Alien director Ridley Scott has said he wants to replace the titular creature in its own franchise, but with respect to the legendary filmmaker, he just doesn't seem to understand the Xenomorph anymore. The beast is far from "cooked."
Ridley Scott's work in the sci-fi genre is rightly considered groundbreaking, with both Alien and Blade Runner presenting visions of the future that influenced the genre for decades to come. Scott's return to the Alien franchise with Prometheus was highly anticipated, but that movie would ultimately split viewers down the middle. The movie also established the director was moving away from familiar tropes like eggs, facehuggers and even the classic Xenomorph itself.
Alien: Covenant offered an olive leave to viewers who missed the Alien by bringing it back but given the monster's lackluster appearance in the final act, it was clear Scott's heart wasn't really in it. The director has made it clear he wants the android David 8 (Michael Fassbender) to be the new franchise villain, but while Scott's prequel movies aren't lacking in ambition, they'd be wrong to cast the creature out into deep space.
Why Scott Feels The Beast Has "Run Out"
The Alien franchise has appeared in just about every medium imaginable, from video games to comics and all the way to Funko toys. In the original movie the creature was a sleek, unknowable entity that struck from the shadows with terrifying violence; by Alien Vs Predator, he was having WWE-style scrapes with a rival franchise. It's impossible to recapture the raw terror the Xenomorph inspired in his first outing, and after nearly 40 years of overexposure, it's tough to approach the beast from a fresh angle.
Scott knows this all too well, which is one reason he wants to move on. In fact, the original script for Prometheus was dubbed Alien: Engineers and was a straight-up Alien movie containing facehuggers and new twists on the Xenomorph, but Scott had these elements scrubbed out in subsequent rewrites.
The original Alien is ultimately a slasher movie is space – albeit one with impeccable casting, design and pacing. At this stage in his life and career, that's not something that interests Scott. He's fascinated by subjects like A.I., religion and the relationship between creator and created, and he's using the character of David to explore those themes through his Alien prequels. To Scott, David is an Alien in his own right, and if the series is to evolve and survive, it needs to break away from the past.
Why The Alien Is Still A Great Villain
While Scott has a point about the Xenomorph being overexposed through sequels and other mediums, that doesn't mean he's lost his power to terrify. Scott himself recently acknowledged that without Giger's design the original won't have worked and it was a true original that couldn't be replaced.
From the monster's eerie design to its underlying sexual menace – a hallmark of Giger's artwork – the Xenomorph can still be petrifying under the right circumstances. Take 2013 video game Alien: Isolation. That title acts as a direct sequel to the original film and finds Ripley's daughter Amanda trapped on a decaying space station with a relentless Alien stalking her. The game strips players of pulse rifles or smartguns and instead has them cowering in a corner, hoping the creature doesn't notice them when it suddenly drops from an air vent.
The game used the same psychological tricks Scott employed in the original and proved they still work. Isolation paints the beast as a nigh-unstoppable killer that can't be stopped with guns or explosives. Sadly, the director himself doesn't seem to understand this, which is why he treated the creature like a generic monster in Covenant. Instead of trying to push it away he needs to embrace it, and if his proposed third Alien prequel comes to be, he needs to help restore the beast to its former glories.
The Alien is an iconic monster for good reason, and fans want to see him at his best. If Ridley Scott really feels the beast is "cooked," then now's the time to take it out of the oven and serve it to a fan base hungry to see the creature at its best on the big screen.