ByPeter Flynn, writer at Creators.co
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best. https://twitter.com/TalkingMagnet
Peter Flynn

As an Alien fan, you really can't bemoan long waits between movies and spontaneous additions to the series, because that's essentially what Alien is made of. You can't lament the fact that Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5 is a sudden unnecessary sequel, because that's what Alien Resurrection was, and what Alien 3 was before that! The cobbled together nature of the Alien franchise is what makes it fun, so we should just be grateful that this series is moving on into the future. There's just one little problem.

Neill Blomkamp Wants to Reboot

This design is unlikely for Alien 5.
This design is unlikely for Alien 5.

Many fans welcomed Blomkamp's intention to dispose of Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, and why not? If you thought the series fell from grace at the third movie, and has been floundering since, then cutting to the chase and following on from James Cameron's classic is the logical step.

So here's the newly shaped canon Alien 5 will take place in. Ellen Ripley is alive and well, and devoid of cloning. There is likely no queen Alien hidden inside her. Newt and Hicks are apparently fine, because that happy ending from Aliens really had to mean something, and names like Fury 161 and USN Auriga will become as dirty to the Alien fandom as "midichlorians". With over twenty years of presumed canon being erased with just one film, we fans should ask ourselves how we feel about the sudden flippancy of the Alien franchise.

What's lost with Alien 3?

Alien 3 brought new ideas
Alien 3 brought new ideas

While most of the controversial opinions I hold are just to get attention, liking Alien 3 isn't one of them. While I can understand the outrage this film incites in people, and I retain a tiny bit of bitterness towards it trashing the perfect ending to Aliens, I can only feel this film fits better into what Alien actually is. That biting cynicism and almost nihilistic world view is much closer to the original Ridley Scott masterpiece. The Alien always wins in the long run. Just because you beat the swarm and scraped a happy ending won't stop the universe still hating you and wanting to eat your face! It seems Alien 5 is set to eliminate that cruel reality from canon.

What's lost with Alien Resurrection?

Resurrection brought MANY new ideas
Resurrection brought MANY new ideas

Wow. What isn't lost from Alien Resurrection? The vastly fleshed out android backstory, Brad Dourif's mad scientist, Ron Pearlman being delectably Ron Pearlman, kooky french wheelchair man, guy from CSI with gun hands, oh and of course the newborn! I've never understood the level of hate the newborn gets. It does exactly what it's supposed to. It's all the monstrousness of a xenomorph with none of the elegant, perverse beauty. You're supposed to hate it, and want it to die as soon as it's on screen.

Sure, Alien Resurrection is an unfocused and genuinely silly movie, but if Alien 5 is to really retcon it, all those moments will be lost... like tears in th- nope. Wrong Ridley Scott reference!

Will Alien 5 just be Aliens again?

Everybody loves this image!
Everybody loves this image!

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that erasing the two greatest departures form Aliens means Neill Blomkamp is somewhat of a fan of James Cameron's bug hunt. I mean look at Blomkamp's other films. He's not interested in fear of the void or monstrousness of the unknown. Power loaders are his schtick, and while that's fine, Alien 5 could suffer if it regresses to redo Aliens. The appeal of the Alien franchise is it's constant chasing of inertia, it's willingness to change even if it means making a movie that's tonally wrong or off-putting for fans.

Backing up on this identity that took years to build will essentially fold the Alien brand in half, and have movies like Alien 3 and Resurrection be funny misfires from the 90s. For fans who enjoyed the two most recent movies, is it worth getting mad at Alien 5 for this merciless retconning?

Alien could become canon fluid

The Dark Horse comics have been in flux for years
The Dark Horse comics have been in flux for years

Much in the same way as James Bond is able to have adventures over 50 years, having different faces, dealing with wildly different political factions and sensibilities, yet still being the same man, Alien could well adopt the same mode of storytelling. Modern audiences often place far too much import on the idea of canon. We obsess over what exactly happened in a story, almost forgetting that, in the world we live in, none of it happened. There can be a timeline where Ripley died on Fury 161 before being cloned 200 years later, and there can be a timeline where she escaped LV426 only to encounter the events of Alien 5. A sheen of legitimacy needn't be placed on either storyline.

The Alien series already feels like a cryo-sleep dream, with brief waking moments of horror before slipping back into oblivion. What does it matter if the parameters of continuity break down a little in those dreams? And what does it matter if those dreams are full of power loaders? Lots and lots of power loaders.

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