In Space, No One Can Hear You Applaud: The History of the ‘Alien’ Franchise

A history of the future.
By  · Published on May 18th, 2017

A history of the future.

Since its inception in 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien­ franchise has constantly pushed the boundaries of science-fiction, often blurring the lines between that genre and horror, suspense, adventure, and drama. It’s a familial epic of odd proportions, like the Jaws franchise, one that traces the evolution of a nonhuman, predatory bloodline from grubs to queen and back again to a point of origin. The overarching story of Alien is fraught with narrative peril: there are massive time jumps, clones, significant off-screen deaths, a rotating host of artificial companions, a rotating swarm of xenomorphs, and a bunch of future-business jargon. There’s a lot going on in this franchise; blink and you might miss a huge yet subtle plot point that has far-reaching implications.

So on this, the verge of the release of Alien: Covenant, the eighth film in the franchise – like them or lump them, you have to count the pair of AVP films – it’s important that we take a moment to remember the history behind the mayhem, especially since there’s so much of it spread across the last four decades, and especially-especially since there are at least three more Alien films headed our way over the next decade, the first of which, according to Scott, starts shooting late next year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sit through the 12+ hours of existing films to refresh your memory, you need only dedicate seven minutes and six seconds to the following video from Blake Faucette and Matthew Williams for their Distractotron Channel on YouTube that traces the entire history from Alien to Prometheus with a look at what we know about Alien: Covenant, including information gleaned from the prologue short film, already released.

Once you’re all caught up, check out our Covenant review from Jacob Oller.  The film releases tonight, May 18th.

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