After a tepid critical reaction (see our review here) and a mediocre opening weekend, don’t count on Life getting a sequel anytime soon. In some ways, the film’s mild failure is a shame – it’s increasingly rare to see original ideas getting the blockbuster treatment, yet perhaps Life‘s janky mashup of The Thing and Alien isn’t that original anyway. Regardless, screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have been discussing their ideas for a second outing.
As those who’ve seen it will know, Life does not exactly end happily. It’s rare to see a film conclude on such a mean hearted note, but you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen once Calvin has outsmarted the hapless astronauts. Given how effortlessly it eradicated life aboard the International Space Station, you presume that its mere arrival is going to cause major problems on Earth.
In a recent interview, Reese told The Hollywood Reporter the following:
Just the fact that Calvin can now possibly reproduce, I think, is an interesting idea. We’ve dropped him in a situation that is teaming with life to hunt and to eat. That being the ocean, or the coast of Indonesia or Vietnam or wherever we are saying he’s landed. So that opens it up right there. But just the idea of firewalls could extend to Earth in the sense that now they’ve failed to contain Calvin to the station. The question is, how would the Earth react? Obviously, this was an international effort, so there are a lot of countries cooperating. And again, they would be trying to contain this thing from moving forward and yet there might be more Calvins to deal with. To us, that screams interesting sequel.
It’s a fine idea for a sequel – perhaps imagining it as the militaristic Aliens to this film’s Alien. Watching the world come together to battle the horrors of Calvin is compelling to think about. Though perhaps we could save ourselves the trouble of imagining and watch Gareth Edwards’ breakout hit Monsters, instead.
Unfortunately for Reese, director Daniel Espinosa has other ideas:
There’s no sequel coming. It ends like that. It’s American pulp fiction. Not like the movie, but pulp fiction, The Twilight Zone, and The Night of the Living Dead. It’s a great tradition. If you look at American movies in the 1900s, those kind of endings solely exist in American cinema. It’s a great, great American tradition of those great turns. It’s almost like a joke on life.
But who really knows. Maybe Life will go on to have enormous international appeal and the prospect of a sequel will become irresistible? Somehow I doubt it, but we’re living in a world where Pacific Rim is getting a follow-up, so as far as I’m concerned, all bets are off.