Ridley Scott, the original director of science fiction horror classic Alien, has signed up with Fox to helm an upcoming prequel.
Plot details for the film remain a closely guarded secret, aside from the fact that its events will occur before the Nostromo answers a fatal "distress call" that leads to a deadly encounter with a murderous xenomorph, Variety reports. Writer Jon Spaihts has been hired to work on the script for the untitled prequel, which is scheduled for release in 2011.
The success of the original Alien in 1979 has already spawned three sequels, as well as novels, comic books, and video games. More recently two films have incorporated an ill-advised cross-over with the Predator franchise. Both Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem ignored the dark sexual imagery of the main Alien franchise in favour of a frag-fest that even failed to adequately answer the basic question of which of the two formidable other-worldly monsters would win in a fight.
Scott has previously said he might be interested in directing a further instalment of Alien that explored the origins of the creature. The original film portrays the Nostromo crew as the first group of humans to encounter the xenomorph, which was shown to have attacked occupants of the spacecraft of a technologically advanced race of other aliens. This creates several plot difficulties, not the least of which is how to introduce humans into the plot of the prequel, as Den of Geek notes.
It's going to take some work to get the human race involved in a prequel set-up for Alien. In the original movie, Weyland-Yutani's diversion of the Nostromo to LV-426 seems an opportunistic - if rather heartless - approach to new business acquisitions.
The original film is noted for its slow-build up, H.R. Giger's design for the creature, and best remembered for John Hurt's chestbuster scene. Aliens, the 1986 sequel directed by James Cameron, who also directed Terminator, takes the Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) survivor character of the original film back to LV-426, with a gang of marines fighting to protect human colonists cynically dispatched to the inhospitable planetoid. It successfully re-cast the film as an action-orientated SF movie.
Alien 3, which introduced cyberpunk themes, had a troubled production history under debut director David Fincher, who went on to direct Fight Club. Alien Resurrection, directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet and based on a screenplay by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, received mixed reviews.
Each sequel grossed more than the last, so it's no surprise that Hollywood has green-lit a project to create a further chapter to the franchise. ®