What Ridley Scott created 40 years ago has survived the testament of time. The ‘Alien’ franchise, over the years, has become one of the most recognizable movie series in the world and its pop-culture influence is still unparalleled. What’s more, the series has names tied to it that can make any cinephile go crazy with excitement. The first movie ‘Alien’ came out in 1979 and it blended the horror with invasive alien(s). Ridley Scott’s vision proved to be effective as ‘Alien’ is still considered one of the best sci-fi-horror movies ever made. What ‘Alien’ had started is still going on, albeit with dwindling success.
Recently, talks are rife with an upcoming movie in the franchise that will be a direct sequel to ‘Alien: Covenant’ (2017). Granted ‘Covenant’ was not the success the studio and Scott himself was expecting, it still did well enough to keep the possibility of a third one alive. Now, the timeline of movies of the ‘Alien’ series is somewhat Star Wars-like. That is, for us fans, it provides a challenge to keep track of everything in the correct order. But we will discuss them anyway.
First came Ridley Scott with his groundbreaking ‘Alien’ in 1979. The second film in the series came 7 years later in 1986 in the form of ‘Aliens’. It was helmed by the equally capable hands of James Cameron and the second one too flew high. The third one got another master director for it. But David Fincher‘s ‘Alien 3’ in 1994 is one of the rare blemishes in his illustrious filmography. After a break came ‘Alien: Resurrection’ in 1997. Sigourney Weaver returned as Ellen Ripley in a film that was dark but was considered bland and ineffective.
The franchise became such a sensation that the Xenomorph eventually crossed paths with Predator, another series character that started its journey almost at the same time as the Alien franchise. After the failures of two crossover films, the ‘Alien’ franchise got a new direction with an origin film ‘Prometheus‘. The most recent one, as we have discussed before, is ‘Alien: Covenant’, which continued the prequel series. Now, before we talk about the new ‘Alien’ movie in the franchise, we need to take a look back at the events that transpired in the past movies and try to connect the dots in order to anticipate the plot of the future one.
The Alien Throughout The Years
As we have said earlier in the piece, Alien series seemed to have taken a cue from Star Wars franchise and it’s for the worse. We have jumbled up narratives and inverted timelines as efforts are made to rejuvenate the franchise. So let’s begin from where the series was actually started – 1979’s ‘Alien’. Ridley Scott, from a script written by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett, brought us a sci-fi horror extravaganza set in space. We have Nostromo, a commercial spaceship returning to Earth, when it picks up a distress call from a nearby but unknown planet. The crew lands and finds that the distress call was actually a warning. They discover an old discarded ship that contains eggs of an unknown creature. Soon, the crew realizes that they have company in that land and they discover the horrific killing machine, Xenomorph. Under the impression that they have got away from the creature, they board the ship as everything goes normal. Until it doesn’t.
‘Alien’ gets brownie points for balancing the horror genre with sci-fi tropes. The film became an instant cultural sensation. Following that, James Cameron tried his hand in the franchise with ‘Aliens’. The title doesn’t get any points for subtlety though. The story is set 57 years after the fateful trip to LV-426. Ellen Ripley, the only survivor of the Nostromo, is up against the skepticism and disbelief of people. She goes through a traumatic personal crisis and decides to lead a mission to the same planet in order to reconnect with the colony. She leads highly equipped Marines as they land on the LV-426. Contrary to their expectations, they now have to survive and fight new aliens. The second film too manages to stay faithful to all the elements that made the first film a success. Sigourney Weaver is brilliant as Ellen Ripley.
The third one in the series was doomed from the beginning. Despite multiple pre-production issues and uncertainties, David Fincher made ‘Alien 3’ in 1992. Matching the legacy of the first two movies was always a challenging task. To be honest, it was still better than what most thought of it during its release. During the return from the last mission, Sulaco crash lands on a gloomy prison colony named Fiorina 161. Ripley is the only survivor again and soon it is exposed that the crash was caused by an unknown member in the ship. A new alien grows and matures into a terrifying creature that starts killing weaponless prisoners. Ripley must survive the onslaught but she also realizes that she herself is carrying an alien queen inside her. She must stop the alien and the one within her, leading to a devastating ending.
