“I don’t think it will ever see the light of day” the director of the upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant (due out May 19), said. “There was never a script. Just an idea that evolved from a dozen or so pages.” This will reassure fans of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection who didn’t like the idea of those Alien entries being disregarded for a proper sequel to Aliens. But there were a ton of Aliens fans who hinged their hopes on Blomkamp’s storyboards that showed Ripley, Hicks, and Newt alive and well.
While one can certainly understand Scott’s position as a filmmaker firmly reinvested in a franchise that he started (who wasn’t involved with James Cameron’s 1986 sequel), there are millions of Aliens fans who are emotionally invested, and are pretty bummed out that the project is dead.
One can argue whether or not Blomkamp was the right filmmaker to make an Aliens follow-up happen, but here are 15 reasons why an Aliens sequel is a necessity for fans of the franchise, and why the project should be revived.
15. Aliens Fans Need Closure (That isn’t Depressing)
Look: we’re well aware there is a small and passionate fan base that will defend Alien 3 until their dying breath–who admire its (wait for it) purity, a singular dark vision that allows Ripley to let go of her lifetime of misery and take down the company’s financial gamble along with it (you masochists, you).
That being said, most hardcore Aliens fans felt downright betrayed by Alien 3. It was a film with a vision so muddled from studio interference that director David Fincher disowned it, and it felt like a slap in the face to anyone who was excited by the possibilities of a new film featuring not just Ripley but her fellow Aliens survivors as well.
The plot of Alien 3 totally robbed us of that dream, instead offering up a bleak bait and switch that resulted in a film that left many cold and underwhelmed. We want a do-over that does right by James Cameron’s (and Ridley Scott’s, obviously) source material.
14. Ripley’s Full Backstory Explored
We know a scant few things about Ellen Louise Ripley, with the exception of her history fighting Xenomorphs, her death, and her rebirth as a clone. Her backstory in the film series is mostly a blank slate minus the revelation that she had a daughter named Amanda, who she learned had passed away in (the director’s cut) of Aliens.
Some gaps have been filled out in other media: in the 2014 book Out of the Shadows, we learn that she had an ex-husband named Alex, but that’s pretty much it. While her character has been defined by her conflicts with her alien nemesis, we think it’s time to learn more about her character’s past and how it defined her future. Surely Weaver would also like to explore such territory by reprising her role, likely for the last time.
13. Michael Biehn Needs A Comeback
Alien 3 was originally designed with Michael Biehn as its lead, giving the actor a chance to expand upon his character’s breakout popularity, while also pushing his career into A-list territory.
Things didn’t work out that way, unfortunately. 20th Century Fox wasn’t enthused about an Alien film without Sigourney Weaver in a leading role, and their misgivings (as well as the actress’) would ultimately result in the supporting cast from Aliens getting the axe.
Biehn’s pain from losing a role in Alien 3 was made palpable in the making of documentary included in the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set, although he noted with irony that he made more money from the film than he made on Aliens, thanks to the threequel using his likeness.
Biehn’s had a rocky career post-Alien 3, for a variety of reasons, including a struggle with alcoholism. But he’s a sorely underrated actor that deserves a more lucrative career than the B-movies he’s been involved with as of late. And a sequel to Aliens is likely the only way he’ll get another shot at the big leagues.
12. Aliens’ Supporting Characters Deserve Better
Let’s face it: the flippant and gruesome deaths that befell Newt and Hicks (and the shutdown of Bishop) felt downright disrespectful, not to mention cruel. After losing her crew in Alien and finding out that her daughter had died of old age, Ripley pulled off a miracle in Aliens, destroying the Xenomorphic threat on LV-426, gaining a new daughter, making peace with an android, and possibly acquiring a romantic interest to boot.
But that opening scene in Alien 3 dashed those hopes. It was tragedy on a grand scale, but it didn’t even give the audience a chance to grieve and say goodbye to characters they had just gotten to know in Aliens. Ripley deserved a win–as did the fans. Newt, Hicks and Bishop had boundless storyline possibilities in the Alien franchise, and it’s about damn time we explore them.
11. The Potential Behind Blomkamp’s Storyboards
Neill Blomkamp earns the distinction of being the first (in our estimation) filmmaker who almost gained a distribution deal based off of his Instagram account. That’s where his concept art for Alien 5 was first seen, and where it first took the internet by storm.
