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Ridley Scott Plans to Take ‘Alien’ Franchise in a New Direction

One of the most talked about aspects of ‘Alien: Covenant’ may play a bigger part in future ‘Alien’ movies. 
Alien Covenant
By  · Published on December 6th, 2017

One of the most talked about aspects of ‘Alien: Covenant’ may play a bigger part in future ‘Alien’ movies.

After the mediocre success of Ridley Scott’s latest contribution to the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant, he may take the next two sequels in a completely different direction. The Hollywood Reporter published that Fox was interested in rethinking the two sequels Scott pitched to them before the release of Covenant because of the lackluster box office numbers it received, including a 71% drop just after the first weekend. This week Scott revealed his answer to the problem, but it doesn’t include aliens.

Ridley Scott directed the film that started it all in 1979 but didn’t direct another until 33 years later. Prometheus was a revamp in itself, a prequel to Scott’s first movie that explored beyond the humans-trapped-in-places theme of the sequels taken on by other directors. It’s a risk that Scott took to keep the franchise alive in new ways, one that he is willing to do again.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scott talked about his plans for the movies coming after Covenant. Artificial intelligence is a widespread theme in Scott’s filmography, including Blade Runner, and he intends to focus on that rather than aliens.

“People say, ‘You need more alien, you need more face pulling, need more chest bursting,’ so I put a lot of that in Covenant and it fitted nicely. But I think if you go again you need to start finding another solution that’s more interesting. I think AI is becoming much more dangerous and therefore more interesting.”

The most talked about scene from Alien: Covenant wasn’t the face-pulling alien scenes Scott references above, but the scene including Michael Fassbender’s android characters. The first gay characters of the franchise blew up the internet. The scene flooded with subtext is below.

If Scott plans on taking the franchise in a new direction, it’s not entirely surprising that he chose that aspect of the stories he’s been telling for a long time. “Fassbender was an AI; Ian Holm [from Alien] was an AI; Roy Batty [from Blade Runner] was an AI; so was Rachael [from Blade Runner],” Scott pointed out in his interview. In Scott’s eyes, the alien narrative has been done enough. In order to keep the franchise alive, he plans on moving on to something more timely.

Also in the interview, Scott expresses his fascination, and terror, towards the real AI technology making headlines now,“They put two AIs together and they were communing. It already invented a fucking language! And they couldn’t decipher what the language was so they had to switch them off. What was said and where’s it gone? They could have already implemented something we don’t know.” Ridley isn’t the only person interested in this and his passion for it will certainly help make an interesting movie.

It’s obvious that Scott isn’t afraid to take risks, as he reshot his newest film to delete Kevin Spacey after his sexual abuse scandal. Many would consider shifting the franchise from its original concept to be a huge risk, but as the humdrum reaction to franchise additions released this summer shows, taking risks and flipping expectations may be the better route. It’s also not surprising that he would want to change things up considering he did the same with Prometheus. As the director of the original film and not a directing newcomer to the franchise, Scott doesn’t want to perpetuate what he’s already done, no artist does. Fans may express interest in bringing in someone new to direct, but that would only give a new voice to the same underlying concept they’re used to, not bringing on something new.

The decision may end up being a mistake, as many consider the Star Wars prequels from George Lucas to be. Keep in mind those made a ton of money despite being disappointing to some fans and critics. What these films did for the franchise was show the expansion possible for the original trilogy that came afterward. A spinoff like Rogue One may not have been possible if Lucas didn’t choose to revamp the franchise in 1999 he created years before.

Changes in extremely popular franchises will always be widely debated and Scott obviously isn’t afraid of that. One thing he doesn’t plan on shying away from is what terrifies him and will likely terrify us.

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Emily Kubincanek is a Senior Contributor for Film School Rejects and resident classic Hollywood fan. When she's not writing about old films, she works as a librarian and film archivist. You can find her tweeting about Cary Grant and hockey here: @emilykub_