Concept art shows Ripley, Hicks, and everyone’s favorite toothy space critters
"Um…," starts an Instagram post from writer-director-produer Neill Blomkamp, "So I think it's officially my next film. #alien"
The post’s image is a painting by Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger in the artist’s famous airbrush style, of the movie Alien’s eponymous alien in profile, toothed tongue extended, leg raised like a dancer.
Though the Instagram post is a little light on detail, last night Variety confirmed that the message it appears to be sending—that Blomkamp will be helming a new film in the Alien franchise—is correct. Citing "sources," Variety says that Blomkamp and 20th Century Fox have indeed closed a deal for a new Alien movie and that the movie will be separate from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus 2 (which is still being written while Ridley Scott films the movie version of Andy Weir’s The Martian).
There are no solid details at this point as to what Blomkamp’s Alien film might look like and whether it will be a "reboot" of the franchise, a sequel, or something in between. Previous rumors about a new Alien movie indicated that series star Sigourney Weaver might be attached; there is no word right now about whether Weaver is involved in Blomkamp’s project. With the ink on the deal still wet, there’s also no leaked script and no real solid pre-production efforts to spy out.
However, for an indication of what kind of story might be lurking in the mind of the 35-year old South African sci-fi auteur, one need look no further than the Alien concept art Blomkamp posted in early January—concept art which features Weaver’s Ellen Ripley (in one image wearing an explosive-laden suicide vest and in another encased in some kind of alien-esque suit) and Michael Biehn’s Corporal Dwayne Hicks (with one side of his face disfigured Phantom of the Opera-style after the acid splash he took at the end of Aliens).
Considering that Hicks was unceremoniously killed off-screen during the initial moments of Alien 3 in 1992, it appears likely that Blomkamp’s plans—at least at this stage—are for a Superman Returns-esque "midquel," slotting the new movie into the middle of the existing canon after Aliens and dismissing Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, much as Superman Returns was a direct sequel to 1978’s Superman II and ignored the remaining (bad) movies in the franchise.
With luck, if the deal does result in a finished film, it won’t fall victim to the growing trend in Hollywood of Bowdlerizing blockbuster movies in order to achieve a "PG-13" rating (a trend that has apparently claimed this summer’s Terminator Genisys as its latest victim). Blomkamp’s past two releases—District 9 and Elysium—have both merited "R" ratings and his latest film, Chappie, has also garnered the same rating. It’s difficult to imagine a PG-13-rated Alien movie, and fortunately Blomkamp is unafraid to hold the camera on unpleasant doings—something that will definitely be necessary in a film about monsters that explode out of your chest.
There is as of yet no release date for the film, but we wouldn't expect anything earlier than the end of 2016.