Prometheus Unbiased and the Future of Alien

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Sometimes on this very podcast I talk crap on my old college, Fitchburg State University, but I’ve got a lot of good memories there, and one of the most vivid came in the year 2011 or 2012, sitting up on the fourth floor of the library during what seemed to be afterhours. Just me and maintenance. And what I recall is watching something stunning — impaling, absolutely — on my iPod Video screen: the trailer for a film called Prometheus.

And it looked fucking awesome.

You’re telling me that I’ll be able to see an Alien movie in the movie theatre — me? Alien? A theatre? Of course, these were simpler times, and now, after a Jurassic Park reboot, two Production IG films in one year, and talk of a fourth Matrix on the horizon, you’ll have to do more to shock me again, in a fourth floor library kind of way.

Not to mention what Prometheus turned out to be.

Welp. It’s a Ridley Scott film, we might say, or it’s a Damon Lindelof script, we might say (quicker). But those reasonings are actually more complicated, and the meta-story surrounding Prometheus is entirely too complicated. It’s a fascinating film, even now, and its longevity owes completely to its enigma, the mysteries both within and without. I’ve watched more theory videos of Prometheus than I have Mass Effect 3.

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But Ridley Scott is a guy in love with medieval epics like The Duelists, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Exodus: Gods and Kings, like one of those great old filmmakers out of time. I would not be surprised if an upcoming project of his, between Blade Runner 2 and Prometheus 3, turns out to be the Cleopatra remake (starring Jennifer Lawrence). And here I am thinking he’d be a great fit for The Forever War. Anyone else?

I don’t know, I think it’s cool when a filmmaker has a specialty like that. Especially when Gladiator is the result. And so it doesn’t necessarily bother me that he also does military films, crime thrillers, a singular unicorn epic, and three hugely influential works of science-fiction: Alien, Blade Runner, and yes, he directed the “1984” Apple ad, one of the most iconic pieces of television advertising, aired only twice, I believe. But I feel that maybe he suffers from some crosstalk between the disparate genres, with the general result being that all of his movies feel huge.

Alien and Blade Runner then are exceptions, and tell very specific stories with a limited cast of characters. Prometheus, on the far end, takes the structure of Alien and attempts to tell a massive, existential story about our very creation in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey and other scifi epics by Arthur C. Clarke. With… a little bit of the hot stuff thrown in — you know I’m talking about Ancient Astronauts, baby. In answering the minute questions of the original Alien film, we’re answering goddamn everything you’ve ever wanted to know. This ambition, I believe, is the foundation. (Foundation is also probably another good scifi epic you should check out).

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My God, it’s full of movie stars

And then we drop in one Damon Lindelof, the Internet’s favorite punching bag. This is a guy who left Twitter for the sake of his mental health. The night the finale of Breaking Bad ended, a non-trivial slice of that fanbase wasn’t tweeting at Vince Gilligan (not possible), but Lindelof, gently explaining that indeed, this is how you do a series finale. Asshole.

Although that was probably the only even remotely funny College Humor video ever made, I don’t get the intesnity of hate for this guy. Granted, I didn’t watch Lost after the first season, but I understand A) what he does, and B) why it upsets people. Both totally fine, but there’s no need to make it personal. He’s a human being (and… also one who keeps getting to make things that everyone sees. It’s as if following Lexi Alexander on Twitter has taught me nothing — if he were a woman, Damona Lindelof would be run out of Hollywood. Just to keep things in perspective, I guess).

There’s a recent interview Alan Sepinwall did with Lindelof that gives some background to the issue, where Lindelof explains that he is telling mysterious stories — that’s his interest. Of course, he’s working in the medium of television, where it’s positively presumptuous to know the ending of your story, so complications may result. And Lost dropped at a time when the medium was in transition. The Sopranos was hardly influential on non-cable shows, AMC was probably just experimenting with Broken Trail, and 24 was considered to be cinematic network TV. And now Blindspot practically looks like The Bourne Ultimatum each week. The medium was about to experience this growth spurt, and so the Lost pilot, one of the most regarded in history (The Shield will always be my top pick), seems miraculous.

We don’t typically see mysterious stories, nor a director who loves genres but makes the same movie every time. Let’s not forget that Prometheus began life before this union (unholy, as some would have it), as Alien 5. Thank God they never made an Alien 5. And I don’t mean a fifth Alien (AVP BTW), but a movie called Alien 5. That’s so boring, and so is the number 5. That’s why it’s Metal Gear Solid V, although that’s actually not why that is.

