Disney revives "Alien" franchise with new movie ; TV series

by Charles Gerian

Can Disney bring the “Alien” franchise back?

In the pantheon of horror, the Alien franchise has struggled with mainstream consistency.

Ridley Scott’s 1979 film kick-started the saga of Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ellen Ripley which was extended through three more films with James Cameron’s ALIENS, David Fincher’s critically derided and highly controversial ALIEN 3, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ALIEN RESURRECTION.

The franchise was put in cryo sleep for several years until 2004 when Paul W.S. Anderson made the action-spectacle AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, which spawned a sequel years later with AVP: REQUIEM.

In 2012, Ridley Scott returned to the series he helped create with PROMETHEUS and then in 2017 released ALIEN: COVENANT, the latter proving to be a financial miss for 20th Century Fox.

Since then, Disney acquired 20th Fox in a multi-billion dollar deal leaving many to wonder what would become of Fox’s adult-focused franchises like Alien, Predator, and Planet of the Apes among others.

Last year, Disney released PREY on the streaming app Hulu (of which Disney acquired a majority control in during the Fox merger) which revived Fox’s Predator franchise (it had recently tanked in 2018 with THE PREDATOR).

PREY was a modestly budgeted film which apparently did big streaming numbers and followed a young Native American girl in the 1800s who goes toe-to-toe with the intergalactic hunter itself.

Now, Disney is gearing up for two new entries in the Alien saga: an untitled “Alien” TV series for their FX network and an untitled film which has recently rounded out its cast.

Currently, Disney is also handling the Alien universe via a newly launched Marvel comics series that began last year as well as new books set in the universe.

The Alien TV series is being lead by Noah Hawley who cut his teeth on FX’s “Fargo” anthology series as well as FX’s shortly-lived but breathtaking X-Men spinoff “Legion”. The only confirmed details about the TV series are that it will be set before the 1979 original film and take place on Earth, dealing with corporate espionage.

The new movie, however, we have a bit more to go off of.

The film is being directed by Fede Alvarez who helmed the 2013 reboot of “The Evil Dead” as well as the horror series “Don’t Breathe”.

Alvarez’s untitled Alien film (referred to by several sources as “Alien Romulus”) has a fresh young cast which shouldn’t come as a surprise given PREY’s success.

Time will tell if these are any good, but as an ardent critic of anything Disney has done in the last 10 years, I am in full support of their willingness to expand the franchise.

It is also prudent to note that Ridley Scott is involved with both Hawley’s Alien series as well as Alvarez’s film which I think give it an air of authenticity.

The new Alien film begins filming this week in Budapest and the TV series is in production currently.

What do you think? Are you interested to see where Disney takes the series?