Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Studios announced this week that the big-screen cinematic return for the “Alien” film franchise is moving forward this year. The project begins filming next week. The new film stars Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) and will be directed by Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead,” “Don’t Breathe”).
‘Alien’ Franchise Update Moving Forward At 20th Century Studios
Other cast members announced for the film include Isabela Merced (“Rosaline”), David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Spike Fearn, and Aileen Wu. Alvarez will direct the film from a screenplay he co-wrote with longtime collaborator Rodo Saygues.
Meanwhile, original “Alien” filmmaker Ridley Scott, the director of the seminal 1979 sci-fi/horror classic, is producing the project. Scott directed the last two entries in the franchise, the 2012 prequel, “Prometheus,” and its 2017 sequel, “Alien: Covenant.”
Scott will produce the picture along with Michael Pruss (“Boston Strangler”) under their Scott Free banner. Brent O’Connor (“Bullet Train”), Elizabeth Cantillon (“Persuasion”), and Tom Moran (“The Donut King”) are on board as executive producers for the project.
20th Century Studios is labeling this as the “ninth” entry in the film series, counting the greatly maligned “Alien vs. Predator” and its sequel, “AVP: Requiem.” The new film will find “a group of young people on a distant world” finding themselves having to confront the most terrifying lifeform in the universe, as they encounter the franchise’s iconic Xenomorph creature.
Plot details have not revealed when and where the film will be set in the film series’ timeline or canon, or where things will pick up compared to previous entries. “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant” presented the origins of the Xenomorph creatures and the derelict ship the face-hugger eggs were found on in the original film.
“Covenant” suggests that the android David (Michael Fassbender) genetically created the Xenomorphs while stranded on an alien planet that appeared to be the homeworld of the Engineers from “Prometheus.” The 1997 sequel, “Alien: Resurrection,” was set some 200+ years after the events of “Alien 3,” when Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) died at the end of the film.
This will mark the first new “Alien” motion picture project that’s been released since The Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Studios (Formerly 20th Century Fox) and its IP in 2019. Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Noah Hawley was also developing a new television series based on the franchise.
ComingSoon reports that during the TCA Press Tour in January, FX Chairman John Landgraf stated that Hawley is currently working on Season 5 of the “Fargo” television series. After that, he’s expected to begin production on the new “Alien” television series. The show is currently considered in “active pre-production,” with scripts already completed for the planned series. Deadline reports that Hawley’s vision for the show features a story set on Earth at the end of the 21st century before the events involving Ellen Ripley aboard the USCSS Nostromo in the first film.
The realm of horror and terrifying creatures looks to be in the wheelhouse of Fede Alvarez. It should be interesting to see what he comes up with for this installment. Per the studio’s press release, filming for the picture starts on March 9 in Budapest, Hungary. It does not yet have an official release date.