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DF Interview: Brian Wood celebrates 37 years of xenomorphs in Aliens: Defiance
By Byron Brewer
Brian Wood (The Massive, Rebels) will take on everyone’s favorite xenomorphs this Spring just in time to celebrate the 37th anniversary of Aliens with a new ongoing series: Aliens: Defiance!
In space, no one can hear you scream. Aliens: Defiance follows struggling Colonial Marine rookie Zula Hendricks as she goes AWOL to protect Earth from an unknown alien species.
To learn more about the celebratory book, Dynamic Forces sat down with Brian Wood and picked his “massive” writer’s brain. (Get it, lol?)
Dynamic Forces: First, Brian, the new ongoing series you will be writing for Dark Horse Comics, Aliens: Defiance, puts you in the heart of that franchise’s 37th anniversary. How does that feel and have you been a fan of the franchise?
Brian Wood: Absolutely I’m a fan, and it’s great. One of the reasons I love Dark Horse is they keep giving me opportunities to write these loves of mine, from Conan to Star Wars and now Aliens.
DF: So tell us how this new series came to be and how you became a part of this huge home to the xenomorphs.
Brian Wood: There was something of an evolution to this project, and it started almost two years ago when I was asked if I’d want to write an Aliens book, one that could stand alone from any events that might be going on and be a straight forward ‘core’ type of title. We went through a few ideas that kept conflicting with plans that the video game and film people had for their Aliens projects, until we settled on what we have now.
DF: I know it is early, but can you tell us anything about the storyline so as to whet reader appetites?
Brian Wood: Sure. So this story takes place pretty early in the overall timeline – a decade or so after the events of the original film, and some fifty years before the second film. The xenomorphs are barely on the radar, so to speak. No one knows they’re out there, except for the highest levels of Weyland-Yutani who have already pegged their species as ripe for exploitation. A small group of synthetics, along with our human lead character Zula Hendricks, are sent to retrieve a sample. Hijinks ensue, as you might imagine. If you can call a full infestation of Aliens a hijink.
DF: Tell us who Zula Hendricks is, as a protagonist in the story AND as a character from your perspective as the writer.
Brian Wood: She is a young woman, a Colonial Marine who’s fallen on hard times. Barely out of training, she suffers a terrible injury that requires constant physical therapy and a back brace to move around. She’s barely out of her teens and her career seems over. Then this mission comes along, a sort of a second chance, even though she might not see it that way right now.
I always wanted to write a Colonial Marine, but not an 80’s action movie gung ho one like we saw in Aliens, but one closer to the veterans I work out with at my gym, a walking wounded type. I think Zula will be a ground breaking character in that respect – not only a person of color, but a young person with disabilities.
DF: As one who has been telling stories awhile in differing media, Brian, how do explain the popularity and longevity of the Aliens franchise?
Brian Wood: It’s primal. In the same way that some stories have a timeless quality or have universal themes, Aliens taps into something in our brain, and places us in the shoes of these everyman (or woman) characters as they face down the stuff of nightmares.
I’m sure a lot of it has to do with Ripley, as well. You can see the fan excitement at even the rumor of her returning to do another movie. She, as a character and an icon, is incredibly compelling.
DF: Where do you get your inspiration for this new book? Movies? Aliens comics? Some other media, or more personal experience?
Brian Wood: Like I said, from some buddies of mine … they helped inspire the main character. Aside from that, I get inspired from early conversations with my editor. A lot of the time I’ll be approached by writing opportunities that at first glance are nothing I want to deal with or think I can contribute to. But after talking about it, I can start to see it, the ideas start coming.
And in the case of Aliens, my artist collaborator Tristan Jones is a HUGE Aliens fan, and his enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge gets me fired up. If only to give him the best possible scripts to draw.
DF: Brian, any other projects of yours, current or near future, you care to tell us about?
Brian Wood: I always like to remind people about Starve, my book over at Image Comics. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written – a darkly comic send up of celebrity chefs and cooking show culture. It’s a blast, I love writing that book.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Brian Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Aliens: Defiance #1 hits stores in April!
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STARVE #1 SIGNED BY BRIAN WOOD
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