A couple of months ago Neill Blomkamp took to Instagram to share designs and conceptual art for his take on an Alien 5, a movie he indicated Fox didn't want to make. This felt like a lot of canny promo for Chappie - a movie whose all-media screening is about 36 hours before release, never a killer sign - because it got everybody excited for Blomkamp's vision. Then it began to become clear that this wasn't just a project that coulda been, it was a project that could be.
And now, as of this afternoon, it's a project that IS. Blomkamp Instagrammed the following:
Variety followed up and reports that this doesn't replace Ridley Scott's Prometheus 2, which is still scheduled for post-The Martian.
I don't want to be a negative nelly here, but none of this feels inspired to me. It seems like Fox saw all the attention Blomkamp was getting with his Instagrams and, realizing they've been just sitting on the Alien franchise for over a decade (the AvP movies do not count) they threw in with his idea. What we've seen of Blomkamp's idea reminds me of Superman Returns - very indebted to what went before. I don't want Newt and Hicks back, and I honestly can't imagine why anybody wants Newt at all, except for nostalgic reasons. What I like about the four Alien films is that each feels like a reinvention of the concept; even when that doesn't work it makes for an interesting new direction. Even Prometheus fits this bill; Blomkamp's Alien images sold me nothing interesting except a return to characters we already know.
Maybe I'd be more excited if Elysium didn't exist and if advance word on Chappie wasn't "eh, it's alright." Weirdly I'm more inspired by Fox, something I wouldn't have said a few years ago. While Prometheus wasn't good, they let RIdley do his thing, and their rebooted Planet of the Apes films are good. The X-Men series has been saved. All of a sudden Fox is doing interesting genre stuff. It's almost like Tom Rothman leaving the studio made a huge and immediate difference.