Varan somewhat looks like a cross between a turtle and a lizard, though his specific species is a monitor lizard. He has a single row of small spikes running down his back and large gliding membranes under his arms, similar to a flying squirrel. In Varan, he is 50 meters tall, 60 meters long, and weighs 15,000 tons. In Destroy All Monsters, Varan is 10 meters tall, 18 meters long, and weighs 60 tons.
Varan's origins are mostly shrouded in mystery, but he was worshiped as a mountain god for centuries by a tribe of villagers in Siberia.
A group of Japanese scientists traveled to Siberia after reports of strange events in the area. Local villagers warned that the recent deaths of researchers near the village was because of Varan, their mountain god. While the scientists surveyed the area, they were shocked to see Varan himself rise from the Kitami River. Varan proceeded to destroy the village and returned to the river. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces received word of the monster and were deployed to the Kitami River. Tanks opened fire on Varan, but the beast destroyed the military forces and opened membranes underneath his arms and glided into the ocean. Over the next few days, Varan destroyed ships off the coast of Japan and drew closer to Tokyo. The Defense Forces deployed fighter jets and battle ships against Varan, but did not slow his advance. The Defense Forces prepared a special type of highly explosive gunpowder and lured Varan to Haneda airport using flares, which Varan ate out of the sky. A large amount of the gunpowder was detonated very close to Varan and managed to knock him onto his back. Varan got back up unharmed, but the Defense Forces had developed a new idea. They filled bombs with the gunpowder and launched them into the air. Varan proceeded to eat two of them, only to have one detonate inside his stomach. Varan retreated back to the water, but the second bomb detonated just before he could submerge. Varan sank under the waves and disappeared and was presumed dead.
Destroy All Monsters
In 1999, Varan was one of the monsters being held in the human-built Monsterland facility, along with Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, Mothra, Manda, Baragon, Gorosaurus, Minilla, and Kumonga. Once the monsters escaped the island thanks to Kilaakian intervention, Varan was nowhere to be seen. Varan later appeared along with his fellow monsters at Mount Fuji as they prepared to assault the Kilaakian base. The monsters were attacked by King Ghidorah, but Varan only observed the battle. After his allies defeated Ghidorah and destroyed the aliens' base, Varan returned to Monsterland to live in peace.
- Gliding - Varan's gliding membranes located under his arms enable him to glide over vast distances at a speed of mach 1.5.
- Armored Skin - Varan's skin is highly resistant to conventional weaponry, even an explosion from special gunpowder at point-blank range.
- Sonic Beam - In Godzilla Unleashed, Varan can spit a sonic beam from his mouth.
Varan's only demonstrated weakness is the fact that his insides are not as resistant to damage as his exterior, demonstrated when Varan was fatally wounded after consuming two live bombs.
- Varan was originally to play a larger role in Destroy All Monsters, but unfortunately by 1968 the Varan suit was heavily damaged from age and being constantly remodeled and used for the Ultraman series. Because Toho had already spent a huge budget for all of the many other monsters in the film, they used a small stiff prop for Varan rather than construct a new suit.
- Varan was slated to appear in an early draft of Godzilla vs. Gigan entitled The Return of King Ghidorah as well as the original draft of GMK. In the first film, he was scrapped in favor of Anguirus, and in the later for King Ghidorah. Varan's only other appearances in official media after Destroy All Monsters are in the video games Godzilla for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Godzilla Unleashed for the Wii, as well as the comic book series Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.