Ridley Scott’s horror/sci-fi classic, Alien, featured acid-blooded monsters and the immense remains of a skeletal creature generally referred to as “The Space Jockey”. The director plans to reveal the history of both these non-Earthlings in his 3D Alien prequels – however, it might take another year before moviegoers get to see them.

20th Century Fox has reportedly pushed the release date of both Alien prequels back twelve months, which means they will now hit theaters in 2013 and 2014. No official explanation for the delay has been given yet.

Fox officials reportedly approve of Damon Lindelof’s script re-write and Script Flags quotes Scott as having stated that “[The ‘Alien’ prequels are] written and budgeted and, frankly, we’ve already booked film stages in England” back in November. There were rumbling about conflicts over budget costs and Scott’s plans for both films to contain hard R-Rated material, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for a studio-funded tenpole pic (some might recall that similar cost concerns were rumored to be affecting the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean at one point).

The delay in the release date for the Alien prequels may have been selected as a means to avoid rushing production on the films, which will both be shot in 3D and thus require more cutting-edge camera technology – as well as a more complex lighting scheme to compensate for the darkening effect that the 3D conversion process has on regular film stock.

Scott's prequels will explore the history of the Alien itself.

Besides exploring the background of the Alien creature and “The Space Jockey” in his prequels, Scott also plans to examine the practicalities of colonization in outer space, including issues related to the terraforming of planets and humanity’s ability to travel beyond the planet Earth. The implication so far seems to be that the mystery surrounding the Alien’s origin won’t be entirely revealed in these new films, which is good – less we end up with another Hannibal Rising.

Noomi Rapace reportedly remains the top candidate to star in the Alien prequels, which will not feature any of the human (or, in Ian Holm’s case, android) characters that appeared in the 1979 film or its sequels. The actress is currently busy playing a French gypsy in Sherlock Holmes 2, but the release date delay for Scott’s two-movie project would make it easier for her to sign on. Is it possible that the former Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s schedule played a part in Fox’s decision?

Will the 'Alien' prequels star Swedish actress Noomi Rapace?

David Fincher’s Alien 3 was pushed back from its original release date in the early 90s, but that was due to story/script development issues. It’s certainly possible that there are some behind-the-scenes issues that are holding up progress on the project (budget concerns, creative differences, casting issues, etc.). The delay could also be primarily a means to allow for work on the films’ 3D visual F/X.

Whatever the reason, the first Alien prequel looks to arrive no earlier than three years from now. Thoughts?

Source: 20th Century Fox (via Script Flags)