Godzilla in GxK and a xenomorph in Alien: Covenant

Godzilla x Kong Proves It’s Time to Resurrect Alien vs. Predator

It appears DC and Marvel aren’t surefire money makers anymore despite their occasional huge hits, and audiences have been turning to blockbusters running on big ideas and legendary stars over universe-building. Godzilla x Kong has two monstrous stars, which got me wondering whether it’s time for another Alien vs. Predator.

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After two poor attempts at bringing the Alien vs. Predator crossover to the big screen later (one in 2004 and another in 2007), diehard fans of both sci-fi franchises haven’t given up on the idea of a movie that can capture the inherent coolness of the Dark Horse-published comics and the many video games that both nightmarish extraterrestrials have shared over the years.

Predator attacking a xenomorph in the Aliens vs. Predator original comic
Image via Dark Horse Comics

In a way, both Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem already had the right mindset in place: making the creatures the stars of the show. This is what has eventually made the MonsterVerse an exciting, slightly different franchise to follow. Sadly, neither the writing nor directing talent was up to par in both cases, and as much as those two alien species clashed together over the course of both runtimes, critics and audiences didn’t react positively to what ultimately felt like a B-grade detour for two once great movie series.

Mind you, both Alien and Predator have had their fair share of solo stinkers and so-so entries over the years, and they seem to be recovering only just now with surprise hits like Prey and the exciting back-to-the-roots promise of Alien: Romulus, which arrives later this year. As for the upcoming (and still untitled) Alien TV series, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see how it pans out.

With Disney now reigning over 20th Century Studios and all its properties, it’s only a matter of time before “connected universe” aspirations reach both IPs and executives realize they have a potential killer crossover movie waiting to be made… as long as they can find the right creative vision for it. There’s no easy way to approach such a task, especially when a good portion of the target audience still shudders at the thought of the two previous Alien vs. Predator movies. But there might be a clear path forward to at least start working on it.

Kong taking a swing at Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Legendary’s MonsterVerse, which already feels more successful than whatever Warner Bros. and DC were trying to do with the DCEU (for example), may have unsuspectingly given Disney and 20th Century Studios the perfect blueprint to set up an enticing enough crossover between their two sci-fi monsters: Not overplaying the “connected universe” angle until the destination is reached and betting on director-driven flicks with strong visual styles that stand on their own.

Somehow, 20th Century Studios could already be halfway there, as Prey was praised by critics and horror movie buffs alike and would’ve likely made great box office numbers had Disney released it theatrically in summer 2022; this year, they won’t be repeating that mistake with the next Alien, which quickly made the jump from Hulu to cinemas after reportedly garnering extremely positive internal buzz. It’s already a better start than the MonsterVerse’s, as 2014’s Godzilla reboot – directed by Gareth Edwards – caused some division despite a notable box office performance.

Legendary and Warner wouldn’t bet their chips on the monsters themselves until 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, though audiences and critics still rejected the half-baked and often overabundant human drama in the second Godzilla (which Toho’s Godzilla Minus One thankfully nailed in late 2023). Personally, I think Mike Dougherty’s King of the Monsters is vastly underrated and perfectly nailed a Heisei-era Toho feature with a strong reverence for the kaiju as mythological figures, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024) - Kong gets an upgrade
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The MonsterVerse’s current stage is that of unabashedly silly fun that resembles the Showa-era Gojira movies – but placing most of the narrative weight on Kong’s shoulders – in ways we couldn’t have imaged a decade ago, at least not from a Hollywood franchise. Pacific Rim was kind of the outlier back then. There’s progression to the MonsterVerse, both when it comes to narration and tone. It’s fascinating to study how it’s gone (almost effortlessly) from framing the monster attacks as if they were real-life disasters to having the titans clash like huge action figures. It all came down to believing in the source material’s many facets and creative possibilities and letting wildly different filmmakers put their stamp on their respective movies while establishing connections that never felt like the main goal.

Could such a model ever be replicated and applied to Alien vs. Predator as a shared universe? Looking at how comic books have handled such matters, often over several series, it shouldn’t be terribly hard. There’s enough space and time, as well as common ground, in both franchises to allow for healthy cross-pollination. With one hit already in the bag, another potentially in the way, and at least two more Predator movies currently in the works and expanding the series’ horizons, I’d say there’s a remarkable window of opportunity here to reinvigorate both franchises as sci-fi touchstones while also building towards something bigger that puts pulpy fun over themes.

The MonsterVerse has shown us we can actually have a bit of everything in a cinematic universe, and that applies to both aesthetics and the actual stories being told. With Godzilla x Kong, we’re deep into the silly era of the franchise, and that’s okay, as things started off much darker and went through adjustments distinctly linked to the creatives behind each flick. It’s a bit like the Marvel Cinematic Universe at its best, only much more flexible and far less overabundant (for now). Now imagine a series of seemingly unconnected Alien and Predator movies with distinct settings and tones that slowly plant the seeds for a bigger, more explosive blockbuster.

A Predator holding a Xenomorphs head on a stick in Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Image via 20th Century Studios

New Alien and Predator movies shouldn’t face much trouble making cash, either. Stuff like Mad Max: Fury Road, Joker, and the Deadpool adaptations have shown us there’s a hunger out there for adult-oriented event movies right now. Incidentally, all of these are getting follow-ups this year that seem poised to hit the box office hard. Moreover, Evil Dead somehow remains a perfect example of how to read the room and safely budget (big or small) an enduring horror franchise.

Whether you’re into creatures – giant, prehistorical, or extraterrestrial – hurting each other quite badly and terrorizing humans, it’s hard to deny creature features are making a comeback. Maybe the Jurassic World movies ignited that fire, The Meg managed to jump the shark twice, and the last two Godzilla & Kong movies have hit cinemas at the perfect time. Mix that form of brain-numbing entertainment with the unending allure of horror productions, and as the late Carl Weathers said, “Baby, you’ve got a stew going.”


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Author
Fran Ruiz
Fran J. Ruiz is a freelance writer for The Escapist as well as other gaming, entertainment, and science websites, including VG247, Space, and LiveScience, with a strong focus on features, listicles, and opinion pieces. His wordsmith journey started with Star Wars News Net and its sister site, writing film, TV, and gaming news as a side gig. Once his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Studies (University of Malaga, Spain) were done, he started collaborating with more and more sites until he became a full-time freelancer on top of an occasional private tutor. There’s no film genre he’s afraid of, but sci-fi and fantasy can win him over easily. Star Wars and Jurassic Park are his favorite stories ever. He also loves the entirety of Lost (yes, even the final season). When it comes to games, Spyro the Dragon and Warcraft III are his all-timers, but he’s the opposite of tied to a few genres. Don’t try to save him from his gargantuan backlog.