The issue of when a director is past his/her prime has long existed, with strong opinions on either side of the question. However, over recent years, we’ve seen some legendary directors like Terrence Malick and Ridley Scott greatly increase their output with much success, strengthening the argument that age doesn’t necessarily play a detrimental role in a filmmaker’s ability.
In the particular case of Ridley Scott, much to the delight of fans everywhere, the 78-year-old director has accelerated work on following up some of his most iconic films like his Alien franchise, as well as the classic sci-fi blockbuster Blade Runner. In the process of refining these projects, Scott has continued to keep everyone guessing and ever eager to see what’s next.
Now that the public is aware of Scott’s intention to have another prequel to 1979’s Alien in theatres by 2017, there’s no shortage of questions and uncertainties – as was evidenced late last year with regards to the film’s title. With Alien: Covenant confirmed as Scott’s next contribution to the Alien franchise since 2012’s Prometheus, the latest questions now center around the surprise decision not to cast Prometheus star Noomi Rapace. While speaking with British tabloid The Daily Mail, Scott was asked as to whether or not Rapace would be reprising her role as Elizabeth Shaw in Alien: Covenant and responded “no,” adding that the production was still in the process of casting the roles. This comes as no small surprise given that up until recently, Scott had left the prospect of Rapace’s return somewhat wide open.
Rapace and Michael Fassbender were the only two survivors of the crew from Prometheus, and Fassbender has since been confirmed as being on board for a return in Covenant, so the question of why Elizabeth Shaw won’t be returning is a curious one, to say the least. Rapace had always maintained that she was in favor of returning for another film, but the script’s recent rewrites likely have something to do with this no longer being a option.
Scott also confirmed that Alien: Covenant has been laid out on “very detailed storyboards,” though he did not further expound upon the film’s plot. His confidence over his ability to bring this next chapter of the Alien franchise to the big screen and its prospects for success remain firmly intact, as the director made clear during an earlier interview with The Guardian:
"You prove how reliable you are. Which I am, I always have been - it's part of my thing ... You want big films and stories to keep people going to the cinema. It's up to us to keep the bar raised. That's the trick. I've always done that. “
In other words, Ridley Scott has been a filmmaker for a very long time, with a considerably high rate of success. Fans of Noomi Rapace will undoubtedly be sorry to see her go from Alien: Covenant, but if Scott’s cinematic track record is anything to go by, potential audiences can rest assured that the right decisions are being made in the service of a legendary filmmaker’s vision.
Alien: Covenant opens in U.S. theaters on October 6th, 2017.