The Alien franchise has carved its place in cinematic history, thrilling audiences with its iconic blend of science fiction and horror. Among its numerous installments, "Alien 5" emerged as a logical way forward, a sequel that aimed to chart a different course from Ridley Scott's prequel series. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, this proposed project generated considerable excitement, but its journey was marked by highs and lows, eventually leaving fans in a state of anticipation and disappointment. This article delves into the development, cancellation, the profound impact of "Alien 5," and explores the story details of the movie that could have been.
Abortive Attempts at a Fifth Film
Since the release of "Alien Resurrection" in 1997, the desire for a fifth installment in the Alien franchise had been lingering. Various writers and directors proposed unrealized ideas for the film. Sigourney Weaver, the iconic Ellen Ripley in the series, expressed her enthusiasm for a fifth Alien film, with the condition that either Ridley Scott or James Cameron would be at the helm. Over the years, multiple ideas were explored, including a script developed by Joss Whedon, the writer of "Alien Resurrection." Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. of Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. pitched their concept to 20th Century Fox, but these visions never materialized. Even James Cameron, the visionary director of "Aliens," had plans for a fifth Alien film in collaboration with Ridley Scott. However, the impending "Alien vs. Predator" project put these dreams on hold.
Blomkamp's Involvement: A Glimpse of What Could Have Been
In 2015, Neill Blomkamp, renowned for "District 9," unveiled a treasure trove of concept art for a fifth Alien film on his Instagram account. This project, tentatively titled "Alien: Xeno," promised to rewrite the narrative of "Alien 3" and focus on an older Ripley and Hicks. Blomkamp's artwork generated immense excitement among fans. He initially shared his vision without Fox's knowledge, setting the stage for what could have been a groundbreaking sequel. Eventually, Blomkamp received the green light from Fox, officially setting the wheels in motion for "Alien 5."
Ellen Ripley Returning
Sigourney Weaver was willing to reprise her role under Blomkamp's direction. The concept of "Alien: Xeno" would have seen the return not only of Ripley but Michael Biehn's Hicks and an older Newt, potentially retconning their off-screen deaths in "Alien 3." Blomkamp's vision would have diverged the franchise's narrative into a new continuity, reuniting old favorite characters while introducing new elements. The concept art also hinted at new types of Xenomorphs, a jungle/garden setting, the presence of new mercenary group factions, and the introduction of deadly new androids. Fan-favorite Colonial Marine weapons like the Smart Gun and Pulse Rifle would have returned, but with upgraded versions.
The Cancellation: A Crushing Blow
Despite the initial enthusiasm surrounding "Alien 5," a series of challenges emerged. The film's plot had to be adjusted to avoid conflicts with Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" sequel, "Alien: Covenant." Blomkamp also announced that the film would not bear the title "Alien 5," hinting at its unique direction. A first draft script was completed, and the movie was slated for release in 2017. However, in a disappointing turn of events, Blomkamp announced via Twitter in October 2015 that the project was put on hold due to "Prometheus 2." Subsequently, it became increasingly evident that "Alien 5" was unlikely to become a reality, with Ridley Scott confirming its cancellation.
Sigourney Weaver's Perspective: A Heroine's Farewell
In a more recent interview with Total Film magazine, Sigourney Weaver shared her reflections on reprising her role as Ellen Ripley. She acknowledged the existence of an "Alien" film she wished to make with Neill Blomkamp but emphasized that the ship had sailed. Weaver noted that there were now younger actors taking on similar roles in the industry and expressed her contentment with her contributions to the sci-fi epic, stating, "I'm very happy doing what I'm doing. I put in my time in space!" Weaver's journey as Ripley, spanning from 1979 to 1997, featured four iconic films with the potential for a fifth that could have "broken new ground."
Neill Blomkamp's Reflection: A Career Reimagined
The cancellation of "Alien 5" brought about a significant turning point in director Neill Blomkamp's career. With the film's cancellation, alongside the abandonment of two sequels to his 2015 sci-fi film "Chappie," Blomkamp underwent a transformative period of reflection. In an interview with Empire magazine, he candidly discussed how the cancellation of "Alien 5" had a profound impact on him. Blomkamp revealed, "The stuff that's hit me the hardest in my own career are the projects that didn't get made - Alien, predominantly." This experience compelled Blomkamp to reassess his approach to Hollywood. He recognized that he didn't fit the mold of a typical Hollywood director who churned out films regularly. Instead, he embraced his role as an artist who sought to pursue unique and unconventional projects.
Conclusion: The Legacy of "Alien 5"
"Alien 5" stands as a project that stirred the hopes of countless fans but ultimately remained in the realm of unrealized potential. Neill Blomkamp's vision for the film sparked interest and excitement, but it faced numerous obstacles along the way. The legacy of "Alien 5" endures, as does the impact it had on the careers of both Neill Blomkamp and Sigourney Weaver, leaving fans with the tantalizing dream of what might have been in a different universe. In its current state, the franchise will continue with Alien: Romulus, directed by Fade Alvarez and released in 2024. Furthermore, there is an untitled Alien TV Show in the works on FX on Hulu, headed by Noah Hawley.