Director Michael Dougherty and production designer Scott Chambliss tweaked the look of all the outsized beasts featured in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (out May 31). But the pair decided that a close-to-complete overhaul was required when it came to Mothra, who first appeared in the Japanese 1961 movie which is named after the giant flying critter and over time has become one of the most beloved creatures in the Godzilla universe.

“In most of the iterations, Mothra was the least designed of the creatures,” says Chambliss. “She looked like a real moth that had been blown up a zillion times. We approached each of these monsters as specific characters, with their own innate characteristics that were manifested in their bodies. Mothra is traditionally seen as a female entity, and we wanted to give her that feminine presence and also grace, but of course insane strength and a fiercesomeness as well. Bringing those qualities out while remaining true to the idea of flying Mothra was interesting. We went through more iterations trying to discover what the fine details of that were than we did any of the others.”

Dougherty and Chambliss resolved to show the character’s inner light in a literal fashion.

“Mothra’s always been beautiful, from her very first film,” says Dougherty. “That’s always been how she sets herself apart from the other creatures. So, where the other creatures definitely instill a sense of fear and terror, Mothra brings a sense of awe and wonder and beauty. It was important to me that her new design pays tribute to what came before but I really wanted to introduce the concept that she’s bioluminescent. Mother Nature has gifted bioluminescence to a lot of different animals and I like the idea that Mothra really uses her bioluminescence to communicate, possibly even as a weapon.”

Watch the trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters above.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters postersMothra

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