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Even after the events of this summer's Alien: Covenant, there's still a bit of a gap in the Alien series timeline between the creation of the Xenomorphs and the first appearance of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley. Just how many movies will fill that gap has always been a mystery, and while we don't have an exact number of how many sequels are planned, Ridley Scott recently answered a fans question with some more concrete information. Said the director,
Well we're heading toward the back end of the first Alien so [using CG] may be feasible. Ripley's going to be somebody's daughter, obviously. We're coming in from the back end. The time constraints of what's the time between this film, where we leave David going off heading for that colony, I think you're probably two films out from even considering her.
Now while we can't exactly translate that commitment into a hard timetable, only two more films before Ripley is a thought in the Alien universe does seem pretty close. Though with Ridley Scott saying that she'd be "considered" in two more films might mean that we'll get to see the Ripley family, complete with a young Ellen in tow, in the not too distant future. Although this does seem to cut the possible number of sequels from the six sequel plan that Scott had previously considered.
Of course, any number of films past Alien: Covenant are going to have to deal with the fact that this past summer's entry in the series has set things on a somewhat clear path. Not to mention the fact that there's about 18 years between Covenant and Alien leaves a limited amount of room for the next couple of films to spin the story of young Ellen Ripley and those parents of hers. Though if Ellen is at the same age that Sigourney Weaver was in Alien, she's already 12 by time Alien: Covenant takes place, so it's not too far out of the question.
The information, which came out of an Instagram post involving a fan who was personally present and asking the question that prompted Ridley Scott's answer, hints towards the auteur's intent with the rest of his series. In fact, there's a chance that we might never see Ripley until the last minutes of the final prequel before Alien. After the remarks that Scott made today, and the experience that was Alien: Covenant, it seems like the director is more interested in building the mythos behind the Xenomorphs more than leading up to Ripley's story in the series.
In any case, it's nice to know that there's a more limited approach in play to making both ends of the Alien timeline meet. We'll see if this means that fans will eventually be pleased or angry with the direction the series has taken up until now, but you can judge for yourself when Alien: Covenant becomes available on Digital HD on August 1st, or on Blu-ray and DVD on August 15th.