It wasn’t just the nostalgia factor of seeing Ripley, Hicks, and Newt) together again, but hints at how the filmmaker intended to expand the mythos, including a Facehugger variant, a new Alien queen, and an Engineer ship seized by some sort of military group (more than likely some private security faction from Weyland-Yutani).
Even more intriguing is a drawing of Weaver wearing a suit that looks like a Xenomorph exoskeleton. The fact that we’re never going to see how Blomkamp’s vision brought to fruition is downright painful, especially when we were lead to believe the project came so close to happening.
10. More Colonial Marines Please
Aliens helped expand the Alien universe by introducing a new aspect to the franchise: militarization. Whereas the crew of the Nostromo were contract workers unprepared for battling a highly evolved killing machine, the Colonial Marines were a group of American soldiers, who were, in the words of company man Carter Burke: “very tough hombres. They’re packing state-of-the-art firepower, there’s nothing they can’t handle.”
In the end, the marines’ combat skills and weaponry also proved largely ineffective against the Alien hordes, but the end goal of destroying them was accomplished by combining Ripley’s knowledge of the species with the Marines high-tech weaponry and combat experience.
With the exception of video games and comic books, the Colonial Marines haven’t been utilized since Aliens, and that’s downright unacceptable. Not only do we need to see Hicks back in action, we also need an eventual standalone marines film showcasing other “bug hunts” and alien worlds. The possibilities are endless.
9. More Superior Firepower
The Colonial Marines weren’t just iconic for memorable characters like Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez and Bishop. A big part of their enduring appeal is their weaponry and gear: SMART guns, pulse rifles, automated sentry guns, drop ships, power loaders, and the Armoured Personnel Carrier–all used in classic battle sequences that still thrill to this day.
The above examples were all dreamed up by James Cameron in the ’80s. The possibilities for new Marines weapons are endless with modern effects and big budgets. Just imagine what other types of militaristic might could be unleashed onscreen.
While military tech isn’t prominently displayed in his concept art, we’re pretty sure Blomkamp, with his sci-fi pedigree in films like District 9, Elysium, and Chappie, had some ideas in mind. To paraphrase the late Private Frost’s T-Shirt, we want as much Superior Firepower on the silver screen as possible.
8. Prime Directorial Candidates
While his concept art drew much excitement, there were understandable concerns about Neill Blomkamp helming an Alien sequel. His directorial debut District 9 garnered critical acclaim, but follow-up efforts like Elysium and Chappie garnered mixed to negative reviews. This led some to conclude that he may be a one-trick pony that peaked with his first film.
Still, there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater: another filmmaker could step in and make this project a reality. Ridley Scott is a pretty obvious choice, especially given his renewed involvement in the Alien franchise, but there are endless possibilities. The sci-fi genre is filled with spectacular talent: Alfonso Cuaron, Duncan Jones, Denis Villeneuve, Rian Johnson, Gareth Edwards, Joe Cornish, Alex Garland, Doug Liman…do we need to keep going? All of these names and more could make an effective Aliens follow-up. (We’d also love James Cameron to return, but that ain’t happening.)
7. Shut Down The Company
Ah, The Company–that greedy consolidation firm that puts profits over people. While the Xenomorph is the main villain in the Alien franchise, the crooked suits behind Weyland-Yutani come a close second.
In every film, they’ve tried to capture and weaponize the Alien species for their own greedy ends, failing to grasp that the concept is inherently insane and would only lead to human extinction.
Sure, Ripley and other heroic characters have gained revenge in small steps, such as destroying Ash, or Ripley sacrificing herself so the chestburster inside her can’t be harvested in Alien 3. And the xenomorph has done its fair share by killing off Burke (and let’s not forget the Engineer killing company head Peter Weyland in Prometheus). But it’s time for the organization to be exposed to the world for what they are. And an Aliens sequel is the perfect vehicle to deliver their long-deserved comeuppance.
6. Time is of the Essence
Sigourney Weaver is 67, Michael Biehn is 60, and Lance Henriksen is 77. That doesn’t make any of them ancient by any stretch, but franchise films like Aliens require a significant degree of physical conditioning, and the older you get, the harder that is to maintain. In other words, no one’s getting any younger, so if we’re going to get an Aliens movie “let’s move it; a**holes and elbows!”
One might wonder how an Aliens follow-up would handle the age difference of those actors (and whoever would be cast as Newt, given that Carrie Henn is no longer in the film industry). There are many ways to explain it; have it take place three decades into the future, or say the hyper-sleep pods slightly malfunctioned for a gradually advanced decrepitude. We don’t really care how, just as long as we get to see these characters one more time.
