If somehow you've managed to avoid the rest of the internet before just now, today is considered "Alien Day" in honor of James Cameron's 1986 sci-fi/action move Aliens: the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979's sci-fi/horror classic, Alien. From new merchandise to fan-made dedications, April 26th (chosen as a nod to LV-426, the planet where the aliens originate from) has quickly become another fan holiday to keep tabs on every year.
In an upcoming issue of the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, Cameron takes a trip down memory lane and reflects on the kind of cultural impact that resulted from Aliens - including, the effects that have rippled throughout pop culture in the three decades since its release in theaters.
Cameron's follow-up to Alien was meant to be something of a continuation, and even a sign of respect to Ellen Ripley's adventure in the first film. As the filmmaker put it:
"My goals were twofold, and one was not prioritized over the other. The first goal was to honor and continue what Ridley had started, and the second goal was to make it my own film."
While certain movie sequels and/or film trilogies might feature art direction that looks radically different from one installment to the next (see, for example, how Tim Burton's Batman (1989) differs from Batman Returns and, in turn, Joel Schumacher's Batman Forver), the idea behind Aliens was to continue what had been started visually in the previous film, and expand elsewhere. In Cameron's own words:
"I felt that it was important to be stylistically continuous with the first film. But in terms of the way the story is told, the elements of the story, introducing the idea of a future military, that was just a way into it that made it different, that was a distinguishing factor."
With that in mind, Cameron and his Aliens filmmaking crew had a challenge when it came to assembling practical effects for an out-of-this-world film. The filmmaker explained:
"We developed a pretty good little palette of techniques that were relatively straightforward and inexpensive and required a lot of craftsmanship. Almost anything can be corrected or hidden or added to or enhanced with CG now. So there’s much less emphasis on what’s going in front of an actual camera lens."
Cameron, of course, is busy building up the massive world of Avatar in preparation for not just one sequel, but four new feature film installments in that sci-fi franchise. Needless to say, anyone hoping for another James Cameron-helmed Alien sequel might want reel back on such hefty wishes. Cameron says there's very little chance that he would sign on for the project, unless someone introduced a fresh new concept that caught his eye. As Cameron put it:
"I’ve got my own kind of alien world that I’m enslaved to now with the Avatar films, so I can pretty much rule that out."
The Alien franchise will continue with Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant on August 4th, 2017 and Neill Blomkamp is currently working on a sequel/semi-reboot to Aliens tentatively known as Alien 5. Meanwhile, James Cameron's Avatar 2 is expected to reach theaters in December 2018, followed by Avatar 3 in December 2020, Avatar 4 in December 2022, and Avatar 5 in December 2023.
Source: Famous Monsters Magazine