20th Century Fox has confirmed to HitFix that Neill Blomkamp is indeed now officially set to make an “Alien” sequel, as the director stated today on his Instagram account, which any hardcore “Alien” fan should be subscribed to already.
We've also confirmed that this will not be a direct follow-up to “Prometheus,” but will take place after “Prometheus 2,” which Ridley Scott will produce. I'm curious how any of that will work now. If you saw the initial imagery that Neill Blomkamp released online, he's obviously envisioned a film that ignores pretty much anything that takes place after the ending of James Cameron's “Aliens.” It's the sort of thing that I'm used to seeing from hardcore fanboys, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a series that hates its own continuity with quite the vigor that the “Alien” franchise does. Fox is confirming that the film will take place after “Prometheus 2,” but again… what kind of sense does that make? How are we getting Hicks and Ripley back if that's the case?
It feels more like this is a fan fiction alternate universe movie, one that imagines an entirely different set of circumstances. I've said before that we are living in the age of fan fiction, and that becomes more and more true with each passing year. I'm excited to see what Colin Treverrow does with “Jurassic World,” knowing that he was just a little kid when “Jurassic Park” came out. He's been carrying around his feelings about “Jurassic Park” for decades, and to finally get a chance to express all of those feelings in an official sequel has got to be liberating for him. I'm curious to see if that long-held passion translates into what we see onscreen. The same is true of this proposed “Alien” sequel. Knowing that it was “Aliens” that first made him want to make movies, it's clear that Blomkamp will give this everything he's got.
There's a long way to go before Blomkamp is ready to step onto a set. There's no script right now, and Blomkamp is just starting the worldwide push to release his new film “Chappie.” I'm not sure what to make of him as a filmmaker overall yet. As much as I enjoyed “District 9,” I've found that I am unable to rewatch his second film “Elysium” at all. I tried convincing myself when it came out that I liked it, but going back to it, I keep bouncing right off, and all I can are the various mystifying story choices and the confoundingly bad performances throughout. It is such a dramatically different film than “District 9” in style and execution that I have a hard time reconciling them. I'm not sure who Blomkamp is as a filmmaker now, and it makes me very curious to finally see “Chappie” in a few weeks.
I am sure that Neill Blomkamp can make a beautiful “Alien” movie. I am sure he can make one that will set off every nostalgia alarm inside every fanboy who shows up. But what I'm not sure about yet is whether there's anything left for anyone to say about the world of “Alien.” I would love to see someone find a new story to tell in this world, one that's more interesting than the weird rehashed left turn of “Prometheus.” I'm not sure bringing back dead characters is the answer. I've always felt like they finished telling Ripley's story in the second film, and since then, they've had this weird hang-up about making her the center of everything, when there's a whole universe of stories out there they can tell using the Xenomorphs, the Weyland-Yutani company, or even entirely new characters and situations.
I would assume they're going to keep making “Alien” movies as long as Fox is a studio. They'll just keep finding new ways to try to do it, and I hope at least some of those are worthwhile. Will Blomkamp's film be the one to finally put it all together correctly? Let's see what happens as development continues over what I'm sure will be a lengthy process.
“Chappie” is in theaters March 6, 2015.