So, after days of speculation, it’s a done deal: SkyMovies reports that Sigourney Weaver herself says that the new ALIEN film by Neill Blomkamp will give the fans “a proper ending” to the ALIEN franchise to tell a new story that is a direct continuation of the arcs introduced in ALIEN and ALIENS. What does that mean for ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION? Reading between the lines, it sure seems like either Blomkamp’s new film will simply ignore those movies, or that ALIEN 5 will retcon what happened in those movies entirely.
I’m of mixed emotions about this. If you read my previous PERFECT ORGANISM entries, I’m a pretty big fan of ALIEN 3. (RESURRECTION? Nuke it from orbit, Blomkamp, it’s the only way to be sure.) It’s as far from ALIENS as ALIENS was from the original, and while it’s not the rousing conclusion that fans were hoping for, there’s something truthful and beautiful about this dark, elegiac little entry. If fans can get over the deaths of Newt and Hicks (and many - hell, most - couldn’t), there’s a quiet, compassionate story to be told about Ripley and those prisoners in the ass end of space. I still think it’s a terrific entry in the franchise, and while no movie can truly take away ALIEN 3, Weaver’s statement of a “proper ending” irks me a bit.
Yes, Fox screwed David Fincher over, to the point that he flat out refuses to talk about ALIEN 3. Yes, the promises of Fox’s ad campaign are a direct betrayal to what we ended up getting. I think ALIEN 3 is perhaps guilty of too much monkeying about by Fox executives, Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill, especially in their treatment of not only Fincher, but Vincent Ward and William Gibson, who were at one point involved. Even through all that, the movie is the movie, and while I’m not suggesting it’s anywhere close to the great movies that ALIEN and ALIENS are, I feel it’s a nice succession.
But I do love the idea that continuity is just thrown out the window. Continuity, and our loyalty to it, is actually a fairly recent thing in regards to cinema. The Bond films certainly never bothered paying attention to it, and THE MAN WITH NO NAME Trilogy only uses it as a sort of punchline - none of those movies truly require it for fans to enjoy them. I’m not sure where FURY ROAD fits into that series’ continuity, but I rather love the idea that Max is beyond such things - that he’s an iconic character to whom proper timelines are meaningless. Ripley could be the same way. I’d actually prefer it if Blomkamp doesn’t reference ALIEN 3 and RESURRECTION at all - his movie simply begins where ALIENS left off, without any explanation. That actually may be the best way to bring fans of ALIEN 3 and ALIENS together - it’s there if you want it to be, perhaps in some fever hypersleep dream of Ripley’s, or you can simply ignore them.
Regardless, fans of this franchise should rejoice - at last, we’re getting (hopefully) a decent ALIEN movie. I hope Blomkamp brings enough of his own unique storytelling to it (and not simply rehashing what James Cameron and Ridley Scott have done). It would be interesting to see another iteration of the Alien, something we haven’t seen before. And hey, if you’re willing to ignore PROMETHEUS then so am I. Whatever happens, it’s an exciting time for ALIEN fans. And no matter what, we’ll still have the movies we love. Nothing - not any prequels, sequels, reimaginings, or VS. movies - can change that.