Slim. It is a word many hoping to watch the continuing journey of Ellen Ripley through the universe's darkest corners were not in the mood to hear.
A few years ago while working on Chappie with actress #SigourneyWeaver, writer/director #NeillBlomkamp released some concept art he had drawn for a proposed sequel to the #Alien series. It showed an alternate timeline that took place after #Aliens and moved off in a new direction. Ripley would have her final confrontation with the famous monster and offer an alternative conclusion to her epic story. The internet lit up faster than a brushfire soaked in rocket fuel. Unfortunately for fans, the fuel may have just run out.
News of the fifth Alien film was welcome news for many fans. Following its release in the early '90s, #Alien3 proved to be a very polarizing film among devotees. Some found its bleak tone in sharp contrast with the first two and felt the ending was an unsatisfying conclusion to the Ripley story. Others felt it was a misunderstood classic that, while it didn't fit well with the previous films, was a great movie in its own right. Alien 3 certainly has plenty of merit from its astounding acting, impressive sets and a beautiful score by Goldenthal, but for most, it still wasn't quite right. Perhaps this new film would provide an alternate version of the Ripley narrative for fans to enjoy and see which ending they preferred.
Reactions To 'Alien 5' Script
Sigourney Weaver herself spoke highly of the script on several occasions and made it clear she was more than willing to return to the role that helped make her a star:
"The script itself has so much in it that’s so original, but also really satisfies the, I would say, the primal needs of the aliens. It’s a tribute to all of the great work that the other directors have done, in a way, but goes in a completely new direction."
Blomkamp's script had since been read by director #RidleyScott, who stated his interest to produce the film along with his series of prequels that would lead up to the original 1979 classic. Even #JamesCameron, director of the highly regarded 1986 sequel, has read the script and sang his praises last year during a reunion with various members of the cast and crew at Comic-Con. Last year, Weaver herself left a pretty unambiguous message about the film's future:
"It's definitely happening."
However, recent news from Blomkamp himself shows that this proposed sequel may have entered troubled waters.
The project had been put on hold until after the release of #AlienCovenant, Ridley Scott's second proposed prequel film. News had been pretty quiet, with only a few pieces of concept art released in the ensuing months. Then, a few days ago, in response to a question by a fan on Twitter, Blomkamp had this to say:
This is hardly a definite end for the proposed sequel, but it isn't good news for those who were curious to see what the creators could come up with. Blomkamp himself has had a rough go of things the last few years — his films after the astonishing District 9 failing to attract as much acclaim from critics and audiences.
In addition, conflicts with Ridley Scott's highly polarizing prequel series have also put the future of the film in jeopardy. Sigourney Weaver hinted that Scott may have had a hand in the film's delay, but still expressed a strong desire to play Ripley one last time.
"It’s one of those things we wanted to do this past year, but I think Ridley didn’t want them all coming out at the same time. He has got work to do, and I have things going on. I hope we do get to do it."
"Slim" is not a nail in the coffin of any film, and hope for this sequel isn't quite dead yet. Pressure from Weaver to get the film made, along with interest by James Cameron could still have a hand in printing this story on celluloid, but my advice to fans, including myself, is to not get your hopes up too much. Sadly, this is the way things go in Hollywood all too often. Politics and budget concerns can kill a film in spite of clear fan interest, leaving many to wonder what could have been.
Politics And The Creation Of 'Alien'
Funnily enough, it was those same politics that birthed this series. Writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett had been working on a film adaptation of Dune where they met Swiss Artist H. R. Giger. When that project fell through, the three collaborated to create the original classic that gave audiences all over the world many a coronary. Though this project may be failing, maybe something new, perhaps even better, could come out of it.
Regardless, the original classics still exist, and will continue to capture the imaginations and nightmares of people across the world. Alien will never truly die any more than a genie can be put back in a bottle. In time, the series will recover, with the right creative minds bringing the right visions to the screen. Though this project may not be the answer to many a fan woe, it is only a matter of time before that answer finally comes. Perhaps someday we will have a chance to read the script and wonder how it would have been directed, and that will be a treat in its own right.
In the mean time, at least we can look forward to Alien: Covenant