The Brood are Marvel's most dangerous alien race - but could they ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The parasitic alien race known as the Brood are taking Marvel Comics by storm right now. The Avengers are currently taking on a Brood swarm that's successfully infected Thor himself, and they're set to return as part of Jonathan Hickman's X-Men relaunch next year.
Amusingly, the Brood were never expected to be quite such a big thing; they were originally created off-the-cuff, as artist Dave Cockrum explained in an interview with Wizard Magazine. "We had Deathbird in this particular story," he recalled, "and Chris [Claremont] had written into the plot 'miscellaneous alien henchmen.' So I had drawn Deathbird standing in this building under construction and I just drew the most horrible looking thing I could think of next to her." Whether intentionally or not, Cockrum seemed to draw on the Xenomorphs from Alien, and it proved to be a wise choice; the Brood have returned many times, posing a fearsome threat to Earth's heroes.
But what is it that makes the Brood such a success, and could these monstrous aliens ever make their way to the MCU? Let's explore the possibilities.
Who Are The Brood?
Avengers: Infinity War saw Spider-Man head into space for the first time, and he was understandably unnerved by the experience. "Let me just say, if aliens wind up implanting eggs in my chest or something, and I eat one of you, I'm sorry," he babbled. It was clearly a pop culture reference to the Xenomorphs - but it essentially describes the Brood as well. The Brood are an insectoid race whose bodies end in a tapered stinger, which they can use to strike an enemy and implant an egg within their body. The host body serves as an incubator for the Brood egg, and as the Broodling inside grows, it begins to draw energy from said host.
Unlike the Xenomorphs from Alien, though, the Broodlings don't burst through the chest. Instead, they release enzymes into the bloodstream of their hosts, gradually mutating them. At the same time, the Broodling begins to psychically attack its host, taking control of its mind, absorbing all its knowledge and memories. When the process is finally complete, the host is transformed into a Brood. This new Brood retains any super-powers associated with their host, and everything they've learned is absorbed into the Brood hive mind. Over the years, the Brood have proved capable of taking over some of the most potent and powerful Marvel heroes; even a psychic like Charles Xavier was unable to resist the Brood's influence, they've successfully absorbed supernatural beings such as the Ghost Rider, and now even the All-Father Thor Odinson has been unable to resist them.
There are other key differences between the Brood and the Xenomorphs, though. Far from being relentless monsters, the Brood are an intelligent species who are obsessed with conquest, and a single Brood colony can take an entire planet. The Brood operate under a caste system, with Broodlings - nicknamed "Sleazoids" by the X-Men's Kitty Pryde - at the bottom. Each colony is ruled by a Brood Queen, who can carry and implant eggs, and who serves at the pleasure of the Brood Empress. The Empress is at the center of the hive mind, burning with an insatiable lust for more conquest. Brood traditionally travel the galaxy inside living space-creatures known as Acanti, who they have enslaved to their will.
The Brood Are Fearsome Enemies Of The X-Men And Carol Danvers
Technically the first Marvel superhero to encounter the Brood was the Kree Mar-Vell, but they're best known as enemies of the X-Men. Over the years, the X-Men have frequently been associated with the alien Shi'ar Empire, one of the most powerful races in the galaxy, and naturally the Brood have attempted to overthrow the Shi'ar several times. It didn't take long for the Brood to become fascinated by the idea of taking mutants as hosts, claiming their powers for their own. They likewise became fascinated with Carol Danvers, and their experiments told them she had the potential to be far more powerful than she had previously realized. In the comics, the Brood were the ones who unlocked Carol Danvers' Binary powers.
The Brood have attempted to conquer Earth several times, sometimes establishing colonies on Earth and at other times attempting to subvert various space programs. They've typically been opposed by the X-Men, but often with the help of other superheroes such as Ghost Rider, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four. Finally, the Annihilation event saw Annihilus and his armies invade this dimension, and they swiftly recognized the threat posted by the Brood. They hunted them to the brink of extinction, but the X-Men learned that the Brood were actually keeping in check other monstrous races, and they were forced to intervene to ensure the Brood survived.
Could The Brood Ever Appear In The MCU?
But could the Brood ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Their association with the X-Men probably means their film rights belonged to Fox, but of course those rights are now back with Marvel Studios after Disney's Fox acquisition. What's more, although Marvel hasn't yet begun introducing the X-Men into the MCU, they have a number of key cosmic heroes who could potentially cross paths with the Brood. Most prominent among these is Captain Marvel, who's confirmed to star in a sequel; Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the MCU, but even she would be threatened by the Brood.
The one question, however, is whether or not the Brood are simply too horrific for the MCU. They're visually inspired by a sci-fi horror concept, after all, and the whole idea - of stingers that cut a bloody swathe through enemies and implant them with eggs, transforming them into Brood - is seriously disturbing. But it's worth noting that the future of the MCU seems to involve a lot more diversity in terms of tone and style than has previously been the case. There's some evidence that Deadpool will remain R-rated in the MCU, for example, and it's entirely possible Marvel's Blade reboot will be as well. Marvel is always aware of current trends in popular culture, and they can't fail to have noticed the potential of Logan and Joker, which have demonstrated that superhero flicks don't have to be PG-13 in order to become a hit.
Given that's the case, it's quite possible Marvel will actually incorporate a version of the Brood into one of their upcoming movies - and in doing so, introduce a fearsome new predator race into the MCU.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022