Today in Alien news, two meaty tidbits about upcoming films in the sci-fi franchise have hit the web. The first one is sure to divide my fellow Alien nerds: Sigourney Weaver has confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Neill Blomkamp’s delayed sequel to Aliens will indeed disregard the continuity established in Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. Blomkamp’s film, should it ever happen, will “somewhat de-canonize” the third and fourth films. Weaver told EW that “the path forks and one direction goes off to three and four and another direction goes off to Neill’s movie.”
The third and fourth films, though they do have ardent fans (I love both of ’em), are among the most divisive films in the franchise. Alien 3 is a cruel funeral dirge, and at times seems openly contemptuous to the fanbase. If you fell in love with the idea that Ripley, Hicks, and Newt would go on to fight the Xenomorph menace together, I can see why you might hate Alien 3 for its premise alone. But it’s a decent film unto itself, and got the respectful treatment it deserved when Fox put together a surprisingly polished alternate cut that improved the film slightly.
But that idea of Ripley having found her new family at the end of Aliens was a big deal to many fans, including Neill Blomkamp. He seeks to reunite the characters by creating an alternate canon where they can be together again. Now, canon has never been sacred for any franchise, ever. Things get retconned and discarded in most franchises so that they may carry on. I accept that, but the idea of seeing an Aliens sequel written or conceived by Neill Blomkamp gives me pause. His aesthetic is fascinating to look at, but I think his sensibilities are otherwise wrong for the Alien franchise. But at this point, there’s not much use in getting worked up about this — last I heard, Fox still has the film on the backburner, which means it may never go into production. Maybe we’ll know more when the Aliens cast reunites at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!
The second morsel of Alien franchise news today comes from Rolling Stone’s recent interview with Danny McBride, who will star in Alien: Covenant. In the interview, he revealed that his character is the pilot of the colonist ship Covenant. He can be seen in costume with director Ridley Scott in the official photo below.
McBride also talked about the film’s effects, stating that “most of the stuff is practical . . . when you’re running from an alien it’s really a dude in an alien suit coming after you! The sets are incredible and you’re in them: We go through some inclement weather at one point on the spaceship and this whole gigantic set is on a gimbal, shaking up and down. You don’t have to use your imagination.”
You won’t have to use your imagination for this, either. Earlier today the official Alien Anthology Twitter account revealed the first look at a pair of monstrous hands being sculpted in the film’s effects shop.
Alien: Covenant will land in US theaters on Aug. 4, 2017.