Could it be that Ridley Scott is realizing his mortality, or does he just want to carry on the Alien story his own way? After giving up control of the 1979 film’s sequels, Scott’s Prometheus brought back the xenomorphs we’d been waiting for, but he also seemed to want to distance his 2012 movie, “not a prequel,” from its origin story.
“The beast is done. Cooked…I think it wears out a little bit. There’s only so much snarling you can do. I think you’ve got to come back with something more interesting. And I think we’ve found the next step. I thought the Engineers were quite a good start.”
A year and a greatly anticipated Blomkamp revival plan later — with a very enthusiastic Sigourney Weaver on board — reports of that Alien 5 sequel being affected by Scott’s Prometheus 2 plans started trickling in; as of a couple weeks ago, Blomkamp reported his film was on hold.
alien is kinda holding/ pending prometheus 2. So I shall be working on other things… as much as I love the xeno- and Lt ripley— Иeill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) October 30, 2015
Huge bummer. We’ll always hold the original Alien in high regard but the thought of Blomkamp, an inspired voice in a new generation of science fiction, taking over the Alien helm was exciting. Whether it’s ego-fueled, or Scott finally came up with a way to fit all the pieces together, he’s completely changed course.
“I’m trying to keep this for myself. I let the other one [Alien] get away from me - I shouldn’t have… I’m trying to re-resurrect the beast and let it off the hook for a while because I’m coming back into the back-end of Alien 1. I’m gradually getting to Alien 1.”
Prometheus 2 now has a new title, and a clear connection to Giger’s space monsters. Alien: Paradise Lost is now Alien: Covenant (Covenant is reportedly a spaceship’s name, but the title also refers to a pact between the Engineers and humans), and 20th Century Fox released a quite specific synopsis:
“Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS — and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. 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.”
Though she’s not mentioned there, presumably Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw will return, but perhaps not until Covenant’s end, or even the third installment of this Alien prequel trilogy? The synopsis makes it sound as if there’s a movie interjection; an entire story — with a new crew — that’ll come before Shaw and David take the journey to find humanity’s creators, discussed at the end of Prometheus.
It’s a mixed bag, this news; the idea of a a prequel trilogy is intriguing, regardless of Prometheus’ plot success (or lack, thereof). I wish Scott had made this decision before that film, instead of alternately luring us with the Alien connection and pushing our notions of prequels away. If as a whole, the prequel trilogy can pull the story together, we’ll be more forgiving of Prometheus. Conversely, if Covenant and the third entry devolve into pseudo-biblical allegory, Alien fans may disavow the second triad, leaving the door open for a triumphant Blomkamp’s return. As for that director, Blomkamp is reportedly in talks to adapt Thomas Sweterlitsch’s The Gone World, an as yet unpublished time-traveling story.