In a major surprise move, Marvel Comics has acquired the rights to the Alien and Predator franchises, which were formerly housed at Dark Horse Comics. That means that Marvel will be in charge of creating the next wave of comic book stories based on the Aliens and Predator movie franchises, which will exist in their own continuity and "expand on the characters and settings of the various Alien and Predator movies," IGN reports. Marvel has not announced any official comic titles or creative teams for this new Alien and Predator universe, but we did get some teaser concept artwork from acclaimed artist David Finch:
Here's what David Finch had to say about getting to draw both the Alien "Big Chap" Xenomorph and this Iron Man-killing Predator:
"Alien and Predator are the two of the most identifiable, iconic characters of all time, and I love them for that. But mostly, it's being fortunate enough to be a kid when they were new. I've seen every movie they've ever been in, and I cannot wait to see them wreaking havoc in the Marvel Universe. I drew my pictures of them with a massive smile on my face."
Despite the very triggering image of the Alien Xenomorph holding Iron Man's head, there is one big caveat in IGN's report: "To be clear, the Predator teaser isn't meant to suggest the two franchises will be integrated into the Marvel Universe (as was the case when Marvel reacquired the Conan license in 2018)."
Of course, it's not at all ruled out that both Xenomorphs and the Predator species could one day be integrated into the Marvel Comics Universe - or be featured in something like an "Alien vs. Predator vs. Avengers" crossover event. Clearly Marvel is gathering these fun toys of fandom together to do fun things with them, and fans are already buzzing with ideas about just how much fun these franchise can be together.
In case there's any confusion: the rights to the Alien and Predator comics does not indicate anything about the movie franchises somehow being integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Disney acquired both Alien and Predator as part of the Disney-Fox merger, the MCU movies are a much different and separate entity. However, the Alien and Predator comics were popular staples of Dark Horse for years, and fans wished that there could be much closer integration between the acclaimed comic stories and the lackluster movies both franchises put out after their original heyday - including the infamous AVP crossover films. Under Disney / Marvel, maybe that dream of great Alien/Predator comic stories becoming movies can finally happen!
Here's what Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski had to say about the new Alien/Predator additions:
"There's nothing more thrilling than a story that will keep you at the edge of your seat, and Alien and Predator have delivered that time and time again! I can clearly remember where I was when I saw each of these modern masterpieces for the first time, and reveling in how both masterfully weave extraterrestrial dread and drama into some of the most iconic scenes we've ever seen on film. And it's that legacy that we're going to live up to! As a visual medium, comics are the perfect place to build on those moments, and we here at Marvel are honored to begin telling these stories for fans everywhere. As our release schedule continues to return, we can't wait to share more in the coming months!"