Director Ridley Scott's planned Alien: Covenant sequels are reportedly shrouded in uncertainty right now, with 20th Century Fox currently busy "reassessing" the franchise's future. This news comes several months after Alien: Covenant was released to disappointing box office receipts, with the film's box office totals adding up to just a little over half of what 2012's Prometheus made. While Covenant was originally pitched and built up as being a return to form for the Alien franchise, with the latest installment not only adopting the same name but also basic structure and tone of the original 1979 Alien film, it proved to be a much different experience than some fans might have been expecting.
As such, the reception for Covenant proved to be just as divisive as that might suggest, with many fans and critics finding the film to be an unexpected combination of the themes and mood of Prometheus with the gore and horror of the original Alien - to mixed results. Following Covenant's release, the future of the Alien franchise from hereon out has been the hot topic of discussion amongst the franchise's most die-hard fans.
THR is reporting that Fox is currently in the process of "reassessing" the future of the Alien movie franchise. That could result in Ridley Scott's originally plan for two sequels to Covenant being scrapped, with the studio deliberating on the issue while the veteran filmmaker is busy shooting his new crime/thriller with Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World, before he then moves on to the drug lord drama, titled The Cartel.
This news places the Alien franchise in a bit of an ambiguous place, for the time being, since it's highly unlikely Fox will be taking a break from making any more Alien films altogether. On the one hand, since many fans were let down by the overall trajectory and story of Covenant, it's entirely possible that Fox could be considering taking the franchise in a much different direction from here, possibly with new Xenomorph-related adventures that are completely unrelated to the events or characters of Alien: Covenant and Prometheus. However, if the studio decides to take that route, then Scott's involvement will be in an equally uncertain place.
At the same time, the studio choosing to move away from the plot of the Covenant movies would leave this particular story arc in a strange, unsatisfying position. After all, the ending to Covenant very clearly set the stage for at least one more installment in Scott's Alien prequel series - one that would have brought back Michael Fassbender as David for a third time. Leaving the Covenant story with that kind of a cliffhanger ending would almost render the entire point of the prequel series - which would explain everything that led up to the events of the first Alien - relatively moot. So with all of that taken into account, it's hard to know for sure which direction the studio may decide to take the Alien property in - though either way, it's safe to say that, no matter what, something will be different about the next installment in this long-running sci-fi franchise.
- Alien: Covenant (2017) release date: May 19, 2017