A look at the latest Alien 5 and Prometheus sequel developments
Last week, director Ridley Scott was back in England promoting his upcoming movie The Martian and of course, every single geek journalist asked about his next project, the sequel to Prometheus, which we now know is going to be called Alien: Paradise Lost. According to Scott, it will start filming in February.
Scott’s statements about the sequel, particularly the title, raised more questions and so the same journalists tried to get answers to those questions… and yet, even those answers raised more questions. And because there are so many questions, it’s just made the whole thing that much more confusing. So let’s see if we can figure this out together, shall we?
(And I’ll place an obligatory SPOILER here in case you haven’t seen Prometheus or any of the other “Alien” movies, since you were just hatched yesterday like some kind of Facehugger.)
If you saw Scott’s Prometheus, then you’ll remember that it ended with Noomi Rapace’s Dr. Shaw and Michael Fassbender’s cyborg David (in two pieces with his head removed from his body) flying off to find the world of the Engineers. As expected, that’s the point from where the sequel will continue. Of course, there’s a lot of questions about what the plot might be, but I’m not really into that game of “guess the plot” and we don’t know enough right now to even begin because everything said so far has been fairly vague.
Either way, Alien: Paradise Lost will be that previously-announced sequel to Prometheus, and like that movie, it will also connect to the original Alien (also directed by Scott way back in 1979) by being a prequel that introduces how the original aliens were created. Ambitiously, they want to make up to three more “Prometheus” films including “Paradise Lost”… but it’s probably safe to assume that none of them will actually have “Prometheus” in the title.
Then there’s the “Alien” movie that Chappie director Neill Blomkamp had been pimping earlier this year, where he wants to direct what would essentially be the long-awaited sequel sometime known as Alien 5. According to Blomkamp, it would be a sequel to Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s 1986 action flick Aliens, ignoring most of what happened in the Fincher and Jeunet films, but also bringing back Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the original quadrology. You following this so far?
Fox’s attempt to keep the “Alien” franchise alive is such a long and storied one and I’ve been around long enough to remember all the efforts that followed after 1997’s failed Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection, which bombed with just $47 million. Ever since then, Fox had been trying to figure out how to keep the alien creatures alive and their answer was 2004’s Alien vs. Predator from “Resident Evil” mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson which made a decent but unspectacular $80 million. It was enough to warrant a terrible 2007 sequel called Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, which effectively killed both franchises. 2010’s Predators did little to help the latter one.
For years, both Ridley Scott and actress Sigourney Weaver were questioned consistently about them returning to the “Alien” franchise with both of them trying to keep hope alive, and Scott’s return to that world with 2012 Prometheus may have been received better if it WASN’T an “Alien” movie perse.
Let me explain. While I genuinely loved Prometheus (check out my early reaction from two years back), one of the parts that really bothered me was that very last scene when we see the familiar Alien creature being hatched from the bizarre procreation between an Engineer and the spawn of Noomi Rapace and the alien goop. That appearance by an alien seemed to be shoehorned in there just to appease those who had built up expectations of Ridley Scott returning to the world of Alien, since Prometheus kept being sold as a prequel to that sci-fi classic.
Honestly, there really wasn’t that much in Prometheus that needed to be affiliated with “Alien” and it certainly wasn’t the case when Jon Spaihts came up with the concept and sold the screenplay. But then it quickly became more and more pushed as that “Alien prequel”… so there had to be an alien.
Now, the former Prometheus 2 is being pushed even more as an “Alien” movie by being called Alien: Paradise Lost—also to get rid of the word “Prometheus” that will forever be affiliated with the disappointing “not really an Alien prequel.” (We have to remember that “Prometheus” was the name of the spaceship in that movie, and it was pretty much destroyed in the movie.) Because of the new title, everyone who goes to see the movie will expect a LOT more of those classic aliens and if they don’t get them, they will likely be even more pissed.
(We also should remember that the Engineers are also “aliens” and actually, if Shaw and David go to their world, then THEY would be aliens as well, so the movie could have the “Alien” tag without there necessarily being the familiar creatures introduced in Alien.)
Scott has been doing a lot of lip service lately for the “Prometheus” sequel without saying much with his most recent quotes implying that Alien: Paradise Lost would not only have a connection to Ripley (despite taking place long before Alien) and that he’ll actually be using the H.R. Giger designed Xenomorph, which would certainly make it sound more like an actual “Alien” movie than Prometheus was. Alternately, Scott’s also stated that they were going to go with the modified engineer/alien hybrid that showed up at the end of Prometheus rather than Giger’s designs. So there’s a lot of contradictions going on right now.
And then after that we’ll get Blomkamp’s movie which Scott is also producing, but then on top of that, he’s been hinting at the idea of there being more “Prometheus/Alien” movies in who knows how many years. That doesn’t sound ambitious as much as it sounds ridiculous and almost impossible, because who knows if Ridley Scott can sustain whatever idea he has for that long? (For comparison, James Cameron has been talking about doing three or four sequels to his hit Avatar, but six years after that initial movie’s release, we haven’t seen a single one yet.)
Clearly, 20th Century Fox is trying to figure out a way not only to revive and maintain a franchise but also to try to create the type of shared universe that other studios are trying to varying degrees of success following the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On top of all those movie ideas, Dark Horse Comics released a bunch of “Fire and Stone” comics in the past year that seemingly were meant to further expand upon and solidify the connection between Prometheus, Alien/Aliens and even the “Predator” licenses, but did anyone really care much about anything that happened in those series? It certainly doesn’t seem like anything from those comics might be incorporated into the movies, that’s for sure, because other than Alien vs. Predator, none of the movies have ever found any influence from the tie-in comics.
Even so, 20th Century Fox still has Alien: Paradise Lost scheduled for March 4, 2016, which will be impossible to make if they only start filming in February. Because of that, it’s unlikely we’ll see anything that Ridley Scott or Neill Blomkamp have planned until the summer of 2017 at the earliest… and we can probably expect a lot more confusing chatter between now and then.
Let us know what you think of the plans Fox and Ridley Scott have for the “Aliens” and “Prometheus” franchise in the comments below, and what ground you think they might cover plotwise.