The darker tone in the film and special effects were welcomed. But multiple plot holes infuriated a lot of people. Nonetheless, when people watch the next few movies from the series, this one still sails through, though maybe not as high as the first two. The fourth one is ‘Alien: Resurrection’ (1997). Despite the honest purpose behind the name, it couldn’t actually resurrect the series. Turns out, the old adage of resting in peace didn’t find any connection with Ellen Ripley. After 200 years since her death, she is brought back as a highly advanced hybrid as her help is again needed to fight a new threat. Ripley 8 is used by the military to extract the Queen alien in order to experiment. But an accident leads to the fusion of her DNA with Ripley’s.
Soon, the prisoner aliens start killing the inhabitants of the spaceship and advanced Ripley must stop the ship from reaching Earth as she battles her own identity. It was quite bland as the plot was stretched too thin. This put an end to the original timeline as few spin-offs followed before Scott decided to start from the beginning.
‘Prometheus’ came out in 2012, that marked the return of Ridley Scott in the director’s chair after thirty-three years. The prequel series was originally intended to come out a long time ago but the crossover series of Predator and Alien in the first decade of this century pushed the prequel plans to this decade. Nonetheless, the visionary director returned to imagine the origin of humans from the ‘Engineers’, something that was teased in ‘Alien’ (1979). Some 30 years before the events of ‘Alien’, Earth scientists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a planet in their search for the origin of mankind. Accompanied by an android named David 8 (Michael Fassbender), they come across the remains of a dead civilization and discover a broken and neglected spaceship. Soon, they encounter an extraterrestrial being that kills off most of the crew. Coincidentally, this is the same planet that the crew of Nostromo finds in ‘Alien’.
‘Alien: Covenant’ directly follows the story after ‘Prometheus’. The story of Covenant isn’t the only thing that has resemblance with ‘Prometheus’ as the title of the film is basically another spaceship, just like in the case of ‘Prometheus’. With a target of colonizing Origae-6, Covenant carries thousands of crew members and human embryos in deep space but they all land in an alien planet following a signal. The planet resembles the condition of Earth but before the crew realizes the secret, hell descends upon them. A new alien hunts them one by one as David shows substantial character changes and a simple excursion is transformed into a frenzied rescue mission in the face of horror. The much talked about name of Weyland-Yutani Corp of original series begins to take shape.
Alien: Awakening Plot: What is it About?
After the disappointment of ‘Alien: Covenant’, future projects were shelved at the end of 2017 itself. The deal between Fox Studios and Disney also pushed the future of the ‘Alien’ franchise into uncertainty. But talks are back on track as we are hearing that Ridley Scott himself is working on the script for the upcoming movie which will be titled ‘Alien: Awakening’. Disney also showed interest in continuing the series, so the franchise may have a long future, given they perform well.
The next movie will directly follow the events of ‘Covenant’ and the makers have decided to make it the last installment in the prequel series which will tie-up with the events of ‘Alien'(1979). It will probably follow David, who is on his way to Origae-6. It will have the Engineers and Daniels will also feature again. Somehow it will all connect with events at LV-426.
Alien: Awakening Cast: Who’s in it?
Michael Fassbender as David will again lead ‘Alien: Awakening’. His journey will be pivotal here. Katherine Waterston as Daniels is also expected to feature. It will have a lot of recall value as it is expected to connect with the actual timeline. Judging by this, we can also see some original members in the mix as well. Sigourney Weaver is always ready to reprise her famous role of Ellen Ripley. Since we are still in the dark about actual development, we don’t have official announcements yet.
Alien: Awakening Release Date: When Will it Premiere?
Judging by the time-frame of the last two movies, a tentative date in the last quarter of 2020 or middle 2021 is most likely. However, since no one connected with the project has come out with certain news, we have to take everything with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, we hope to see Ridley Scott bringing the series back on track.