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Ridley Scott's Alien franchise has experienced a series of peaks and valleys over the years, with new directors consistently trying to reinvent it. Now with Scott fully back in control of the series, he seems to have an incredibly unique vision for how to move the property forward. Specifically, this shift will involve shifting the Alien series away from the titular beast to focus on the burgeoning knowledge and dominance of artificial intelligence. Scott addressed the change and elaborated:
I think the evolution of the Alien himself is nearly over, but what I was trying to do was transcend and move to another story, which would be taken over by AI's. The world that the AI might create as a leader if he finds himself on a new planet. We have actually quite a big layout for the next one.
So it looks like the man behind the Alien franchise seems to think that the Xenomorph has run its course in terms of pop culture development. This doesn't necessarily mean that the vicious extraterrestrial creature won't appear in future Alien movies, but by Scott's admission, he recognizes that the franchise has lost momentum. In a candid moment, he was even willing to admit that two of the four pre-Prometheus Alien films (we assume he's referring to Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection) weren't good, and that Alien vs. Predator pretty much served as the death rattle for the original thesis of the franchise. Now (like a Xenomorph embryo), the franchise has evolved to allow AI characters like Michael Fassbender's David and Walter to take center stage.
It's not hard to see where Ridley Scott's own interest in the development of artificial humans could come from. After all, this weekend will see the release of Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic centering on one police officer's quest to destroy a group of "replicants." Though the replicants in the Blade Runner universe are not the robotic AI seen in the Alien world, Scott's continued return to this idea across two different franchises suggests an overarching interest in the concept of what artificial intelligence is capable of.
What's also interesting to note about Ridley Scott's recent comments during his appearance on The Empire Film Podcast is the fact that this driving philosophy about worlds created by AI has informed the development of the next Alien movie. If that's the case, then it seems to contradict earlier rumors that the next installment in the Alien franchise (tentatively titled Alien: Awakening) would take place between the events of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Knowing that Covenant ends with David flying towards a colony planet with a wealth of human test subjects at his disposal, it seems possible that the sixth official Alien movie (seventh if you count Prometheus) could actually take place after the most recent installment.
Whatever ends up happening to the Alien franchise, we will bring you more information related to its development as new updates become available to us. Until then, make sure to dive into yet another Ridley Scott universe with Blade Runner 2049, which is now playing in theaters.