It's official - after waiting almost two decades for a proper Alien sequel (the Aliens vs. Predators movies and Prometheus don't really count), we're finally getting one. This time, Neill Blomkamp will be in the director's chair, a job he managed to obtain by Instagramming concept art featuring Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), a scarred Corporal Hicks (looking very much like an aged Michael Biehn), and more.
Since then, Blomkamp has said that his Alien movie would be a direct sequel to James Cameron's Aliens (which many had assumed already based on the concept art), indicating that Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection would be ignored altogether. Now, the director is expounding on the film's placement in the timeline.In an interview with AlloCiné, Neill Blomkamp said that his film wouldn't "undo" the second half of the Alien quadrilogy. Rather, it would just be "connected" to the first two. Here's the quote:
"My favorites are the first two movies. So I want to make a film that's connected to 'Alien' and 'Aliens.' That's my goal. I'm not trying to undo 'Alien 3' or 'Alien Resurrection,' I just wanted it to be connected to 'Alien 1' and '2.' "
So basically, it's going to undo Alien 3 and Resurrection. Because let's face it, there's no way a scarred up Hicks can be in the movie without it disregarding the continuity that came after Aliens. The entire nihilistic point of Alien 3 is that everyone Ripley came to care about died, and then so did she.
What's that you say? Hicks could just be a clone like Ripley was in Resurrection? But if that's the case, then why does he have the acid burns he received near the end of Aliens? Obviously, that's not the case, and we're looking at a cinematic retcon here.
So what does Blomkamp mean when he says his film won't undo Alien 3 and 4? Maybe he just means it literally, as the films will, in fact, still be available for purchase, unless Fox pulls a George Lucas and tries to wipe them from existence. Or perhaps there's some other elusive explanation we're not seeing yet.
It's probably safe to say that most fans are a-okay with the next Alien movie picking up where Aliens left off. Though Alien 3 has its share of fans, there are definitely more who wish that the film had gone in a different direction - say, one that didn't kill some of their favorite characters off (and on) screen.
As to whether or not it'll make for a good movie, it could go either way. Superman Returns was the last film to pull a retcon like this, to decidedly mixed results, and the other most famous example was Halloween H20, which is considered by some to be the very best Halloween sequel.
And then there's Blomkamp himself, who's one for two with movies at this point. District 9 is still widely considered to be excellent - plus, it was very successful and made on the cheap - but his other movie, Elysium, was a big old critical dud, and it didn't exactly blow up the box office either.
Speaking of Elysium, Neill Blomkamp recently talked to Uproxx about his Matt Damon vehicle and essentially admitted that he "f***ed it up." When asked if he felt frustration with Hollywood when his second film underperformed, he said:
"No, any frustration I feel with 'Elysium' is with myself. I think I’m lucky, at least for this phase of my career, I’m lucky in the sense that I don’t feel a lot of pressures I think other directors feel. I don’t have 'District 9' be successful and then have 'Elysium be not successful and then beat myself up over it because of how the audience perceives them.
" 'So, let’s say you make 'District 9' and it does well. So, now, a normal director is like, “Sh*t, I’ve got this pressure because this last film did well and I hope this one lives up to it.' I don’t have that. It definitely doesn’t bother me. The thing that bothers me is if I feel like I f***ed it up."
Blomkamp was then asked if he felt like he "f***ed up" Elysium, to which he said:
"A little bit. [...] I feel like, ultimately, the story is not the right story. I still think the satirical idea of a ring, filled with rich people, hovering above the impoverished Earth, is an awesome idea. I love it so much, I almost want to go back and do it correctly. But I just think the script wasn’t… I just didn’t make a good enough film is ultimately what it is. I feel like I executed all of the stuff that could be executed, like costume and set design and special effects very well. But, ultimately, it was all resting on a somewhat not totally formed skeletal system, so the script just wasn’t there; the story wasn’t fully there."
And when did he know that Elysium wasn't turning out as well as he hoped?
"I don’t really remember. I think, on some level, you probably innately know. The problem with me is I get so caught up in concepts and ideas. Like I just said, the ring is so cool. The satirical idea of a diamond encrusted ring above, like, slums is such a satirically cool idea – I’m not like a normal person in the sense that I have to have a story for something to be interesting. Concepts are just as interesting to me as stories are. Where, to normal people, stories are more interesting. So, that’s an example of what I mean. I can be like, 'F***, I love this ring, I love all the visual effects related to it, I love these images and how they’re juxtaposed with one another.' And then be like, 'As a director, I could have done better.' And you sort of realize that all these people prefer this element I didn’t pay as much attention to, but I paid a lot of attention to this."
It's a really interesting and insightful interview (read the full thing here) that proves that Neill Blomkamp is capable of being candid and critical about his own work, which is frankly pretty refreshing.
Elysium definitely had its share of problems - in full disclosure, I didn't like it much at all - but it's worth pointing out that there were a few things it did quite well. The design work, the special effects, and even (occasionally) the action worked in a way that the hamfisted story did not.
But what say you, Screen Ranters? How did you feel about Elysium? And what are your thoughts on Blomkamp's Alien film disregarding Alien 3 and 4 (if indeed that's what happens)? Drop us a line in the comments.
Stay tuned for more Alien 5 news as it becomes available.