5. Man vs. Alien on a Grand Scale
The original concept for Alien 3 was miles away from the end product, with a script (penned by William Gibson) that would be broken up into two films, the latter featuring an all-out war between humanity and Xenomorph (with Hicks as the protagonist).
And that was what many fans had anticipated, whether it happened with the survivors landing on Earth, a space station, or wherever. That expectation of an apocalyptic battle is one thing that made Alien 3 feel so weird: going from a solitary threat in Alien, to a mass threat in Aliens, then back to a singular threat in Alien 3 made the latter feel somewhat anticlimactic (and is there any better word to describe Alien 3 other than anticlimactic?).
4. Newt Should Be The New Heroine
“It’s a great story and it’s satisfying to me to give this woman an ending. The script itself has so much in it that’s so original, but also really satisfies the, I would say, the primal needs of the aliens…I hope we’ll do it.”
That’s Sigourney Weaver discussing her enthusiasm for Blomkamp’s vision (a comment that negates Scott’s declaration that there wasn’t a script in place), clearly emphasizing that this would conclude Ripley’s arc. And this opens the door for a new heroine in the franchise: none other than Rebecca “Newt” Hall.
An adult Newt would be a kick ass Ripley descendent, with past knowledge on how to defeat the Xenomorphs that would make her adaptable for any new alien threat that arises. This gives her a leg up on other Alien protagonists like Prometheus’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Alien Covenant’s Daniels (Katherine Waterson). To quote the late Bill Paxton (as the late Pvt. Hudson): “Why don’t you put her in charge?”
3. Ripley Deserves Happiness (Or at least a legitimate ending) With Her Adoptive Family
Sigourney Weaver’s role as Ellen Ripley helped launch her career: a warrant officer who always kept her cool, even when under attack by a creature with such a lethal defense mechanism that her death seemed inevitable.
Her resolve after losing all of her Nostromo crewmates was admirable, but it took a toll on her psyche, with recurring nightmares and a job demotion (after she was forced to destroy a very expensive spaceship). The fact that her daughter died of old age while Ripley was still in hypersleep was yet another cruel stroke of fate.
That’s what made the Aliens finale such a moment of triumph; killing the Alien queen in a symbolic moment, while gaining a new family unit. This union between her, Newt, Hicks, and even Bishop was a moment of much-needed solace and healing. The character deserves her happiness, and so do the fans. At the very least, Ripley deserves a much better ending than she got.
2. Ridley Scott Can Share
One of the biggest obstacles Blomkamp’s Alien project had to contend with was Ridley Scott. The director has flung himself back into the Alien fray in a major way, with intentions on making at least 6 (6?!?) more films in the franchise (did we mention he’s 79 years old?).
In other words, one of the major reasons Blomkamp’s film was likely axed was Scott wanting full control of the film series he helped birth. It would appear that he’s not interested in sharing his sandbox with other filmmakers. And that’s a shame, because it doesn’t have to be that way–and it’s an awfully nice sandbox. Just look at the new Star Wars films, where we can have a new trilogy alongside standalone films like Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo prequel. There’s plenty of room for multiple Alien films with separate storylines, including an Aliens follow-up.
1. Aliens Was The Last Great Film of The Franchise–Capitalize On It
Let’s look over the Alien franchises’ Rotten Tomatoes Scores, shall we? Alien: 97%. Aliens: 98%. Alien 3: 44%. Alien Resurrection: 54%. Prometheus 72% (we’re not even going to waste our time with the Alien Vs. Predator film scores).
See a pattern? Aliens is the best reviewed film of the franchise, even a smidge over the original (they’re pretty much tied in our book). In other words: people love Aliens for its tone, suspense, humor, and characters. Every subsequent film hasn’t fully stuck the landing in either of those departments, so how about sticking with a formula that works and makes fans happy?
What a concept, right? So if 20th Century Fox is going to keep pumping out Alien movies, a definitive and reverential follow-up to Aliens makes the most sense in continuing the franchise. Alien: Covenant may indeed be awesome, and we’re all about Scott making more Alien films (as long as they’re better than Prometheus), but there’s no reason we can’t get an Aliens sequel too. Can we get an aye-firmative, please?
Would you be excited for a definitive Aliens sequel? What would you like to see in a follow-up? Tell us in the comments!