Larger versions of the images seen in the gallery and other renders can be viewed on dopepope's ArtStation and deviantArt pages. The images of Mothra (adult and larva) were rendered from pictures taken by Toho Kingdom forum member Michal Shipman and used with permission.
  • Another common title for the movie is 『モスラ対バガン』, using 対 (Tai) as opposed to "VS", though both terms still mean "versus".
  • In an interview with Toho monster designer Shinji Nishikawa conducted by David Milner in December 1995, Nishikawa noted how he made more designs for Mothra vs. Bagan than any of the Godzilla films he had worked on in the Heisei era.
  • According to director Kazuki Omori, Mothra vs. Bagan was intended to kickstart a tetralogy, with the aforementioned movie being the first part in the four-part series. The series would have pioneered a new line of monster movies outside of just featuring Godzilla. The character of Miki Saegusa was also intended to have a major role throughout this series, with an unused "hidden story" that would have explored a big secret of her past. This information can be found in the special features of the 2002 Toho-published Japanese DVD release of Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).
  • In an interview featured in the 1993 publication Toho SF Special Effects Series VOL. 7: Godzilla vs. Mothra (ISBN: 4924609439), Kazuki Omori explained that outside of fears that Mothra would be unable to carry a movie with her name alone, another reason for Mothra vs. Bagan being axed was the idea that new monsters were disinteresting to moviegoers, a correlation made between the introduction of Biollante and her debut film underperforming in theaters despite Godzilla being the star. This was also one of the main contributing factors as to why Toho gave the go-ahead for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) with two pre-established, popular monsters.

    In the same interview, Kazuki Omori noted that the relations between the characters from Southeast Asia and Japan in Mothra vs. Bagan were meant to parallel those of Japan and the United States portrayed in Ishiro Honda's Mothra (1961).
  • While vaguely alluded to in storyboards of the movie, some other elements were considered to appear somewhere in the movie script, including a tease regarding Bagan's origins, and a cameo appearance by Godzilla, who had been asleep in the sea due to being infected by the ANEB from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). These teasers would have directly tied into the tentatively titled Godzilla 3, which would have expanded upon these ideas.

Images


Concept Evolution

Mothra vs. Bagan Concept Evolution Mothra vs. Godzilla Concept Evolution Godzilla vs. Mothra (Early Draft) Concept Evolution Godzilla vs. Mothra
Mothra vs. Bagan   Mothra vs. Godzilla   Godzilla vs. Mothra (Early Draft)   Godzilla vs. Mothra