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I’ve always appreciated how each Alien movie has a unique title, because it feels like this happy accident, and because it reflects the nature of the series. Although it’s Ripley’s story every time, it’s always different, and this has been well-documented. The first is a classical scifi horror movie, the second is a military scifi, the third is a suspenseful drama, and the fourth is a cartoon. And I love all of them.

And then of course you have the AVP movies, of which there were only two, unfortunately, and after three or four absolute bombs, the atmosphere around the franchise was ‘revival,’ and not ‘Resurrection.’ James Cameron expressed interest, but was too busy with other kinds of aliens, and Ridley Scott finally took the job. Back then, it was a script called Alien: Engineers, by Jon Spaihts, who actually gets top billing on the Prometheus script, but — he didn’t showrun Lost (into the ground! Bazing!).

Needless to say, a Hollywood script was rewritten, and Lindelof made some changes, as the Alien was gradually leeched out of the Alien movie. It became its own thing — a film presented to the audience as one with an identity crisis. But this is merely JJ Abrams-esque dancing around the Internet to conceal third act reveals. As well as simply a desire to tell an original story, devoid of a franchise’s baggage. Alien‘s baggage is weighty — we know very well, and so do they.

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It’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to take any number of angles on investigating why this movie is the way it is, rather than immediately tackle it head on. Because it’s a pretty simple formula for story, as discussed on my very popular episode entitled “Three Space Expeditions,” which talked about 2010, The Black Hole, and Event Horizon. People go into space, bad things happen. This is scifi/horror — how complex do you need it to be?

Certainly the audience doesn’t need or want it to be any more complex than ‘Alien descends from shadow and murders Harry Dean Stanton.’ That’s how we get Alien Resurrection and its significant largess. So although it might be unusual for me, and possibly tedious if you’re not into that kind of thing, I have to think about the context of the movie — the artists, not just the art.

And I’m fine with that, but I know some people aren’t. I love it when media critics stop an unfolding discussion about the artist, and they say something like, hey, no — I only want to look at the work as a whole, I don’t care about what the creator thinks. Totally legitimate — that’s what, formalism? But if you’re gonna be so belligerent, you’d better have something to back that up. Blow me away, or you’re an idiot.

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By the way, the title for this episode is Prometheus Unbiased, because sometimes a pun is too good to pass up, but I think it’s an incisive commentary on how it’s impossible to talk about Prometheus without the bias of Alien fandom. That was a part of the marketing, emboldened by Ridley Scott’s vague rejections of the prequel theory. I just want to put it out there that this is not one of those fabled objective reviews, and possibly not a review at all. It’s just that sometimes I’ll open a book that’s like “How to Draw,” and the introduction says, “this book isn’t about the fundamentals of drawing.”

So where do we begin with Prometheus? What to do, what to do with this one… Well, for my personal anxieties, I’ll begin with the shorthand description of the movie. I haven’t heard it described too often this way, but I have heard Prometheus described as a scifi epic.

Now, the idea of the science-fiction epic is not quite as nailed down as the fantasy epic, which tends to mean midieval, with the clash in the valley between two or five armies. You know, your Game of the Thrones, The Lord of Rings, all that. And when I think of low fantasy, I think about Neil Gaiman, early Clive Barker, or maybe even Guillermo del Toro, where it’s our world, but there’s something hidden there. All good, but it depends what mood you’re in, and for me, epic stories feel like main events, and so I’ve always been jealous of the midievial fantasy, because there’s no equivalent for scifi, and outside Lords of the Ring, I’ve never really been a fan anyway.

So much to say that the science-fiction epic is frustratingly elusive. Is it Star Wars, or is it 2001? Prometheus takes the 2001 route, where it begins small, but ends with these questions about the universe and of life itself. But the conclusion of Prometheus is largely laughable, where the conclusion of the 2001 story is an incredible work of imagination, poetic by Clarke, and dazzling by Kubrick.

I guess that’s cool, but that’s a pretty structured way of telling a story, going from the small known to the epic unknown, and it kind of demands an investigative or exploratory structure, and if it’s scifi you want, it’s gonna be exploratory. I prefer the Star Wars method, even if Star Wars is not really a part of my life (and won’t be this year, by the looks of things, to my grief), where it’s the scifi aesthetic like awesome robots and cosmic vistas, and we’re doing something that involves a whole lot of people.

