Q: Was "Alien vs. Predator" based on the "Ancient Aliens" show?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

I'll say no, only to be nitpicky. They were both based on a third source — the work of Swiss author Erich von Daniken.

Von Daniken is the one who came up with the idea that formed the basis of the "Ancient Aliens" show — that various major events in planetary history were caused by alien visitors.

One of the more famous pieces of von Daniken's theory, first laid out in his landmark bestselling book "Chariots of the Gods," is the suggestion that the pyramids built around the world in ancient times were built under alien supervision. This would explain the similarity between pyramids around the world, built by civilizations that as far as historians know had no contact with each other.

"Alien vs. Predator" (2004), a sci-fi crossover movie that combined the previous Alien and Predator film franchises, borrowed from that theory for its plot.

In it, the (human) protagonists discover a massive pyramid under the ice in Antarctica. After becoming trapped in it, they learn that it was built in ancient times by humans who worshipped the predators (who are themselves extraterrestrials, in case you haven't seen the movies). The predators wanted it to serve as a sort of giant tournament complex where they would breed and then hunt the xenomorph aliens of the Alien film franchise for sport.

The film's director and writer, Paul W.S. Anderson, said in a behind-the-scenes featurette that he was "inspired" by von Daniken's books (the author has in fact written several on the ancient-astronaut theme), basically combining his theory with a short story by H.P. Lovecraft called "In the Mountains of Madness." That story is about a group of Antarctic explorers who discover evidence of an ancient civilization older than humanity.


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