The Neill Blomkamp Alien Movie is Official

By  · Published on February 19th, 2015

Original Art by H.R. Giger

Original Art by H.R. Giger

The Alien franchise is in a weird place.

To its credit, Fox has continued to push the franchise forward. Even though there was a gap between Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection in 1997 and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus in 2012, Fox has continued to work toward evolving the series. Now thanks to a very aggressive social media campaign from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, Fox has two Alien movies in development: Ridley Scott’s Prometheus 2, the continuing saga of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) as she learns more about the ancient “Engineers,” and this new Blomkamp-led Alien sequel.

What we know about Blomkamp’s movie, thanks to this report from The Wrap, is that it will be set between Prometheus 2 and the first Alien film. And that Blomkamp would love to involve Sigourney Weaver, which is problematic for two reasons: (1) the movie predates her character Ripley’s introduction in the universe and (2) Sigourney Weaver, much to our disappointment, is not aging backwards a la Benjamin Button.

That massive plot inconsistency aside (something that could be a non-starter, given the early stages of development the project is in), there’s growing concern over whether or not this entire endeavor is even a good idea. Blomkamp’s “movie,” which gained traction online with some moody concept art. It would appear as if Fox took a look at that response and said, “yes, we can capitalize on this.” There’s no talk about how great Blomkamp’s story is or how his vision will move the iconic franchise forward. It’s all focused on how Blomkamp might make an Alien movie that looks cool. And as we discovered with Prometheus, that isn’t enough.

Our own Scott Beggs made this point very well several weeks ago under the assumption that Blomkamp’s vision would never happen:

“On the one hand, I’m as thrilled by these images as anyone, and Blomkamp would undoubtedly make for an interesting voice to add to the franchise universe. He’s a genre fan turned filmmaker, and these bits of concept art are dark and evocative. Since the movie didn’t happen, they’re also now a kind of professionally-made fan fiction. An artifact showing us what might have been.

Yet there’s a safety net there. The easiest thing to do is make a movie like that look cool. We don’t know if a big budget sci-fi movie’s dialogue will be clunky or if its plot will make any sense, but in 2015 we can be 99.9% certain that its visuals will be stunning. Living as concept art, this movie never had to find financing, go through a dozen script revisions based on studio notes, see sound stages, survive test screenings, see reshoots, or premiere for fans. It’s the monster in our imagination, and right now it has no exposed zippers. Unlike, say, Prometheus.”

If Blomkamp’s film comes to fruition – and all signs are pointing toward “yes” at this point – we will no longer have The Movie In Our Minds to fall back on. This entire thing will become real. And it’s a worthy cause for concern. The last Alien movie the folks at Fox greenlit was pretty, but hollow. The last movie that Blomkamp delivered, Elysium, was pretty but ultimately hollow. What’s to stop us from assuming that this new Alien movie won’t transcend the cool concept art stage?

As Drew McWeeny explains at HitFix, we’re still talking about a movie with no script. It’s all just fan-fiction concept art. Everything we do know about the story just makes things worse:

“I am sure that Neill Blomkamp can make a beautiful “Alien” movie. I am sure he can make one that will set off every nostalgia alarm inside every fanboy who shows up. But what I’m not sure about yet is whether there’s anything left for anyone to say about the world of “Alien.” I would love to see someone find a new story to tell in this world, one that’s more interesting than the weird rehashed left turn of “Prometheus.” I’m not sure bringing back dead characters is the answer. I’ve always felt like they finished telling Ripley’s story in the second film, and since then, they’ve had this weird hang-up about making her the center of everything, when there’s a whole universe of stories out there they can tell using the Xenomorphs, the Weyland-Yutani company, or even entirely new characters and situations.”

It’s an early, but earned judgment. Until we know more about the story and the other players within this new Alien film, we can’t be entirely confident with what’s happening. Neill Blomkamp has some very cool concept art for a movie he didn’t think he’d ever get to make. Now the powers at Fox are letting him make it. Even if they give him carte blanche to make everything in his wildest fan-fiction dreams come to life on screen, are we even sure that would be a good movie?

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)