Last month, I posted an article about how glad I was that Neill Blomkamp wasn't directing Alien 5. Since then, I've been proven wrong--20th Century Fox has recently confirmed that Blomkamp will in fact be directing Alien 5, presumably as his next feature.
Since Fox's announcement, there have been tons of articles and discussion boards overflowing with speculation over what Alien 5 will entail. Based on the concept art the Blomkamp released weeks ago, some believe that Alien 5 will be a franchise retcon that removes Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection from series continuity. Others focus their attention on the detail that Alien 5 will be released after Ridley Scott's [Prometheus 2](movie:512281), which suggests that the two projects could be connected in some way.
Regardless, if Blomkamp really moves ahead with [Alien 5](movie:1468950) and it doesn't get trapped in development hell, here's the question his movie needs to answer if it is going to have a lasting impact on the franchise: What exactly does Weyland-Yutani want to do with a Xenomorph once it secures one for research purposes?
This plot thread has been consistent throughout each of the Alien movies--the sequels, the two Alien vs. Predator crossovers, and the Prometheus prequel--but it has never been conclusively answered. Even the tie-in novels, comic books and video game have been reluctant to answer this question, even though it is the raison d'etre of the franchise's central narrative--more so than Ellen Ripley herself.
The most broad explanation behind Weyland-Yutani's motives was provided in Alien, that "The Company" wanted the Xenomorph for "bioweapons research". Yet for an explanation that has fueled the plots of seven movies (and counting), it is extremely vague. Prometheus did put a new wrinkle in this theme--suggesting that Weyland-Yutani is interested in all Engineer artifacts and not just the Xenomorph--but that still doesn't clarify specific details such as:
- What kind of bioweapon does Weyland-Yutani hope to craft from the Xenomorph, and how does it plan to use the bioweapon once it is ready for deployment?
- Would it be sold to the Colonial Marines, or would Weyland-Yutani use it for its own purposes?
- What kind of universe does the franchise exist in to necessitate the creation of a Xenomorph-based bioweapon?
It's possible that Fox won't let Blomkamp approach such questions for fear that once any of them are answered, the franchise will have backed itself into a narrative corner from which there is no escape. However, in the right hands, bringing such topics to light could be the necessary game-changer that breathes terrifying new life into the Alien movies.