Some might think that Fede Alvarez’s standalone film in the Alien franchise is a huge risk, but this isn’t the case at all, as proven by one previous film in the series. From Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe fame, Alvarez pitched his idea for a standalone Alien film to Ridley Scott years ago, and has now been gifted the opportunity to make his vision a reality. It could be seen as risky to produce a standalone film while the Alien prequel series is still ongoing, but this could be the perfect direction to take the franchise, especially since demand has dropped for Alien films in recent years.
The formula of producing a standalone film has already been proven to work with the Alien franchise, since at its 2012 release, Prometheus was completely separate from the existing franchise, only briefing touching on the existence of the aliens in the film’s final moments. Prometheus featured a grounded, character-driven story that felt removed from previous Alien installments, and it could have remained a solid standalone feature if not for Alien: Covenant making Prometheus practically irrelevant. Fede Alvarez’s Alien film can learn valuable lessons from Prometheus in how to be a strong, and separate, Alien feature, staying true to the themes of the franchise, but developing a new story.
As the first main continuity Alien film in 15 years, Prometheus had the potential to reignite passion in the franchise, especially after dips with Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. Despite its flaws, Prometheus produced a story that was connected to the wider world of the franchise, but distanced enough that it could have made the perfect standalone story. The film even dropped the Alien prefix from the title, creating the opportunity to be completely separate. However, Ridley Scott’s promise to answer the questions of the aliens’ origins with a prequel trilogy meant that viewers only wanted to see those answers, instead of appreciating the standalone film that was produced for what it was.
Alien: Covenant attempted to continue the story laid out in Prometheus through the means of Michael Fassbender’s android, David, who had flown away in the final moments of Prometheus with Elizabeth Shaw. Unfortunately, a time jump between the two films and the decision to kill Shaw off-screen meant that Prometheus’ story had little to no impact on that of Covenant. Alien films always embodied the power of women, told from the lens of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley during the original series, and then Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus, but this important aspect of the franchise was completely belittled with Covenant, if Prometheus had been standalone, this could have been upheld.
The fact that Fede Alvarez’s Alien film has already been revealed to be standalone means that he perhaps understands the risks of tying into the long-running franchise. Alvarez can learn a lot from Prometheus about how to make a strong Alien story, while still connecting to the existing material, especially when it comes to well-written characters, clever story set-up, and a satisfying payoff. As long as Alvarez can distance his Alien film far enough from the original films, and as long as Ridley Scott doesn’t get tempted to produce a sequel, the upcoming Alien film should be a hit with audiences who are dying to see the franchise expanded.
Alien 5 Must Break The Fatal Franchise Trend That
Aliens, the second installment in the Alien franchise, is a classic horror movie, and a possible Aliens 5 could benefit from following in its genre footsteps. In Alien, final girl Ellen Ripley, played to perfection by Sigourney Weaver, is the sole survivor of an alien attack on the crew of the Nostromo. The sequel film, Aliens, reprises this enemy in a slasher-villain storyline with a more pronounced sci-fi setting. Filmmaker James Cameron balances these two genres in Aliens in a masterful way. However, the following movies (and many of the video games) add more action movie elements and downplay the horror, a change that is harmful to the franchise.
The sequels to Aliens shift the focus from horror into action to the detriment of the franchise as a whole. In Alien 3, the previously subtle Weyland-Yutani Corporation from past films becomes an obviously evil action-movie gestapo, shooting all who get in their way. They were far more effective as a shadowy entity inexplicably working with the Xenomorphs intent on killing humanity. Alien: Resurrection is about the Company more than Xenomorphs, further taking the franchise away from its roots. The result is an unsatisfying jumble of genres, emphasizing more sci-fi action while weakening the horror elements which were the first two films’ biggest strength.
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