Looks like we finally made it. After years of rumor, reshuffles and just plain ol’ inertia, Alien 5 is finally on its way.
South African director Neill Blomkamp made the surprise announcement by way of a rather low key Instragram post. “Um… So I think it’s officially my next film. #alien” he wrote, almost sheepishly; apologetically even.
There’s no need to apologize, Mr. Blomkamp! After such a long dormant period and the disappointments that trailed in the wake of Alien Vs. Predator and Prometheus, it’s encouraging to see the man behind District 9, Elysium and the upcoming Chappie getting ready to take to his director’s chair and get to work.
And then, the news we never thought we’d hear: Ripley is coming back. One of sci-fi cinema’s true heroes will once again reprise the role that propelled her into the A-list Hollywood atmos. The quiet-but-commanding Ripley of Alien became the cynical, scarred soldier of Aliens before ‘meeting her end’ in Alien 3 as a shattered soul with nowhere left to run.
Well, we might have to scratch that last part. Early reports circulating in the media have it that Blomkamp will seek to disregard anything after Aliens, wiping the slate half clean (or he might not, just depends who you’re listening to). Plenty of franchises have tried to erase their own past; consider the canonical swiping of Halloween 3, 4 and 5 before wreaking an awful havoc with the following three movies.
The Alien franchise is festooned with what-could-have-beens. One of the original Aliens treatments called for something akin to a Hicks N’ Bishop buddy movie, moving from action scene to action scene with the abandon of a video game. The famously troubled production Alien 3 went through any number of rewrites and ideas tossed about, the most enticing being a ‘wooden monastery planet’ concept.
The link between Blomkamp and Weaver since working together on Chappie acted as the catalyst for this series of announcements. It may just provide the spark to give the Aliens franchise an explosive send-off. If some concept art posted by Blomkamp is an early indication, then things could be getting a little crazy:
What can we expect? As you’ve probably guessed it’s early days, but in the current movie landscape there are some exciting possibilities. Modern CGI can provide sleek, terrifying Xenomorphs in their hundreds. The brooding, existential atmospheres of Nolan’s blockbuster Batman trilogy could bring new shades to a series that has forever danced on the dark side. Weaver might not be the last big name to lend their name to the project. The internet will be ablaze with rumor for a long while yet.
And if it doesn’t work out then we’ll have to take off, nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.