Saturday, 12 December 2015

Alien: Covenant will include the Xenomorph!

Another day, another Ridley Scott interview. This time he has been talking to about Alien Covenant and offered yet more interesting nuggets, this time clearly contradicting earlier statements he made about the titular xenomorph being all played out and his vision of creating a newer, fresher alien.

"You're next film is a sequel to Prometheus?
Yeah. Well, really it's 'Alien.' They're going to go to the planet where the Engineers came from and come across the evolving creature that they had made. Why did they make it? Why would they make such a terrifying beast? It felt bio-mechaniod, it felt like a weapon. And so the movie will explain that, and reintroduce the alien back into it.
There was always this discussion: Is alien, the character, the beast, played out or not? We'll have them all: egg, facehugger, chestburster, then the big boy. I think maybe we can go another round or two.

When you were making the first 'Alien,' did you think there was more to explore with that creature?
Yeah, definitely. I knew we had done something special. I mean, I knew it as soon as I met with (painter, illustrator and creature designer) H.R. Giger. He was an artist in every sense of the word, but very businesslike. There was no rock 'n' roll - well, there was quietly, but he never brought it to the set. And I knew I had something special with the creature that he designed. Without that creature, the film wouldn't have been the same."

These comments seem to suggest we'll be seeing some form of the original Giger alien not seen on screen since the first film way back in 1979. Regardless of how the story plays out at this point, the notion of seeing the original nightmare back in theatres after over 35 years is going to be something special.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Alien Covenant

So the Prometheus/Alien prequel news just continues to get stranger and stranger. Last we'd heard, Ridley Scott had seemingly revealed the final title of the movie as Alien: Paradise Lost. However, as debate over the significance and meaning of the title in relation to John Milton's 16th century poem was a hot topic with the fans, Scott then dropped another bombshell whilst in attendance at the AFI film festival. He was discussing how he came to do The Martian when the subject of the Prometheus sequel was raised.

"I was going to be doing what will be called 'Alien: Covenant,' which starts shooting next February, and were struggling then with the screenplay there and then there was a phone call, somebody saying, 'Listen, we've got this thing which is completely written called 'Martian,' and I said, 'Huh.' And I sped read it in an hour and by mid-afternoon, I talked to Fix and said, 'I need to talk to Drew (Goddard)..."

Not long after this, 20th Century Fox confirmed the title with the official logo and synopsis of the new film.

"Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS - and connects directly to Scott's 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world - whose sole inhabitant is the 'synthetic' David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition."

There is no mention of Naoomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw and one now wonders what her inclusion may be given reports in the past that she had signed on to the Prometheus sequel. Has she fallen foul of David or are we looking at a story set into the future when Shaw has long-since passed on? Fans have been quick to point out that the title of the movie is taken from the name of the ship, just like the first film.
Also probably due to the screenplay troubles Scott alludes to in his first quote, Spectre co-writer John Logan has seemingly been brought on board to add a final lick of polish to what has been a troublesome script to say the least.

Finally Scott has clarified one last detail; Alien: Covenant is not the second movie in a trilogy, but the first of three more films that will eventually lead into the first Alien story. Given Ridley Scott's age, he seems to be dedicating the final major projects of his profession to the film that launched his career in the first place. Whether there is enough desire for three more Alien prequel films remains to be seen but it's going to be an interesting journey to say the least.

"It's a very complex story. Its an evolution of what I first did with Prometheus 1," Scott revealed at a press conference in Sydney, Australia according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Prometheus 1 was borne out of my frustration that on Alien 1 in 1979 - I only did one as I normally don't do sequels. I was amazed that in the three that followed that no-one asked the question 'why the Alien, who made it and why?' Very basic questions. So I came up with the notion of Prometheus 1, which starts to indicate who might have made it and where it came from."

He added: "So I'm not going to the next one, which is the next evolution directly connected with the first one, which was this Shaw, when she replaced Michael Fassbender in two pieces and we'll kind of pick it up there and it will evolve. When that's finished there'll be another one and then another one which will gradually drive back into the back entrance of the film in 1979... So in other words, why was this space jockey there and why did he have an Alien inside him? And those questions will be answered."

Friday, 9 October 2015

Prometheus 2 now called Alien: Paradise Lost, numerous sequels still to come and a connection to Ellen Ripley!

Sir Ridley Scott has been continuing to spill the beans during his promotional trail for The Martian and in an interview with, he revealed the film will not carry on the Prometheus name but instead revert back to Alien with the sub-heading of Paradise Lost. Now this is quite a bombshell and not to mention a little perplexing considering Scott's long fought desire and push to differentiate Prometheus from Alien and make the former its own separate franchise, albeit one that he freely admits takes place in the same universe. Can we have a new Alien film without the actual alien being in it, 'That goose is cooked' - remember?

