Certain things in the world of cinema always seem to remain as constants. Disney keeps making Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Sandra Bullock refuses to age. And the next entry in the Alien film series is always in constant flux and jeopardy.
Even the presence of original filmmaker Ridley Scott is no indication that another Alien film will get made at this point. Since the glory days of his 1979 original, it has been a bumpy, contentious road for this series, and Scott has seen his own star in Hollywood both shine and fade. Most recently, 2017’s Alien: Covenant managed to disappoint both fans and critics, many of whom seem to simply want a good old fashioned “bug hunt” rather than the story about A.I. and free will that Scott seems more interested in telling with his android character David, well-played by Michael Fassbender. The film was neither a critical or commercial success, but that hasn’t stopped Scott from wanting to make at least one more film in the series that would directly pick up where Covenant left off. This film, apparently titled Alien: Awakening, was originally meant to start production in early 2018, according to Scott, but now the acquisition of Fox by Disney looks to be throwing a new spanner in the works. According to Scott himself, the company’s insistence upon PG-13 films could be problematic.
“It looks to me that the Fox deal is certainly going to go ahead with Disney, and I’ve been with Fox for a number years now. I’m hoping I’ll still probably be there so whether or not they go ahead with such a dark subject, being Disney, as aliens remains to be seen. I think they should because I think, when people have a hard and fast franchise which has ongoing interest, it’s crazy not to do something with it.”
“That’s why they’re so successful. And they draw the line at anything that crosses PG-13. If they find that they’re so successful with that that they want to cross the line and do something a little darker, and if they do that, do they want to do that under Disney or do they want to do that under the Fox banner? I think there’s a business plan afoot definitely.”
“Ongoing interest,” as far as the public is concerned, might be overestimating the cultural cache still possessed by the Alien franchise in 2018—at least when it comes to seeing another film directed by Ridley Scott. We would be much more interested, on the other hand, in seeing the much-rumored plans by Neill Blomkamp to produce a canonical Alien 5 that would bring back Sigourney Weaver (and even Michael Biehn from Aliens) to the series.
Ridley, do the right thing: Pass the mantle to a guy who can make an interesting movie, won’t you?