It’s often easy to complain about Hollywood’s love affair with remaking movies and television shows, while forgetting that studios have held this remake obsession for decades. No matter how poorly these movies perform at the box office (see: RoboCop and Total Recall as examples) and regardless of what critics or audiences think of these recycled entries into the world of cinema, it’s certainly not going to stop a studio from trying to get it right.
Such is the case with Fox Studio’s decision to remake the ’80s cult sci-fi film Alien Nation. The original movie starred James Caan a Detective Sergeant Matthew Sykes and Mandy Patinkin as Newcomer Detective Samuel “George” Francisco. The pair are forced to work together (much to Sykes’ dismay) as George’s species begins to integrate into human society after a ship carrying over 300,000 of his enslaved people (Newcomers) crash-land on Earth. The movie is often cited for its metaphorical depiction of racial issues – something still relevant in today’s society.
A reboot of the Alien Nation television show was announced back in 2009, but that floundered in development limbo so long until it was ultimately abandoned. Last year, Fox revealed its intentions to rework the cult sci-fi movie but had, at the time, hired Art Marcum (Iron Man) and Matt Holloway (Punisher: War Zone) to pen the script. Deadline is now reporting that filmmaker Jeff Nichols will be the one doing the writing, while Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Loving) and Sara Greene (Mud) will join him on the project as producers.
The original movie has somewhat of a cult following, which allowed Fox to greenlight a television show based on the film – which it subsequently cancelled after one season (because that’s what Fox seems to enjoy doing with good shows). However, the franchise remained popular with fans, which is explains why Fox gave them five made-for-TV movies: Dark Horizon, Body and Soul, Millennium, The Enemy Within, and The Udara Legacy. The property also continued on in print as a series of novels by Star Trek writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, as well as novelizations by famed sci-fi authors K. W. Jeter and Barry B. Longyear. Malibu Comics even adapted the characters into a decent, yet short-lived, comic book series in 1990.
Having a young, talented, award-winning writer and director such as Jeff Nichols in charge of things is definitely a step in the right direction. His drama movie Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, earned a lot of praise from critics and audiences alike, while his excellent sci-fi drama, Midnight Special, starring Michael Shannon (who also headlined Nichols’ Take Shelter), drew accolades nearly across the board from everyone earlier this year. As far as remakes go, Alien Nation seems to be in good hands and there isn’t necessarily anything at this point to be overly concerned about, from a fan perspective.
There’s no release date set for Alien Nation right now, but we’ll update you as more information becomes available.