The Alien franchise continues, but not in the manner originally intended. Alien: Covenant returns original director Ridley Scott to the helm of the sci-fi/horror series. Alien: Covenant is a prequel to Alien. The prequel firmly connects Scott’s other film Prometheus more directly to the Alien saga. On the other side of the 20th Century Fox lot, Neill BlomKamp was hard at work on Alien 5, the obvious continuation of the series.
Everything seems to be in flux. Plans have changed. “Radically” might be the best word to describe how plans have changed. Blomkamp’s new sequel probably is not going to happen. Instead, the completion of the Alien prequel trilogy is likely to replace sequel plans.
Alien: Covenant is a direct sequel to Prometheus and a direct prequel to Alien. Things weren’t supposed to play out like this. Prometheus was conceived as being parallel — though not unrelated — to the events of Alien. In a sense, this was done to give the Prometheus trilogy its own identity. Connecting the film to Alien also added to the marketing of the feature. Long-time Alien fans had a reason to check out the film. Those who may be too young to remember Alien wouldn’t need to learn about a backstory to enjoy Prometheus.
The success of Prometheus led to an obvious sequel and a greenlight for a new Alien movie. Scott’s decision to drop the Prometheus name and restore the Alien moniker to the title means one thing: the separate world of Prometheus has been replaced by the world of Alien.
Is there room for a prequel and a sequel? 20th Century Fox seems to think the answer is no. At Disney, the studio is proving prequels and sequels absolutely can be released at roughly the same time via the success of the Star Wars franchise.
Alas, as strong as the Alien franchise is, it is not Star Wars.