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Alien TV Series - What We Know So Far

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, one of the last things anyone expected was for the company to announce that a new "Alien" project is in the works — the focus for many fans was over what it all meant for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During the investor's day presentation in December 2020, the company announced that an "Alien" TV series was in the works for FX from "Legion" and "Fargo" creator, Noah Hawley. Given the writer's fascinatingly intelligent approach to both of those projects, this is definitely a tantalizing idea.

The last time audiences stepped foot into the "Alien" universe was in 2017's "Alien: Covenant" from Ridley Scott, which was a follow-up to the director's 2012 offering, "Prometheus," which expanded the backstory and the lore of the franchise. With this new project in the works, it'll be interesting to see where it fits within the existing "Alien" continuity and if it relates to the future film that Ridley Scott has planned, currently titled "Alien: Awakening." Although there's some mystery surrounding the future TV series, Noah Hawley has already revealed plenty of interesting details about what to expect from the Xenomorph's next outing.

Here's what we know about the "Alien" TV series so far.

What's the release date of the Alien TV series?

Since the original announcement was made about the new foray into the "Alien" universe, news about the series has been relatively quiet — until now. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Noah Hawley opened up about the project and not only teased what it'll focus on, but when the network is aiming to get started.

Hawley explained that he's already started writing the scripts for the series, revealing that the aim is to start filming them in 2022: "I've written a couple of scripts, the first two scripts, and we're looking to make them next spring." He added, "When you get to something with this level of visual effects, there's a lot of preparation that has to go into it." Given the cosmic nature of the series, audiences will expect a certain level of visual effects, both in the world it explores and the Xenomorphs themselves.

Like most film and TV productions, the pandemic affected this new "Alien" project, as it would've eyed an earlier start date if it weren't for the numerous complications involved. As Hawley put it, "It's very hard to look on the planet earth and see where you might make something in the next six months. Everyone is racing to make up for lost time." 

He went on to say, "So, I figure let that bubble burst a little bit and we'll do it right." Every chapter of the "Alien" universe so far has been ambitious in its own way, so giving the TV series room to breathe before jumping into production sounds like the right approach.

Who's in the cast of the Alien TV series?

Because the series is still being worked on by Noah Hawley and the creative team at FX, it might be some time before the network announces the cast of the "Alien" TV series. However, it'll most likely feature a human cast (as well as a Xenomorph or two) because the show "is set not too far in the future here on Earth," according to the Disney Twitter account

Hawley previously explained his approach to the series to the Observer, revealing that there'll be plenty of human drama amongst the science-fiction horror of it all. "What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama?" He added, "Then we drop the aliens back in and we go, 'This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there's aliens!'" The franchise has never shied away from the dangers of the all-powerful Weyland-Yutani corporation expanding its reach across the universe, so it's likely that members of the company might show up in the series.

What's the plot of the Alien TV Series?

Now for the interesting part. So far, the franchise has revolved around Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her constant battle to survive the jaws of the Xenomorphs on the Nostromo, LV-426, the prison planet Fiorina 161, and the USM Auriga. However, the new series will not revolve around Ripley, which is a shame — but it's also a good thing. This lets Hawley create something relatively unrestricted by the confines of the previous movies. The creator opened up about this to Vanity Fair, saying "It's not a Ripley story. She's one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story has been told pretty perfectly, and I don't want to mess with it." Fair enough.

When talking about the Earthly setting, the creator also revealed that he wanted to see what the franchise would look like if the Xenomorphs were let loose in an open setting. "The alien stories are always trapped... Trapped in a prison, trapped in a space ship," he said. "I thought it would be interesting to open it up a little bit so that the stakes of 'What happens if you can't contain it?' are more immediate."

He also revealed that "it's a story about inequality," because although the previous films have explored what happens to the people working for companies like Weyland-Yutani, "in mine, you're also going to see the people who are sending them. So you will see what happens when the inequality we're struggling with now isn't resolved." He also offered, "If we as a society can't figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what's going to happen to us?" 

Bloodthirsty Xenomorphs thrown into a war between the working class and the wealthy elite? We're already sold.