‘Monarch Legacy of Monsters’ Ending Explained


Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’.

The Big Picture

  • The season finale of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters successfully wraps up multiple storylines, delivering a satisfying conclusion for its human characters and the Titans.
  • Keiko discovers she has been in Axis Mundi, an in-between realm, for decades, facing the devastating truth of the passage of time and the loss of her husband.
  • In the final moments, the show sets up a potential conflict on Skull Island for a second season, introducing Apex as the new operators of the facility and Kong approaching.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters has finished the first season of its new AppleTV+ series. The finale had a lot of heavy lifting to do, and that’s just when it comes to its human characters, let alone finding room for Godzilla and the rest of the Titans. That said, Monarch manages to tie some impressively coherent and satisfying bows on the slew of storylines the series has been juggling. Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell star as Lee Shaw at different periods of his life. Anna Sawai and Ren Watabe play half-siblings (Cate Randa and Kentaro Randa, respectively), the children of Hiroshi Randa (Takehiro Hira). Kiersey Clemons portrays May (Cate and Kentaro’s impressively skilled, accidental cohort), and Mari Yamamoto and Anders Holm round out the leading cast as Dr. Keiko Miura and Bill Randa.

When we last left the show, Lee, May, and Cate fell through a rift and found themselves trapped in Axis Mundi. Lee and May found each other, but Cate was left alone and targeted by a Titan. Keiko, as it turns out, survived her fall into the realm all those years ago, and she manages to save Cate. A lot of revelations and challenges follow in Monarch‘s season finale, so let’s break down the emotional ending piece by piece.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

Set after the battle between Godzilla and the Titans, revealing that monsters are real, follows one family’s journey to uncover its buried secrets and a legacy linking them to Monarch.

Release Date
November 17, 2023

Christopher Heyerdahl , Mari Yamamoto , Kurt Russell , Qyoko Kudo


The Randa Family Faces Difficult Truths in ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’

While Cate’s mother, Caroline (Tamlyn Tomita) seemingly moved on with her life after the incorrectly suspected passing of her husband, Kentaro’s mother, Emiko Randa (Qyoko Kudo) hasn’t been able to close that chapter of her life until, at last, encountering Hiroshi in the finale. In the penultimate episode, Kentaro confronts his father with his grievances — the betrayal of his family and the blame he places on Hiroshi for whatever fate faces Cate in Axis Mundi. When Hiroshi reunites with Emiko, who has since learned of his infidelity, Emiko tells him how she and their son searched fervently for him and dreamed of the day he’d return. Now, however, their chances of being a family are squandered. She removes her wedding ring and tells him he must leave, but not without reminding him to fulfill his obligations as a father to Kentaro.

Keiko Discovers She’s Been in Axis Mundi for Decades

Keiko holds a bow in Axis Mundi in 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters'
Image via Apple TV+

By her estimation, Keiko has been in Axis Mundi for 57 days. She gave the realm that name herself, describing it as a world between worlds of a sort. So, it’s not quite the Hollow Earth that we visit in Godzilla vs. Kong; this place may be a stopping point between Earth’s surface and the Hollow Earth. That would explain why time seems to behave differently in Axis Mundi than it did for the characters in Godzilla vs. Kong and how this realm could be reached without Apex Cybernetic’s specially designed HEAVs (Hollow Earth Aerial Vehicles).


‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ Important Timelines Explained

The MonsterVerse just got a whole lot bigger.

Cate’s unexpected encounter with her grandmother (a very much alive Keiko) in Axis Mundi did a lot more than simply save her life from a snarling, boar-like Titan. With her, May, and Lee trapped in Axis Mundi, their chances of returning to Earth’s surface would’ve been impossible without Keiko. Unfortunately for Keiko, she discovers the truth about Axis Mundi’s relationship with time when she and Cate find their way to Lee and May. She’s faced with a significantly aged Lee from the one she remembers and realizes that Cate is her granddaughter.

