In 1986 one of the greatest Sc-Fi movies of all time, in my opinion, was released… Aliens!
It followed on from Alien in 1979 and it was one of those most rare of things… A good sequel. In fact it was even rarer than that because it was a sequel that followed on from a truly great movie in its own right and surpassed it. I can only really think of one other time that has happened and that was when Arnie did come back, as he said he would, in T2.
Now since the genre defining Aliens it is fair to say the franchise has not quite reached the same heights. Aliens 3 was okay, I actually quite liked most of Alien Resurrection and the first AVP was almost really good. Nearly. Not quite.
Now I have to be honest about the prequels. I did not enjoy them. I found Covenant and Prometheus a little confusing if I am honest, and perhaps a little boring too. I just did not care about the characters and then when they died one by one I just didn’t care. I can’t put my finger on what was wrong with them because the acting was good, the writing was okay, they were filmed beautifully etc. but I just didn’t enjoy them and I was not alone. I came away from both confused, deflated and pining to watch Aliens instead.
Quick interesting side note and this has very little to do with the article but its a fact I love. The great Bill Paxton sadly passed away in 2017 and he appeared in some many great films I couldn’t choose one that stands out. He was a great slimy bad guy in ‘2 guns’ with Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. He was a great bullying big brother in ‘Weird Science’ and he took on Tornados better than anyone in ‘Twister’. For me though he will always be the actor that was so great he got murdered brutally on screen by a Predator, a Xenomorph (Alien) and a Terminator. No other actor can say that.
But lets get back to the point of the article shall we. The Alien franchise is coming back and in a big way.
‘Alien: Romulus’ will be up on the big screen in August 2024. Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil dead, Don’t Breath) the film has been a few years in the making but filming is complete and it is currently in Post Production. One person who has seen an early version of the movie however is Ridley Scott, the creator of the original series and one of the great filmmakers of our generation and it is fair to say he liked it, he really liked it… In fact he used language I am not sure I can use if I don’t want to get censored but he really thinks it is marvelous.
Now of course we have had a a few stinkers before where we have had glowing recommendations from trusted filmmakers before the release, James Gunn I am looking at you when you said the Flash was “one of the best Superhero movies ever made”. Ridley Scott however is not afraid to say what he thinks and I suspect if he was not impressed by what had been achieved, he would have simply stayed quiet.
So what do we know about the movie?
Well the Director has told a few things . For one it is a standalone movie, it was not touch on or be influenced by any of the other films in the series. It will lean heavily into the horror and considering the C.V. of the Director I think that is a very good plan. In fact Fede Alvarez said this would be “Darker and more frightening” than what has come before in the franchise and when you consider Alien and the tense psychological horror that movie threw at us, that is a bold claim for him to be making.
We also know this will be a young cast and I think that is a very good thing. Alien is a franchise that needs good acting yes but I have always felt films like this don’t need big names and Alien: Romulus has a few faces you may recognise but names I doubt you will. Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Mercede, Aileen Wu and Archie Renaux are not household names yet but might be by the end of next year when this film comes out.
Lastly we know that Alvarez plans to break “New Territories” with the movie. Now it is rumored that the movie takes place between the events of Alien and Aliens while Ripley is floating about in space waiting to be rescued. We know that its about a young crew from a distant world coming across the ultimate predator (no not that one) and them fighting for their lives. How that will break new territory I dont yet know but we can be sure they have something up their sleaves.
So yes we have a cinematic movie on its way but there is MORE. A series is coming too.
FX is giving us the series they have been promising for years. Noah Hawley is show-running and filming started, regardless of the strikes, in July this year. Filming was paused however because of the Strikes in August. The cast is mostly British and it was being filmed in Asia so it did not come under Sag-Aftra strike rules however as strikes dragged on eventually the pressure became too much and filming had to be stopped. I hear from my sources that they are already preparing to get filming up and running and actors will be called back the second a deal is struck with the unions.
So what do we know about the Franchise and its first small screen series? Well we know it is going to be a prequel to the original Alien movie, set around 70 years before. Alien was supposedly set in 2122 so we can estimate the series will be set around 2050. It is also going to be set on Earth this time, not in space, and will centre around the Weyland company. Weyland-Yutani Corporation was sometimes just called “the company” has been at the centre of the Alien mystery from the beginning, including the AVP movie that saw the company try to capture an Xenomorph (or a Predator.. or both) to advance their own lust for power. The science and technology of the Predator was of course a massive temptation for them but the Xenomorph too was seen as a perfect creature that would have advanced medical and genetic research into the next millennium. As well as being a very effective weapon if they could be trained. I see absolutley no flaw in that plan.
So new life is being breathed into a franchise I have adored over the years. Like the Prey movie recently breathed new life into the Predator series I am hoping Alien: Romulus and the new FX series can do the same for the Xenomorphs and maybe, just maybe, one day these two franchises could come together once more and we could get the Alien vs Predator movie we all really want… done better this time!
Alien Romulus is scheduled to be released August 2024 and the series is penciled in to premiere on FX Autumn 2024.