All The Monsters In Netflix’s ‘Skull Island,’ Explained

The legend of King Kong has attained a significant place in the sci-fi genre since the character’s first appearance nine decades ago led to the creation of a number of similarly monster-oriented media across the world. One key aspect that has always been associated with Kong’s origin is the enigmatic, mysterious Skull Island. Inspired by Jules Verne’s sci-fi novels on the exploration of the treacherous unknown, Skull Island is the quintessential perilous tropic, the result of the exaggerated accounts of European adventurers.

Often depicted as a land outside time, Skull Island is home to the giant ape Kong and numerous monstrous forms of creatures, prehistoric fauna, and flora. In Peter Jackson’s iteration of Skull Island, V-Rex and Brontosaurus were among the chief denizens of Skull Island, while in Legendary’s Monsterverse movies, unique amalgamation and evolutionary traits resulted in creatures like the Swamp Locust, Magma Turtle, Skullcrawler, Leafwing, etc. In Netflix’s Skull Island animated series, the Monsterverse continuity is showcased in vivid form, presenting some known creatures viewers previously saw in the live-action version and introducing some new ones into the mix as well.

Spoilers Ahead

Kong, The Giant Ape

Although different versions of Skull Island have been introduced through the years, two factors that have always remained constant are Kong’s supremacy over all the creatures living on the Island and his relationship with the native proto-human islanders, the Iwi. Considered the apex predator of the Island, the 100-foot-tall giant ape is the only reason that Iwis can still live in the uninhabitable conditions of the Island. As a result, the islanders revered Kong as their guardian deity and built a temple dedicated to him.

According to Monsterverse lore, Kong is the last surviving member of his species and is designated as one of the Titans, prehistoric behemoths who still exist in the world. In his role as a protector of Skull Island, Kong is fiercely territorial and doesn’t miss a chance to assert his dominance when a threat arrives at his doorstep. Kong is also rather intelligent, perhaps the most intelligent compared to  the other Titans, and can show his adept motor skills, ingenuity, and inventiveness, as well as display a range of emotions. In the animated series, Kong befriends an Iwi teenage girl, which might remind viewers of a similar bond Kong formed with the Iwi girl named Jia during the events of Godzilla vs. Kong. In the end, Kong is lured out of his temple by humans to fight against the giant squid, and assessing that Annie and Dog share a similar relationship to the one he and the Iwi teenager shared; he decides to rescue Dog from drowning.

Giant Squid-Kraken Monster

With a being like Kong sitting at the top of the Island’s fauna hierarchy, the monster adversary needs to be as formidable, and the Giant blue squid monster, which may remind viewers of the legend of the Kraken, fits the role well. Almost double in size compared to Kong, the monster was responsible for both Cap’s core team and Irene getting shipwrecked, including the deaths of Hiro and almost the entire crew from both sides. The monster was responsible for the decimation of the entire tribe of Kong’s Iwi friend, along with her as well. The major reason why escape from this version of Skull Island seemed like an impossibility was the presence of the monster in the surrounding ocean. The squid monster also has the ability to electrocute and poison its prey with its tentacles, as shown by the way Mike sustained a serious injury just by getting accidentally exposed to it. The strength of the monster is evident from the way it easily hurls whale carcasses across the Island and drowns Kong effortlessly during the initial stages of their battle. In the end, Kong perseveres and tears the beast in half before tossing it to the ocean, an action that causes tidal waves so massive they separate Annie from Dog and result in her getting knocked unconscious.

In Monsterverse lore, a mention of an even larger version of this cephalopod, a Titan named Kraken, is mentioned in the novelization of the movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is a million-year-old being intelligent enough to trick the containment measures of the shadowy monster tracker organization Monarch. Another giant cephalopod was also seen in Kong: Skull Island, which acted as nothing more than the giant ape’s food source.

Dog, The Bear-Dog Mutant Creature

Aside from the aforementioned giants, the bear-dog companion, simply named by Annie as ‘Dog,’ was the most important non-human character in the first season of Skull Island. Dog is a feral, highly territorial creature who is not only Annie’s protector but also her best friend. During her childhood, Annie and her father were stranded on an island closer to Skull Island, which had a similar strange biosphere, and they found the particular bear-dog mutant species among numerous other unique creatures residing there. In a battle to the death, both Annie’s father and Dog’s guardian perished by killing each other, leaving the two lonely orphans, who gradually befriended each other, survived, and grew up together. A decade later, Annie’s mother, Irene, arrived at her Island, and their aggressive approach alarmed Dog, who killed numerous of Irene’s mercenaries to protect Annie. During the course of the series, Dog is separated from his human friend when Irene uses him as bait for the giant hawk, but later, with the help of Charlie, he eventually gets reunited with Annie. Unfortunately, by the end, Dog will once again lose his friend when the tidal waves created by the climactic battle between Kong and the squid monster throw Annie off course. The friendship between Dog and Annie was one of the major highlights of the series, and we sure hope the next season expands upon that.

Other Notable Lifeforms Of Skull Island

Skull Island showcases a number of unique creatures as the human characters explore the perilous Island and hatch a plan to escape from it.

The bony-faced, sawtoothed, two-legged amphibian monsters known as Skullcrawlers, who have a prominent role as Kong’s enemies in the lore of the Monsterverse, appear briefly in the flashback sequence and are shown to be easily decimated by Kong.

As Charlie and Mike first arrive at Skull Island, they face humongous crabs at the seashore, who would have almost made a meal out of them if not for Annie’s interference. As Cap ventures further into the Island, he comes across a rock insect that uses its dazzling underbelly to hypnotize its prey. A prehistoric crocodilian with the ability to run and even jump is seen chasing Mike and Charlie later on.

A giant hawk-like bird that reminds us of the mythological ‘Roc’ is seen to be Kong’s ally, who brings unsuspecting prey to Kong’s temple pedestal. Aside from the mentioned creatures, a giant carnivorous tree, a giant dodo, a giant centipede, an aloe-tortoise, and a giant cat-porcupine with camouflage ability are also seen on the Island.

Overall, the crafty visuals and creature designs contribute to a rather engaging watch that was otherwise ruined by uninteresting human characters and their irrelevant issues. The medium of animation also allowed the creators to explore the flora and fauna of Skull Island with more freedom than the usual hindrances presented by the live-action versions.

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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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