“With all the gravitational distortion… some warping of space-time would make-” Keiko stops herself mid-sentence. It’s an incredibly difficult pill for her to swallow. In her absence, decades had passed. Humanity has since reached the Moon; it’s now 2015 on Earth’s surface. When she learns that Bill Randa, her husband, is no longer alive, the devastation only worsens. Through speaking with Lee and Cate, Keiko can grasp a sliver of comfort, knowing now that Bill never stopped believing in their mission and successfully guided Monarch to improve for years. “Dad was part of it,” Cate offers Keiko, letting her know that, even though she lost countless years with her son, he continued her legacy with Monarch.

Cate, May, and Keiko Escape With Godzilla’s Help, but Not Without a Loss

Lee Shaw led a recon mission hoping to rescue Keiko from Axis Mundi in 1962. The pod and gamma emitter that Lee brought with him remained in the realm, and Keiko happened upon them. She has since reconfigured the emitter to project a “directional gamma-ray pulse,” and that signal seems to be exactly what’s caught Tim (Joe Tippett) and Kentaro’s attention. Tim has parted ways with Monarch over their refusal to follow the signal and attempt a rescue, but he and Kentaro approach Hiroshi with a plan. Hiroshi can track the signal, and with Apex Cybernetics’ help, they can attempt to rescue those trapped in Axis Mundi.

Meanwhile, the four trapped in the in-between realm prepare to leave. By configuring the emitter back to its original state, they can power the escape pod and use it to exit through a rift. At first, Keiko is adamant about remaining, fearing that her return would only further disrupt the life of her son. Cate, however, firmly demands she joins them, professing that the Titans have taken enough from her already. With Keiko convinced, the four of them prepare to exit. Before they can, they’re attacked by a Titan.

The bat-like menace, an Ion Dragon, causes the pod to become disconnected from the emitter, so Lee jumps out to fix it. Although he does, the Ion Dragon approaches, promising certain death. Then, Godzilla emerges from the rift and engages the Titan, ripping off a wing before tossing the rest of it into the portal. The escape pod begins to become pulled into the rift, but Lee is still outside. He tries to catch up, barely grabbing onto it at the last possible moment. Keiko tries to pull him inside, but his weight is too much, and the risk of pulling her with him is obvious. Lee breaks free to allow Keiko, Cate, and May to escape. He falls back to the ground of Axis Mundi, but we don’t get confirmation on whether he survives. Theoretically, Lee Shaw could be spending what amounts to several years with Godzilla.

‘Legacy of Monsters’ Sets Up a Conflict on Skull Island For Season 2

Close-up of Kong growling on Skull Island in 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters'
Image via Apple TV+

Although a second season is not yet confirmed, the events of the finale and the gap that remains between it and the MonsterVerse films present plenty of opportunity. Speaking with Collider, showrunner Chris Black admitted, “We don’t yet have a Season 2 pick-up,” but in no way discounted the possibility, adding, “We can’t officially move forward until Apple pulls the trigger for us, but right now, yeah, definitely, things are cooking in everyone’s brains at this point.”

When Cate, May, and Keiko return to Earth’s surface through the rift, the bittersweet reunions and first meetings are soon interrupted by challenging information. Keiko embraces Hiroshi, her now fully grown son, and meets her other grandchild, Kentaro, for the first time. However, when an alarm begins to sound, they get a better look at the facility at which they’ve arrived. May is shocked to see her former boss Brenda (Dominique Tipper), who reveals she and Apex are the ones who have been funding the operation. “A lot’s changed in the past two years,” Kentaro says. This means it’s now 2017, only a couple of years before the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

In the final moments, we see that this is a facility on Skull Island, and Kong is approaching. However, this facility is run by Apex. With Monarch being the one running Skull Island a few years later (in Godzilla vs. Kong), the story is wide open for a second season to explain how everything unfolds.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is available to stream on Apple TV+ in the U.S.

Watch on Apple TV+


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