Origin  Showa series In Rodan, two Rodans were unearthed and awakened by mining operations in Kitamatsu along with a swarm of prehistoric insects called Meganulons. After devouring several people and reducing Sasebo to ruins, one Rodan is maimed in a bombardment of their nest in Mount Aso and falls, apparently fatally, into a volcanic eruption triggered by the attack. The other Rodan, in a doomed attempt to save its mate, flies into the mouth of the volcano as well. Also, as with Godzilla, the American version differs from the original Japanese release by more than simple matters of language translation; the original Japanese version is much darker in tone. It also has one of the Rodans damaged by a jet fighter, hindering its ability to fly at supersonic speeds.
Rodan fights Godzilla in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed MonsterRodan went on to cross over into the Godzilla series. It is explained that one Rodan from the 1956 film is resurrected by accumulated volcanic gas, appearing in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster to help Godzilla and Mothra defeat King Ghidorah. In this appearance and all subsequent appearances in the Showa series, Rodan is as tall as Godzilla. Rodan appeared with Godzilla again in Invasion of the Astro-Monster, where both were mind-controlled by Xilians to destroy Earth's cities and later fought King Ghidorah again when the mind control was broken.
In Destroy All Monsters, Rodan was again used by aliens to wreak havoc on Earth, this time by the Kilaaks. Again the mind control was broken and the monsters fought King Ghidorah. Rodan would only appear again in the Shōwa series in stock footage used for Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon and Terror of Mechagodzilla.
 Heisei series Rodan in the Heisei series appeared in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, where he sought to protect Baby Godzilla, whose egg was in the same nest as Rodan. Rodan played a vital role in the film's climax, sacrificing his own life to revive Godzilla by transferring his life-energy to him. Godzilla then destroyed Super-Mechagodzilla as retribution for Rodan's death.
Heisei Rodan, while bigger and heavier than the Showa version, is notably much smaller relative to the larger version of Godzilla, standing only about 2/3 as tall as the other monster and having a wingspan 1/2 Godzilla's height. The prominent rows of spines on his belly are replaced with overlapping ridges of bone, and he has three horns on his head instead of two (the outer two curve outwards and the center curves up), as well as a wider beak, a more predatory face, and susceptibility to Godzilla's atomic breath.
After being defeated and left for dead by Godzilla, Rodan was revived by the psychic song of an ancient plant that had covered Baby Godzilla's egg. Godzilla's radiation mutated Rodan, changing his colors from brown and tan to brick red and light yellow/gold. Fire Rodan also gained a purple colored atomic breath similar to Godzilla's. His beak is powerful enough to break through boulders. Like the Showa version, Rodan seems impervious to Godzilla's breath but only to an extent. Being hit several times and not seeming affected until later in the battle.
 Millennium series In the 2004 film, Godzilla: Final Wars, Rodan is used as a weapon of destruction by an alien race called the Xiliens via mind control. He appeared alongside an all-star cast of classic Showa monsters, as they wreaked havoc on the major cities of the world and were sent to fight Godzilla. Rodan attacked New York City, and later fought alongside King Caesar and Anguirus to fight Godzilla, only to be defeated (but not killed, in an homage to the four monsters' days of being allies in the Showa series) by Godzilla near Mount Fuji. Their ultimate fate is unknown.