Jia In ‘Godzilla X Kong’ Explained: What Is Mothra?

The human element is an important aspect of any monster feature, as it provides multiple perspectives, adds to the relatability factor, and makes the stakes feel real to the audience. Legendary’s Monsterverse has struggled with finding a compelling human character or story arc since the beginning, which is why almost every movie in the series has completely changed the cast. Most of the time, the narrative focus was either misplaced or simply detached from the creature storyline.


Earlier this year, Apple TV+’s series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters managed to crack the code by presenting a perfect balance between creature features and human elements through Lee Shaw and Keiko Miura’s story arc, which was seen as a positive sign for upcoming installments. However, with the latest entry in the franchise, Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, director Adam Wingard has chosen to go in a different direction, putting emphasis on the monsters as characters and minimizing the human elements to a vestigial part. Despite that limitation, the director has presented a memorable parallel between Kong’s journey as a character and the only interesting human character in the movie, Jia, the deaf and mute Iwi kid. Her character opens up an interesting connection to Mothra lore, acting as a homage to the classic Daikaiju movies in the process, all of which we will discuss in detail in this write-up assessing the significance of the character’s inclusion. 

Kong and Jia’s Story Arc Are Mirror Images of Each Other

Jia was introduced to the Monsterverse lore in Godzilla vs. Kong, where viewers learned about the tragic end of the Iwi tribe. Due to rapid climate change thanks to global warming caused by humans, the entire Iwi tribe was wiped out in turbulent weather conditions, leaving Jia as the sole survivor. Perhaps from the shared experience of loneliness, Jia was able to connect with Kong on a deeper level, and the duo were able to share their minds. 


During the events of Godzilla vs. Kong, after traveling to the Hollow Earth, Kong was able to find evidence that indicated that his species thrived in the Hollow Earth, but was disheartened to learn that they were no longer in the subterranean realm. In Hollow Earth, Kong found a place to live, but his yearning for a place to belong never ended as he continued hoping to meet someone of his own kind one day. The same was the predicament of Jia, who was adopted by Ilene Andrews and eventually introduced to mainstream civilization—but without her own people (the extinct Iwi tribe) by her side, for her, the experience was like living in an alien land. Finally, as a series of events led Jia and Kong to venture further inside the Hollow Earth during Godzilla X Kong, they found a place they could call home. Kong found his species living in the lair of Skar King, and Jia found an entire Iwi civilization inside the uncharted depths of Hollow Earth. Kong loses his first battle against Skar King and has to flee, and upon meeting Jia once again, he dejectedly conveys that he has lost his home. Later, as Jia answers the call of her destiny and finds acceptance among the Iwi, Kong too earns his place among the other Kongs by liberating his species from the tyranny of Skar King. However, at the same time, Jia has accepted Ilene as her mother and knows how much she cares for her, which is why she chooses to stay with her mother. The knowledge that she is not alone and can turn to the Iwi if need be gives her solace. The theme of identity and belonging connects both Jia and Kong’s arc beautifully and serves as the emotional core of the story. 

Jia’s inclusion helps to emphasize the nonverbal communication motif

Godzilla X Kong goes an extra length in establishing the Titans as characters through major lengthy sections of the movie consisting of dialogue-less interactions between gigantic creatures. Despite lacking spoken language, the universal nature of the communication allows the audience to connect with the narrative, and this is further enunciated by Jia and the rest of the Iwi tribe’s mode of speechless conversations. Iwi share a special bond with the protector Titans like Godzilla, Mothra, and Kong, and the narrative almost tries to convey that their existence outside the borders of mainstream of humanity is partially a reason for that, and in that context, their silent communication is a strong signifier of their difference.


Jia’s Destiny Refers to a Classic Mothra Connection

Lastly, through Jia’s inclusion in the narrative, Godzilla X Kong cleverly references a classic fantastical Mothra connection. During Godzilla: The King of the Monsters, the alpha protector Titan Mothra sacrificed her life to save Godzilla, and through her life essence, Godzilla was able to transcend into a thermonuclear mode and save the Earth by killing King Ghidorah. In Godzilla X Kong, the surprise return of Mothra helps the titular behemoths unite against the threat of Skar King, and Jia plays an instrumental role by reawakening the Queen of the Monsters. 

Since the first appearance of the character in the 1961 Toho movie, Mothra’s lore has included a couple of twin fairy priestesses known as Shobijin, who acted as mediators between her and the rest of humanity. While this may come off as a trope too fantasy-oriented, which is difficult to portray given the grounded nature Monsterverse aimed at, Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters attempted to hint that Monarch researcher Dr. Chen and Dr. Ling are the twin counterparts of this version of Mothra. In Godzilla X Kong, Adam Wingard takes a much more direct approach by referencing Jia as the Shobijin by allowing her to interact with Mothra and act as the mediator among the three alpha Titans. This also acts as a respectful homage to the legacy of the character. Hopefully, the future of Monsterverse will see Jia play a significant role as a human institution amidst the Titan-level shenanigans. There are ample scopes for exploring the Monsterverse mythology by incorporating the right elements, and Jia’s character is a perfect example of that. 


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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