Author Topic: The Alien Franchise  (Read 33249 times)

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Offline nacho

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The Alien Franchise
« on: April 23, 2010, 06:23:32 PM »
Well, we have an AvP thread, but no Aliens thread?

If I'm wrong, merge this RC.  Or whatever.  But here's a thread for all the Alien movies, as well as the forthcoming prequel (details below).

Scott's long talked about doing a prequel about the "Space Jockey," so at least there's some sense that this isn't a weird ass throwaway.  He was talking about this in the 80's...and the comics, et. al. have dutifully filled in the backstory since then.


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An Alien prequel that unspools the back story of the mysterious Space Jockey — the giant, fossilized creature with the burst-open chest from the first movie — is definitely going to happen, according to Ridley Scott.

“It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’” the director told MTV News. “The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair.”

Scott, who’s polishing the script, drops even more details about the Alien prequel, which he calls a done deal in the enlightening interview: The movie will be set in 2085, will delve into the concept of terraforming and might even feature new concept artwork by the amazing H.R. Giger, Scott said.

And why is Scott, who has forsworn making sequels to his films, tackling the Alien prequel? “They’ve squeezed the franchise dry,” he told MTV. “The first one will always be the most frightening, because the beast we put together with Giger and all its parts — the face-hugger, the chest-burster, the egg — they were all totally original, and that’s hard to follow.”

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 06:26:01 PM »
We just have the AvP thread.

My inner geek wants to get excited by this, and maybe with Scott at the helm, they can get back to that weird surreal horror of the original. I have my doubts though.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 06:33:47 PM »
My trouble is that the Space Jockeys have been so abused by the comics and books, and even the novelization of the first movie.  The problem is that there is no backstory.  It was just a fancy set.  Scott and the writers had nothing in mind.  So the "expanded" Alien franchise has gone everywhere from benevolent elephant-men to obsessive zoologists to inter-galactic assholes bent on enslaving Mankind.

And, in the end, no matter the direction, it just seems boring.  Either they crashed on LV-426 and got fucked up like everyone else in the Alien movies, or they were purposely carrying the Alien cargo somewhere and something went wrong.  Stuff that's all been covered one way or another in the first four movies.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 02:46:48 PM »
Sounds like a debacle, but who knows . . . What was Ridley Scott's last good movie?

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Fox Flips for Damon Lindelof’s Alien Prequel Script, Wants Natalie Portman to Star

Vulture just got word: Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof turned in his new draft of the screenplay for Ridley Scott's Alien  prequel on Saturday, and 20th Century Fox execs are very pleased with it indeed! We’re told all involved parties have been made to sign nondisclosure agreements about the plot, but our spies have been able to glean several interesting nuggets about the project, which is set roughly 35 years before Scott’s dystopic classic. Here's what we know ...

One reason Fox execs are so thrilled with Lindelof’s Alien draft is that, not only is it creatively engaging, but it adds no expensive "set pieces" — production-speak for elaborate, effects-heavy action sequences that add millions to the cost of a film — to the movie. 20th Century Fox and Scott have been wrangling over the director’s proposed budget. One insider familiar with the situation puts Scott’s suggested budget at between $150 million and $160 million; Fox obviously, would like that number to shrink. Still, this is some good news for Fox, which has almost nothing resembling a blockbuster in the hopper for the summer of 2012, and could certainly stand to reinvigorate a wildly popular multi-part sci-fi franchise.

A parade of actresses have met with Scott (who's being represented in these negotiations by his longtime WME agent George Freeman) to discuss the lead role — that of a female Colonial Marine general — but only two have engendered substantial enthusiasm from both Fox brass and Scott Free, the director’s Fox-based production company: Vulture can report exclusively that at the top of the list is Natalie Portman. (She recently detached herself from the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at Lionsgate Films out of concern that she was now too old to play the part of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet. Portman turns 30 next June; Bennet is only 20 in both Austen and Grahame-Smith’s versions of Pride.) Right behind Portman is the already-reported Noomi Rapace, star of the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Don’t take Scott’s recent interview with The Independent — in which he claims that the Alien prequel would be “really tough, really nasty” — to mean this is automatically going to be an R picture: We’re told another reason Fox execs are pleased with Lindelof’s re-write of original screenwriter Jon Spaihts’ script is that it's still aimed at a more accessible PG-13 rating. "The thinking," explains one insider, "is that if the original Alien were released today, minus the F-bombs, you could still get a PG-13. Alien is a very Jaws-ian movie: There’s no sex, and while there’s lots of violence, most of it is off-camera. Maybe you’d have to cut away from certain scenes two seconds earlier, but it could be done."

