The Hollywood Reporter‘s recent interview with Sir Ridley Scott for the Alien 40th anniversary spoke to the director’s career and elaborated on some of his fonder, and less fond memories of the film that started it all.
Speaking on the future of the franchise, Scott mentioned that he had further interest in seeing how the entire universe would continue and mentioned that a sequel to his prequel films was in the discussion phase with Disney, who acquired Fox in 2017.
Somewhat lost in all the hubbub about superhero movie rights is of course the slew of other popular franchises that are now under the house of mouse, and of course the Alien franchise needs no introduction as a charter that will draw crowds.
When asked about his thoughts regarding the (far) more critically divisive prequels helmed by Scott, he was characteristically disarming:
“There’s only ever the one (original film)” he explains. “It’s like trying to do a sequel to 2001. Fundamentally, you can’t. Really, with the greatest respect to Star Wars, the best film by far is the one that George directed, right? By miles. It was unique. It was absolutely wonderful to me. It was the fairy story of all fairy stories in space. And to follow through is a tough call. So, same with Alien.”
As for why he would agree to direct more films in the franchise when he’s been vocally opposed to his own attachments to sequels for many years, Scott elaborated:
“You get to the point when you say, ‘Okay, it’s dead in the water,’” he says. “I think Alien vs. Predator was a daft idea. And I’m not sure it did very well or not, I don’t know. But it somehow brought down the beast. And I said to them, ‘Listen, you can resurrect this, but we have to go back to scratch and go to a prequel, if you like.’ So we go to Prometheus, which was not bad actually. But you know, there’s no alien in it, except the baby at the end that showed, itself, the possibility. I mean, it had the silhouette of an alien, right? The alien [origin concept] is uniquely attached to Mother Nature. It simply comes off a wood beetle that will lay eggs inside some unsuspecting insect. And in so doing, the form of the egg will become the host for this new creature. That’s hideous. But that was what it was. And you can’t keep repeating that because the joke gets boring.”
Scott insists that a fresh perspective is essential in keeping any franchise alive into the future and that nostalgia alone does not equal value:
“Go on, leave that behind, and see where it can evolve,” he declares. “So we’re looking where we’re going to evolve.”
So, admission time; you all had to be aware that someone out there somewhere was a huge fan of Prometheus and Covenant.
So, nice to meet you.
To me, this news is a no-brainer of goodness; we potentially get to see an honest to God trilogy from Scott which will wrap up the story of how Alien came to be AND see a truly inhuman and malevolent being in David come to some sort of end. Since Scott loves to draw from biblical influences, will this see this Devil incarnate find his way into some sort of richly earned comeuppance or will he, true to any good horror film, simply fly victoriously back into the abyss of space and wait, ready to wreak havoc on anything he deems as flawed.
One thing I do note is that Scott has, if anything become even more humble with age (and this is the guy who once compared himself to a simple craftsman who loves his projects entirely while he’s with them, and then forgets about them after they are sold.)
Like any popular franchise, there are certainly some vitriolic and aggressive fans of the Alien universe and it’s nice to see Scott’s matter-of-fact response to his critics; equally important however is that he doesn’t seem bowed by the ever present onslaught of opinions that have been brought to the fore by the Information Age; I feel confident that he will continue to do what he sees as his best possible work and that, at the end of the day is the only answer that any of us can give our critics.
Sidenote: Do check out the interview linked here if you’re even a bit of a fan of the original Alien film; there’s tons of neat anecdotes about how the film was made, including Scott’s approach to alien-ating (*badoom, tssh*) his cast to get a certain air to their performances.