The folks at Icons Of Fright landed an interview with frequent James Cameron muse Michael Biehn, and - about midway through the conversation, during a question wholly unrelated to the Alien franchise - Biehn started dropping bombs about Neill Blomkamp's (indefinitely) shelved Aliens sequel. For instance:
They’re talking about doing another Aliens movie, with Neill Blomkamp, and Fox came and announced it and Sigourney (Weaver) has come out and announced it. The basic idea is acting like Alien 3 and 4 never existed, so if you go on Neill Blomkamp’s site, everyone can see all of the artwork for that. I know Ridley Scott is doing his movie first and is going to be the executive producer on this one, so I’m really looking forward to that.
I know that Ridley’s focus is on (Alien: Covenant) and I’m sure that he and Fox both don’t want that and Neill’s movie to come out right next to each other, because they’re kind of two different worlds, with Aliens taking place thousands of years later, which is how they explained it all to me, but at the same time, they want to give them a similar feel. I know they’re putting the brakes on Neill’s movie just for a little while, but I really think that it would be embarrassing to Ridley and Fox and Sigourney if they just didn’t make the movie.
Right off the bat, there's a lot to unpack here. First off, Biehn confirms that - despite claims to the contrary - Blomkamp's film really would have been a direct sequel to Aliens, one that would've ignored the events of David Fincher's Alien 3 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection. Secondly, Biehn does not seem convinced that Blomkamp's film is as dead as the rest of us presumed it to be (you'll recall that Blomkamp went on Twitter recently and said, in so many words, that he and the project were taking some time apart thanks to that homewrecker Ridley Scott). Wishful thinking on Biehn's part, or is the delay really just that - a delay?
These two ideas would be worth kicking around on their own, but then Biehn explains what Alienses would have been about, and holy shit, you guys. Here's where things get really interesting:
They’re planning on bringing me and Newt back and at this point Newt will be around twenty-seven years old. I know that every actress in Hollywood is going to want to play this one, it’s really a passing of the torch between Sigourney and this younger actress who would play Newt. It would keep the franchise alive and the studios would make money, because that’s what the bottom line is now: money.
The way the above is phrased, Biehn seems to be implying that the film would focus largely on he and Newt's adventures, but surely the film wouldn't have sidelined Sigourney Weaver. Right? Generally I'd say that Weaver's involvement is a given here - Biehn doesn't mention it because, yeah, of course the movie's mostly about Ripley; it's an Alien film - but then there's that whole "passing of the torch" thing, and that gives me pause.
The fact that there's been so much confusion surrounding this sequel (is it a sequel? Is it a standalone thing? Is it a reboot? Where does it fit in with all these Prometheus sequels Ridley Scott wants to make? Is this movie actually happening, and if so, why?) does not fill me with confidence about the project. Nor does the fact that Blomkamp's last two films - Chappie and Elysium - were underwhelming at best and terrible at worst. But this "passing of the torch" thing? This may be the most alarmingly ill-advised development yet. Here's the thing: the idea's so bad, the masochist in me is sorta hoping they'll do it.
Please weigh in with your thoughts below.