2016 is set to be a crazy year for fans of Alien. Decades of nothing, then Prometheus comes and goes for everyone to make fun of, and then without warning, we get a one-two punch of Alien 5 and Prometheus 2! It's a double barreled blast of Xenomorph action, with two distinct, notable, and vastly different directors heading up each project. Keeping with Alien tradition, these movies are deftly employing one and a half iconic heroines in their respective stories. Fans, myself included, just won't be able to help comparing the two, and pitching them against one another, so let's see what's in store for Ellen Ripley and Elizabeth Shaw in Alien 5 and Prometheus 2!
Female-driven stories in the Alien franchise
An Alien movie without a compelling female presence at its core may as well not be an Alien movie at all. Regardless of quality, the day one of these movies opts for your generic space-faring dudebro is the day this franchise truly dies. The entire series has themes of motherhood and survival, involving the evasion of a particularly penile unstoppable threat. There's a case to be made for the tenacity of the Xenomorph being allegorical to the self-perpetuating patriarchy, and need I even mention the influence Ellen Ripley had as a compelling female action hero?
There's a lot riding on Alien 5 and Prometheus 2, in that they need to continue the heritage of these characters while still providing an exciting standalone story. The two central figures of these movies will be in very different places when we next see them.
Ellen Ripley - Alien 5
Sigourney Weaver seems to be taking an optimistic approach to Alien 5, allegedly wanting to finish the story. I'll admit that getting awkwardly cloned and becoming Winona Ryder's mom/girlfriend isn't the most elegant ending, but what kind of ending would work for Alien? There is always the possibility for the Xenomorph to return, so the best endings you can give Ripley are either happy ambiguous cryo-sleep, or actual death, both of which have been done!
I't important to also remember that we'll be seeing a significantly older Ripley in Alien 5. Has she been settled down with Newt and Hicks all this time? Did she get punished for destroying Hadley's Hope? Will any of these questions be answered? Probably not. I'm happy with Neill Blomkamp using Cameron's Aliens as a springboard, rather than as a setup for a direct sequel.
Elizabeth Shaw - Prometheus 2
I'll admit that Noomi Rapace's situation in Prometheus 2 will at least be an interesting one. Just how the movie will follow up the ridiculous decision of hijacking an Engineer ship in order to find their home world will be entertaining enough on its own. I hope that she will have developed into a more weathered corrupted person, just as Ripley had in Aliens. Her arc was managed strangely in Prometheus, with her being shown as anxious about not being able to create life, and the answer to that being "lol now you've got a squid inside you be careful what you wish for!"
As for the rumor that Sigourney Weaver would make an appearance in both movies, I have no choice other than to dismiss that as complete nonsense. Prometheus quite explicitly takes place well before the events of Alien, so any possibility for a crossover would require a character like Shaw being frozen, floating in space for hundreds of years, only to thaw out and encounter Ripley's ordeal, which... okay I have to admit that would be kind of neat.
Prometheus 2 and Alien 5 are both a long way off, and neither movie has hit its production phase yet. What are your hopes for each movie, and which do you think will come out on top? Write post about it, or leave a comment below!