Ridley Scott isn't ruling out Sigourney Weaver playing Ellen Ripley in his planned Alien: Covenant sequels, via the magic of CGI de-aging. A couple of years ago, District 9 and Chappie filmmaker Neill Blomkamp had begun moving forward on an Alien film that would see Weaver reprise her iconic sci-fi franchise role via a "spiritual sequel" to James Cameron's Aliens. However, Blomkamp's Alien 5 is now on indefinite hold while Scott moves forward with his own Alien movies.
Alien: Covenant is the sequel to Scott's film Prometheus (itself, a quasi-prequel to the first Alien) and could eventually become the second in a series of four movies set before Scott's original Alien. The filmmaker has already confirmed that an Alien: Covenant sequel is being written ahead of Covenant's theatrical release, assuming that the latter film is successful enough to warrant a followup. Scott has also alluded to Covenant exploring elements of Ripley's backstory in the past; at the same time, ruling out the rumor that Ripley is the daughter of Covenant protagonist Daniels (played by Katherine Waterston).
The latest issue of Empire Magazine (h/t to AvPGalaxy) includes fresh screenshots of the Engineers from Prometheus in Covenant (among other sights), as well as an update from Scott on his Covenant sequels plans. Scott confirmed to Empire that Covenant co-writer John Logan is working on the script for the next Alien movie and responded "You could do that," when asked about the possibility of a digitally de-aged Weaver portraying Ripley at some point in the Alien prequel series.
Digital de-aging has become a more frequent practice in franchise movies in recent years, with actors such as Robert Downey Jr. (in Captain America: Civil War), Michael Douglas (in Ant-Man) and Ian Holm (in The Hobbit trilogy) having gotten a CGI makeover. The technology remains imperfect, but continues to improve with each passing year and has been growing in popularity; with even director Martin Scorsese embracing de-aging technology now, for his upcoming gangster film The Irishman.
While bringing back Weaver as a younger Ripley in future Alien movies could prove to be a contentious decision among members of the franchise's fanbase, it's worth noting that Scott's original response to Empire's question was noncommittal and it's not clear if the filmmaker actually has plans to revisit the Ripley character (since it was Empire that raised the idea, not Scott). With Scott wanting to make Alien films "forever," it's nevertheless a possibility that Scott may give further consideration to, in the future.
The same goes for Scott making further tweaks to the design and history of the original Xenomorph from Alien. Similar to how Covenant introduces the new version of the Xenomorph dubbed the "Neomorph", Scott informed Empire that his Covenant sequels will introduce "different mutations" of the Xenomorph not seen in any previous Alien films. That's quite a turnaround from a few years ago when Scott said there would be no Xenomorphs in the Covenant sequel, so it's best to take his Ripley comments with a grain of salt for related reasons.
- Alien: Covenant (2017) release date: May 19, 2017