Skar King In ‘Godzilla X Kong’ Explained: Is He Dead Or Alive?

Making a strong antagonist in monster features is always a tough task, especially when human association isn’t involved. Aside from the risk of writing becoming pretty generic and turning the characters into one-toned, motiveless evils, connecting with the audience remains a challenge. In Legendary’s Monsterverse, aside from the iconic King Ghidorah, no other adversary had managed to make that much of an impact in viewers’ minds, which is why Godzilla X Kong needed a well-written opponent to justify the team-up of the eponymous behemoths.


Spoilers Ahead

During the early production stage, the first mentions of Skar King as an evil, degraded version of Kong didn’t go down well with the fans, who considered it lazy to not come up with a new Kaiju and just use established characters as templates to create a new one. However, after Godzilla X Kong hit theaters, the reasons for making Skar King the villain are pretty apparent, as despite having relatively little screen time, the character has managed to leave a mark through his menacing presence. We would like to discuss the character in detail, which will help readers assess him as a credible adversary for Kong.


Skar King’s motivations make him Unique

In creature movies, morality doesn’t always play that significant a role, as the antagonists most often act on survival instincts or showcase territorial behavior. Skar King’s inclusion changes that in an important way. Due to his ape origin, Kong is often characterized by humanist traits, which allow audiences to empathize with him more easily compared to other monsters. Similarly, the lanky giant ape, Skar King, has been imbued with some of the worst aspects of humanity, allowing the audience to find something of themselves in his portrayal. 

From the ancient Iwi murals, it is revealed that eons ago, Titans lived in peace with the surface world and acted as the guardians of nature, with the species Kong acting as the protector of the Iwi tribe of Hollow Earth. Skar King rose to power, and his ambitious mind decided to gain control over the surface world as well. This resulted in Skar King leading an army of Kongs against Godzilla, the one responsible for maintaining balance among the Titans. After a prolonged battle, Skar King and the Kong species were imprisoned in the fiery depths of Hollow Earth by Godzilla himself. Inside the prison began Skar King’s reign of terror, as he started ruling over his kind with an iron fist.


With returning to the surface world being Skar King’s sole objective, his motive to dominate the surface world blinded him to the extent he started exploiting his kind, assigning the majority to servitude. Any possibility of dissent or rebellion was nipped in the bud, exemplified by the grotesque view of decapitated heads of apes outside Skar King’s throne room—a visual cue that immediately likens the character to the oppressive Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Aside from a devilish, enigmatic hold over his subjects, Skar King has another weapon of subjugation, which he uses to ensure his position remains unchallenged. With a mystical crystal latched to his spine-whip weapon, Skar King is able to control an ancient frost Titan named Shimo, whose powers are so devastating that she was able to trigger the last ice age upon Earth. By inflicting pain through the psychic connection of the crystal, Skar King has managed to imprison Shimo and is waiting for his chance to take over the world. However, the makers could have showcased the connection between the crystal and Shimo through a flashback sequence or how Skar King gained possession of it as well, which could have expanded the Monsterverse lore more vividly.

In terrorizing his kind, Skar King gains a sadistic pleasure, which is seen multiple times during his interaction with them. Perhaps the most adverse effect of his fear tactics is seen on the young ape, Suko, whose first interaction with Kong is filled with mistrust for the same reason. When Kong shows him kindness or care, Suko is unable to immediately reciprocate, as the trauma from the abuse he received from Skar King keeps him on his toes. Viewers get a glimpse of Skar King’s cruel, sadist mindset as he casually kicks Suko’s guardian ape to the lava, infuriating Kong immediately as a result. His cruelty extends to the treatment of human beings as well, as it is revealed that he destroyed the Hollow Earth Monarch outpost and murdered all the researchers stationed there, despite the outpost posing no threat or challenge to his dominance. Later, as the four lead Titans surfaced in Rio de Janeiro, Skar King rejoiced in unleashing Shimo’s powers upon the hapless human victims. 


All of the aforementioned horrendous qualities also showcase the superior intelligence of the ape, which is also partially the reason he remained successful in controlling the last survivors of the Kong species. Unlike Kong or Godzilla, whose primal honor guides them in battle, Skar King is a street-smart, opportunistic combatant who is willing to adopt any measure that ensures his win. It was his ambition that led to the long-standing rivalry between the Godzilla and Kong species, and ultimately, the two alpha Titans banded together to annihilate him once and for all. 

Through Skar King’s actions, viewers are able to appreciate Kong even more as a character. Whereas the tyrant leader engages in wanton violence to satisfy his killing instinct and sacrifices his subjects for selfish purposes, Kong shines as an ideal leader as he chooses to save his kind regardless of the situation, even the ones who are hell bent on killing him. Skar King’s ruthlessness is countered by Kong’s generosity, and like a true king, Kong ends the dictatorial reign of terror, liberating his kind in the process. All in all, a character like Skar King opens up multiple possibilities of experimentation with archetypes without adhering to the same old formulaic bad guy routine. Hopefully, as the Monsterverse continues to grow, more intriguing characters will rise from the depths of Hollow Earth to make the cinematic entries more entertaining and engaging. 

What Happened To Skar King?

At the end of the film, Skar King loses control of the mystic crystal, and Suko arrives in the nick of time to break it, thereby freeing Shimo from the painful psychic hold forever. Tormented for a long time, Shimo gets her revenge on her captor by freezing Skar King, and the tyrant meets his befitting end at the hands of Kong, who pulverizes his frozen form to oblivion. Kong takes his new protégé, Suko, and their new companion, Shimo, back to Skar King’s lair and frees the oppressed members of his species. While there is no chance of Skar King being revived or his bodily parts getting repurposed like it happened in the case of King Ghidorah, there is always the possibility of his loyalists scheming to dethrone the new leader. What intrigues fans the most, however, is learning more about Skar King’s battle against Godzilla’s species in the beginning and also the possible connection with the mystic crystal and Iwi quartz pyramids, both of which will hopefully be addressed in upcoming Monsterverse ventures.

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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