South African writer/director Neill Blomkamp has announced via his Instagram account that he is to take the reigns of the Alien franchise and will be directing a new film set within the universe. The picture posted was merely a conceptual design of the iconic Xenomorph alien, from artist HR Giger. No further details have been revealed, although it can be safe to assume it isn’t Prometheus 2, or hopefully not a reboot of the original. But if one thing is certain, Blomkamp is one director that fans of the original Ridley Scott classic, and of course the James Cameron sequel, is that the franchise is in safe hands. For several years it has been clear to see how much the original films, and the whole mythology, is held in such high regard with Blomkamp that a lazy, uninspired reboot will simply not happen.
Blomkamp has previously mentioned in interviews that the main reason he got into filmmaking was in fact Alien, Aliens and another Ridley Scott classic in Blade Runner. When Prometheus was released, Blomkamp posted a series of concept art that depicted an alternate vision for the film, perhaps an earlier script that never saw the light of day. Attached to these photos, which included Ripley wearing a Space Jockey mask with the caption of “woulda rocked” and a rendering of The Derelict with Blomkamp expressing “love the world” and finally an image of the Weyland/Yulani Corp simply titled “oh shit”. This series of concept art showed a film closer to the Alien world we had come to see in the original films, with more connections to the first film rather than the loosely based final version that was released.
Neil Blomkamp was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and his debut feature film District 9 was set in his hometown, which was met with great acclaim. His love of sci-fi is well known and his visions of a dystopian future fit well in the Alien universe. District 9 was a bleak future in South Africa where alien lifeforms exist on Earth amongst humans but are treated as lower life forms. A not so subtle parallel to the racism that occurred during the Aparthid era in South Africa. His next feature film was Elysium, again set in the near future, this time the story follows where humans have pushed themselves to extinction with Earth left with very little resources. Again, a commentary of human’s current struggle with a changing planet and diminishing of resources. Chappie, Blomkamp’s third feature film is again set in Johannesburg, this time tackling the very current subject of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on all of human life. The film follows Chappie, a robot who was part of a mechanised police force, who is stolen and reprogrammed with the ability to think for himself.
Blomkamp knows more than anyone how much the Alien universe means to the fans, he himself is a huge one, so there should be no worry whether he is up to the task. It is not been confirmed if the film will be a sequel, following on from Alien Resurrection or a prequel set before the events that occurred on the Nostromo, or in fact a reboot. More than likely, and hopefully, the film will simply exist within the same universe and will be a separate film that could perhaps explore unanswered questions or delve into the origins of the alien itself. These kind of questions were hoped to have been answered by Prometheus, but instead raised far more questions instead. If an Alien reboot is in fact in the works, then at least it is being dealt with by someone who truly cares for the Alien series, and hopefully won’t be set in Johannesburg.