Earlier this month, movie sites around the 'net posted stories about concept art that director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) put together for a proposed Alien 5 sequel. The artwork included depictions of Ripley, a battle-scarred Hicks, an Alien Queen, and the derelict alien ship from Alien inside some kind of warehouse. (Click here to see all of the concept art on Blomkamp's Instagram account.) Blomkamp later revealed that his artwork was a personal effort--not something that he formally submitted to 20th Century Fox--but that didn't keep a number of fans from hoping that Blomkamp would somehow get Fox's attention and earn a chance to helm the next Alien movie.
I'm not very familiar with Blomkamp's work as a director but on the basis of the concept art that he revealed, I'm glad he's not working on Alien 5. Sure, he can draw great pictures of characters, vehicles and creatures from the Alien saga, but there is nothing in the portfolio he provided to suggest that he could bring something unique to the franchise and push it into new narrative territory.
I've always felt that one of the franchise's greatest strengths, from the original four Alien movies to Prometheus, is its roots in the nightmarish art of the late Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger. Ridley Scott's decision to use Giger's work as the foundation for the parasitic creature that was depicted in the script written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett was what ultimately set Alien apart from other creature features. Giger's vision the "biomechanical", the fusion of organic and mechanical forms and textures into bizarre figures and landscapes, made the monster and the world from which it came feel truly "alien". The subsequent movies wisely looked back to Giger's work as a way of pushing the saga onward, even though Giger didn't always get the credit he deserved.
Blomkamp could very well have the chops to direct a solid horror movie. Yet what he has proposed in his sequel concept art suggests that his movie would be an average sci-fi action flick in Alien drag, not an imaginative and frightening exploration of a desolate, biomechanical world where no one can hear you scream.