Unlike all of the characters in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Bill Randa was actually introduced in Kong: Skull Island, where he was played by John Goodman. In the ‘70s, he represented Monarch and went on an expedition to Skull Island with a small contingent of U.S. Army soldiers. He met Kong; he recorded a video of the creatures on Skull Island and sent it in Hiroshi’s general direction; and then he was chewed to death by a Skullcrawler. In the Apple TV+ series, the character was brought back, with Anders Holm showing all the MonsterVerse fans what he was up to in the ‘50s. His journey into the world of the Titans was spurred by an altercation between an Ion Dragon and the USS Lawton. He followed the rumors of the creature, and that led him to the Philippines, where he met Keiko Miura and Lee Shaw. They dedicated their lives to researching Titans and then founded Monarch. However, due to a brutal twist of fate, Bill lost both of his friends to Axis Mundi, which caused him to spiral out and ruin the life of the one person who was depending on him, i.e., Hiroshi Randa. Now, even though Bill Randa is canonically dead, let’s see what else the character has to offer.
It may sound a little mean, but I think Bill Randa’s whole arc shows that even if you live a relatively straightforward life, devoid of any time travel-related shenanigans, you can still mess things up royally because, well, that’s how unfair life is. Bill was doing his job when his ship was torn apart by the Ion Dragon, thereby completely changing the trajectory of his life. When he fell in love with Keiko, he was unaware of her history. Still, he agreed to take care of Hiroshi. Then he lost Keiko, and soon after that, he lost Shaw, and that was apparently his last straw. He became an absent father to Hiroshi and ended up dedicating every second of his life to keeping Monarch functional and proving that his Hollow Earth theory was right. And, at the end of the day, he was correct. However, it cost him everything to know that. Was it worth it? I don’t know. Did he deserve that kind of life? Absolutely not. Going by his interactions with Keiko and Lee, as well as the way he stood up to the arrogant members of the army and the navy, he seemed like a very down-to-earth and genuine person. He didn’t have a dishonest bone in his body. He just wanted to do his job, be a good friend to Lee, be a good husband to Keiko, and be a good father to Hiroshi. Sadly, the nature of his profession didn’t allow him to do that, thereby making him a pretty tragic character.
If that sounds heartbreaking, I don’t think you are ready to see him fully spiral out and meet his end on Skull Island. The last time we see Bill in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1 is when he is told by General Puckett that Monarch is going to be shut down after the mysterious disappearance of Shaw and three other members of Operation Hourglass. Puckett also advised him to focus on Hiroshi because that kid needed his attention. But he completely ignored Puckett’s suggestions and did everything in his power to not only keep Monarch functional but also become the head of the institution. Shaw was the bridge between the army and Monarch. Keiko was pretty much the brains of Monarch. Throughout Season 1, he didn’t echo Shaw’s influence, and he didn’t exhibit Keiko’s level of intelligence, and I think that nobody knows that better than Bill. Going by the tape he sent to Hiroshi from Skull Island, he actually didn’t have any tangible proof until then to keep Monarch properly funded. So, it must have taken some insane amount of research, cost-cutting, and convincing to ensure that Shaw and Keiko’s sacrifices didn’t go to waste. Even though I am excited to see Bill Randa flex his ability to be diplomatic, money-minded, and smart in Season 2 of Monarch, I am a little scared as well because it just means I also have to see him drift away from Hiroshi.
If done right, the unraveling of Bill and Hiroshi Randa’s relationship will be one of the most heartbreaking aspects of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 2. And even though he won’t be around to see the repercussions of sowing the seeds of attachment issues in Hiroshi Randa, we have to watch it, probably with tears in our eyes. Season 1 of the show gave us a glimpse of how Hiroshi’s infidelity has been passed onto Cate, which is something that will traumatize them for the rest of their lives. There’s no way to say what would’ve happened if Bill Randa hadn’t chosen Monarch and the Titans over Hiroshi. That said, as horrible as it may sound, if Bill hadn’t become obsessed with Monarch, Hiroshi wouldn’t have become obsessed with Monarch. If Hiroshi hadn’t become obsessed with Monarch, Cate and Kentaro wouldn’t have gone on their Titan-hunting journey. And if Cate and Kentaro hadn’t gone on their Titan-hunting journey, Keiko wouldn’t have made it back to Earth. Since Keiko’s disappearance started the mad dash to figure it all out, her safe return probably makes all the generational trauma worth something, right? To be clear, nobody deserves the fate that Bill Randa was subjected to. But, like Ned Kelly said, such is life.
In addition to all that, I do want to praise Anders Holm’s performance. He is no John Goodman, and he isn’t given as many avenues to swing for the fences as his co-stars, Wyatt Russell and Mari Yamamoto, get. But he is really good as Bill Randa. I still remember the complex emotions that he portrays in the scene when he realizes that Lee is in love with Keiko. He doesn’t know if Keiko likes him romantically, he is jealous that Shaw is into Keiko, and he has to get a hold of Godzilla. He has to suppress his personal intentions and stay focused, and Holm absolutely nails Randa’s state of confusion. The scene where he learns about the fact that Keiko has a son is beautifully done. There’s a hint of shock and amazement, along with a feeling of pride that he is good enough to be trusted by Keiko with such a sensitive piece of information. Anders really sells all of those contrasting feelings and makes you root for Bill. Anders has largely worked in comedic roles, and it is refreshing to see him in this dramatic-as-hell environment. Given Randa’s role in Kong: Skull Island, I feel that the character will be very important in Season 2—more so than he was in Season 1. And I’ll be looking forward to seeing Anders Holm reach new levels of unhingedness to prove that the Hollow Earth exists.