Lee Shaw In ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ Explained: Is Shaw Dead Or Alive?


Lee Shaw is one of the central characters of the Apple+ TV series, set in the MonsterVerse, called Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. The older version and the younger version of the character are played by real-life father-son duo Kurt and Wyatt Russell, respectively. The character began his journey as a rowdy soldier who was tasked with assisting Dr. Keiko Miura in Manila while she did her research on Titans. Back in the ‘50s, Titan sightings weren’t as common as they became in the 2010s. So, Lee Shaw obviously thought he was punished for his behavior with this wild goose chase. But his perspective completely changed when he came face-to-face with an Ion Dragon and realized that monsters do exist. And from that day onward, he worked with Dr. Keiko and Bill Randa to establish Monarch, understand Titans and their home (Hollow Earth), and presumably died doing so. Hence, let’s talk about what he represented, how his philosophies about life evolved over time, and whether he is actually dead or alive.

Spoiler Alert

In the ‘50s, Lee Shaw acted as the bridge between science and the armed forces. He wasn’t a jarhead, even though he was a soldier, professionally. He knew what the United States of America had done to Japan. But he wasn’t racist. He knew the importance of scientific research, but he wasn’t naive enough to ignore the fact that Monarch, which was in its nascent phase, needed money from the army to stay functional. That was why he used to take a pragmatic approach when it came to handling Keiko, Bill, and his boss, General Puckett. He never told General Puckett more than he needed to know, and he didn’t rush Keiko and Bill too much so that they could focus on their research instead of worrying about the deadlines and the budget meetings. So, you can say that it’s fitting that he found himself in Axis Mundi, the bridge between Hollow Earth and Earth, twice within a span of 60 years. Unless he is dead, Lee Shaw can end up becoming the ferryman who guides lost souls from both Hollow Earth and Earth. It is a science fiction or science fantasy show. So, it won’t be surprising if the showrunners incorporate certain elements that are synonymous with those two genres of entertainment into Monarch.

Well, to be honest, I think they already have used genre tropes without calling too much attention to them. You see, a ferryman character is meant to be a loner. They don’t have a home. They aren’t allowed to form any long-lasting connections because they’ll always have to stay in between two worlds. Lee Shaw wasn’t a family man when we first met him. His friendship with Bill Randa and Keiko Miura was meaningful, but he chose not to pursue Keiko romantically when he saw that Keiko fancied Bill more than him and that those two had more in common with each other than Keiko had with Lee. And just when he was getting used to this equation, he lost Keiko, and then he got stuck in Axis Mundi. He lost 20 years of his life, and when he thought he was about to repair that damage by forming a bond with Hiroshi Randa, he was shoved into an old-age home until he became an old man. When he started to form a relationship with Cate, May, and Kentaro and reunited with Keiko in Axis Mundi, he had to sacrifice himself to ensure that the girls got home safely. If it wasn’t apparent before, I guess that the last setback will make Lee Shaw realize that Axis Mundi is where he is meant to be. He is a man out of time, literally and figuratively, and in a place where time doesn’t pass, maybe he’ll find some form of stability. And yes, I do think that Lee Shaw is alive because I didn’t see his dead body at the end of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Season 1.

Now, if we look at Lee Shaw from a plot-based perspective, it’s obvious that Keiko, Cate, and May are going to rescue him from Axis Mundi. I’m not really sure about whether or not Kentaro and Hiroshi will give them a hand because they’ve clearly been brainwashed by Apex Cybernetics, and they don’t really like him. But the question still remains: does Lee Shaw want to be rescued? We know about the time difference between Axis Mundi and Earth, and Lee Shaw knows all about it, too. He knows that, by the time anyone gets to him, he’ll lose many more years, thereby making him even more irrelevant. However, I do think that his reliance on the elements present in the Axis Mundi is going to give him an edge over the tech-savvy guys at Apex and Monarch, thereby making him an asset rather than a burden. And if nobody else acknowledges that quality of his, I am sure that Duvall will. Who knows? Maybe when everyone is busy with their own family and professional problems, Lee Shaw will form an alliance with Duvall. Both of them are solitary creatures, and both of them are determined to close the portals between Hollow Earth and Earth. So, it won’t be wrong to speculate that, if Lee Shaw makes it out of Axis Mundi in one piece, he’ll resume his mission of closing up the portals with Duvall.

In addition to all that, I do want to make a note of Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell’s exceptional performances, which made Lee Shaw such a likable and memorable character. Initially, it seemed like they were playing into all the cliches of an army man and a disgruntled and cynical old man. But with each episode, they unlocked a new facet of the character and expressed it in such interesting ways. Wyatt’s chemistry with his co-stars and Kurt’s chemistry with the younger cast were so enjoyable to watch. I don’t know if we’ll get to see more of Wyatt in a potential second season of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, but we are surely going to get more of Kurt. I am not a fan of award shows, but since that is the metric to judge the quality of a show, please consider this article my seal of approval on Kurt and Wyatt Russell’s performances. They deserve all the praise and all the awards in the world. I know that they have already aced the sci-fi genre, but I don’t think they should stop after this. Both of them should sign up for more weird and niche science fiction stories and set new standards for relatable and memorable performances.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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