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And all kinds

Given that that’s the domain of the space opera, we imagine that the intellectual heft will be absent. I don’t know what Star Wars is about, beyond the prequels being largely allegorical and conflating George W. Bush with Hitler, but there’s also the Mass Effect series, whose meaning is more compelling once extrapolated — you can’t listen to what it’s saying, you have to put the controller down and go away for a while.

I think that Garm Wars: The Last Druid had kind of a neat approach, where it takes on this parable feel, like the mythical westerns of Sergio Leone. The Last Druid is scifi, but it’s not placed in any time period necessarily, and so everything becomes larger than itself, thematic pieces on a board, whether metaphor or archetype. Plus, it was a lot of fun.

That’s on one end, I guess. So much to say, rounding back, that I don’t necessarily see Prometheus as a scifi epic — I think that label might even be reductive to the possibility of the scifi epic, whose development is something I am very much interested in. They all exist in print, don’t they? Well, that’s just great.

No, I feel like people call Prometheus an epic because of the questions it raises, and because it’s a prestige film with a notable cast. Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron. This seemed to be the big American showtime for Noomi Rapace, but her career kind of plateaued after this — for the time being (must say that Dead Man Down was the worst movie of 2013). Idris Elba was on the rise, in this year before Pacific Rim and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

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And Ridley Scott is one of those directors who can reap critical acclaim, but he’s a genre guy. And even for genre fans, he’s always half and half (or, ‘watch the director’s cut!’ they’ll say). My theory is that professional critics see him as a kind of lesser Brian DePalma — but I don’t know (I’ve never seen any BDP movie).

I appreciate that he directed this movie, and its direction is really the strongest part. But Scott, at least in the case of Blade Runner and this film, has the tendency to edit the story, and he’s not strictly speaking a narrative storyteller. He’s a cinematic storyteller, and a masterful one at that — he knows how to engage and deliver beats of story in a visual and audio way, in the language of editing and composition and all those very technical things. He does his own storyboards, he’s started out as a production designer, I believe. But as a writer of science-fiction…?

Going in, that’s what a fan of Alien is looking for. Well, a fan of Alien is probably looking for Aliens, but the marketing and posturing of Prometheus seemed to suggest a deepening of the Alien mythos. And ultimately, that’s what I end up appreciating the most about it, in retrospect — it’s one of those rare things that works not as a movie, but as a promise. Way back in the early days of the podcast, I had a Casual Fridays episode about the function of movies, that they don’t always have to be traditionally purposeful to be worthwhile, and my case in point was The Thing from 2011.

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There’s a note in the podcast about MEW’s resemblance to Sigourney Weaver… Anyone else?

Prometheus is similar, and it’s like I’m watching it with two sets of eyes. One set is seeing this really bad movie, and the other simply does not care. You might not share that experience yourself, because this is my genre, and I say that with specificity — I mean, spacemen and monsters. I think the only thing I like more is dinosaurs in a theme park. But that only comes along so often.

In fact, my reaction to the most recent rewatch of this movie was shockingly similar, nay identical, to the one I had in 2012, which eventually mutated into greater negativity and will again — the sentiment was: not a good movie in the traditional sense, but definitely entertaining. I had no memory of the second act of this movie, and it plays like a loosely connected series of pretty effective body horror sequences. The two idiot scientists in the cave get horrifically murdered by the snake and the black goo, Holloway’s eye flickers with a little tentacle, and later on, Shaw performs a truly stomach-turning bit of surgery on herself.

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It was all effective, and I couldn’t believe it. But I think I was picking up on some of the good qualities that passed me by initially, finally reviewing this movie in totality for the first time, and having heard over the years various justifications for why Prometheus doesn’t suck. For one, I understand why the biologist is such an idiot with the snake — he’s trying to impress the geologist. That was set up in their first interaction. Not to say it works completely, but you can kind of see the thought process there.

It’s actually a wonder how so much of the movie doesn’t come across well but isn’t actually so flawed. Probably like The Matrix sequels — but Prometheus is only one movie, and that’s where the ‘flaws’ are truly evident. It’s a character thing, first and foremost. We simply are not given enough time to know any of them, but the movie is acting as if we did, and that we should care.

With the biologist and the geologist, that’s fine, but they’re given the most characterization of the supporting cast (everyone who isn’t Shaw and David). You also have the two pilots, and this was my greatest bone of contention back in 2012. They have essentially two scenes — the moment where they set up an inside joke, and the moment where they reference the inside joke to underscore the tragedy of their imminent sacrifice.

