For director Neill Blomkamp, 2015 has played out like a will he/won't he saga involving his (now) postponed installment of the Alien franchise. This dream project of Blomkamp's was announced in February with the director sharing exciting looking artwork that certainly wet the appetite of fans eager to see the innovative District 9 creator's take on expanding the Alien universe. However, with Ridley Scott moving forward on his Prometheus sequel, Alien: Paradise Lost, Blomkamp's Alien film has been pushed to the back burner for the time being.
Now that Blomkamp has time on his hands, the sought after sci-fi director is already being pursued for another project. 20th Century Fox have just gained the rights to author Thomas Sweterlitsch's upcoming novel, The Gone World, and are pursuing Blomkamp both write and direct the planned adaptation next, instead of Alien 5.
"The Gone World" is the second of Sweterlitsch's two novels to be recently acquired by studios for movie adaptation. TriStar will be developing the author's debut novel, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow", and Fox has picked up The Gone World film rights even before the book has been published. Deadline is reporting that Fox is in talks with Blomkamp to both write and direct the latter feature, which the site describes as simply a “sci-fi time travel procedural”. With the book still under wraps, further details of the plot and setting are as of yet unknown.
Blomkamp's movie debut, the Peter Jackson-produced District 9 was also a breakout sci-fi hit, gaining four Oscar nominations in 2009. The director's subsequent films, Elysium and Chappie, did well enough at the box office to turn a profit, but failed to reach the same level of critical acclaim as District 9. The themes of aliens, post-apocalyptic society, futuristic technology and artificial intelligence have been predominant in Blomkamp's projects to date. If The Gone World does successfully entice him, the concept of time time-travel will be another sub-genre of sci-fi to add to his growing creative catalog.
With Blomkamp's penchant for exploring the gritty imagined underside of futuristic civilization, Fox's pursuit of the director could possibly be a hint about the subject of The Gone World. Time-travel is a largely encompassing theme; though, it seems both Sweterlitsch and Blomkamp have a thing for dystopia/post-apocalyptic visions of the future. Similarly, Blomkamp brings an auteurist creativity to his projects that is a recognizable visual stamp - one Fox clearly feel would benefit their subject matter here.
Blomkamp could do with another hit project to solidify the potential he proved with District 9. Hence, if he does agree to take on The Gone World and fully applies his unique creative force to what is hopefully another adept sci-fi offering from Sweterlitsch, the disappointing Alien 5 delay could turn out to have provided a fortuitously opportune opening in his schedule.
We will keep you up to date with developments on The Gone World adaptation as they arise.