Fox has reportedly canceled plans for a sequel to 2017's Alien: Covenant. Prospects for a sequel have long looked shaky, ever since Covenant limped to just $74 million in domestic box office grosses. Even the polarizing Prometheus was able to scare up $126 million in the U.S.
Set years after Prometheus, Covenant concerns a space crew stumbling upon the home planet of the blue skinned space-god Engineers. There they find the android David (Michael Fassbender), who has wiped out the Engineers and taken over experimenting with their life-form altering black goo. The film's ending set up a possible sequel that would take David's experiments even farther. Ridley Scott himself has mentioned wanting to further explore David's god-like activities in yet another Alien film. But at this point, does anyone but Ridley Scott even want another Alien film?
Now AVP Galaxy passes along what may be inside dirt on the Alien franchise. The website links to Blu-Ray.com forum user HumanMedia, who claimed in a September posting to know that Fox has indeed put the Alien franchise back in hypersleep. HumanMedia said:
The sequel to Covenant was originally due to start preproduction this month in Sydney. After the box office results filming was canceled, and a warehouse storage unit full of stuff was auctioned off a few months ago. So the original plan of pumping out another quickly has definitely changed with no immediate plans for anything.
The source here is a forum poster, so the report must be taken with a grain of salt. That said, it would shock exactly no one if Fox had indeed canceled plans for an Alien: Covenant followup, given that movie's box office under-performance. Some have rallied to Covenant's cause in the months since its release, but from Fox's perspective the movie was by and large a disappointment.
After the plot confusions that plagued Prometheus, Alien: Covenant tried to get things back to the old-school Alien formula; namely, a nasty alien creature chasing people around a spaceship and killing them. However, Ridley Scott still could not resist including elements that expanded the Alien mythology while touching on themes of religion, creation, and other stuff that has little to do with elemental outer space action. The result was a hodge-podge of mismatched ideas. Many critics and moviegoers alike rejected the disjointed mix of the overly familiar and way-too-weird.
The only way the Alien franchise gets another life now is if Ridley Scott marshals all his clout and forces the movie through. Scott surely has prodigious power in the industry, but can even he convince anyone the world wants/needs yet another Alien? Scott claims he has ideas for multiple sequels, and good for him. But after Alien: Covenant it's clear the franchise has run its course in the eyes of the movie-going public. Fox, apparently, has had enough as well.