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Before Alien: Covenant was ever a thing, Fox had something else entirely in mind for the future of the Alien franchise. District 9 director Neill Blomkamp was originally working on what was being called Alien 5, and it would have continued the story of Ripley. However, less and less was heard about the film until finally, Ridley Scott took over by making Alien: Covenant. It seemed clear that Blomkamp's Alien 5 was put on the backburner, and now the director has confirmed it will likely never see the light of day. Here's what he said:
In an interview with The Verge, Neill Blomkamp confirmed that his work on Alien 5 was over. It seems like Fox won't be moving forward anymore with the project and will instead continue to focus on the new Alien films that Ridley Scott has planned. Blomkamp's Alien movie first began as a series of illustrated paintings of his vision of Alien 5 that he commissioned and then posted to Instagram. The concept art got plenty of attention from fans, leading Fox to meet with Blomkamp to hear his idea. Alien 5 was in the early stages of development but it was eventually thrown to the wayside for Scott's Alien: Covenant.
Neill Blomkamp later clarified what he meant about it being "political." He wanted to be respectful and not go "stamping around" in a world that Ridley Scott had created and "obviously feels a massive personal connection to." This seems to mean that Scott may not have been on the same page with Blomkamp's vision, and Fox decided to back him, seeing as how Scott is the driving force of the Alien franchise. Based on Alien: Covenant, Scott is clearly more interested in exploring the origins of the Xenomorphs and Engineers than further expanding the story of Ripley, as Alien 5 would have done.
But don't feel bad for Neill Blomkamp, because the director has moved on to new and exciting projects. In addition to working on bigger films (he's writing and directing The Gone World), Blomkamp has also started his own production company, Oats Studios. The company will be used to experiment with short film ideas with the goal that they will develop into larger films. Oats Studios recently released the trailer for their first short film, which involves an alien invasion.
We may never know what Alien 5 would have been but there's no sense in obsessing over the past. Alien: Covenant is the here and now, and it's currently in theaters.