In our never ending societal need to label every day on the calendar, it seems April 26 (4/26) is “Alien Day,” referencing the planet, LV-426, where the xenomorphs were discovered in the film. It’s a stretch, but whatever. Let the people have what they want, ya know?
And on this Alien Day, the franchise is busy churning out not one, but two films. The first, Alien: Covenant, is coming from Ridley Scott. It’s an Alien movie but it’s actually a Prometheus sequel, which was a prequel to Alien, and this one will… My head hurts.
But what makes my head hurt even more is the fact that this Neill Blomkamp sequel to the original films is still happening. It wasn’t happening, then it was, and no matter where it is in pre-production, unfortunately Neill Blomkamp is still attached as director. And now he’s posted some concept art on his Instagram that tells us one of two things:
Yes, that’s an adult Newt. This means either Blomkamp is completely ignoring David Fincher’s much maligned but underappreciated Alien 3, which opened with Newt being found dead in her pod, or it means cloning is coming back to the franchise, the sole reason for Alien: Resurrection to shoehorn Sigourney Weaver into the credits. Either way, it’s probably a mistake.
Alien 3 is not a bad film, and a nice bookend to the trilogy. Ignoring it feels spiteful, though it happens in Hollywood. But if Blomkamp plans on making this film a true fifth entry into the franchise, then he plans on using the ridiculous plot construction of Resurrection. Odds are he is ignoring Alien 3, the lesser of the two evils I suppose, especially since Sigourney Weaver has already agreed to return. So this will probably be a reset of Alien 3, picking up where Aliens left off – or maybe picking up a few years later since Newt wouldn’t age in the hyper sleep. This is getting complicated, but the most disconcerting thing about it all is the involvement of Neill Blomkamp.
I don’t really want to sit here and bash a filmmaker, it feels dirty. But I think I will for a minute. As we get further and further from District 9, one of the best sci-fi films of the 21st century, Blomkamp has been busy proving that debut masterpiece was a fluke. Elysium is loaded with problems, from Jodie Foster’s weird over acting, to the fleeting nature of the plot, to Sharlto Copley showing up as the villain from what seemed to be an entirely different movie. And then there was Chappie (which has its defenders but, c’mon), a mean-spirited, grating movie length Die Antwoord music video. I aggressively dislike Chappie, and I have little to no faith in Blomkamp anymore.
What’s wrong with a Prometheus sequel? Well, besides it being a Prometheus sequel, that is. It’s a new adventure in the same universe, and might be able to rebound from the overwritten first film. We don’t really need a fifth Alien film with Weaver and the old crew. That story has been told. Tell a new story with new characters and see what happens. And let Blomkamp continue to Shyamalan himself with another original flop.