The prequel still lacks a proper name. Untitled Alien Prequel hardly comes trippingly off the tongue, but while several titles are being bandied about, none have unanimous support of Fox and Scott.

It’s not in any way a reboot of Alien or the Aliens franchise; it’s really meant to be viewed as Scott’s second Alien movie. What's more, no Predator creatures appear anywhere within the film. Despite Fox’s efforts to mate the two sci-fi icons (sci-ficons?), Scott’s camp sees the two franchises as hailing from distinct genres that will not co-mingle, synergy be damned. “The later Aliens movies were action movies, but the original Alien was a horror-suspense film," explains one spy, "This returns the franchise to its roots."

Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 02:52:55 PM »
If it's not a reboot, and it is a prequel, then how are they going to explain contact with the aliens prior to the Nostramo? It's shit like that that worries me.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2011, 08:45:58 PM »
I don't really understand what the fuck is going on anymore, but sure, whatever.

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Ridley Scott Directing 'Prometheus' For Fox; Noomi Rapace Locked While Angelina Jolie And Charlize Theron Circling; Damon Lindelof Scripted With Scott From 'Alien' DNA

EXCLUSIVE: First, it started out as an Alien Prequel. But then it morphed into something "more original", an insider tells us -- even though Hollywood kept referring to the project as "The Alien Prequel" right up until today when Twentieth Century Fox officially announced the new Ridley Scott production as Prometheus is now bound for worldwide release on March 9th, 2012. Returning to science fiction filmmaking for the first time since Blade Runner, Scott will direct this epic. Of the five major roles to be cast, Noomi Rapace is the first actor signed to star (as "Elizabeth Shaw"), and we hear that Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron are both circling the other big female lead ("Vickers").

The initial draft of the script was written by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) from Ridley’s idea. Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek) and Scott have since been working together on the current version which has expanded the story into new directions. We hear they were instructed to "go off and come up with what they want" using the 'Alien DNA'. Though story details are being closely guarded, Ridley explained the outlines of the film and its genesis as follows: “While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn't be more pleased to have found the singular tale I'd been searching for, and finally return to this genre that's so close to my heart.”

Says Lindelof: "In a world flooded with prequels, sequels and reboots, I was incredibly struck by just how original Ridley's vision was for this movie. It's daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects. When I sat in a movie theater as a kid, feet raised off the floor for fear that something might grab my ankles, I never dreamed in my wildest imagination I would one day get to collaborate with the man responsible for it. Working alongside him has been nothing short of a dream come true."

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace landed the scientist's role after Scott saw her portrayal of fictional Lisbeth Salander in the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as well as the rest of the Steig Larssen. All Fox would say is that the other roles "would be cast soon".

Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2011, 09:03:46 PM »
I like that headline.  Sounds like nobody knows what the fuck is going on.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 09:08:30 PM »
So, is it just going to be about the space jockeys? No alien/xenomorphs? That's the impression I get.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2011, 09:28:22 PM »
Well, the Space Jockey-only idea was bantered around a couple years ago... And they do have a big backstory in the comics... But, you know, it's boring. We don't care about why some elephant-people race was motivated to create and/or harvest the aliens.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 10:40:07 PM »
I'm going to try and stay open minded about this one, but I smell something that's very similar to dogshit brewing.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 11:03:53 PM »
I'm going to try and stay open minded about this one, but I smell something that's very similar to dogshit brewing.

Wait... Is this 1992 and we're talking about Alien 3? Or are you just now smelling dogshit after what this franchise has been doing to our asses for 20 years?

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 07:28:02 PM »
Sounds like somebody at Fox shit the bed over the last report. Or maybe all this confusion in the geek press is just about misdirection because they've got to get audiences interested in Alien again.

