Ridley Scott's Alien prequel series may be canceled - which makes it the perfect time to resurrect Neill Blomkamp's "totally dead" Alien 5. For nearly 40 years, the xenomorph has stood as one of the greatest horror monsters; birthed under Ridley Scott in 1979, there have since been six movies, two crossovers, and plans for much more to come. However, as Fox prepares to cancel Scott's Alien: Covenant sequels, is there any hope of hearing us scream in space one more time?
While the series was once heralded as one of the horror greats, the years haven't been kind to Alien, with the various prequels and sequels paling in comparison to the first two movies. Hope at first seemed to come from Neill Blomkamp, who made a big splash with District 9 and was at one point signed on to direct an intriguing Alien 5 project. This was reported to be completely off the cards last year, but now the future of the franchise is murkier, it could always come back.
Why Did We Never See Blomkamp's Alien Movie?
The premise of Blomkamp's sequel was simple: pick up after James Cameron's lauded Aliens and basically erase all the bad stuff that came after it. There is no escaping that both Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection completely failed to live up to their predecessors; both were mired by studio meddlings, and altogether had unclear ideas of what exactly the franchise was. Blomkamp hoped to press the reset button, retconning away Hicks and Newt's offscreen deaths and returning the series to its roots. Sigourney Weaver was on board, Michael Biehn couldn't wait to play Hicks again, and gritty concept art got fans of all stripes excited.
However, the creator got in the way. When Scott decided to push ahead with Covenant and tell the much earlier origins of the species, he also forced Fox's hand and wrote off Blomkamp's film. While the post-Aliens world could have probably run side-by-side with the prequels, Ridley was having none of it. Plainly, it was timings and studio meddling (again), rather than the idea that got the project canned.
Where Did Ridley Scott's Alien Prequels Go Wrong?
Hype may have been high for Scott's return to a world of penis-headed monsters and even deadlier androids, but the results have not won over audiences. 2012's Prometheus had already been accused of not being a "classic" Alien movie, and then Covenant spun the other way; the discussion of creation remained, but this time paired with CGI Xenomorphs and ineffective horror. With talks that the third installment would almost completely discard the aliens in favor of Michael Fassbender's David and more AI antagonists, fans were getting exasperated. Covenant tumbled well below its box office predictions, and some were already sighing at the thought of Scott planning to make another three movies to our screens.
It was too many things of unclear ambition. Both films felt like style over substance, but most importantly they weren't what people expected from Alien. Even Scott seems aware that things weren't running smoothly, recently saying the xenomorph was running out of steam. Now his series has, although perhaps not the creature itself.