What happened to Alien vs Predator 3?

Cameron Frew
Alien and Predator, who may return for Alien vs. Predator 3 down the line.
20th Century Studios

They’re the ugliest motherf**kers at the movies, but their epic face-off didn’t go to plan – so what happened to Alien vs Predator 3?

If you ask an everyday moviegoer to name an alien from a film, there’s a high chance of two answers: the alien from Alien, or the Predator from Predator.

Both franchises debuted between the ’70s and ’80s, finding varying success in further entries i.e., Aliens is considered one of the greatest sequels in history, while Predator 2, Predators, and The Predator are generally thought to be a bit naff, if not straight-up bad.

With Prey hitting Disney+ on Friday, a new Predator prequel taking the hunt back to the 1700s, a certain Easter Egg harkens back to an earlier crossover tease. Now, you may be wondering: what happened to Alien vs Predator 3?

How Alien vs Predator made it to the screen

In Predator 2, Danny Glover’s Mike Harrigan makes it to the throne room aboard a Predator’s ship, where he’s given a flintlock pistol as a prize for beating one of the beasts in battle. He also looks at a collection of skulls on the wall – and one of them is that of a Xenomorph, the extraterrestrial monsters of the Alien franchise.

The Xenomorph skull in Predator 2
20th Century Studios
Predator 2 teased Alien vs Predator with the throne room.

A fun nod, yes, but it confirmed both franchises took place in the same cinematic universe, nearly two decades before Iron Man launched the MCU and such worlds became commonplace. A series of Alien vs Predator comics were released soon after, which were highly successful.

Against the advice of James Cameron, who believed a fight between the two characters would “kill the validity of the franchise,” Paul W.S. Anderson and 20th Century pursued an Alien vs Predator movie.

Armed with a PG-13 rating to put more butts in seats, Alien vs Predator hit cinemas in 2004. While grossing north of $177 million, it was branded a turkey by critics, targeting its hokey story and softcore gore. While not explicitly confirmed, nobody believes it’s part of the overall canon, especially after Ridley Scott returned to Alien with Prometheus and Covenant.

Alien vs Predator 2 was a disaster worthy of being nuked

Colin and Greg Strause, the directing pair known as the Brothers Strause, were enlisted for the sequel after making a failed pitch for the first movie, as well as a Wolfenstein movie that tempted Fox.

“When the script came up for this movie, they though we’d be perfect for it because it’s an ambitious movie for the budget that they had and they knew that having our visual effects background was going to be a huge thing,” they told AWN.

A still from Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
20th Century Studios
AVP: Requiem is an embarrassing mess.

Financially, its release wasn’t bad at all: it grossed $130 million from a $40 million budget. The film itself… well, what else is there to say: it’s abominable, and perhaps one of the worst movies ever made. The story is dreadful, the physical effects and makeup are covered by frantic editing and terrible lighting, and it essentially turns two of cinema’s greatest monsters into generic slasher villains.

AVP: Requiem put the brakes on Alien vs Predator 3… indefinitely

The Brothers Strause were ready to hop into development on a threequel. Sadly for them, AVP: Requiem pretty much ensured that’d never happen – with them at the helm, anyway.

In an earlier interview with Gizmodo, the duo opened up about their original plans for AVP 3, which would have taken the battle away from Earth into space.

“The original ending for AVP: Requiem, that we pitched them, ended up on the alien homeward, and actually going from the Predator gun, that you see at the end, it was going to transition from that gun to a logo of a Weyland-Yutani spaceship that was heading to an alien planet,” Greg Strause explained.

“And then we were actually going to cut down to the surface [of the alien planet] and you were going to see a hunt going on. It was going to be a whole tribe of predators going against this creature that we called ‘King Alien.’

“It’s this huge giant winged alien thing. And that was going to be the lead-in, to show that the fact that the Predator gun [at the end of AVP: Requiem] is the impetus of all the technological advancements that allowed humans to travel in space. Which leads up to the Alien timeline.”

Yes, AVP 3 was conceived as a prequel to Alien, before Ridley Scott’s Prometheus took care of that in 2012.

“That was the whole idea, was to literally continue from Ms. Yutani getting the gun – and then cut to 50 years in the future, and there’s spaceships now,” Strause added.

“We’ve made a quantum leap in space travel. That was going to set up the ending, which would then set up what AVP was going to be, which would take place 100 years in the future. That was kind of the plan.”

Will we ever get Alien vs Predator 3?

Back in 2015, Sigourney Weaver revealed she asked to be killed off in Alien 3 upon hearing about the plans for Alien vs Predator, which “really depressed” her, as per Bloody Disgusting.

Peter Briggs, who wrote the original “sample” for the film, then responded, saying he wasn’t a fan of the two Alien vs Predator movies. However, he added: “There’s a terrific Alien vs Predator movie still to be made by someone. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

Shane Black, who starred in the original Predator and returned to direct The Predator in 2018, also expressed hope for another film at San Diego Comic-Con, telling attendees: “I don’t think Alien vs Predator is dead, do you?”

A still from Alien vs Predator
20th Century Studios

The planned follow-up to 2010’s Predators would have brought both franchises together, canonically, if writer Alex Litvak had his way. He told the AvP Galaxy podcast: “At the end of the day we win, we get back to Earth, we land and we realize it’s the future! All along we thought this was happening now, but what if these guys have been on ice for 300 years?

“The hatch opens, and the Space [Colonial] Marines come in! That was how we merge the two worlds – the Alien and Predator world finally merge and bring the Space Marines into the story.”

In an interview with Dexerto, Prey director Dan Trachtenberg said another Alien vs Predator movie would be “far down the road” if it were to ever happen again.

Next time, let’s hope “whoever wins, we lose” isn’t so apt.

Prey is on Disney+ now.

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