Yep, it’s official. Finally! There will be a new movie in the “Alien” universe that involves those nasty, slime-excreting, acid-bleeding xenomorphs we all love so much. If you aren’t already aware, here’s the skinny….
The film will be the brainchild of director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, Chappie), who turns out to be a HUGE fan of the first two movies in the franchise. It seems that he was independently working for awhile on some ideas he had for a possible Aliens sequel. (We’ll get to that in a minute.) Not sure what preliminary talks he may have had with 20th Century Fox, but it apparently didn’t look promising. So, on Jan. 1 & 2, 2015, Blomkamp decided to share his concept art (including the three images I snagged) with his fans on Instagram. Some comments there and on Twitter indicated his disappointment that the project (nicknamed “Alien Xeno”) probably wasn’t going to happen.
I don’t know how much impact the outpouring of online support for the images had, but 20th Century Fox announced in February that they had in fact closed a deal with Blomkamp to develop (and presumably direct) a new “Alien” movie, based on his ideas. (Yay!!) Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien film, as well as the Prometheus prequels, will produce along with Blomkamp.
Sigourney Weaver made some comments last year about possibly returning to the iconic role of Ellen Ripley and how both the character and the series needed a more satisfying ending — something fans have been talking about for years. Now, we also find out that Blomkamp discussed his “Alien” ideas with Weaver while on the set of Chappie, and she loved them. How much those ideas were developed before talking to Weaver, I’m not sure, nor whether or not Weaver had her discussions with Blomkamp in mind when talking at the Hero Complex Film Festival.
Of course, the project is very early in the offing, so there is not even a release date, yet, other than the (tentative) year 2017. But, we have been getting more details this month (March 2015) as things are starting to develop. So, here is what we know:
o Sigourney Weaver is officially on board. Contrary to a fake Instagram report a few days ago, Michael Biehn (as of this writing) has not signed on to reprise his role as Cpl. Hicks. He has expressed interest, though, and I’m guessing they’ll announce his involvement pretty soon.
o The story will pick up following the events of Aliens (1986), which is what all the fans were hoping for. The question is how this will work, given a) the obviously older Weaver/Ripley and Biehn/Hicks, and b) the events of Alien 3, which also picked up after Aliens and began with the hypersleep deaths of Hicks and Newt. Blomkamp has said he is “not trying to undo ‘Alien 3’′ or ‘Alien Resurrection,'” but it seems that some sort of ret-con would need to be done. Best bet? Either an alternate timeline/continuity, or 3 & 4 were just hypersleep dreams.
o Not only does his concept art acknowledge things established in Prometheus (e.g., an Engineer ship), but Blomkamp has consulted with Scott to make sure nothing conflicts with what the producer will be doing in his upcoming Prometheus 2. In an interview with Empire magazine, he said,
“I changed the one thing [Scott] felt was bumping Prometheus a little bit. One thing that makes me feel good about it is that Ridley is producing it. He likes the idea of what I want to make.”
o Blomkamp also has a title in mind for this fifth installment (not “Alien 5”), but he’s afraid to reveal what it is.
“I sent what I wanted as the title to Ridley. It’s quite bold, and he was like, ‘I really like that.’ So I’m gonna test it, I don’t think it’s gonna work, though. I have my own idea but it gives away too much if I say the title. But in the event that it doesn’t work, I’m dead in the water…”
Everyone involved so far is really psyched about the whole thing. Certainly Blomkamp is, and Weaver thinks the film will “probably break a lot of new ground” (whatever that may mean). I don’t know about you, but I’m just counting the days in anticipation. Or, at least, I will once they announce the release date, which I will add to my “Upcoming Movie Release Dates” page as soon as I get it.