After pretty much a year going by with little to no announcements concerning the future of Disney and its library of brands, the House of Mouse came out swinging at the Investor Day event in December 2020, revealing a staggering number of new film and television projects, including more Star Wars and Marvel content than anyone ever thought was possible. One thing that seems to have slipped between the cracks, however, is the upcoming FX Alien series based on the franchise kickstarted by screenwriter Dan O’Bannon and director Ridley Scott more than 40 years ago.
So, what’s the deal with the Alien television series, and what can we expect from this exciting and potentially universe-expanding horror series? Well, we already know that Legion and Fargo creator Noah Hawley is spearheading the project and that it will eventually air on FX (and Hulu through that amazing setup), but when in the timeline will it take place, will the Xenomorphs play into the show, and will Ellen Ripley (or a relative of some sort) be involved in some way. These are all the questions that we have been thinking about since the big reveal.
Will The Alien TV Series Be A Prequel To The Movie Franchise?
When the Alien FX series was first announced in December 2020, the official Disney Twitter account posted a message containing the show’s title card and a very brief description that basically said the show would be set not too far in the future and would take place on Earth. That doesn’t really give us much to work with, but it does give us nearly endless possibilities in terms of when they show will take place and if it will serve as a prequel to the film franchise.
Going off of CinemaBlend’s Alien timeline, 2012’s Prometheus (the first movie chronologically) takes place starting in 2089 with the discovery of a star map that eventually takes the crew of the ill-fated ship off into the far reaches of space. The new FX series could very well take place prior to the discovery of that map and the space travel project orchestrated by the Weyland Corporation. And, if that’s the case, the show could focus on the corporation, which was founded in 2012 (in the franchise’s timeline, anyway).
Will The Xenomorphs Play Into The Show?
Sure, the Xenomorphs are a crucial component of all the Alien movies (even Prometheus), but will they actually play into the events of the FX series? If we’re going with the “set not too far in the future” angle teased in the Disney tweet, it could meant that the events of the show would all take place decades prior to the crew of the Prometheus discovering life on LV-223 and the Nostromo and most of its crew meeting their deaths on LV-426. What if the show actually focuses on the Engineers instead of the Xenomorphs this time around?
Will The Series Focus More On Horror Or Action?
The Alien franchise has been all over the place in terms of tone throughout its history, with everything from classic horror (1979’s Alien) to over-the-top action (1986’s Aliens) being featured at one point or another. That being said, will the new FX series lean more towards the classic monster angle of Ridley Scott’s vision or the high-octane James Cameron model? There’s a case to be made for both, considering the line at the end of the Disney tweet reading “scary thrill ride,” but what exactly does that mean? It could be a combination of the two, and considering Noah Hawley’s work on Legion that very well could be a possibility moving forward.
What Makes The Show Any Different From The Alien Vs. Predator Movies?
With talk of Alien movies being set on Earth in a not far off future, it begins to sound a lot like the Alien vs. Predator movies released in the early years of the 21st Century. So, what about the FX series will make it different from those two action flicks? Will it be more similar to the other movies outside of those two and avoid some of the more over-the-top action sequences and play more like a horror film? There is one big difference, however, and that is the lack of predators as seen in that pair of movies. Wait, the show doesn’t feature predators...right?
How Many Episodes Will Make Up The First Season?
There is a valid question to be asked about the total number of episodes that will be featured in the first season of the Alien FX series (or the entirety of the show if its a limited series), and we can look back at the number of episodes that have made up the various seasons of shows of Noah Hawley's like Legion and Fargo. Each of the first three seasons of Fargo consisted of 10 episodes, while the fourth season came in at 11. Legion, on the other hand, had two seasons consisting of eight episodes apiece (Season 1, Season 3) with the second season having 11 episodes.
Taking those numbers into consideration, we could probably see anywhere from eight to 10 episodes of the Alien show, which honestly would be the perfect amount to tell a well-crafted and paced story.
Will Ridley Scott Direct Any Of The Episodes?
When the Alien FX series was first announced, Variety reported that Ridley Scott (whose career is almost tied to the franchise at this point) would be serving as one of the show’s executive producers alongside Noah Hawley. But what if this is more than just another executive producer credit next to Scott’s name? Could he be coming on to direct an episode or two? It would make sense considering the fact that Scott directed the first two episodes of the HBO Max original sci-fi drama Raised by Wolves. Speaking off which…
Could Alien Ever Cross Over With Raised By Wolves?
This one is extremely out there (even when listed among questions about a series based on a far-reaching sci-fi horror franchise), but let’s get into it. Is there a possibility that the Alien show has some kind of cross over with Raised by Wolves? In an interview with SyFy.com, Aaron Guzikowski, the creator and lead writer of the HBO Max original series, explained that the show is a “close cousin” of Alien but that the mythologies don’t link up. You could argue that Guzikowski is shutting down fan theories that the properties are connected, but the Alien franchise is often a place with changing tunes.
Will Any Of The Characters From The Movies Show Up?
What about any of the characters featured in any of the previous Alien movies? Will they be featured or at least make a cameo at some point in the new show? Depending on when the series takes place, we could possibly see anyone from Peter Weyland all the way to Ellen Ripley, though that would be stretching the “not so far future” as mentioned in the Disney tweet from when the show was announced. Ideally, it would be nice to have the main focus on new characters from within the Alien universe, but who knows, a series based on the exploits of Paul Reiser’s Carter J. Burke from Aliens wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen.
Is Alien The Show’s Final Title?
And then, finally, what about the title? Will it remain as simple as Alien or will Noah Hawley and Ridley Scott come up with a subtitle to foreshadow what will happen throughout the series? It would certainly make it easier to talk about the show and original movie without becoming a confusing mess, but we are talking about a franchise that (at times) has found itself becoming a confusing mess of convoluted dialogue and storytelling. They could go with something like Alien: The TV Show, but that doesn’t really have a nice ring to it.
Those are some of the questions we have concerning the Alien television series. What are your thoughts on the show and do you have similar questions? Make sure to sound off in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out CinemaBlend’s Winter/Spring 2021 TV Release guide for all the latest on new and upcoming shows.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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