Ever since Neill Blomkamp announced back in February that he had been working on a private pet project (complete with concept art) regarding a fifth instalment in the Alien franchise we've been holding our collective breaths to see if such a thing could ever fully come to be realised.
Another Alien film? It seemed like madness, given the slow decline into the laughable Alien: Resurrection ending almost two decades ago now. But who better to handle sci-fi conventions than Blomkamp, who gave us the fantastic District 9 back in 2009. (But where's District 10 Blomkamp? Christopher said he'd be back in three years... It's been six! Fookin' prawns.)
But despite District 9's critical and financial success, Blomkamp's feature film career hasn't really taken off the way we expected it to. There was the mildly successful Elysium and the recent Chappie which didn't perform very well, and now Alien 5 is spinning it's wheels in development hell - a dangerous place to be...
Prometheus 2... Sorry, Alien: Covenant
On the other side of the coin is Ridley Scott's ambitious Prometheus 2, which has just revised its title (again). So gone is Alien: Paradise Lost and here to stay is the new and improved title Alien: Covenant.
[Alien: Covenant](tag:3648559) is due to begin initial photography in Australia February 2016, starring Michael Fassbender as the uncanny valley smashing android David and Noomi Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, both reprising their roles from 2012's Prometheus.
We even have an official plot synopsis for Alien: Convenant now courtesy of 20th Century Fox, which clarifies the name change:
"Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world -- whose sole inhabitant is the "synthetic" David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition."
So Has This Derailed Alien 5?
Ever since the two projects came to light at around the same time fans of both series have been worried that there'd a clash of interest between the two. Earlier this year there were rumors circulating that Alien 5 was stalling at the gate whilst Ridley Scott pushed through with his Prometheus project, but Blomkamp himself dismissed these rumours at the time.
Though he's letting Blomkamp take the reins, Scott is producing Alien 5 and given that he'll be hard at work on Alien: Covenant next year his commitments there will likely keep him tied up at least until the Prometheus sequel wraps filming.
And our fears returned about a month back when Neill Blomkamp tweeted a confirmation that Alien 5 is officially on hold until Prometheus 2 wraps, saying that he'll be working on other projects in the interim.
So we now know that Alien: Covenant is the reason behind these delays, as Scott himself told Empire. It is still happening, but not until after Alien: Covenant.
Ridley Scott: "I’m producing [Alien 5]. The design is for it to go out next, after [Alien: Covenant]. This will go out first. It’s more associated with Ripley, it’s a completely different angle, it’s more of a sequel. I’m coming in from the back end."
So there you have it. Though Alien 5 hasn't been cancelled outright as we feared, development hell can be just as dangerous. Here's hoping we'll receive an official line on the production start date soon.
There's still a release date of 2017 set for the project on IMDB, but given that Alien: Convent itself isn't due to release until 2017 it seems unlikely that we'll see Blomkamp's project coming to fruition till 2018, or later.
For now we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that this is just a minor bump on the road to Alien 5. At least we have Alien: Covenant to look forward to in the interim.