In celebration of the franchise’s 30th anniversary, 20th Century Fox staged a SDCC presentation for all things Alien, welcoming the likes of James Cameron onto the stage to reflect on the series’ decorated history.
Of course, it is Alien and Cameron’s own Aliens that are often cited as the finest in the franchise – and rightfully so – but the director’s refreshingly frank assessment of Alien 3 piqued the interest of fans, not to mention the way in which he showered praise on Neill Blomkamp’s shelved Alien 5.
“I think it works gangbusters. He shared it with me, and I think it’s a very strong script and he could go make it tomorrow,” Cameron stated. “I don’t know anything about the production, and I don’t know what Ridley [Scott]’s doing. But hopefully there’ll be room for both of them. Like parallel universes.”
Designed to offer a fitting conclusion to Ellen Ripley’s arc, pre-production on Blomkamp’s follow-up grounded to a halt in order to allow Ridley Scott to push ahead with his 2017 sequel, Alien: Covenant. That means that Fox’s prized tentpole is essentially expanding in two different directions, with Scott set to dovetail his planned prequel trilogy with the seminal Alien of 1979.
Having helmed the action-packed Aliens in ’86, during the panel Cameron addressed the calamity of Alien 3. Released in 1992, the horror dud stands as one of David Fincher’s first forays into big-budget filmmaking, but studio intervention and a half-baked script resulted in the product fans know and loathe today.
Here’s Cameron’s two cents:
“I thought [the decision to eliminate Newt, Hicks, and Bishop] was dumb. I thought it was a huge slap in the face to the fans. [‘Alien 3’ director] David Fincher is a friend of mine, and he’s an amazing filmmaker, unquestionably. That was kind of his first big gig, and he was getting vectored around by the studio, and he dropped into the production late, and they had a horrible script, and they were re-writing it on the fly. It was just a mess. I think it was a big mistake. Certainly, had we been involved we would not have done that, because we felt we earned something with the audience for those characters.”
Next up for 20th Century Fox is Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. It recently wrapped production ahead of an August 2017 launch, effectively pushing Blomkamp’s proposed Alien 5 onto the proverbial shelf indefinitely.