Aliens and Predator are two storied movie franchises, and Dark Horse is bringing them head-to-head – again – in an all-new Aliens Vs. Predator miniseries. Positioned as part of a new line including standalone Aliens, Predator and Prometheus series, Aliens Vs. Predator brings these two cut-throat alien forces against each other in a story that writer Chris Sebela calls both a “brutal horror book” and a “frenetic thriller.”
“It's kind of hard to talk about Aliens vs. Predator without giving a lot of the fun twists and turns away, exactly how we set the stage and where it's all leading to,” Sebela tells Newsarama. “Suffice to say, there's gonna be some Aliens and they're going be versusing the heck out of some Predators.”
These new titles are set after the events of the 2012 movie Prometheus, when new forces are drawn to the moon where that movie took place on.
“A salvage crew goes out looking for answers to some simple questions, they face some bigger questions, and are sucked into a very high pitched horror adventure story,” says Scott Allie, Dark Horse's Editor-In-Chief. “[These series] wrestle with some of the same questions as Prometheus, and the themes the best of these films tackled.”
There was high expectations leading up to the premiere of the movie Prometheusin 2012, and there’s high expectations here as Dark Horse continues that story. According to Sebela, he and his fellow writers are cognizant of those expectations – although they’ve got some surprises up their sleeves in terms of what to expect.
“It's not what people will be expecting, even when they think they do have a handle on it,” says the writer,” so we're trying to keep people guessing and keeping some of our secrets until the books come out.”
Sebela’s four-part Aliens Vs. Predator series follows two characters; a scientist named Francis, and an artificial being named Elden who is similar to Michael Fassbender’s android, David, in the Prometheusfilm.
“Francis is a scientist, a deep thinker, a keeper of secrets. He's also drawn to the unknown, he's trying to fix something, to find a solution he's been pursuing for years,” tells the writer. “Elden is an artificial being, just another cog in the machine, until he gets ripped out of the comfort of being told what to do and has to start figuring things out for himself. They're sort of locked in a battle of their own, the bright hot flame at the center of a war that includes xenomorphs and predators. Again, I don't want to say too much more than that, because it's fun to watch their relationship unfold not just in Aliens Vs. Predator but in the other books and how it changes and heads down some unsettling paths.”
Sebela comes to Aliens vs. Predator with a brief but impactful track record of comics writing experience; in addition to writing for Marvel’s Fantastic Four and Captain Marvel, the writer has the creator-owned series High Crimes at MonkeyBrain and recently took over Dark Horse’s Ghost series. Experienced as he might be, writing for this new Prometheus line – and writing a title such as Aliens vs. Predator that is the crossroads of two licensed properties – is a unique challenge for any writer. When asked what the experience has been like thusfar, Sebela admits it’s “terrifying.”
“It's also exciting beyond belief, but I grew up on all these movies, so there's a lot of baggage I bring with me to the project,” Sebela admits. “It's like being asked to collaborate with a hero who you've only seen on TVs and theatre screens and now they're asking for your advice on what to say here, who to kill there. But being afraid is good for me, it keeps me honest and on my toes, I want this to be as much fun as a story of Aliens fighting Predators should be, but also really good. Ugh. Yeah, it's terrifying.”
Sebela’s admiration for the Aliens and Predator franchises, and particularly the Aliens Vs. Predaotr comic, that the first issue is among his most prized possessions from his youth. That issue is one of three comic books that Sebela saved in what he calls “from the Great Mom Throwing All My Comics In the Alley Disaster of my youth,” and while he’s consciously avoiding re-reading it as to not taint the story he has planned for the new series, it’s overarching quality is fresh in his mind.
“What I love about that original series was it was the one to do the work of making these two separate worlds make sense sharing a sandbox and it did it so effortlessly and opened up a jillion possibilities for what kind of stories this new hybrid world allowed for,” Sebela tells Newsarama. “What I want to tap into from all the previous iterations is that big scary monster story feeling. The unstoppable things in the dark that don't listen to you begging for your life and even if they did, they wouldn't understand them. The evolution of these two species to both result in them being the deadliest killers in the known universe and everyone else trapped in between them, strapped to something they can't understand. I want to scare people, especially myself.
Sebela said that while this series is set within the same universe as the previous Aliens and Predator films and comic series, it won’t be tied down too strenuously to past stories.
“…there's going to be nods to the previous iterations, but none of us came in wanting to do a greatest hits compilation,” says Sebela. “So some ties are inevitable, and while some are obvious to everyone, some are for the fans of the deep cuts, but mostly we wanted to start as fresh as possible and do our own thing while keeping everything that came before well in mind.”