2017 truly is the year of the spinoff, with a least one brand new remake, reboot, sequel, or prequel set to be released every week, on average, across the entire 12-month period. The Alien movie franchise is no different, with the latest installment, Alien: Covenant, taking up the mantle of Prometheus in spinning the Xenomorph saga off in a very different and somewhat surprising direction.
It’s not just sequels and follow-ups that are in fashion either – shows like Better Call Saul are already doing a fine job of showing how to explore a universe already familiar to millions of fans in a fresh and unique way, while there’s also the prospect of four potential Game of Thrones spinoffs to come.
With film and television studios increasingly mining existing properties for possible shows, mini-series, and movies, there’s even the potential for a few spinoffs from the dark and ever-expanding world of Alien and beyond.
If anyone does decide to explore the options available to them in the Alien movie universe (and Ridley Scott doesn't just go and black the thing) they might be pleasantly surprised, with any number of characters, scenarios, and settings seemingly ripe for resurrection – no Alien pun intended.
With that in mind, here are just 16 Alien movie spinoffs we’d love to see. Have we left any fan favorites out?
16 Another Bug Hunt
When Sergeant Apone’s rag-tag bunch of Colonial Marines first gather together to be debriefed by Lieutenant Gorman ahead of their mission on LV-426 in Aliens, it’s not long before one of the crew poses the question, "Is this another bug hunt, sir?"
It’s a line that hints at previous extra-terrestrial encounters involving this captivating bunch of characters, and certainly one that opens up a world of possibilities. A film focusing on the very same group of marines would be interesting enough, but, given that most viewers would ultimately be well aware of their heroes’ fates, it could prove more effective to focus on a new squad of marines. Then again, it’s worked pretty well for Vince Gilligan and Better Call Saul, so perhaps they could pull it off.
There could still be scope to include at least one or two of the original marines from Aliens to give proceedings extra appeal regardless, but a violent, action-packed film focusing on another, possibly unreported encounter with a Xenomorph or other alien being (Engineers perhaps?) would make for a real crowdpleaser either way.
15 Artificial Humans
Ridley Scott’s preoccupation with the development of the Alien movie universe’s Artificial Humans has already dominated much of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, so why not just go the whole hog and have an entire TV series or film focused solely on their creation and evolution?
That’s not meant solely as a dig at Scott either; a series looking at the rise of Artificial Humans could work really well and offer up a lot of answers to some intriguing, if not necessarily essential, questions. Like how they went from looking like Michael Fassbender to looking like Ian Holm and then Lance Henriksen, for starters.
Seriously though, this kind of show could have real legs and would offer a chance to explore the kind of themes Scott has already touched on in his two aforementioned efforts, as part of a project that would have shades of Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff that was canceled way too soon.
14 Raising Kane
As any true Alien movie fanatic knows, Ripley’s deceased Nostromo crewmate, Gilbert Kane, is so much more than just the punchline for one of cinema’s most shocking on-screen deaths.
No, as detailed in a dossier seen all-too-briefly in Aliens, but later reproduced for fans to peruse as an extra on the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set shows, Kane actually has a pretty interesting backstory.
A star pupil at private school in England, Kane headed off to military school before developing a rather nasty drug addiction during his time studying medicine, which ended up getting him expelled. After returning home, he was able to rebuild his career to some degree and land a GBUK pilot’s license before heading back out into space. He continued to battle drug addiction and even alcoholism before arriving on the Nostromo.
With that in mind, a film or series that covers Kane’s formative years and any of the events previously outlined would undoubtedly be a fascinating watch for hardcore fans of the franchise.
13 Carter Burke
Carter Burke is the super-slimy Weyland Yutani executive we all loved to hate in Aliens and, in this ever-expanding era of television anti-heroes, he could be the ideal focus for his very own super-dark sci-fi series.
The concept would be simple enough: viewers follow Burke’s rise from lowly company grunt to high-level executive, complete with the many shady deals and intergalactic screw jobs he pulls off along the way. Try to imagine Ray Donovan, set in space, with Burke serving as a Weyland Yutani fixer of sorts, traveling the galaxy cleaning up the company’s many, many messes.
By setting it ahead of the events of Aliens, the creators could also cast a younger actor in the role of Burke, though there would be potential for the always-watchable Paul Reiser to return in some sort of flash-back/flash-forward capacity.
One of Prometheus's biggest sins – and there were many – was the strange deployment of Guy Pearce in a largely redundant role, save for his strange and rather brief appearance in that old man/Planet of Apes reject get-up towards the end of the film.
And yet the pre-Prometheus hype had hinted at so much. The specially-made Peter Weyland 2023 TED Talk promo released ahead of the film’s debut not only helped flesh out the character in a way not seen before, but it had fans eager to learn more about the genius behind Artificial Humans and breathable atmosphere machines.
