A couple months back, we were lucky enough to score an interview with the creators of Dark Horse Comics' new, upcoming Aliens, Predator, AVP and Prometheus comic series and now that Dark Horse have kicked off their marketing for the new Prometheus series, we can now post up their answers. We asked for fans to submit their own questions in the forums on AliensVersusPredator.net for the writers to answer. Below are their answers along with some exclusive new scans from the upcoming Prometheus comic!
In the new Prometheus series, will we learn something new about the Space Jockey society?
DANIEL CHABON: There will be a few new things, but nothing that deviates too far from the engineers in the film Prometheus.
PAUL TOBIN: There’s a bit more information. The Engineers are too fascinating to ignore, but they’re also a mystery that shouldn’t ever be cemented. They’re an entire society, so we have to focus on their more individual aspects.
How much of Rodriguez's PREDATORS has influenced this comic series? In the preview pages, I saw creatures which looked like the Predator dogs. Will the Predators be using the dogs in this story? I remember that in Three World War that the mainstream and honorable Predators really don't like the idea of using attack dogs in the hunt.
PAUL TOBIN: There’s a wealth of creatures in the series, but not all (or necessarily any interact with the Predators. Believe me, they keep plenty busy with a couple of other things we’ve cooked up.
Was it a personal decision to ignore the AvP films or was it mandated by Fox? What is Fox's stance on the placement in canon of the overall franchises of the AvP films? Are they still canon or not-- or are the AvP films a separate timeline or alternate universe from this one?
PAUL TOBIN: I’m not sure we truly “ignored” any of the films. They all played a part in the decisions we made as a team. As for Fox’s decisions on where those films fall in the “canon” category, you’d have to knock on the door to their own particular playhouse for that one. Bring a couple beers. They like beers.
In addition to the Dark Horse reboot and the Alien: Isolation video game, Titan Books is also publishing a trilogy of Alien novels this year. Will the comics in any way tie in with Isolation or the Titan Books?
DANIEL CHABON: Yes! It will be subtle, but it will be there.
PAUL TOBIN: Yep. You’ll see some connections. We’ve all felt that it’s important to have the franchises mesh, while at the same time remembering that we’re talking about (at the least) a galaxy full of stories, so events in one area don’t necessarily have to have huge waves of effect; sometimes a ripple will do.
Building off the last question, some fans have speculated that Amanda Ripley may appear somewhere in these comics. Can you confirm or deny this?
PAUL TOBIN: I could confirm or deny this, yes. But wouldn’t it be more fun to read the stories?
In Dave Palumbo's mural for ECCC, the human characters are wearing Alien-era space suits. Will some of the series take place chronologically close to the original film, or do all the series happen very close to Prometheus?
PAUL TOBIN: There’s a stretch of time involved, and suits are used for different purposes as well… just like I don’t wear a suit to the beach, or my Hellboy shorts during winter. Much.
Will we be seeing an adult version of the Deacon in this new series?
PAUL TOBIN: The deacon was definitely not forgotten.
Will the nature of the urns and how they relate to the eggs be addressed?
PAUL TOBIN: That’s definitely a topic we discussed in the writer’s room, and that our characters discuss, too. We had cake in the writer’s room: no such luck for our characters.
How involved was Ridley Scott on this project?
PAUL TOBIN: From a broad overview mode. He’s the final say, of course. He never stopped by the writer’s summits, though. More cake for us.
Considering that the timelines for the Alien, Predator and Prometheus franchises don't necessarily match up, and often don't coincide with each other in both the films and the comics as well as sometimes diverging, would it be out of the question to address that there could be alternate timelines or even alternate universes within the Alien-Predator canon?
PAUL TOBIN: We didn’t consider ANYTHING to be out of the question. Especially when the Engineers are around. They have some fine technology… science that can literally open new worlds.
Will we see the Engineers using their bio-weapons?
PAUL TOBIN: That has to be saved for the stories themselves, but I’ll say this: none of us wanted the Engineers to be inactive.
How close is the Predator universe to the Prometheus-Alien universe?
PAUL TOBIN: Close enough that we meshed them together!
How much will we see of the engineers' home planet?
PAUL TOBIN: We’re keeping the initial storyline in a fairly confined area (at least from a cosmic standpoint) but we definitely had some talk on the topic, and some of that talk had impact.
How big is the connection between the comics and the upcoming Prometheus sequel?
PAUL TOBIN: We tried not to step on each other’s toes too often, while at the same time keeping it clear that it’s all the same toes, now.
Is there a possibility of seeing Corporal Dwayne Hicks in a follow up story to Aliens: Colonial Marines?
