Ridley Scott‘s ALIEN is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made, but had it not been for STAR WARS, the entire franchise may not have existed. When Scott was showing off his feature-film debut, THE DUELLISTS, a friend invited him to a screening of a certain space-opera. At the time, Scott had been considering TRISTAN & ISOLDE as his next project, but STAR WARS changed all of that.
“The theater was positively boiling with expectation. I have never seen such audience participation,” Scott recalled while speaking with THR. “Because I had a very good time in France doing The Duellists, I was seriously thinking about doing Tristan & Isolde next. So I looked at Star Wars and thought, ‘Why on earth am I even thinking about doing Tristan & Isolde when this guy is doing this kind of movie? And it literally stopped me in my tracks. I was depressed for three months — that’s my highest form of accolade — to get very depressed first, then get very competitive.” Several months later, the script for ALIEN just dropped into his lap.
Suddenly, out of the blue, came this script called Alien. And I’m still, to this day, baffled about how someone who is at Cannes seeing The Duellists had put two and two together and said, ‘You know what? You might want to meet this guy, because he may be the right one for Alien.’ That’s how it happened.
As we know, ALIEN marked the birth of a whole new franchise, but Ridley Scott wouldn’t return to it until PROMETHEUS and ALIEN: COVENANT decades later. Even so, he’s all too aware that the original film can never really be topped. “There’s only ever the one,” Scott said. “It’s like trying to do a sequel to 2001. Fundamentally, you can’t. Really, with the greatest respect to Star Wars, the best film by far is the one that George directed, right? By miles. It was unique. It was absolutely wonderful to me. It was the fairy story of all fairy stories in space. And to follow through is a tough call. So, same with Alien.“
Now that Disney has acquired Fox, Ridley Scott confirmed that there have been talks of future installments in the ALIEN franchise, although he believes that the core concept of the series will need to evolve if it hopes to last.
You get to the point when you say, ‘Okay, it’s dead in the water.’ I think Alien vs. Predator was a daft idea. And I’m not sure it did very well or not, I don’t know. But it somehow brought down the beast. And I said to them, ‘Listen, you can resurrect this, but we have to go back to scratch and go to a prequel, if you like.’ So we go to Prometheus, which was not bad actually. But you know, there’s no alien in it, except the baby at the end that showed, itself, the possibility. I mean, it had the silhouette of an alien, right? The alien [origin concept] is uniquely attached to Mother Nature. It simply comes off a wood beetle that will lay eggs inside some unsuspecting insect. And in so doing, the form of the egg will become the host for this new creature. That’s hideous. But that was what it was. And you can’t keep repeating that because the joke gets boring… Go on, leave that behind, and see where it can evolve. So we’re looking where we’re going to evolve.
Ridley Scott had hoped to develop a sequel to ALIEN: COVENANT which would have continued David’s (Michael Fassbender) story, but it remains to be seen where the next step of the ALIEN franchise will take us.