The Xenomorph. Since its introduction in 1979’s Alien it’s gone on to become arguably the most iconic space monster of all time, but the last few occasions it’s appeared on the big screen haven’t been kind to it. The creature’s future is also in limbo at the moment now that Disney has gobbled up Fox.
Director Ridley Scott, in a recent interview with Heat Vision, confirmed that there have been discussions about the future of the franchise, but also that it needs to evolve in order to stay fresh and relevant – not just repeat a safe and comfortable formula:
“You get to the point when you say, “Okay, it’s dead in the water.” I think Alien vs. Predator was a daft idea. And I’m not sure it did very well or not, I don’t know. But it somehow brought down the beast. And I said to them, “Listen, you can resurrect this, but we have to go back to scratch and go to a prequel, if you like.” So we go to Prometheus, which was not bad actually.
But you know, there’s no alien in it, except the baby at the end that showed, itself, the possibility. I mean, it had the silhouette of an alien, right? The alien [origin concept] is uniquely attached to Mother Nature. It simply comes off a wood beetle that will lay eggs inside some unsuspecting insect. And in so doing, the form of the egg will become the host for this new creature. That’s hideous. But that was what it was. And you can’t keep repeating that because the joke gets boring.”
For the record I think Prometheus is bad – very pretty, but really stupid – but I will give it credit for expanding the franchise’s universe and trying something new even if it failed overall. So while Scott might like to believe it’s “not bad actually”, audiences clearly didn’t feel the same way and stayed away from its follow up, Alien: Covenant – which is what really left the franchise “dead in the water”.
However Scott believes the franchise can draw inspiration from another long-running franchise that has successfully managed to reimagine, reinvent, and revive itself over the last few decades, namely Star Trek:
“When I watched Captain Kirk 50 years ago thinking, “Who the hell’s that guy? That guy really knows what he’s doing,” I have to admit I paid great attention to Kirk and his cohorts. So here we are, 50 years later, god bless them, they’ve kept that alive and kept going through its evolution. But it’s harder to keep the beast going for that long. I think it’s just tough. The joke wears out. Once you’ve seen it twice, three times, it’s no longer frightening. Go on, leave that behind, and see where it can evolve. So we’re looking where we’re going to evolve.”
Again, true. Familiarity breeds contempt after all, especially when it comes to horror, and there’s only so many ways a Xenomorph can pop out of a dark corner if you don’t shake things up. And the Alien franchise will definitely be shaken up, because in their pursuit to collect every entertainment dollar in existence Disney surely won’t leave such a popular franchise gathering dust for too long, and they’ll also have taken note that audiences weren’t too happy with the last few installments.
Still, Scott firmly believes the original Alien will never be topped:
“There’s only ever the one. It’s like trying to do a sequel to 2001. Fundamentally, you can’t. Really, with the greatest respect to Star Wars, the best film by far is the one that George directed, right? [Meaning the original] By miles. It was unique. It was absolutely wonderful to me. It was the fairy story of all fairy stories in space. And to follow through is a tough call. So, same with Alien.”
Maybe you should’ve let Neil Blomkamp try then, instead of torpedoing his attempt to revive the franchise. The full interview is well worth a read as Scott also talks the making of the original Alien, dropping a bunch of tit-bits along the way such as H.R. Giger being afraid to fly and how Meryl Streep was initially the preferred choice to play Ripley.
Last Updated: May 27, 2019