PAUL TOBIN: It’s a big universe out there.
Will there be any history established between the Predators and the Engineers, IE them being ancient enemies or trade partners?
PAUL TOBIN: We definitely did want to have a feel that the two of them are aware of each other… exactly what type of “awareness” I don’t want to spoil, though!
Will there be a team-up between the humans, or at least Galgo, and the Predators?
PAUL TOBIN: There are definitely some interesting alliances during our combined storyline. The nature of those alliances is something we were all really happy with. In fact, when we collectively came up with the idea, we all then got a bit jealous and glared at the certain gentlemen who gets to write most of it.
Will we get to see more of the Engineers in their chair suits (the traditional elephant look)?
PAUL TOBIN: I always try to make sure the characters I write are in the best of the fashion.
With Michael Green rewriting Jack Paglen's draft for Prometheus 2, did this force you to change any plans with your stories?
PAUL TOBIN: I think our stories have grown organically at the same time. There were areas where we knew we couldn’t step, but at the same time there were areas that we were very much asked to step, to help establish the greater whole. A few times we bumped against each other, but that’s the way of stories; if you’re not occasionally bumping, that means something’s wrong, because you’re not on the same page.
Can we accept these new Dark Horse stories as official canon (under supervision by 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott) going into the second Prometheus film? Or will these comics be Dark Horse's unofficial interpretation of the Prometheus/Alien Universe? Only to be enjoyed as stand-alone stories?
PAUL TOBIN: We all went into this with a decision that what we did counted.
Is the black goo a naturally occurring material, as the preview for Prometheus #1 seems to imply?
PAUL TOBIN: Not necessarily. When we’re dealing with xenomorphs and Engineers, the natural world sometimes has different rules. The exact nature of EVERYTHING is in doubt.
Will the comics address how the Derelict ended up on LV-426? Or will that be left to the films?
PAUL TOBIN: We try to answer quite a few questions. A few of them are hard to deal with in the initial sweep… but all good things in good time.
Will we get the answer to the universal question of "what came first: Alien Eggs or the 'Black Goo'"?
DANIEL CHABON: xeno-chickens.
PAUL TOBIN: Now I can’t do anything except picture xeno-chickens. Hold on… let me revise a couple scripts.
Fans have speculated since Prometheus' release, that the Xenomorph is a God-like entity which the Engineers based their technology on. Will this expanded mythology be addressed or at least mentioned?
PAUL TOBIN: We’re all fans ourselves, so speculations are fun to play with. Beyond that, I can’t get into specifics.
In previous AvP comics, a common theme (as with the AvP films) was for a heroic human character to seek the partnership of a Predator in an effort to combat an overwhelming Xenomorph infestation. How would you describe the dynamic between the Humans and the Predators in your new series?
PAUL TOBIN: Tense. I can’t reveal the exact nature of any of the necessary alliances, but I’ll say that nobody is going to be inviting any xenos or Predators over to watch any basketball games. Probably for the best: Predators hog all the salsa, and the xenos just wait for commercials and then slap a face-hugger on you.
For the ALIENS series, which Alien film did you derive the most inspiration? For example, in previous comics we've seen a tone similar to that of James Cameron's ALIENS, focusing on groups of marines
fighting hordes of Xenomorphs. Can we expect a high octane, action-packed ALIENS series? Or a slower paced, exploration of new worlds?
PAUL TOBIN: Both! The feel of Alien was that of cloistered horror, while Aliens was an action film. Aspects of our overall series definitely play with both aspects.
When overlapping the Alien, Predator and now Prometheus stories, one element which remains difficult to explain is the "timeframe". How have you handled this new universe in keeping with the film's timelines? Was this one of the more "time" consuming aspects when developing this new, expansive universe?
DANIEL CHABON: Following the time frame was a bit of a challenge considering that there are still many pieces to plug in by the time the second Prometheus film comes out. We tried our best to follow the Alien canon timeline to see how much we could play with it without interfering with its concreteness. You'll see the result in our comics and I think you'll dig it.
PAUL TOBIN: I’d have to agree that was one of the more interesting / challenging aspects. My series begins with a time-stamp, and just what that time-stamp would be… THAT was a matter for a lot of discussion, and a couple false starts. Certain things need to be in place before we could tell the stories we wanted, so we had to discover the optimum time for all the toys.
