There's been much discussion and debate regarding the so-called "aliens" of The Avengers – otherwise known as Loki's army – which we've so far seen only glimpses of via trailers and TV spots. Initial speculation almost exclusively revolved around Marvel's most famous aliens, the Skrulls and the Kree, but both of those races were nixed by producer Kevin Feige and director Joss Whedon.
In the most recent TV spot, entitled "Head Count," we got our best, clearest look at the aliens yet.
Check out the gifs below, courtesy of Superhero Hype:
Unfortunately, the glimpses have done little to narrow down our list of alien suspects – and have, perhaps, even extended it a bit.
Ord/The Breakworld Aliens
In a webisode of Marvel's The Watcher, a Lego representative referred to a bad guy in The Avengers as the alien horde (at the 3:50 mark) – but many a comic book fan thought he said "alien Ord."
Ord was an alien from Breakworld, created by Joss Whedon, that showed up in his acclaimed run on Astonishing X-Men, so it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility that Whedon would use Ord's race as secondary bad guys in his own film. Not likely, of course, but totally possible.
The Badoon are an obscure reptilian race of alien conquerors, older than both the Skrulls and the Kree. That's just a vague enough back-story to work with what we've seen of the aliens in The Avengers, who have a slightly greenish hue and lizard-like eyes.
Beta Ray Bill/The Korbinites
The alien in the (above) picture certainly has a horse-face quality about him, which immediately brings to mind fan-favorite Beta Ray Bill – the first non-Norse character to be deemed worthy of picking up Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. Bill was a member of the Korbinite alien race, so is it possible that these creatures are the Korbinites, thus leading to the introduction of Beta Ray in Thor 2?
The only problem with that theory is that Bill was the only member of the race to have a horse-face – the rest of the Korbinites were essentially orange humanoids. Still, one presumes that, for simplicity's sake, the filmmakers would drop that aspect of the character's back-story and make all the Korbinites horse-faces.
The Sons of the Muspell
This was a theory put forth by Brendon Connelly of Bleeding Cool and, frankly, it's one that has a lot of merit. In Walt Simonson's Surtur Saga storyline, during his run on Thor, The Sons of Muspell (demons from Muspellheim – one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology) were transported into New York City via a portal near the top of the Empire State Building. They then proceeded to attack the city, as Marvel supervillains are known to do.
Click to enlarge:
The images in the comic book are certainly reminiscent of what we've seen in the trailers for The Avengers. Now, you might be saying: "But if these creatures are from Norse mythology, doesn't that make them not aliens – thus disqualifying them from a list of alien suspects?"
Well, if you watched Thor, then you know there's no real difference between aliens and the Norse mythological beings of the Marvel movie universe. Thor himself is an alien. With a horse. (An alien horse?) So, too, would these Sons of Muspell be aliens, if indeed they're in The Avengers.
Is that Thanos' head-gear?
Internet speculators have already commented on the resemblance between the alien's head-gear (up top) and Thanos the Mad Titan's head-gear (above). While the alien looks nothing like Thanos in any other respect and is almost definitely not the Avatar of Death himself, could these aliens be tied to him somehow?
After all, there has been many a rumor about Thanos' connection to the forthcoming Avengers film -- and the Cosmic Cube in particular. His famed Infinity Gauntlet even made an appearance in Thor.
Arguably, if these aliens aren't the Skrulls, they could still be the Ultimate universe versions of the Skrulls, A.K.A. the Chitauri -- right? But remember what Joss Whedon said about the aliens in question:
"The Skrulls - they can shape change. That's a whole thing. I've already got Loki. He's got magic. Once you got magic along with your Iron Man and your Black Widow - it's a real juggling act."
Hence, throwing shape-changing aliens into the mix would be way too much for one film. So if these aliens do end up being called the Chitauri, then they'll be a Chitauri that doesn't shape-change, and therefore a Chitauri in name only.
Honestly, I've no idea who these aliens are. If I had to guess, I'd put money on either the Badoon – who look and act vaguely enough like the creatures we've seen onscreen – or the Sons of Muspell – who have essentially done the things in the comic books that we've already seen in the trailers (plus, they tie directly into Loki's background). Of course, there's always the possibility that these aliens have been made up specifically for the film and have no connection to any preexisting characters.
Frankly, whatever/whomever these aliens are revealed to be, I think fans are going to be disappointed. Not with the movie itself, obviously, but specifically with the alien reveal. It's becoming more and more apparent that whatever race Joss Whedon and company are using, it's going to be obscure to all but Marvel's most ardent fans, and maybe not even then.
But what do you think, Screen Ranters? Which of these alien options – or any options we missed – are going to appear in The Avengers, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments and the poll below:
The Avengers hits theaters May 4th, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.