Paradise Lost is a reference to a 17th century poem written by John Milton and deals with the fall of mankind and the temptations of Adam and Eve. This poem is referenced directly in the first Prometheus film when a young Elizabeth Shaw has a conversation with her father during her dreams in cryosleep, dreams which of course were being monitored without permission by David.

I think it's quite a jarring title and would be better simply as 'Paradise Lost'. I see no reason why the Alien moniker needs to be in there unless it's a Fox enforced thing to garner more interest or perhaps the name has something to do with Neil Blomkamp's project which I am now sure will not be titled Alien 5 but Alien: something something...

Heyuguys later caught up with Scott again when he arrived for the première of The Martian and he offered this clarification on the film's title.

"Well, because we're heading back to why and how and when the beast was invented, we'll go back to the into the back door of the very first Alien that I did thirty years ago."

Wait? Does this mean we will be exploring the origins of H.R. Giger's xenomorph after all? Thanks to the folks over at, it sounds as though we will...

"I think I have to go again. We will see who made it, and why. That's what's interesting."

Given his previous comments about this sequel, it seems that somewhere along the line, someone or something has convinced Sir Rid to have a change of heart about not going back to his original creature. He also reiterated that his vision for Alien: Paradise Lost seems to be the very same premise when he first cooked up potential sequel ideas to his original classic years ago, long before James Cameron came along. I'm very much in agreement with Scott here and believe the notion that the alien was created as a biological weapon, rather than a naturally occurring organism.

"Years ago, I kept mulling over what Alien 2 could be. I was fiddling around with some ideas. I was always fascinated with why this thing (the xenomorph) would be made, by whom, and for what purpose? The planet it was on - and I was looking at the dark side of the moon - would be called Paradise. Paradise is a very ominous word..."

One thing I am less keen on, was Scott's next and quite unexpected revelation...

"In a way it is Prometheus 2. It's exactly the same story. But it was always in the works to be called that (Alien: Paradise Lost). Is Prometheus actually taking us off course from where I'm going, which is actually backing into the first Alien... I've even got connections with Ripley (in this), but I'm not telling you what."

One thing that has always bothered me with the Alien franchise is the lack of belief from key parties involved that the series can stand on its own two feet without Sigourney Weaver or Ripley. In 2014 Titan Books released a trilogy of new Alien novels that tied into the official canon. The first book, Out of the Shadows, by Tim Lebbon, was on the whole a very enjoyable romp and concerned the discovery of an alien nest deep underneath the surface of LV-178. But for me what harmed that particular story was the forced inclusion of Ellen Ripley, something that according to Lebbon had to be done on the insistence of 20th Century Fox. We also had the superb Alien: Isolation from Creative Assembly which for me is the greatest Alien video game ever made, but again we had to have that connection to Ripley by playing as her daughter, Amanda. Whilst I enjoyed both these stories very much, they would have worked perfectly well without the Ripley angle I have to say.
What Ridley Scott has in mind here, I'm unsure at this stage. With the first Prometheus taking place 30 years before the events of Alien, I'm wondering if we are going to meet a relative of Ripley or perhaps if the Paradise planet is so far away and Shaw spends a large amount of time in suspended animation, things really will go full circle and Shaw will bump into Ripley 8 far into the future. I admit the latter option seems unlikely, especially as Scott has further sequels planned. I guess we'll have to just wait and see.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Prometheus 2 Ready to Roll

Shortly after my last blog post, Ridley Scott finally confirmed what we all wanted to hear during press rounds to promote his latest move; The Martian, that Prometheus 2 will indeed be his next film. He has already been location scouting with possible filming possibilities including Australia, Canada and the UK for a start date locked in for early 2016. I simply cannot wait for this and despite the initial film being something of a beautiful looking mess, the possibilities for the sequel and further connections to the Alien universe are mouthwatering.
It seems Scott is well aware of audience frustration from Prometheus and has already teased that key questions left over from the original will be answered, or at least addressed with the sequel.

"It starts off with a very grand idea - or grand question really. Who are they and why did they create such evil biology and bacteriology? And (in creating) to protect themselves from what? So the questions are answered there, or rather, beginning to be answered in Prometheus 2."