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EXCLUSIVE: PROMETHEUS PLOT REVEAL - ALIENS ARE IN IT

It turns out that Ridley Scott's recent comments that Prometheus would be a departure from the Aliens series are somewhat misleading.

An exclusive source has told us that not only are HR Giger's classic aliens in it, but that they're integral to the plot.

Mere hours after the announcement that Michael Fassbender is locked in to play an android with rumoured links to Aliens' Bishop series, our insider sources have revealed that he's not the only one with strong links to the series' past.

"They’ve built the ‘space jockey’ cockpit at Pinewood as seen in the original Alien film, so it definitely takes place in the same world as Alien", they told us.
 
"Despite that press release that seemed to indicate there were no aliens in the movie, the familiar HR Giger-style aliens do appear. Big ones apparently."

And as for Scott's comments noting that "keen fans will recognise strands of Alien's DNA"?

It turns out there was the slightest hint of misdirection - apparently the actual DNA of the xenomorphs is integral to the plot - and will see the cast jet off to the alien homeworld itself.

"Part of the film will be shot in Morocco. I’ve heard that some sort of archaeological dig where they discover alien DNA takes place there and that DNA gives them the coordinates for an alien world. I’ve also heard Morocco is being used for alien planet landscapes so I’m not sure if it’s an archaeological dig on another planet," they revealed.

It gets weirder too, with Damon Lindelof's script set to crank up the sci-fi angle to maximum effect.
 
"The main spaceship in the film will be piloted by an enormous head which I assume will be CGI. Yep, sounds weird but I assume some of the technology will be sort of biomechanical."

So, here's the thing. I want this to be good. The elements are certainly there to make this interesting, but as Nacho has mentioned before, the space jockey story has been beaten int o the ground in various spin-offs over the years. (The first Dark Horse comic series did it best, I feel. It was all PA freak-out until Ripley came back and they went to the alien home-world where it got super gay.)

I also submit that going to the alien homeworld can do nothing but disappoint. Ridley Scott wants to turn back time and it's too late.

See, in interviews Scott and the cast of the original told of all the crazy conversations they had about the alien. What it is, where it came from, etc. The idea they all had was it was this sophisticated species that was beyond our comprehension to understand, which is ironic because for all the crazy life cycle stuff it's basically, you know, a monster. But Scott and crew insisted that there was some complex something-or-other going on here.

Then Cameron came along and did the whole hive/queen "bug" thing and sort of ruined all that. The alien became overgrown insects. "They're animals, man." That has continued through the rest of the series. Sure, even Cameron hinted that there was something bigger going on, but that was all but abandoned by Alien3, which fucked up everything for the duration.

I don't know. I'm interested in this because I like the first movie a lot. I love the idea that Scott wants to pick up on concepts he and the cast talked about over drinks and weed way back in the late seventies. However, I don't think you're going to make people forget thirty years of story that's happened since the first one came out.

Offline Cassander

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2011, 12:31:42 AM »
Just got done watching the original as part of our slow-going sci-fi re-watch Project.  I won't say "still surprisingly good" because I never doubted that it would be good.  I really haven't seen it in, like, ten years, but every time I've rewatched it I've felt the same way I did when I was a kid...really in awe of the set, the creepiness, and fully riding alongside Ripley by the end.  I won't apply the following sentence to Aliens, cause I want to rewatch it as well and I still have a little respect for Cameron, but all the sequels seem to be devoid of the basic formula that made Alien great, which is: incrementally reveal everything, build all the scares upon each other in a logical way, leave a few mysteries, then strobe light the fuck out of us as our hearts pound in the climax. 

It's a classic screenwriting formula, and executed almost perfectly.  The only thing you don't really get in Alien is a real sympathy with all the characters as a crew.  That's always hard to pull off, but only starting with about 6 people, it should be easier.  Alien sort of misses an opportunity to really turn the whole crew against Ash and have them bond a little bit.  Instead I feel like Dallas gets most of the sympathy and the rest are just meat. 