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I talk sometimes about cinematic shorthand — this is not that. This whole movie is like if you took an outline of a TV series and condensed it into a film. You have all the important character stuff, but none of the in-between stuff that makes the rest of it feel real. Ultimately, that’s what Prometheus feels like to me. In an era of transition, the beginning of prestige television and supersized Marvel offering the polar opposite of the character/spectacle binary (an irritating myth), Prometheus comes off as the highlight reel for a much better miniseries, possibly the kind SyFy produces as a proof-of-concept.

Look at the scene between Vickers and Weyland, where we learn that Weyland is her father, and that she’s angling for the throne. It’s so well-directed and well-acted, it gives off this false gravitas, because we simply don’t have enough context to care about these people or their plights. But they plug along regardless, with their darkly serious intonations.

What was also more clear this time around was the thematic framework for the movie. My biggest confusion initially was the fuss over David, the correctly named android in the sequence of Ash, Bishop, and Call. In the first Alien, Ash was a workable metaphor, the Company’s presence on the ship. There’s that element of inhumanity that is then redeemed a la Terminator 2 in Aliens. But David? It seemed like an echo of 2001, where you had the three levels of human existence: the aliens, the astronauts, and HAL 9000. In Prometheus, you have the Engineers, the astronauts, and David, in this classical tale of fathers and sons…?

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Yes, I’m familiar with it

Well, I think that the movie explores basic human qualities, and chief among them is curiosity. These questions are all about our origins, but an android knows its origins. So David is going around investigating and employing his homicidal scientific method, but it’s in service of another. There’s no personal stake, unlike with Shaw, and her religious beliefs. So his is kind of a cold mockery, and underlines the potential darkness and danger of science.

Part of the danger is the scientist’s hubris that, as a theme, I think is more of an accidental product of the classic Alien narrative, wherein explorers stumble upon the monster. That’s an old story, whether kids finding ancient evil in the cabin in the woods or untombing Dracula, but in this case it’s given that science-fiction gloss, and with that comes cautionary themes that reflect the essence of reality, but not its intensity.

I think that a lot of horror has been unearthed by the scientific ego, like the atom bomb, but that’s a more complicated case than simply wanting to know answers, or wanting to be immortal — should we really be so punished by the galaxy of terror? If you’re religious, I suppose, and if you’re a horror fan — definitely.

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So anyway, this is what any scifi story about gods should be about — us. The gods are a reflection of us, and we too are reflected in the artificial intelligence, and we can see how our base instincts are shared, no matter how high and mighty we are, or underestimated.

This also comes from the narrative/thematic bridge between Prometheus and Aliens. The James Cameron sequel fleshes out the Company’s villainy, where it’s strongly indicated that the Aliens are being urgently pursued for military use (the reason Hadley’s Hope settled on LV-246), which is why the one aspect of the universe I never want filmmakers to explore is what the future of Earth is like. Whose military interests the Company represents, who is fighting who and how. If the answer to those questions is just as bland as the Engineers, no thanks.

But the idea of Aliens as weapons is reiterated here, and so that’s something humans and Engineers have in common — that’s real hubris. This echo might just be a failure of imagination in making the Aliens mean more than scary monsters, but the result is on screen, and I’ve appreciated it. In essence, you always have to have the best weapon, no matter what happens after the war is won. I imagine that Alien: Paradise, the follow-up, would have explored the flipside. This is the darkness we share, and Shaw has come through as light. Now let’s see a world that she redeems with her presence. Her femaleness, even, per the themes of the Quadrilogy… But we’ll talk about Alien: Covenant soon. Answers will be questioned.

The best parts of Prometheus come from the familiar stuff, and that might be a consequence of fandom, I might be one of those people who claims to want something new but only wants what I’ve already seen. I talked about the body horror — taking that original ‘the alien inside me’ aspect and going full-Cronenberg. I tell you, that Cesarean scene makes me physically squirm, like parts of American Mary and the nipple-cutting scene in Crank 2.

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Happy thoughts, happy thoughts

There’s a few instances of pretty freaky imagery. You have that first shot of the Alien toilet bowl ship taking flight, and the way it’s composed in the frame, it’s reminiscent of UFO photos. Like that kind of raw but dreamlike quality that those sometimes have. And then of course you get Shaw entering the downed lifepod in the end, cradling a fire axe. Flickering lights, wires hanging from the ceiling, malfunctioning screens with a juxtaposed image. That is straight up Dead Space, System Shock, that kind of thing. The games inspired by Alien that I’m far too scared of to actually play. But I love it here, and hope to see it again.

