Director Ridley Scott will follow up the critical/commercial success of The Martian with another trip into outer space: Alien: Paradise Lost, the sequel to his Alien prequel/spinoff, Prometheus. Production on Paradise Lost - which Scott says has thematic similarities to the John Milton poem from which the Alien film gets its subtitle - is set to begin in early 2016, with Prometheus leads Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender reprising their roles as the human scientist Elizabeth Shaw and android David, respectively.
Part of the reason it's taken longer than originally expected for Paradise Lost to start filming (over three years after Prometheus hit theaters) is because the script has undergone numerous revisions - which may be good news, as Prometheus' script was its most heavily-criticized element. The Paradise Lost screenplay is reportedly now undergoing some additional revisions, from one of Scott's previous, Oscar-nominated, collaborators.
Variety, during its recent report on Scott receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (hat tip ComicBook.com), revealed that Scott is currently revising the Alien: Paradise Lost screenplay with John Logan, ahead of principal photography getting started in February 2016. Logan, as it were, received one of his three Oscar nominations for screenwriting to date for his work on Scott's Best Picture Oscar-winning swords and sandals flick, Gladiator (which Logan co-wrote), and is fresh off having co-penned the most recent James Bond movie installment, Spectre.
Logan may not boast a spotless track record as a screenwriter (see, for example, Star Trek: Nemesis), but given his impressive body of script work - which, in addition to the aforementioned titles, includes The Aviator, Hugo, Skyfall, and the TV series Penny Dreadful - his involvement with the Prometheus sequel ought to come as welcome news. The initial Paradise Lost script draft was reportedly written by Jack Paglen (Transcendence), but subsequent drafts were penned by Michael Green (who also worked on the upcoming Blade Runner 2), prior to Logan coming onboard.
Scott's plans with Alien: Paradise Lost have clearly evolved over time; most recently, he has indicated Paradise Lost will begin to bring the Prometheus series closer to the Alien movies, with regard to their direct connections (since they already take place in the same universe). The hope is that the project's multiple script revisions will ultimately culminate in a cohesive vision - one that might even offer many fans an experience closer to the one they had wanted from the first Prometheus, in terms of how the sci-fi/horror film expands upon the ideas and themes of Alien films released in the past.
The plot for Alien: Paradise Lost will revolve around Elizabeth and David's journey to the Engineers' home world; that alone is enough of an intriguing concept to suggest the film might prove to be more satisfying (and, in turn, less divisive) than its predecessor. We may soon a bit more about the movie's narrative too, as additional casting is currently underway for Paradise Lost - prior to Scott getting the cameras rolling in Australia, in some four months or so (from the time of writing this).
We'll let you know when Alien: Paradise Lost gets an official release date.