That the resulting film and follow-up Alien: Covenant failed to properly explore the character of Weyland any further (or his relationships with David, his robot creation, and his estranged daughter Meredith Vickers) was a missed opportunity - but one that's not too late to correct. Whether it’s a mini-series or a standalone film, something covering Weyland’s rise and fall could even leave fans with a newfound appreciation for the movies that have followed.
11 Amanda Ripley
The story of Amanda Ripley, Ellen’s long-forgotten daughter that passed away in between the events of Alien and Aliens, has already been explored to some extent in the survival horror game Alien: Isolation, but it's worth revisiting.
Though something of a mixed bag in story terms (it was a computer game, after all), with a bit of work, a fully-formed script could certainly be developed, with Isolation setting up an intriguing premise of sorts for an Alien outing fronted by Amanda.
Set long before Amanda grew into the old lady seen in the picture presented to Ripley in a deleted scene from Aliens, the story would see Amanda head off in search of answers regarding her mother’s disappearance.
From there, you would have the perfect foundations for an inspired spinoff series, with Amanda travelling around space, looking for clues as to where her mother might be, and, eventually, encountering a few Xenomorphs along the way.
10 Hadley’s Hope
James Cameron’s director’s cut of Aliens offered up a glimpse of what life was like on the LV-426-based colony of Hadley’s Hope prior to the Xenomorph infestation, but what about the events that took place prior to Ripley’s arrival?
While the recently-released audiobook Alien: Rivers of Pain does a pretty bang-up job of filling in the blanks on what life on Hadley’s Hope was like after Newt’s dad became the first person to come into contact with a Facehugger, a prequel/sequel film would be an interesting prospect. How quickly did the Xenomorphs take hold? How much of a fight did the colony’s inhabitants put up, and how many terrifying set pieces played out as a result? Of course, the trick of Cameron’s film was to allow the viewer to fill in a lot of those blanks, but there’s still plenty of room to be inventive with this possible spinoff.
Focusing on a doomed bunch of survivors or stragglers that somehow made their escape, unknown to Weyland Yutani, would make for a great premise and offers a wealth of potential.
9 Johner and Vriess
Alien Resurrection’s best duo, besides Call and Ripley 8, came in the form of the Betty’s two remaining survivors once the dust has settled: Ron Perlman’s borderline psychotic Johner and his wheel-chair bound crewmate John Vriess, played by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s longtime collaborator, Dominique Pinon.
And while the lack of a follow-up robbed fans of a proper ending to Ripley’s story (alright, Ripley 8’s story), the fates of Johner and Vriess were also left unknown once the credits started to roll.
That’s where a spinoff film or limited series focusing on their adventures from that point onwards could come in handy. Johner’s mercenary background could see the pair enlisted as full-time Xenomorph hunters, tasked with exterminating every trace of the alien that killed their crew. Because you just know that someone, somewhere will be breeding them, fully convinced they can be harnessed as some sort of living, breathing biological weapon.
Perlman would surely be keen to reprise a role he’s always spoken fondly off, while Pinon could even be convinced to return for one last mission. While it could be a tough sell as a major movie release, it could find a home on Netflix or Amazon Prime as a neat way to extend the Alien movie universe -- with a little more Perlman for good measure.
8 Fury 161
Alien 3 may be the bleakest outing in the Alien franchise, but it’s still a fascinating entry in the series which could have amounted to so much more if budding director David Fincher hadn’t been dogged by constant studio interference.
In any case, it did serve up several notable characters, including Charles Dutton’s reformed rapist and murderer turned religious fanatic, Dillion, and his disciples, as well as Charles Dance’s disgraced doctor, Clemens.
The simplest way to explore these characters and many more besides them would be to have a series in the grand tradition of HBO’s Oz. When audiences first see Fury 161, it has long ceased being a prison planet, but Ripley is told that it was once home to some 5,000 inmates, and it ran a rather large smelting plant, too.
This spinoff would be simple enough – a series chronicling life on a barren, wasteland prison planet where inmates are likely to encounter any number of extra-terrestrial horrors as well as their own, equally scary co-inhabitants.
Winona Ryder is enjoying something of a moment right now, thanks in no small part to a fine turn in Stranger Things, which served as a career comeback after a few years in the doldrums. What better time, then, to return to her fascinating and too often overlooked Alien Resurrection character, Annalee Call?
In the film, audiences are told of Call’s very unique origins as an Auton – a special type of artificial human designed by her fellow machines. It gets better though.
A mysterious character seemingly hell bent on destroying Ripley 8 and the Xenomorphs in Alien: Resurrection, Call also happens to be one of the few Synthetics to survive a massive recall of the robot folk in the wake of a mass uprising in the 24th century.
Since then, as Raymond Cruz’s Distephano tells us, her kind has been in hiding, posing as human to avoid detection. There’s already enough material there for a series focusing on the character, but something set around what she does after the events of Alien: Resurrection could be equally intriguing.
6 Idris Janek
Fully fleshed out characters are few and far between in Prometheus, but one deleted scene certainly offered a fascinating insight into one of the film’s more notable performers: Idris Elba’s Janek.
