Despite seemingly digging itself into a position of poor critical and fan reception with Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection in the mid-90s, followed by a pair of not-great Aliens vs. Predator films, the Alien brand is back bigger than ever. Alien: Isolation helped course correct the franchise's video game woes and as we speak Alien 5 is in development alongside a sequel to Prometheus.
The latter, according to original Alien director Ridley Scott - who returns again for Prometheus 2 - is being planned to have multiple sequels of its own; meaning in the next few years there may be Alien movies releasing annually in a revitalized shared universe of sorts. That couldn't be more evident than in Scott's revelation yesterday of the Prometheus sequel's title: Alien: Paradise Lost.
Prometheus sort of served (and sort of didn't) as a prequel to the original Alien, its title referencing the themes of the film: the creation of mankind and mankind playing with fire. The title of its followup, Alien: Paradise Lost follows suit, embracing the title of the John Milton poem "Paradise Lost" from the 1600s. That story tells the tale of battle of the heavens and the fall of man using Satan, Adam and Eve as its central figures, where Satan poisons Earth.
In the expanding film mythology it's the Engineers who are the creators, seen as gods of sorts, and the name of their homeworld - as revealed in Prometheus - actually translates to "Paradise." That location is where we see Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the android David (Michael Fassbender) heading towards at the end of the last film, a place Rapace describes in interviews as a "dark paradise."
Speaking to HeyUGuys while promoting The Martian, Ridley Scott elaborated on why Prometheus 2 will be titled Alien: Paradise Lost, explaining that the xenomorph origins will be better explained.
"Well, because we're heading back to why and how and when the beast was invented. We'll go back into the backdoor of the very first Alien I did 30 years ago."
Scott later expanded on this when chatting with Empire, revealing that "Paradise" was actually a potential title for Prometheus but that he'd been thinking about these themes and this story since decades ago when considering ideas for the first sequel to the original Alien.
"Years ago, I kept mulling over what Alien 2 could be. I was fiddling around with some ideas. I was always fascinated with why this thing [the xenomorph] would be made, by whom, and for what purpose? The planet it was on – and I was looking at the dark side of the moon – would be called Paradise. Paradise is a very ominous word..."
With the title change, hints of Prometheus 3 and 4 stories already being mulled over, and Ridley Scott also serving as producer on Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5, has the plan for Prometheus 2 completely changed? Not entirely.
"In a way it is Prometheus 2. It’s exactly the same story. But it was always in the works to be called that [Alien: Paradise Lost]. Is Prometheus actually taking us off course from where I’m going, which is actually backing into the first Alien... I’ve even got connections with Ripley [in this], but I’m not telling you what."
When Scott said Prometheus 3 or 4 would bring this prequel series in line with the original Alien movies, we didn't expect this much direct reference from Prometheus 2. And we can't even fathom how Ripley could be connected to this plot give its setting and place in the timeline. As for the original alien xenomorphs, something Scott previously said Prometheus 2/Alien: Paradise Lost would steer away from in favor of introducing new monsters, he's seemingly reconsidered. If the movie is going to explain the xenomorph origins at the hands of the Engineers, they would need to show up, right?
"I think I have to go again. We will see who made it, and why. That’s what’s interesting."
Alien: Paradise Lost will see the return of Shaw and David, and Scott says he has a "nice big idea" for how to handle decapitated David not having a body, and it will seemingly explore the Engineer homeworld and their creation plans. This movie will be followed by Blomkamp's Alien 5 which features a revealing title that Ridley Scott helped craft that's being kept secret for the time being. That movie is will see franchise star Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley return, potentially alongside Michael Biehn's Cpl. Dwayne Hicks from Aliens 2.
We're learning more by the day when it comes to the quickly expanding and evolving Alien franchise so stay tuned for more. We'll leave you with this last quote from Prometheus executive producer Michael Ellenberg when he spoke about the movie three years ago:
"What if you could meet God but God turned out to be the Devil?"
Alien: Paradise Lost and Alien 5 do not yet have release dates.