The Alien franchise has been a mess for years, arguably since James Cameron delivered Aliens in 1986. In recent years, director Ridley Scott returned to the franchise, sort of. He gave us Prometheus, which takes place in the same cinematic universe at an earlier point in the continuity, but which Scott insists wasn’t a prequel. That film received mixed reviews from both critics and fans. Nevertheless, Scott is leveraging the success of this year’s The Martian to move forward with a series of follow-ups to Prometheus, the most imminent of which is Alien: Covenant.
Scott’s plans have displaced the development of an Alien project with Neill Blomkamp at the helm. That film was to be a sequel to the original Alien films, again sort of. Aliens actor Michael Biehn explains in a recent interview with IconsOfFright:
The basic idea is acting like ALIEN 3 and 4 never existed… They’re planning on bringing me and Newt back and at this point Newt will be around twenty-seven years old. I know that every actress in Hollywood is going to want to play this one, it’s really a passing of the torch between Sigourney and this younger actress who would play Newt. It would keep the franchise alive and the studios would make money, because that’s what the bottom line is now: money.
Readers may recall that Biehn’s character, Corporal Hicks, was killed along with Newt in the prelude to Alien 3. That development certainly undermined the characters’ triumphs in Aliens. It probably would have been fine if the third and fourth films were as good as the first two. But the general consensus considers them less than.