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Alien: Awakening: Will It Ever Happen?

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In space, no one can hear you scream, and no one screams more than a crowd watching an "Alien" movie. Director Ridley Scott's 1979 original is widely considered to be a classic, and it spawned a franchise that's raked in millions upon millions of dollars. Though the sequels have passed through the hands of acclaimed filmmakers like James Cameron, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Scott returned to the director's chair in 2012 for the prequel, "Prometheus." Though some fans were baffled and frustrated by it, the film did receive mostly positive reviews. It was clear the public wanted more "Alien" movies.

After the "Prometheus" follow-up "Alien: Covenant" was released in 2017, rumors regarding another sequel began circulating online. Official news was scarce, however, and fans were long left in the dark regarding any progress about the potential continuation of the "Alien" saga. Does a glimmer of hope remain for "Alien: Awakening," the rumored title for Ridley Scott's next outing in the universe he helped create? Maybe — but maybe not. Here is everything we know so far about the potential next installment in the "Alien" franchise.

Why isn't Alien: Awakening happening yet?

While "Prometheus" did decently both critically and financially, "Alien: Covenant" did not. Its mixed reviews plainly illustrate that the movie doesn't pack much of a punch, while the box office numbers didn't wow 20th Century Fox; it netted only $240 million worldwide. Ticket sales also dropped 71% during the film's second weekend. This isn't the kind of reception that leaves studios salivating for a sequel. Unsurprisingly, Fox reportedly stated that two further "Alien" sequels which had been on deck had to be reconsidered.

Rumors began to circulate online about the cancelation of the proposed sequel soon after. A December 2017 report from the fansite AVP Galaxy cited HumanMedia, a user on the Blu-Ray.com forums, who claims to have worked on "Alien: Covenant." "The sequel to Covenant was originally due to start preproduction this month in Sydney," the user claimed. "After the box office results filming was canceled, and a warehouse storage unit full of stuff was auctioned off a few months ago. So the original plan of pumping out another quickly has definitely changed with no immediate plans for anything." Though the validity of HumanMedia's statement has yet to be confirmed, it doesn't bode well for "Alien: Awakening."

Further complicating the matter was the Disney/Fox merger that was finalized in early 2019. Reliable information regarding the status of a sequel initially came in fits and starts, then stopped coming altogether. One question looms: Has it been entirely shelved? Sadly, this seems like a very real possibility.

What Ridley Scott has said about Alien: Awakening

Before the release of "Alien: Covenant," Ridley Scott spoke with Fandango. "If ['Alien: Covenant'] is successful, and then the next one, and there will definitely be three more," the director remarked. This implies a total of six prequel films, predicated on "Alien: Covenant" being a success. Fandango wasn't the only outlet to which Scott revealed his excitement regarding the future of the "Alien" series. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he enthused, "If you really want a franchise, I can keep cranking it for another six. I'm not going to close it down again, no way." To drive the point home, he talked about the mindset he maintains when planning out the rest of the franchise: "You've got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you'd better be ready." 

According to Scott's chat with Fandango, "Alien: Awakening" would bring the series full circle. "There will be another one before we kind of literally and logically, clockwise, back into the rear back head of [the original] 'Alien,'" the director explained. Intriguingly, he added, "It will go 'Prometheus,' 'Alien: Awakening,' 'Alien: Covenant.'" Whether that timeline represents a contradiction of the previously referenced plot summary — which suggests that "Alien: Awakening" will take place between "Prometheus" and "Alien: Covenant" — or was a simple slip of the tongue is hard to say.

What could be explored in Alien: Awakening

Though there is very little concrete information about "Alien: Awakening" — including whether or not we'll ever actually get to see it — we do have some insight into the project. Ridley Scott's interview with The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Scott and screenwriter John Logan developed the "Alien: Awakening" script while "Alien: Covenant" was in production. Reportedly, the film would feature the Engineers hunting down David and his Xenomorph embryos as they all head to LV-426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo land at the beginning of the original "Alien."

More specific details about the plot and characters of "Alien: Awakening" have yet to be made public. However, a six-minute short film titled "Advent" may hold some clues. "Advent," which is featured as extra content on the "Alien: Covenant" Blu-ray, serves as an epilogue to the events of the film. It follows David as he sends a transmission to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and explains his reasoning for creating the Xenomorphs. Basically, David wants to create a queen that will be able to breed new Xenomorphs, thus allowing the species to continue without his intervention. At the end of the short, David ominously touches the tube housing Daniels while he talks about his hopes of creating the Queen. The implication is that Daniels is likely going to serve as a pawn in David's scheme, but exactly what role she will play remains to be seen.

Who would star in Alien: Awakening

Because "Alien: Awakening" would be a direct follow-up to "Alien: Covenant," it would probably feature Michael Fassbender as David. His character seems likely to be at least somewhat successful in bringing the Xenomorphs to LV-426 and getting rid of the Engineers, based on what we know from "Alien." Fortunately for Ridley Scott (and fans), Fassbender has stated that he would be more than happy to continue playing David in future installments. While promoting "X-Men: Dark Phoenix," Fassbender was asked if he would be open to reprising his android character once more. "I'd love to," he replied. "I absolutely love working with Ridley [Scott], and it was a real sort of moment for me when I stepped on set in 'Prometheus' and got to work with him. I love the character. It's a lot of fun. So yeah, I would definitely enjoy it."

Fassbender isn't the only actor who has expressed interest in returning to the "Alien" series. Katherine Waterston, the lead actor in "Alien: Covenant," is also eager to reprise her role as Daniels in "Alien: Awakening." In an interview with The Playlist, Waterston said, "I would be absolutely game to do more if they wanted to have me."

Considering that Daniels is the last character to interact with David in "Alien: Covenant" and the short film "Advent," she seems likely to have a significant part to play in his plan. Thus, it's almost certain that Waterston would be called back to reprise her role in "Alien: Awakening" if the film ever moves forward. However, Waterston has made it clear that she's in the dark regarding the film's status. As she put it, "I'm always usually the last person to know even what's going on in my own career. So, [I'm] probably not the best person to ask. But I did get some sense of where they thought they might like to take it when we were shooting 'Covenant,' and it sounded really interesting."

Fede Alvarez's Alien movie

The truth of the matter is, "Alien: Awakening" might never get made. But that doesn't mean hope is lost for fans of this storied franchise. Another "Alien" movie is on the horizon, helmed by director Fede Alvarez, who fans might recognize as the mind behind 2013's "Evil Dead" and 2016's "Don't Breathe." This as-yet-untitled movie will be unique on many counts. For one thing, it'll be a standalone film. For another, it's set to be released on Hulu. Filming began in March 2023 in Budapest.

What will this "Alien" installment be about? Details remain murky at this point, but we know it will center around a group of young people who will end up facing the franchise's titular alien. Their confrontation will doubtlessly be gory, shocking, and entertaining as all get-out. The cast boasts a plethora of fresh faces, including Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced, David Jonsson, and Archie Renaux. Fans pulling for "Alien: Awakening" might feel somewhat disappointed by this film eclipsing the one they've been hoping for, but look on the bright side — some "Alien" goodness is better than none.