“Alien” is arguably the greatest sci-fi horror movie of all time. It’s more than forty years old now, and yet it still hasn’t lost any of its edge or any of its impact. That scene where an alien monster bursts out of John Hurt’s chest is just as shocking to those who haven’t seen it now as it was to movie theater audiences when it was brand new. That’s a testament not only to the groundbreaking special effects that were used in 1979 original but also the quality of the production as a whole. The movie, quite rightly, enjoys legendary status.
While some of the sequels and associated movies have been great, that can’t be said of all of them. We’ve seen prequels and sequels and tie-ins, and we’ve seen the canon of the first film toyed with and perhaps materially altered by some of the things we’ve seen in what came afterward. This tends to be true of any movie franchise that has multiple sequels, and in the end, it’s the death of all of them. Eventually, a film will arrive that takes the concept too far, and audiences lose interest. At that point, the franchise either dies or has to be rebooted and start again from the beginning.
A few people might feel like “Alien” is already at that point, but the success of the franchise in other media says differently. Video games featuring characters from “Alien” remain popular. A company called “GameX” released an online slots game based on the first “Alien” movie in May 2019, and it remains popular at many online slots websites such as UKSlotGames.com. While we won’t pretend that this is a significant metric when it comes to measuring the success or popularity of a franchise, the truth remains that people don’t make online slots about topics that won’t attract players or money. The very fact that someone thought that the film would draw money from people playing online slots in 2019 says a lot about its continuing value, and so it’s no surprise that there’s always talk of more sequels. There might be something to this latest set of rumors, though.
When people think “Alien,” they tend to think of Sigourney Weaver. She hasn’t been in every single one of the films, but she has been in the successful and popular ones. It’s been more than twenty years since she last stepped into the shoes of Ellen Ripley, but if reports on the internet are to be believed, Disney might have persuaded her to do it one last time. She’s in her early 70s now, but she’s still working, and she might be interested in trying to right the wrongs that were done to her character in “Alien: Resurrection.”
If the rumors are true, it’s unlikely that they’d be connected to the last set of seemingly-credible rumors that came out a few years ago, which involved Neill Blomkamp of “District 9” fame. He’s known to have spent more than a year writing and developing a fifth entry in the series that would have picked up after the events of “Aliens” and disregarded the previous two films in the series, but Fox abandoned his idea when Ridley Scott decided to return to his work and write “Alien: Covenant” instead. Since then, the rights have landed in Disney’s hands (as all rights seem to these days), and the entertainment giant appears to be interested in monetizing their new property in the same way they did with “Star Wars.”
Even if “Alien” doesn’t wind its way back to the big screen through Disney, the franchise might be about to get a new extension on the small screen. Noah Hawley has recently been confirmed to be working on a television series based on the intellectual property, and Ridley Scott has apparently been contacted with a view to him becoming the show’s executive producer. The first news of this project came from Disney’s recent “Investor Day,” in which the company unveiled all of their plans for 2021 and beyond. Because so much of the new content involves “Star Wars,” the “Alien” announcement was almost missed, but news outlets have been picking it up and examining it in greater detail more recently. According to what we know, though, the as-yet-untitled series will bring the “Alien” threat far closer to home.
The new Disney-approved television series – which appears to have a more substantial chance of going ahead than the Sigourney Weaver film at this early stage – would take place in the “near future” and would involve an alien invasion of Earth. The idea behind the project is to mix together the action-movie tropes of the first sequel with the stark, atmospheric horror of the second and tell ‘smaller stories’ within the confines of a limited series, which will give Hawley and Scott more time to explore their ideas and develop characters.
Having Hawley involved in the project is a significant ‘get’ by the producers. He’s the writer behind “Fargo,” which has been a smash hit for FX and is scheduled to continue into the fifth season and beyond. It’s thought that work and pre-production quietly began in the show in 2019, but Ridley Scott was approached more recently, and he’s now in “advanced talks” about taking the role that’s been offered to him. Whether both an “Alien” movie and an “Alien” television series could both be produced and released at the same time remains to be seen, but if we’ve learned anything from the way that Disney has forged ahead with “Star Wars” media in recent years, it’s that they certainly don’t believe that saturation is a barrier.
If they think they can make money with a series and a movie and not exhaust the audience in the process, they’ll most likely do it.
It’s evident that both of these ideas are still at an early stage, and neither has gone in front of cameras yet. We’re not even sure whether any scripts have been written. As and when more information becomes available, we’ll keep tracking it, and we’ll bring you everything you need to know right here. For now, we’ll rest content in the knowledge that a whole new generation might be about to find out that in space, nobody can hear you scream.