So looking back, it’s hard to say what the thesis behind this movie was, beyond the exterior motive of reviving a franchise from its death at the double blades of the Predator, but in the end, Prometheus is enough of a pastiche of things I like, and handled with an unprecedented level of respect that I can forgive its mountain of silliness.

It’s a film that promised to answer the big questions — outside and inside the fictional universe. We’d learn the origins of the Alien, and the characters would learn the origins of themselves. Neither learning happened in totality, but in a post-Prometheus world, Prometheus is just fine.

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So what’s next?

We have the double threat of Alien 5 and Alien: Covenant. Alien 5 is something that metastasized earlier this year, based on sketches Neill Blomkamp did of a pretty radical vision, something like Alien fan-fiction that would erase Alien 3 and Resurrection, and tell a story about Ripley and Hicks, and Newt even. There is nothing but speculation surrounding this movie, because it’s so mysterious. How will a new movie insist upon being a real sequel, and erase the others? What does it say about the future of the series?

And now we almost have this double series going on, two timelines, like Metal Gear Solid. We have the near future of Prometheus, and the far, far future of Alien. This bridge may be something the comic book Fire and Stone addresses, but I highly doubt it. It seemed like something Prometheus 3 would be more likely to address. Or have the license to, that is.

But Alien: Covenant? What’s that all about? We’re dropping the Prometheus name? Maybe because it doesn’t really make sense? You might say that Alien: Covenant is being willfully ignorant of the Halo series, but Ridley Scott was one of the executive producers on Halo: Nightfall. I think it’ll just be confusing, but it’s a better title than Alien: Paradise Lost.

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First Greek Myth, and then Milton?

So Ridley Scott is directing Covenant and producing Alien 5, which got bumped up by Fox so as not to coincide with Scott’s movie (could this be the next cinematic universe? Oh wait, they already tried that). There are different opinions online regarding which we’d rather see first, based on where we are coming off of Prometheus. I think chronologically it makes sense to see the follow up to Shaw and David’s story, and to then have that bridge into more Alien.

But would that give more license to Ridley Scott to depopulate Alien: Covenant of the creepy creatures? I’d read some headline about multiple alien species in Covenant, but I always imagined Prometheus 2 being more like the first one. More engineers. But now, it’s specifically an Alien movie, which makes sense, because anyone who saw Prometheus now knows it’s also an Alien movie, so might as well open up the marketing potential.

But both movies are so interesting and uninteresting at the same time. Alien: Covenant is on paper the more unknown quantity, in terms of story and possible creatures. But we know Ridley Scott, and that particular, peculiar vision. Alien 5 on the other hand seems more familiar, but it’s not only a strange fixture inside the context of the series, it’s directed by Neill Blomkamp.

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Now, people right now are not too hot on Blomkamp. I think that even during District 9, some of the critics felt that he should leave the ultra-Greengrass docustyle alone. I didn’t mind at the time because he was the only one doing it, so you can’t really be burned out. The eventual criticism of Blomkamp changed however, not that he was a one-trick pony, but that maybe he was a one-hit wonder.

District 9 was so good — nominated for Best Picture, let’s not forget, but back when the ballot was expanded, I believe. I love that movie, but Elysium was bad. And badness wouldn’t be enough to condemn the guy, but it demonstrated a severe misfire on storytelling. The problem with Elysium was the narrative, which was so hesitant, that Matt Damon had to rifle through multiple motives to finally want to go or be taken to Elysium. By the time he got there, it was difficult to care.

There are some good elements there, like powered exo-suits, and it works as a general playground for Blomkamp art design, which is top of the class for live-action film, but it wasn’t enough. And even Blomkamp knows this, as he said to Uproxx in an interview: “I almost want to go back and do it correctly. But I just think the script wasn’t… I just didn’t make a good enough film is ultimately what it is. I feel like I executed all of the stuff that could be executed, like costume and set design and special effects very well…”

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Pretty bold words for a director, the role that is again, maximum creative shareholder, but not somebody who generally designs costumes or does special effects. No one person ‘makes’ a film, that’s somewhat conceited. But this garnered him some favor among people ahead of the release of Chappie, when all that favor was instantly cashed in.

Chappie has its fans, among them William Gibson, but I think the narrative was beginning to slide faster than reality — people went in assuming it would be bad, based on the lame trailers, and that prejudice fit neatly with the one-hit wonder idea and the fact that Elysium was bad.

