Maxwell "Max" Stafford was a mercenary and the leader of a private military team. In 2004, Stafford and his men were hired by Charles Bishop Weyland to accompany a Weyland Industries expedition to Bouvetøya, Antarctica. The expedition's objective was to investigate an ancient Pyramid buried beneath the ice there, with Stafford's team present to provide security. The Pyramid was discovered to be a Yautja temple and hunting ground where the Predators would breed Xenomorphs for use in their Hunts, and the expedition soon became caught up in the battle between the two species.
Owing to Weyland's diminishing health, Stafford also helped to organize the expedition, travelling around the world to recruit various experts and assistants. He was killed by Celtic after the rest of his team was ambushed by the Predators.
Recruiting for Weyland
Owing to Charles Bishop Weyland's poor health, Stafford was responsible for recruiting the outside advisors who had been selected for Weyland's expedition to Bouvet Island. He first travelled to Nepal to see Lex Woods, before meeting with Sebastian De Rosa and Thomas Parks at their dig site in Teotihuacan, Mexico. An essential part of his recruitment spiel was Weyland's checkbook, and he offered handsome sums of money to each prospective member of the expedition in order to secure their involvement. When the team members finally met aboard the Piper Maru, Stafford introduced them to Weyland, who subsequently revealed the reason for their recruitment.
Under the ice
During the exploration of the pyramid, it was Stafford and his men who removed the Yautja's Plasmacasters from the sarcophagus, thereby triggering the periodic shifting of the structure. After hearing the screams of Rousseau and Thomas as they were subdued by Facehuggers in the sacrificial chamber, Stafford and his men unpacked their previously concealed assault rifles and took command of the expedition. As the group pressed onwards towards an exit, Stafford came to realise humanity's history with the Yautja.
When the group was ambushed by Scar, Celtic and Chopper, Stafford stuck close to Weyland. With most of his men either killed or taken by the Xenomorphs in the ensuing confusion, only Stafford, Weyland, Lex and Sebastian remained. Shortly after the initial ambush, Stafford himself was killed when Celtic attacked again; after first being trapped and grievously wounded in a net fired from Celtic's Netgun, the Predator impaled Stafford with his Combistick.
Personality and Traits
Stafford's suave exterior masked a somewhat cold man within — he had little respect for the outside experts hired to take part in the Weyland Industries expedition, dismissing Lex's concerns about the dangers of inexperienced men being on the Antarctic ice as "bullshit". Indeed, he only seemed to accept orders from Lex when directed to do so by Weyland himself. However, despite this, he was a fiercely professional man and was loyal to both his men and Weyland, his boss — although his relationship with the latter became strained when it seemed that Weyland cared more about the advanced technology they had discovered in the Pyramid than the deaths of Stafford's men.
Like the rest of his mercenary team, Stafford carried carried a Heckler & Koch G36C customized with a G36E carrying handle, flashlight and lime green laser sight during the expedition to Bouvet Island. He also carried an IMI Desert Eagle Mark VII as his sidearm, although he never had a chance to use the pistol before his death. On the surface at Razorback Point, he also used a flare gun to illuminate the area as the expedition moved in.
- Stafford actor Colin Salmon also appeared in another Paul W. S. Anderson film, Resident Evil, two years prior to Alien vs. Predator. Interestingly, he played a very similar role in both films — the gruff leader of a group of elite soldiers/mercenaries, whose team is quickly wiped out in an ambush leaving just a few survivors.
- Furthermore, his deaths in both films share some similarities; in Alien vs. Predator, he is trapped in a net that begins to slice through his flesh. In Resident Evil, Salmon's character is killed when a laser "net" cuts him into pieces.