In the clip, the captain of the Prometheus visits Charlize Theron’s Vickers in her private quarters for a little chat. It’s there that he recalls a story from a previous mission involving biological weapons, similar to the ones seen in Prometheus. He remembers how an accident saw him and his crew evacuated, leaving several scientists behind to die. It serves as a tantalizing glimpse of a far more interesting movie involving Janek. What sort of tests were they carrying out? Did they also happen to involve the mysterious black goo?
Also, what had he and his crew been through together before the events of Ridley Scott's film? Whatever it was, it was enough to convince Janek's two co-pilots to go down with their ship. There’s more than enough there to get an Elba-led spinoff up and running.
5 The Betty
Alien Resurrection may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still a film brimming with creativity and a far livelier and less troubling take on the Xenomorph universe than David Fincher’s brooding Alien 3.
Arguably one of the best elements of the fourth Alien installment comes in the shape of The Betty, the space pirate ship that's home to a crew of arguably the most diverse mix of characters seen in the franchise to date - Winona Ryder’s Call and Ron Perlman’s Johner are just the tip of the iceberg.
Anyway, the idea of a film or series focusing on the adventures of the Betty prior to its encounter with those darn Xenomorphs wouldn’t just make a great premise – it pretty much already has.
Joss Whedon, the writer behind Alien Resurrection, has made no secret of the fact that the Betty served as the inspiration for his cult TV series Firefly. So why not bring the Betty back for a few adventures of their own?
4 Vasquez and Drake
Another notable double act in the world of Alien came with Aliens' colonial marine duo Vasquez and Drake, who, according to actress Jeanette Goldstein, shared more than just a mutual love of mountable smart guns.
According to Goldstein, both she and fellow actor Mark Rolston developed a backstory that saw the pair's characters first meet in juvenile prison. Both grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and found themselves incarcerated on murder charges. However, under the Jail Act, they were earned early release by enlisting in the United States Colonial Marine Corps, where they not only passed through boot camp together but requested that they be part of the same platoon on assignment.
Their dark origins and blossoming relationship could serve as a great basis for a spinoff, with the unknown nature of their partnership – be it platonic or something more – another potential source of dramatic tension as they develop into the tough-as-nails marines we meet in Aliens.
3 The Engineers
Front and center for much of Prometheus, the unfortunate truth is that, for all the screen time the Engineers enjoyed in that particular Alien outing, they remain something of an unknown quantity.
A prequel movie could change all of that, though, and it could even be the start of an interesting new avenue for the franchise. Rather than facing off against Xenomorphs, a team of researchers or unfortunate folk could crash land on the Engineers’ home planet, where they would face any number of unknown horrors.
While the standard crash land on an unknown planet plotline would undoubtedly produce solid results, arguably, the bolder direction to take could be one involving the Engineers on Earth.
Ridley Scott has previously spoken of how, in his version of the universe, Jesus actually turned out to be a misunderstood Engineer and that his crucifixion set in motion the events that saw the Engineers become hell bent on destroying humanity. As bold and controversial as this idea might be, it could serve as an interesting premise for another spinoff.
2 Ripley 8
Sigourney Weaver has always been the jewel in the crown of the Alien movie universe, an actress capable of carrying an entire sci-fi movie saga with some sublime, varied performances across four very different but equally challenging movies.
Whisper it if you must, but her best performance may actually be in Alien Resurrection, as the Ellen Ripley clone with more than a touch of the Xenomorphs about her. Creepy, calculating, and badass to boot, it was a performance that had fans screaming out for more.
Alas, fans are still waiting for Weaver’s return to the franchise, but if it ever does happen, we’d love to see the actress defy her one rule for the Alien franchise with an entry set on Earth. It’s here that fans could see Ripley 8 struggle to adapt to the challenges of life as a human, all the while suspecting in the back of her mind that a Xenomorph attack could be imminent. A natural progression from the events of the previous film, it could serve as the darkest fish-out-of-water movie ever put to film.
One of biggest gripes most fans have about Alien 3 is the callous way in which the film does away with Hicks, the one surviving Colonial Marine, almost straight away. It’s a move that got fans’ backs up straight away, and is perhaps part of the reason so many were eager to see Neil Blomkamp’s Alien movie, which he promised would feature both Hicks and Newt.
Fortunately, Hicks has lived on across a variety of tie-in novels and comic books that see the character return safely to normal, human life (albeit physically and mentally scarred) only to be once again drawn into another mission concerned with the capture of a Xenomorph specimen for research.
Focusing on the older, wiser Hicks would not only allow for the return of the always-awesome Michael Biehn, but also the long-retired Newt actress Carrie Henn, in a series that could focus on a whole new Alien adventure while also utilizing flashbacks to show us Hicks and Newt’s largely underdeveloped origins.
What other Alien movie universe spinoffs would you like to see happen? Let us know in the comments!