Varan's first appearance was in the Black and White film Varan the Unbelieveble (known in Japan as Daikaiju Baran). The film was made in 1958, but didn't have as much success as Godzilla and Rodan. The story goes that scentists discovered a butterfly species in Japan that was native to Siberia. Curiously, they go back to the place they found it for more info. They are stopped by villagers who say their lake God Baradagi will eat them if they go onto the shore of the lake. When a child goes after his dog beyond the line they can't cross, one of the team convinces everybody (except the priest) that their God sounds foolish and it's not worth a boy getting lost. Everybody then goes (except the priest) after him. But before they can find him, Varan comes out of the lake and destroys the village. The Japanese government then comes back several days later with tanks. They poison the water which drives Varan out. The army's missles have no affect against the beast (as happens most often with Daikaiju) and Varan procedes to destroy the tanks. Varan chases the main character and his girlfriend into a cave. The army lures him away from the cave with flares. They start a fire in front of Varan and he takes to the skies. Later he attacks an airport in the Tokyo bay area. When the army see's that Varan starts eating the flares, they get an idea. They attach a flare onto a super bomb. Varan eats it and the explosion in his stomach kills him...or so it seems. Varan later appears at the end of Destroy all Monsters jumping into the sky. Varan has no special weapons except flying (or gliding, but it seems like flying) using a flying squirrel like membrane between his arms and legs. He did have a sonic beam in the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed, but that was only for the video game. He can walk on four legs and two legs, but he seems more comfortable on four. In the game, Godzilla: Unleashed, his color is changed to light green instead of brown and he only walks on two legs unless he's charging. He did have three appearences in scraped ideas of movies including All Monsters Attack Derective, (a different version of Destroy all Monsters) Godzilla X Baragon, Varan, Anguirus: Giant Monsters all out Attack, and the Showa version of the Return of King Ghidorah.
Varan does not have any beam weapons in any of his film appearances,in common with many of the older kaiju. However, in the video game Godzilla: Unleashed, Varan has the ability to emit a sonic beam from his mouth, and also what appears to be a ball of energy, that he can fire out of his mouth. His one special ability is gliding at around the speed of Mach 1.5, like Rodan. Varan has skin flaps or membranes between his arms and legs, rather like those of a flying squirrel. In his debut film, he jumped off a cliff and glided to another island: Japan. In Destroy All Monsters, he glides into view for the final battle, and later on Monster Island. Varan did not fight King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters; he merely watched.
Varan has never actually been seen in combat against any other monsters. He used his tail to level buildings in his original film, which may indicate how he'd fight in combat. He also has dorsal spines which might possibly be of use against other giant monsters. His skin texture is extremely interesting - it is covered with huge blisters or lumps. In amphibians, such blisters contain poison glands. In reptiles, lumps like these are usually osteoderms - armor plates. Either option would mean Varan has some tricks up his sleeve. Osteoderm-like armor might make the most sense, since Varan was almost invulnerable to human weapons (in common with most Kaiju, however), and had to internally eat bombs before they affected him.