So along with this narrative, I feel like Alien 5 is Blomkamp’s hail mary, and it’s a hell of a desperate measure — do or die. A first time director fucking up Alien wouldn’t be heard from again (the Strause brothers — but people definitely didn’t care at that point), but Blomkamp is on the chopping block. Should he fail, and if he keeps up that diva persona, I could very well see him becoming the Zach Braff of science-fiction. If Alien 5 doesn’t live up to expectations (which are what, by the way?), there’s no talking his way out of it, but a man has to try.

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You think for a moment — well, how hard could it be? But Alien movies have always been ambitious, with the sole exception being AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Alien 3 is this prison drama when it could’ve easily taken the safe route and been set on another colony, and Alien Resurrection had Joss Whedon inventing a reason for Ripley’s return, and then Jeunet comes along and makes everything super weird.

Resurrection is interesting, because nobody really wanted to do it initially. It was something that Fox was doing in secret, against even the knowledge of David Giler and Walter Hill. What eventually got people on board was the script, which was a hot property in Hollywood for a while. They approached a few different directors, like Danny Boyle, and eventually got Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who in turn could not convince Marc Caro to come along. At the time, I think Jeunet was writing Amelie.

The script also convinced Sigourney Weaver to return to her Oscar-nominated role, but it also confounded her, as consistent with the fact that Ripley died pretty definitely in Alien 3, the end of a trilogy. She felt that if they made more Alien movies, which seemed inevitable (sharp — she also thought the idea of Alien vs. Predator sounded like garbage! Tee hee), they would follow a different person, and she’d pass the torch.

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‘Passing the torch’ is precisely the idiom Michael Biehn used to describe the relationship between Ripley and Newt in the new movie. I don’t know if it’s specifically a Star Trek: Generations kind of thing, but again — speculation is all we have. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of Alien as Ripley’s story only, it just felt right. It’s not to say it couldn’t work with a sequel series (just hasn’t yet, tee hee), but everyone loves Ripley, and respect needs to be paid.

At the same time, you want that marquee title of Alien, and not Prometheus or something new. So if you’re gonna change it up, Newt is a good way to go, because it’s a way to keep Ripley in the DNA of the series, and Newt is also female — a woman by this point, estimated to be her in late 20s for Alien 5. For the record, Carrie Henn would not go on to have a film career, but I think it may have been a conscious decision.

And look — Sigourney Weaver is 66, so at some point she may want to retire, but also note that she’s only three years older than Liam Neeson. And I heard that guy’s Non-Stop. I know actresses are usually thrust out of the spotlight at 35, but maybe times are changing. Hopefully. Sigourney Weaver is always awesome, and I’d love to see Ripley return in full force. (Seriously though, for actresses it’s more like 40. Look at the IMDb pages of any popular actress from the 90s and witness the nature of their work change when they’re no longer in their 30s).

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Aliens are almost a secondary consideration, given it’s been so long since anyone’s last real experience with Aliens — whether Aliens for most people, or Alien Resurrection for me. But to return to the idea of the simple formula, having Aliens pouncing on people is easy to replicate I imagine, but there’s always something weird going on with these movies. Something additional. I guess the fear is that you don’t want to descend like other horror franchises — how Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street lost face but continued on, hard. Alien is a series caught between its prestige roots that burn to return, and the horror follow-through that we’ve actually been looking for.

I’ll be more excited when these movies arrive, because there’s not a whole lot to go on. It didn’t really hit me for Jurassic World until the first good trailer, and at that point it was fever pitch. So I won’t say I don’t care about the future of the Alien series, because I do, but I’ve always been fine with video-games and comics — it’s a prolific franchise. The movies have certainly lost their luster, but things could be great again. Certainly Hollywood will keep trying until something is.

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I don’t know when I’ll talk about Aliens again, though it would’ve come in handy during Moribito, because I never really thought about the relationship between Ripley and Hicks with that lens, the true reconciliation of male and female strength, what Stephen Mulhall talks about, according to Wikipedia. But… is Jenette Goldstein as Vasquez the only case of brownface that we accept — and like?

And for another miscellaneous note, if you’re looking for more Ridley Scott stuff, I highly recommend you do some cursory research on Gladiator II — you’ll find all the pertinent details on Wikipedia, as opposed to Deadline of THR, thank God. No, it’s not a sequel coming soon, but you may wish it was. Lordy. Imagine the craziest possible story for a sequel to Gladiator, and understand that you’re dead wrong.

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