Thursday, February 26, 2015
Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Alien’ Will Disregard Half the Franchise to Finish Ripley’s Story
Fox is making Neill Blomkamp‘s new Alien movie, and Sigourney Weaver is definitely on board to reprise her Ellen Ripley role. And while we still don’t know the story, despite the teasing glimpses provided in concept art such as the pieces above, we do know something new: Blomkamp’s Alien will basically disregard Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection as the director says he’s designing the film to sit in sequence after Aliens.
Sky Movies talked to the pair while they were promoting Chappie.
There’s reason to be interested here. Blomkamp is clearly a guy with a vision (see: District 9) even if that vision doesn’t always work out (see: Elysium). And Weaver isn’t quick to sign on to sequels like this, so clearly she sees some reason to give the go-ahead nod.
But I’m also slightly irritated with this development, specifically the idea of disregarding the third and fourth films. Alien 3and Resurrection don’t need me to defend them, as they can stand or fall on their own. But the implication here is that those two films blew it with respect to Ripley’s story, and now this is a chance to pretend they didn’t happen so as to give her, as Weaver says, “a proper finish.”
But Weaver is a big part of the reason Ripley didn’t get a proper finish in the past. Her ideas, and the “no guns” mandate, were very influential in the development of Alien 3. (Which is, I would argue, a pretty great end for Ripley’s story.) Weaver’s ideas and restrictions were also part of the DNA of Alien: Resurrection. This isn’t the time where she’s going to get candid about the past films and say “hey, I shoulder some of that responsibility.” But it would be nice to hear eventually, and also respectful to the people who worked hard on those movies.
Meanwhile, speaking to EW, Blomkamp says,
Over the years, I came up with a story for a film in that universe that I wanted to make. And then when I talked to her about her experience making those films and what she thought about Ripley and everything else, it informed and changed the film I wanted to make into something different. It just sort of stuck with me. A year later, when post-production was winding down on ‘Chappie,’ I started fleshing out the idea for a film that would contain Sigourney. Fox never knew. I just worked on it when I could. Before I knew it, I had this really awesome film with a lot of artwork and a lot of backstory. And then I didn’t know whether I was going to make it or not. So I just kind of sat on it for a while.
There’s no release date for Blomkamp’s Alien film at this point.
(What I do find amusing here is that it is possible that Blomkamp came up with this idea when he was developing Halo at Fox, where he had big run-ins with Tom Rothman, then the head of that studio. Blomkamp said he’d never work for Fox again, thanks in large part to Rothman. Now Rothman is out of Fox and installed at Sony, which released Elysium and will release Chappie — just in time for Blomkamp to go back to Fox for Alien.)