But I agree with you, RC.  Trying to have an earlier story about all kinds of space travel and planet hopping and DNA, etc. sort of negates the charm (even though in 1979 it probably seemed WAY COOL) of the clunky keyboards, excessive wires, tube monitors, slow-moving ships, and Sigourney Weaver dressed, basically, as Sally Ride.  Any prequel is going to sort of detract further from our own imaginations within the framework of the series.
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Offline nacho

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2011, 01:49:26 PM »
Based on many of the same reasons RC has detailed, I pretty much feel like Aliens is more reboot than sequel. The extended version certainly has all the hallmarks of a complete reboot. The nod to the discovery of the space jockey ship by Newt's parents, the initial "infection," and so on.

It's a weird franchise. It's sort of soft-rebooted with each movie. And always in the wrong direction. Aliens blinded us simply because it was an action movie done well in a decade of similar action movies.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Alien Franchise
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2011, 04:31:25 PM »
Funny, Cass. I watched Aliens last night. (Well, the first half anyway. I started to doze off right around the time Bishop heads out to get the other drop ship from the Sulaco.)

All right, a confession: I was a huge Alien geek as a teenager and the lead up to Alien3 was one of the defining eras of my youth. For years, I was an apologist for that movie until Missus RC and I ran across it on cable a few years ago. The scales fell from my eyes, so to speak. It's terrible. Pretty, but with a plot structure drafted up by a committee filled with twelve year olds, a monkey, and kitchen appliances.

I've recommended "The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made" by David Hughes here before, but let me mention it again as it painstakingly details the development clusterfuck that led up to Alien3 and basically killed what likely could have been a very lucrative franchise. No less than ten writers (including William Gibson) worked on at least six drafts of this thing.

The chapter on Alien3 also gives a good bit of backstory on the first two movies including the bombshell that Ridley Scott was never approached to do Alien 2 even though he'd expressed interest in doing so. (The first third of the book might as well be subtitled "The Fall of Dan O'Bannon" as it explores both his involvement in a failed Dune project from the 1970s as well as his mistreatment in the development of the original Alien.)

Anyway, this information is probably available on the internet in greater detail. It was also written about ad nauseum in Starlog magazine in the early 80s though that shit is hard to come by.

Okay, so O'Bannon and John Carpenter went to film school at USC together and ended up making a weird sci-fi comedy called Dark Star that was part thesis project and part commission. A Dark Star subplot bears a striking resemblance to that of Alien. Both films deal with a monster loose on a ship. O'Bannon and Carpenter argued over a director credit. (O'Bannon wanted a shared director credit. Caprenter refused.) They also argued over tone. O'Bannon was pissed that the script got turned into a comedy. They parted ways, never speaking again apparently.

O'Bannon developed the monster loose on a ship idea into an early draft of Alien and pitched it all over Hollywood as "Jaws in Space." Nobody bit until Star Wars came out making everyone want a sci-fi project. The script got picked up by a small company that was funded by Fox and rewritten drastically, much to the chagrin of O'Bannon.

H.R. Giger was hired to create the alien because of his previous working relationship with O'Bannon on the aforementioned failed Dune project. Ridley Scott got tapped to direct and he, Giger, and producer Walter Hill took Alien in the direction it eventually went, even having O'Bannon barred from the set during shooting.

Scott insisted the Alien came from a "sophisticated culture" and a scene from the final script (and maybe even O'Bannon's draft, though I'd have to check that nugget of info.) that was never shot is rather telling.

When Kane finds the eggs, there was supposed to be a hieroglyphic type of art etched into the wall near the entrance to the "egg room." I've included it below for you to see, but it basically illustrates the Alien lifecycle. The kicker is that both Scott and Giger claimed that it was the Aliens not the Space Jockeys who carved the heiroglyphic. (And maybe O'Bannon too. Now I'll spend the afternoon digging up old 'O'Bannon interviews.)



Anyway, it's all a far cry from where Cameron eventually took it.  Cameron by the way had full creative control of Aliens. Fresh off The Terminator, Fox basically gave Cameron $20 million and said, "Call us when the movie is done." Fox was lukewarm on a sequel, and made it as an afterthought because they were flush with all that Star Wars trilogy cash. The only story demands they gave him were "Ripley and Soldiers." Having heavily researched platoon dynamics for Rambo: First Blood Part II (which he co-wrote), Cameron was all over it, and the Alien franchise became what it is.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 06:58:14 PM by RottingCorpse »