The setting, the lead, whether or not Ripley and Weyland-Yutani are on the show… here’s everything we know about the Alien TV series
Earlier this year, director Fede Alvarez went into production on a new Alien film that was originally intended to be released through the Hulu streaming service, but was recently given an August 16, 2024 theatrical release date. (Here’s everything we know about that movie.) And that’s not the only new Alien project we have to look forward to. Fargo TV series creator Noah Hawley has been developing an Alien TV series for “FX on Hulu” for the last couple years, and below you’ll find Everything We Know About the Alien TV Series!
One of the first things we heard about the Alien TV series – and one of the most surprising things about it – is that it will actually be set on Earth, a couple decades before the events of the first movie. FX chairman John Landgraf has said the show will take place “right near the end of this century”, and a late-2090s setting would place this between the prequel films Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Hawley decided to set the show on Earth because “The alien stories are always trapped… Trapped in a prison, trapped in a space ship. I thought it would be interesting to open it up a little bit so that the stakes of ‘What happens if you can’t contain it?’ are more immediate.”
Alien franchise heroine Ellen Ripley, who was played by Sigourney Weaver in the first four movies, will not be a part of the show – and not just because Ripley would be a small child in the 2090s. Hawley never considered putting Ripley in the show because he feels her story has been wrapped up. “She’s one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story has been told pretty perfectly, and I don’t want to mess with it.”
The Weyland-Yutani corporation has been a villain lurking in the background throughout the franchise (occasionally emerging more into the foreground in some installments), and Landgraf has confirmed that there will be references to Weyland-Yutani in the Alien TV series. For the most part, though, the show will “take place in the territory of a different corporation” that Hawley has come up with. Speaking with Esquire, Hawley said that there will be competing companies in his series. “In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence—but what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way, with cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads? Which of those technologies is going to win? It’s ultimately a classic science fiction question: does humanity deserve to survive? As Sigourney Weaver said in that second movie, ‘I don’t know which species is worse. At least they don’t f*ck each other over for a percentage.’ Even if the show was 60% of the best horror action on the planet, there’s still 40% where we have to ask, ‘What are we talking about beneath it all?’ Thematically, it has to be interesting.”
SCRIPTS ARE DONE
Neither Landgraf or Hawley have ever confirmed how many episodes the first season of Alien will have, but back in August of 2022 Landgraf did tell Deadline that Hawley had already delivered all of the scripts for the show. So the writers strike isn’t holding up the progress of this one. The actors strike, on the other hand, may be an issue…
With the scripts in place, Hawley was said to be meeting was the show’s production designer back in January, getting ready to dive into production on Alien as soon as he finished work on the fifth season of Fargo (which will start airing sometime this year). At the start of May, it was announced that Hawley had found the show’s lead: Sydney Chandler, whose previous credits include Don’t Worry Darling and the mini-series Pistol. Of course, nothing about her character has been revealed.
Whoever the character is, Hawley is working to make sure viewers will be interested in what’s going on with her even when the xenomorphs aren’t rampaging across the screen. Speaking with Observer, Hawley said, “If you’re going to make something for television, you’ve got 10 hours let’s say. Even if you have a lot of action, like two hours, then you’re still going to have eight hours left. So what is the show about? As I did with Legion, the exercise is: Let’s take the superhero stuff out of the show and see if it’s still a great show. What’s the show about? Let’s take the alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama? Then we drop the aliens back in and we go, ‘This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there’s aliens!’”
Speaking of the aliens, the rumor is that the special effects on this show will be handled by Weta Workshop, who have worked on the Lord of the Rings franchise, the Avatar movies, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Taika Waititi’s Thor movies, several Zack Snyder productions, and much more.
FILMING WILL TAKE PLACE IN THAILAND – AND WILL BE COMPLICATED BY THE SAG STRIKE
Variety has revealed that Alien will be filming in Thailand. They’ve heard this will be “a large-scale undertaking that’s reportedly booked out multiple Bangkok studios and hired vast quantities of lighting equipment”. Unfortunately, they’re heading into production right as it looks like the U.S. actors union SAG is going to go on strike. While Sydney Chandler is the only cast member announced so far, there have been other hires, and the cast is a mix of SAG-AFTRA and Equity members. Two of the main leads are believed to be SAG members. This means they won’t be reporting to set during the strike, so the production will have to work around their absence.
BLEND OF HORROR AND ACTION
Landgraf has said that Hawley’s approach to the Alien TV series is to be faithful to the ideas and styles of both Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens. He’ll be bringing his own ideas to the table, extending and reinventing the franchise – but at the same time, the aim is to make this show a blend of “the timeless horror of the first Alien film with the non-stop action of the second.”
RIDLEY SCOTT STILL CLAIMS DOMINANCE
Ridley Scott is producing the Alien TV series through his Scott Free banner – but that doesn’t mean he has any expectation that the show will be able to surpass the quality of his original film. When The Independent asked him about the show, Scott simply said, “It’ll never be as good as the first one. That’s what I’ll say.”
Are you looking forward to the Alien TV series? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/everything-we-know-about-the-alien-tv-series/