In Prometheus, we were introduced to a new breed of Alien, the 'Deacon'. Considering Prometheus' timeline, we can assume the Deacon is an earlier version of the Xenomorph. The process by which to create the Deacon is also fairly intricate, going by the film's events. In some early promotional artwork for the new Prometheus and AvP series, we saw a number of Deacon Aliens - how have you handled this new creature and can we expect more of a backstory to its origins? Will the classic Xenomorphs and 'Deacon' variants ever come in contact with each other?
PAUL TOBIN: The deacon is definitely a big part of our extended storyline. It’s a fascinating creature, a clue to not only the evolutionary chain of the xenos, but possibly of life in the galaxy. So of course we had to play with it.
Fans are curious whether or not these comics will be considered "canon" to each of the individual films. As we saw with the controversial 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' game, Fox allowed Gearbox to continue the story of ALIENS in the form of a game. Fox acknowledged this continuation as an "official sequel" to the film. Has Fox granted your team with a similar acknowledgment? If so, have you been given any boundaries within your creative freedom when creating these new stories? Also, has Fox been heavily involved with the creative process?
DANIEL CHABON: As far as I can tell they will be canon. We are working very closely with FOX to make sure our stories do not interfere with anything they've already established or what could conflict with the second Prometheus film.
PAUL TOBIN: It’s important, as a writer on an establish property, to feel like you’re making a contribution, so, yeah… we kept “canon” uppermost in our minds.
Since PREDATORS came out, we were introduced to a new race of Super Predators. Can we expect this alternate faction of Predator to be featured in the new PREDATOR series? If so, have you considered mixing them into the new expanded universe, outside of the Predator timeline in any way?
PAUL TOBIN: There’s pretty much nothing we DIDN’T consider!
Prometheus is full of ideas and unanswered / unexplained details. A couple of these include the "Tomb" found in the Ampule room below the Xenomorph mural and the reason why the installation on LV_223 had
targeted Earth for "destruction" in the first place. Is there one detail or scene of them all which stood out the most when developing the PROMETHEUS storyline?
PAUL TOBIN: For me, the most telling detail was the environment itself, and that’s something we definitely decided to play with.
In some of the preview artwork for the new comics which was released a few weeks back, we saw a Human character wielding an Engineer's / Bio-mechanical weapon while seemingly hunting a Predator (or being hunted). Does this suggest we'll be seeing a militant type of Engineer faction mixing with a group of Predators in either of the independent series? Building off of that question, did Ridley Scott offer any
direction or ideas to developing this side of the Engineer race?
DANIEL CHABON: Maybe something along those lines. You'll need to pick up the series to find out.
PAUL TOBIN: The exact nature of how some of the separate groups come together and intermix… that’s the fun of the overall storyline. We have some surprises in mind.
What was the most challenging part of trying to balance these 3 (4 if you count AvP as individual) individual franchises in a way that would make sense and please the fan base?
DANIEL CHABON: I suppose from an editorial point of view it was trying to balance the human characters throughout all four series. Our main characters are a crew that appear in all four titles and it can be quite challenging to keep their voices in sync. All the different writers are collaborating very closely in order to keep each character sound the same throughout our main storyline. Same goes for the artists too! All the artists are working from model sheets of the ships and characters created for these stories. Juan Ferreyra and Patric Reynolds (the artists on Prometheus and Aliens) designed a lot of preliminary art for the other artists to follow so everyone could keep the ships exteriors, interiors, and characters' appearances in line. I think it's working very well! We even drew ourselves a map of LV-223.
PAUL TOBIN: For me, it was making sure that all four storylines meshed together, and did so in a way that our five writers (myself on Prometheus, Chris Roberson on Aliens, Christopher Sebela on Alien vs. Predator, Josh Williamson on Predator and Kelly Sue DeConnick on the Prometheus: Omega closing special) wouldn’t eclipse each other, and also that we each had our own individual stories to tell.
If you had to sell the new Aliens/Predator/AvP and Prometheus series to a hard core fan of the franchises, in less than 3 sentences, what would you say?
PAUL TOBIN: We all went into this with a great love for the franchises, and we’re all coming out of it the same way. When creators love what they’re doing, it shows. That said, some of the characters have valid reasons to be mad at us.
Special thanks to the writers at Dark Horse for conducting this interview with us and thanks to the fans to submitted questions!
Here are release dates for the first batch of comics from the new series:
Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1: 9/10/14
Aliens: Fire and Stone #1: 9/24/2014
Alien versus Predator: Fire and Stone #1: 10/08/2014
Predator #1: 10/22/2014
Check back for more updates on the new series as they're release and let us know what you thought of the interview by commenting below!
Continue discussing this topic as well as thousands more with other fans of Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator (AvP) in the AvP Online Forums here on AliensVersusPredator.net!
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