I'd certainly love to be a fly on the wall in Ridley Scott's writing room over the next few months. We saw a glimpse of it in the excellent Furious Gods documentary on the Prometheus Blu-Ray DVD with spotlights illuminating a room filled with storyboards and concept artwork whilst Scott, his production designer Arthur Max, and other key subordinates sat around drinking red wine and discussing the various aspects of what will make up the movie. The last we heard was that Michael Green had rewritten initial drafts from Jack Palagan and that over 15 differing revisions of the screenplay are said to exist. With Naoomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender already signed on and ready to go, we can hopefully expect the first additions to the new cast over the next several months.

We already know one arc of the film will take Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and the remainder of David 8 to 'Paradise' in the Juggernaut, which is said to be the Engineers' home world and the polar opposite of what we expect 'paradise' to be. But what else can we expect? It seems a safe bet to assume that the Weyland Corporation will conduct some sort of investigation into the fate of the Prometheus mission and the disappearance of its founder, Sir Peter. Will the company return to LV-223? This aspect has already been explored in the 'Fire and Stone' comic book series which allegedly forms part of a massively rebooted canon that also includes Titan's new Alien trilogy of novels, Alien Isolation and of course Neil Blomkamp's upcoming, untitled Alien 5 project. Discussion of the comic book is for another time but it did explore the interesting notion of the leaked Engineer 'accelerant' terraforming the entire planet and transforming it into a very different place compared to the barren, lifeless rock that was depicted in the first Prometheus movie. I wouldn't be surprised if a rescue mission is launched by the company to LV-223 and from there they pick up the telemetry data of Shaw's Juggernaut and follow it to the Engineer's homeworld.

One thing I hope they clarify is just where LV-223 is in relation to LV-426. Fire and Stone says they are literally neighbours, but if this turns out to be the case then some massive explanations are needed to explain why LV-223 was never re-visited during the first four Alien films and why Weyland-Yutani spent 57 years not doing very much after the Nostromo was destroyed. Another plot titbit I expect this new film to address is the emergency of the Yutani Corporation and their inevitable merge into Weyland Yutani. With Sir Peter Weyland and his daughter Meredith Vickers dead and gone, the Weyland Corporation will be more vulnerable than ever to a takeover.

I don't believe Ridley is fibbing when he says Prometheus 2 will not feature the Xenomorph, but as I said earlier the announcement of Blomkamp's film now releases Scott from that pressure of having to include it. But I do hope the new creatures are much more creative than the quite frankly awful Trilobite. He has spoken before that any Prometheus sequel would move further away from Alien, but that the third, or possibly even forth film would eventually connect with the Alien franchise and explain just what exactly the Xenomorph is.

"It won't be in the next one. It will be in the one after this one or maybe even a forth film before we get back to the Alien franchise."

In his DVD commentary track for Alien included in the original Legacy collection, Scott said he always maintained he saw the derelict ship as some kind of battle cruiser transporting biological weapons of mass destruction, the weapons of course being the eggs. Now all these years later it is pleasing to see he still follows that sentiment,

"The whole point of Prometheus was to 'explain the how and why of the creation of the Alien itself. I always thought of the Alien as kind of a piece of bacterial warfare. I always thought that that original ship, which I call the Croissant, was a battleship, holding these biomechanoid creatures that were all about destruction."

Exciting times await...

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Concerning Prometheus 2..

Like many, I found Prometheus to be a bit of an anti-climax, needlessly over-confusing with too many unanswered questions and weak characters. But there can be no denying it was beautifully made by Sir Ridley Scott and is a stunning film to look at.
News on the sequel has been scant with concrete facts few and far between, but what we do know is that it has been slowly simmering behind the scenes on the back burner ever since the original film came out in early Summer 2012. 
As ever, Ridley Scott is a busy man with no shortage of upcoming projects and shows no sign of reducing his workload despite approaching his 80th birthday. Whilst he will definitely be producing the sequel, he has yet to come out publicly and officially confirm he will be directing. His next venture into science-fiction is the soon to be released The Martian starring Matt Damon and rumours are rife that Prometheus 2 will be his next project, with Total Film reporting he will begin shooting in January 2016. 
Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are locked in place to reprise their roles as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and David 8 respectively but as of yet no other cast has been announced. The first draft of the script was written by Jack Paglen whose only previous writing credit was the screenplay for 2014's Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp as a brilliant scientist who tries to upload his dying consciousness into a computer program. Michael Green was then brought on to re-write Paglen's draft which is rumoured to feature multiple David 8 androids. Green was responsible for the lacklustre Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds but more importantly devised the script for the potential Blade Runner sequel, a script Ridley Scott himself signed off on as 'damn good.' He also claims to have had 15 drafts of the script for Prometheus 2 before he was happy it was ready.
The plot of the sequel is top secret but will logically continue Shaw and David's journey into the unknown on the Juggernaut ship as they search for the Engineers home world. Scott has dropped a few tantalising nuggets suggesting the relationship between the two survivors of LV-223 will evolve with David manipulating Shaw into fixing his head back to his body and once he is mobile again, he will be more dangerous than ever.

But what of the Alien then? Opinion was split on the first film with many praising the refreshing approach of introducing new creatures and elements and others lamenting the fact the much anticipated Alien prequel did not contain any of the xenomorphs we all know and love. In an effort to quash such rumours from overshadowing the production of the sequel, Scott has come out early and confirmed the original Alien creature that stalked Sigourney Weaver over 4 films will not be making an appearance.

"The beast is done. Cooked. I got lucky meeting Giger all those years ago. It's very hard to repeat that. I just happen to be the one who forced it through because they said it's obscene. They didn't want to do it and I said, 'I want to do it, it's fantastic.' But after four, I think it wears out a little bit. There's only so much snarling you can do. I think you've got to come back with something more interesting. And I think we've found the next step. I thought the Engineers were quite a good start."

He also made interesting comments about modern science fiction films pointlessly regurgitating alien creatures and threats when nothing comes close to the original creature concocted by the late and legendary H.R. Giger. He was not best pleased with how the Deacon turned out at the climax of the first film and promises to make things even further removed this time around.

"It's 'fresh' and getting away from gods and dragons and shit. If I see one more dragon I'm going to shoot myself. Stop the dragons.' Scott describes his original alien as 'the definitive dragon and he's a motherfucker. The alien's real which is why it's probably one of the scariest monsters in film history,' Scott says. 'So with Prometheus 2 what I'm trying to do in reintroduce a fresher form of alien in the third act.' The Prometheus 'baby' alien was, he concedes, 'awfully close to the alien' that tormented Signourney Weaver. His next one promises to be very different."

Prometheus was one of those films that could really benefit with a superior sequel, answering hanging questions and further extending the mythology in new directions that could really make the first film a better experience to go back to. In my opinion the announcement of Alien 5 makes this the perfect blend of old and new. Fans will no doubt be more forgiving now with Ridley Scott's ambition to venture to places even further removed from alien now that they know they will still get their xenomorph fix with Blomkamp's film a year later. Although chronologically the films will be set decades apart from one another, here's hoping there are plenty of connecting threads to bind the Prometheus brand even tighter to its Alien forefather. 

Neil Blomkamp and Alien 5

So way back in January 2015 Neil Blomkamp made headlines by releasing a collection of concept art he personally commissioned for his own interpretation of a potential new Alien sequel. These high-quality images immediately sent fans into a frenzy and was reported by various worldwide media websites. At the time Blomkamp had insisted these art works were created 'just for fun' and that he 'simply wanted to share the artwork with fellow fans of the franchise' but it seems he had an ulterior motive and was testing the water with franchise owners 20th Century Fox. His ploy seemed to have worked and soon caught the attention of the studio. Things went quiet until the morning of February 18th when Blomkamp posted the above image with the caption; "So I think it's officially my next film!" Not long afterwards 20th Century Fox confirmed the news and the project was officially green lit.

Blomkamp went on to clarify that although the artwork was initially completely unsanctioned, he took it very seriously due to a fiercely passionate love for the franchise and a desire to try and make it a reality for his next project. At the time he was heavily invested in post-production on his latest picture Chappie and any downtime he had during sound mixing and visual effects editing was dedicated to his Alien concept. His creative juices were already overflowing thanks to numerous stories, theories and anecdotes he gained from Chappie star Sigourney Weaver on both the past and potential future of the Alien franchise, with Blomkamp making no secret that he took every opportunity on set to pester her for information.

Perhaps the icing on the cake came a few weeks later when it was announced that Sir Ridley Scott himself, director of the original Alien and 2012's much-maligned quasi-prequel Prometheus, would be producing Blomkamp's film. 

Easily the most tantalising aspect of Blomkamp's artwork is the return of both Ellen Ripley and Corporal Dwayne Hicks. Interestingly both reflect the current ages of both Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn and raise the obvious questions of possible story retcons in relation to both Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. Is it possible these films are to be ignored completely and Alien 5 will be in fact a spiritual sequel to James Cameron's Aliens, something a large majority of the fan base have wanted all along? Only time will tell, but perhaps the first clue is that Blomkamp has already confirmed the title of the movie will not be Alien 5. Read into that what you will...

I have been a huge fan of the Alien franchise and cannot wait to see where this project goes. As much as I adore the special edition of Alien 3, the idea of an alternate sequel furthering the adventures of Ripley, Hicks and hopefully the original derelict ship from LV-426 is a mouthwatering prospect.