Director Neill Blomkamp‘s untitled Alien sequel has always seemed too good to be true. Back in January when an unconfirmed Twitter account attributed to Blomkamp released a wealth of concept art for the potential film; it felt like a talented young director, with the help of the internet, was wishing something extraordinary into existence. And what concept art it was; Michael Biehn‘s haggard Cpl.
Hicks was inexplicably back, Sigourney Weaver‘s Ellen Ripley donned puzzling Xenomorph armour, the Space Jockey spaceship stood in the background like a sombre tomb; promising the answers Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus has so roughly denied us. And when, one month later, 20th Century Fox confirmed the project, it seemed the Alien franchise was about to get the movie it deserved. Then it began to fall apart.
First we heard the film was delayed by Scott‘s Prometheus sequel, then Prometheus 2 was pushed forward into development, and all went quiet on Blomkamp‘s film. Today, the same twitter account that released the concept art posted a statement that Alien 5 would go on indefinite hold, and all of my worse suspicions were confirmed.
Here is the tweet in question:
alien is kinda holding/ pending prometheus 2. So I shall be working on other things… as much as I love the xeno- and Lt ripley
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) October 30, 2015
Blomkamp has had a run of bad luck since his radical science fiction allegory, District 9. Set in South Africa, the film portrayed the political tensions between a refugee alien race and local populace, perfectly blending fast-paced action with social issues. Since its release, the South African director has scripted and developed two projects, Elysium and Chappie, that have failed to inspire critics and audiences alike.
Whilst the news of an indefinite hold on his Alien project does not mean it has folded; fans should recognise this development limbo for what it is, the first nail in the coffin. With Scott, who was set to produce, fully involved in Prometheus 2, now named Alien: Paradise Lost, we may have to allow our enthusiasm to dissipate. Ridley Scott‘s film will enter production next year for a May 30, 2017 release date. I guess it’s true what they say; in space, no one can hear you scream in frustration.