Its humble beginnings, according to the show, included merely an eclectic trio of opportunists and explorers: Dr. Keiko Mira (Mary Yamamoto), a scientist who has been tracking strange radiation patterns spanning remote areas of the globe, Lee Shaw, her newly appointed military liaison (portrayed in two different time periods by father-son team Wyatt and Kurt Russell) and Bill Randa (Anders Holm), a filmmaker and writer. Fans of the franchise will recall Randa is a recurring character, portrayed later in life by John Goodman in Kong: Skull Island.
The trio almost literally stumble on to each other to form a great working bond. Shaw is the dreamer, with a knowledge of ancient myth and the stories being told about legendary creatures. Mira, the pragmatist, careful in her approach but driven by her curiosity. Naturally Shaw is the no-nonsense strong hand of the group, but hides his own nature as someone hoping to impress the military brass and climb the ranks.
Eventually, with the backing of the U.S. Army, Monarch evolves into a massive conglomerate of globally recognized scientists and the armed forces. They work more in the shadows, hiding a lot of their knowledge of the existence of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) from the public. While they claim that their work is predominantly to protect these colossal Kaijus, there has always been an ulterior motive within the military aspect of the company. There are those either within Monarch, or who work alongside Monarch members, who seemingly feel as if control or possibly weaponizing the MUTOs is the primary goal. Famously, Walter Simmons, billionaire and CEO of Apex Cybernetics, used the skulls of fallen kaijus to power a psionic link to his Mechgodzilla, and make the man made monstrous machine come to life in Godzilla vs. Kong.
Simmons also wanted to harness the energy of Hollow Earth to power his greatest creation, and possibly corner the energy market, and he’s not the only one who thinks along those lines. Legacy of Monsters shows General Puckett (Shaw’s superior) trying to either harness the atomic energy of Godzilla, find a way to control the creature, or likely, destroy it.
Where Has Monarch Appeared in the MonsterVerse?
Broken down chronologically (at least in Legendary’s MonsterVerse), one of Monarch’s first prominent missions was on Skull island, during the aptly named Kong: Skull Island (2017).
In a familiar trio formation, an older Bill Randa is accompanied by geologist, Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), and biologist San Lin (Jian Tian) to map out the famous island and study its wildlife. As is the common tendency with Monarch, the mission went horribly wrong, thanks in no small part to Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to take on the title king, and naturally losing everything to Kong.