When it was revealed earlier this afternoon that Neill Blomkamp had officially signed on to direct a new film in the Alien franchise, one of the big lingering questions that we had was in regard to how it would relate to the also-currently-in-development Prometheus 2. Well, the good news is that we didn't have to wait that long for an answer, as now that information has found its way online.
Sources have told The Wrap that the events that will be featured in the story of Neill Blomkamp's Alien film will be set narratively after the events of Prometheus 2 - which is apparently still very much in the works. Presumably, that sequel will continue to follow the exploits of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the head of the android David (Michael Fassbender) as they learn more about the ancient aliens known as the Engineers and about how humanity came into existence. Of course, at this stage we don't know exactly where that story will end, so it's a bit hard to pin point exactly where Blomkamp's story will exist on the fictional timeline in relation to Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, but one may logically deduce that the plan is for the feature to be another prequel.
If that is the case, though, Sigourney Weaver's potential involvement in the newly announced Alien film is definitely a big question mark. Neill Blomkamp has publicly stated his desire to work with the actress on the project, presumably to have her reprise her role as the heroic Ripley, but if the new movie is set before the events of Ridley Scott's Alien, it's hard to see how that would work - in part because Weaver has aged 36 years since the making of that movie. The Wrap notes that the original franchise star is not yet officially attached to the project.
It's an interesting development, seeing as Ripley has clearly been a character very much at the center of Neill Blomkamp's thoughts regarding a new Alien movie. When he started posting project-related concept art on his personal Instagram feed, many of the images clearly featured Sigourney Weaver, including this highly-realistic hybrid of the actress and a xenomorph:
And this more artistic representation of Ripley encountering some kind of mutant creature:
How can the new Alien film be both follow Prometheus 2 in the timeline and still potentially feature Ripley? This is definitely a curious situation, and one you can be sure we'll be close eye on in the coming weeks, months and years.