It's an exciting time to be a fan of the Alien franchise. Ridley Scott is in the midst of principal photography on next year's Alien: Covenant (the sequel to 2012's prequel Prometheus), and it was recently announced that San Diego Comic-Con 2016 would feature a panel to celebrate the 30th anniversary of James Cameron's Aliens. Whether one prefers reminiscing about the past or looking ahead to the future, there's something fun in store.
Fox's plans for the series seem to go beyond Scott rounding out a Prometheus trilogy, as District 9 director Neill Blomkamp has been attached for some time to to helm the unofficially titled Alien 5, which is described as a direct sequel to Aliens. That project has been put on hold while Scott completes Covenant, but the principal players maintain that the movie is still coming through the pipeline. Series star Sigourney Weaver is thrilled to work with Blomkamp and reprise her iconic role as Ripley, and she discussed Alien 5's place in the timeline.
Speaking with EW, Weaver talked about the notion of Blomkamp's film essentially ignoring the events of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, which creates an alternate history for moviegoers:
“It’s just as if, you know, the path forks and one direction goes off to three and four and another direction goes off to Neill’s movie.”
This practice isn't entirely new for the film industry. Bryan Singer did something similar when he made Superman Returns, which took place after Superman: The Movie and Superman II. If this is indeed the angle Blomkamp is pursuing, there won't be too many people complaining. Part of his plan is to include an adult Newt and a grizzled Hicks in the movie, allowing two characters who were unceremoniously killed off another chance to shine. Bringing them back into the fold creates numerous possibilities for narratives, such as a passing of the torch to make Newt the new face of the franchise. That's a strategy that worked well in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Creed, so it wouldn't be surprising if the formula was used in Alien 5 as well.
Though updates on Blomkamp's film have been few and far between since it was first announced, it is a positive sign that it keeps being brought up periodically. Based on all the comments, Fox remains keen on the idea and wants to see it come into fruition. The timing just needs to be right as they piece together an Alien shared cinematic universe and iron out connections between the various projects. It will be interesting to see when the ball gets rolling on Alien 5, considering that Weaver is on board for Cameron's trio of Avatar sequels - the first of which is due in 2018.
Given that Alien 5 is ripe with potential, there are many hoping that the film comes along eventually. As intriguing as Scott's Covenant sounds, the prospect of Ripley battling xenomorphs on the big screen again (with Hicks and Newt to boot) is on a whole other level. That could be a special event, especially as people reflect on the legacy of Aliens this summer. With Covenant set for a 2017 release, ideally news on Alien 5 will come out soon, and fans can start gearing up for more Ripley.
Alien 5 is currently without a release date. We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.