ByJames Thomas, writer at
Writer, Graphic Designer, Husband, Father, Geek and Aspiring Scripter of Moving Pictures
James Thomas

It's not exactly news that seems to be running out of original ideas and simply seems to be doing remakes, reboots or sequels to old hits. In fact, it's a notion that seems to get brought up whenever a new remake or reboot is announced. So it's usually welcomed with arms wide open when an original idea is churned out of Tinsel Town.

It's incredibly rare, though, when a new idea is presented in the form of a remake. Yet, that seems to be what we're getting from the forthcoming new version of the '80s sci-fi classic, , currently being helmed by director .

Wait A Second, What Is Alien Nation?

Mandy Patinkin from 'Alien Nation'
Mandy Patinkin from 'Alien Nation'

That's a question that I seem to get a lot because it wasn't exactly the most main stream of science fiction movies and tends to lean more towards the cult following. Alien Nation was a 1988 movie about a space ship of alien refugees that arrives on Earth and integrates into human culture. The story follows the relationship of an alien detective (played by , pictured above) and his human partner (). The film featured heavy undertones of racism and acceptance as these two cultures learned to coexist. A television show briefly followed from 1989 to 1990.

What's The Deal With The Remake?

Jaeden Lieberher in "Midnight Special"
Jaeden Lieberher in "Midnight Special"

Director Jeff Nichols (known for helming the film and the recent sci-fi thriller (above) with Michael Shannon) was asked to write and direct the remake of Alien Nation — most likely due to the critical success of Midnight Special.

This would be about the part where anyone who loves the original (or just simply has reboot fatigue) would start complaining about Hollywood throwing money into another remake of something that worked once before but probably doesn't think will have the same level of success.

However, there's something a little different about this one that, honestly, I think stands a pretty damn good chance at working.

What Does All Of This Have To Do With Current Events And Nostalgia?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

The biggest trend to hit the country (not just Hollywood, but the country as a whole) in recent years has been nostalgia. Let's be honest, things seem to be pretty crappy these days and it has the public yearning for when things were a little better. The success of and stemmed from their deep level of commitment to what worked with the classic originals. The Coca-Cola Company brought back Surge and Hi-C Ecto Cooler because the populace demanded it.

The trend proved so popular that others tried to latch on to it with less success. The female driven remake of proved to be failure, not just commercially but critically. The long awaited sequel to , , while entertaining, failed to live up to expectations or capture that same magic as its 1996 predecessor.

The nostalgia effect has become so much of a trend that it's actually now been targeted as a bit of a gimmick. It is even that target of a continuous, serialized subplot on 's in the form of "member berries."

The Current Events Effect

Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix
Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix

Screenrant originally reported on Jeff Nichols's remarks that his version of Alien Nation isn't going to be a direct remake of the original. Nichols had been developing a story for a possible film about refugees and, when approached to helm the sci-fi reboot, had decided to use Alien Nation as the framework to complete his story and sell it to a studio.

The original told a story that took place after the aliens had already integrated into society and dealt heavily with racism from humans reacting to their new cohabitants. One can similarly look towards for a modern counterpart. Jeff Nichols wants to tie into the current events story of Syrian refugees and the controversy of various nations not wanting to grant them asylum. His plan is to go back and tell the story of the aliens first arriving and the hardships they undoubtedly faced when the human race decided if they were going to let them stay or not.

Current events have always been a powerful source to be tapped in the entertainment industry — often employed by stand-up comedians, but also used to help combat a controversial viewpoint or hot button issue. Marvel's took a huge page from the current events playbook when it based a large majority of it's theme on the Black Lives Matter movement. Jeff Nichols looks to make a similar splash with Alien Nation.

Does This Mean Nostalgia Is Done?

Absolutely not. In fact, I would expect some studio compromise wherein Nichols will have to include some nostalgic elements to tie the concepts together. As a fan, I would expect the design of the aliens to be similar and for there to be at least one reference to getting drunk on sour milk.

Patinkin and Caan in "Alien Nation"
Patinkin and Caan in "Alien Nation"

What Do You Think?

Is the Alien Nation remake in good hands with Jeff Nichols? Is a current events take the way to go or would you rather see a nostalgic take? Sound off in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@ThisIsJamesT) for all things rant and ravey.



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