Varan, Baragon, Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack - Godzilla 2002
Story Written by Shusuke Kaneko
Godzilla returns to destroy Japan after fifty years, this time motivated by the vengeful spirits of the many dead from WWII. However, other powers stir to oppose the evil beast, the guardian monsters of Yamato: Varan, Anguirus and Baragon. Nor is Japan entirely without its own defenses, deploying the super-submarine Atragon and battalions of maser tanks to defend their country. In the end, Godzilla triumphs over his many foes, but is brought low when a newly developed torpedo is fired into one of his combat injuries, causing the monster to explode.
Shusuke Kaneko, the famed director of Daiei's revived Gamera series, had long desired to direct a Godzilla film. In 2001, he was given his chance. His initial story concept involved an astronaut returning to Japan, but infected by some horrible space virus. The man realizes what is happening to him, and flees before his daughter can see what he is becoming. Soon, there are reports of something monstrous moving about in the forests around Mt. Fuji. At the same time, Godzilla is discovered lurking on the sea floor, confirming Japan's greatest fear. The Maritime Self Defense Force tries to stop Godzilla's advance, but the monster makes his way to the shore, then disappears underground after fending off a helicopter attack. Meanwhile, the astronaut's daughter searches the Fuji forest, and discovers that the quickly growing beast is indeed her father, who remains kindly toward her and retains his intelligence. Godzilla soon resurfaces, bursting through a subway system. The astronaut monster attacks Godzilla, but the JSDF, not believing the daughter's account that the new monster is friendly, attack both beasts. The astronaut monster is forced to retreat, badly wounded by Godzilla. He retreats back to Fuji forest, and Godzilla goes on a spree of destruction. Comforted by his daughter, the monster returns to attack Godzilla once more after the JSDF's final stand fails to stop Godzilla. However, Godzilla maims and mortally wounds the monster. His daughter gives her life-force to the failing beast, and the astronaut creature rises once more, this time defeating Godzilla. Triumphant, the beast gathers up Godzilla's body and disappears into the sea.
Realizing that the first story was too depressing and harsh, Kaneko began to toy with another idea, reviving three of the classic series monsters to battle Godzilla in a supernatural take on the legend (and create a less serious and more fun film). However, when even some of Kaneko's friends didn't recognize names like Varan and Anguirus, Kaneko gave in to producer Tomiyama and replaced the monsters Varan and Anguirus with the more recognizable King Ghidorah and Mothra, in a play to break the slipping box office presented by Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla X Megaguirus. The mecha were also dropped in favor of the more supernatural aspects of the film.
Source: Japanese Giants #9