The Alien franchise is one of the most beloved in cinema history, which says a lot about the power and impact of its first two films, since basically none of the subsequent sequels were able to live up to their legacy, or the expectations of its fans. Luckily, with Ridley Scott returning to the franchise once again this year with Alien: Covenant, it seems like the franchise may finally be experiencing a return-to-form, bringing it back to the tense, horror elements that defined the 1979 original film. So even if the chances of Neill Blomkamp’s Alien 5 may be dwindling, hope and optimism seems to have returned to the Alien fandom once again.
Before the franchise started to go downhill with Alien 3, though, James Cameron was the filmmaker behind the direct sequel to the 1979 film with Aliens, which turned the franchise into an action thriller the likes of which it seemed Cameron had perfected back in the ’80s. However, it doesn’t seem like the filmmaker has much of a high opinion of the franchise anymore.
While speaking with Vulture recently, Cameron opened up about how he feels about Alien: Covenant, and why he thinks that the franchise should be left alone at this point, instead of being revisited once again:
“The franchise has kind of wandered all over the map. Ridley [Scott] did the first film, and he inspired an entire generation of filmmakers and science-fiction fans with that one movie and there have been so many films that stylistically have derived from it, including my own Aliens, which was the legitimate sequel and, I think, the proper heir to his film. I sort of did it as a fanboy. I wanted to honor his film, but also say what I needed to say. After that, I don’t take any responsibility.
I don’t think it’s worked out terribly well. I think we’ve moved on beyond it. It’s like, okay, we’ve got it, we’ve got the whole Freudian biomechanoid meme. I’ve seen it in 100 horror films since. I think both of those films stand at a certain point in time, as a reference point. But is there any validity to doing another one now? I don’t know. Maybe. Let’s see, jury’s out. Let’s see what Ridley comes up with. Let me just add to that — and don’t cut this part off, please — I will stand in line for any Ridley Scott movie, even a not-so-great one, because he is such an artist, he’s such a filmmaker. I always learn from him. And what he does with going back to his own franchise would be fascinating.”
Considering what Cameron has said in the past about franchises he’s even created, this isn’t necessarily surprising, and his statements about the direction that the Alien franchise took after his film aren’t controversial either. His optimism and interest in anything Ridley Scott does seem to be backed up by general moviegoing audiences as well, since the veteran filmmaker still seems able to drum up a fair amount of excitement around each of his films, even when they don’t manage to live up to their own hype.
There’s still an air of skepticism surrounding Alien: Covenant too, since it’s one thing to say that they’ll be returning to the franchise back to its original roots, and it’s another to actually fulfill those kinds of promises. The film’s terror-filled teaser trailer and positive word of mouth surrounding the film have, luckily, been able to increase optimism going into the sequel, and Covenant has emerged as one of the most anticipated films of this legitimately packed blockbuster summer. All that’s left to be seen now is if Ridley Scott and co. will be able to justify revisiting the Alien world yet again, or if Cameron’s remarks here may hold more weight than they do now, come the film’s theatrical release in a few months.