The upcoming Godzilla reboot (set for a May release) will offer its own modern take on the origin of the famous city-squashing monster. It’s directed by Gareth Edwards, and stars Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The new trailer is out, and it’s pretty great:
At about the minute mark, you hear characters explaining how mankind created its own colossal nightmare. Their explanation seems to call out actual American nuclear testing, specifically Operation Castle. Here are some lines of dialogue narrating images in the trailer:
In 1954, we awakened something.
With those nuclear tests in the Pacific.
They were trying to kill it.
And thus Godzilla comes back as a radioactive beast to destroy and rampage.
The nuclear “tests” mentioned in the trailer (and presumably the film) likely refer to Operation Castle, a series of nuclear tests conducted by the United States in early 1954 at Bikini Atoll. The original Godzilla film (Gojira) premiered that same year, and was cleverly critical of that kind of testing. (The critically maligned 1998 Godzilla, directed by Roland Emmerich, blamed Godzilla’s wrath on nuclear tests in French Polynesia.)
Here’s a declassified video on Operation Castle: