Earlier this month, we got the news that FOX might be about to announce an Alien TV series, possibly in anticipation of the franchise’s 40th Anniversary next year. At least, that’s still the bedrock of a rumour doing the rounds on the web. A news report at Omega Underground indicated a show set within the Alien universe is being strongly considered, although there is a dispute regarding whether it would be best placed on TV or a streaming service.
A caveat worth highlighting here is that the show would be set “within the Alien universe”. This choice of language is interesting and could mean that it might not necessary heavily feature the Xenomorph. For a TV show, we feel that this would make sense: as terrifying as Xenomorphs are, they’re not exactly the type of heavily nuanced antagonist that a 20-episode series needs to keep a plot going. In general, the future of Hollywood’s most iconic beast from space has been precarious as of late; during a 2017 interview with Empire, Ridley Scott mentioned that he felt Alien needs new antagonists if it is to survive, such as the mysterious Engineers and the villainous AI David.
Michael Fassbender in Alien Covenant (2017)
Suffice to say, the Alien franchise has never exactly followed a linear story: Prometheus (2012) and Alien Covenant (2017) are the first two chapters in what is supposed to be a prequel trilogy to the original movies starring Sigourney Weaver. Whilst these latest editions have been praised for their visual effects, their plot-lines have been heavily scrutinised. Again, the fact that the Xenomorph was completely absent from Prometheus meant many casual movie goers were somewhat oblivious to the fact that they’d just watched an Alien film.
It was also claimed last year that director Neill Blomkamp was prepared to completely disregard the events of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection in a fifth movie of the original series. Blomkamp envisioned bringing back fan favourites, Ellen Ripley (Weaver) and Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn), who were both previously killed-off in Alien 3. Thankfully, this ‘Alien 5’ idea has been dropped, and that’s probably for the best – can you imagine trying to explain that plot-line to your mates?
Taking a step back from the big screen and looking at new mediums is arguably the best cause of action for FOX, and a fitting way to celebrate Alien’s 40th anniversary. A TV series that viewers can digest in small chunks would give writers ample opportunity to make sense of this complicated universe and might finally give Alien a 21st century outgoing that, for once, doesn’t divide the fanbase.