With the Patty Hearst movie off the table, James Mangold is back on the directing market. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the director of last year’s Logan to land on his next gig: The Force. Originally optioned as a potential directing vehicle for Ridley Scott, the corrupt cop drama — based on Don Winslow’s bestselling novel — will reunite Mangold with Logan writer Scott Frank.
There are many things that tie the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 to Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner: Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard, the replicants, the Tyrell Corporation, and — most importantly, for those fans who are skeptical of the sequel — the original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher, who co-wrote the script of the 1982 movie adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novel.
Ridley Scott has gotten into expansive universe mode. When he opened the doors to the possibility with 2012’s Prometheus, he immediately began to plan for more, to write a detailed pre-history of his seminal Alien which has come to us in the form of Alien: Covenant, and which, like the Universe itself, grows ever larger by the day. Now, it looks like he‘s turning his sights to his other sci-fi property, which is itself also getting a sequel this year. And Scott wants even more.
Someday, I hope someone makes a documentary about Neill Blomkamp’s Alien 5. First the project was held up by Ridley Scott, then Blomkamp released concept art that kinda-sorta forced the studio’s hand, then Blomkamp’s Chappie bombed and 20th Century Fox started dragging its heels, and then Scott started saying that the project was never actually anything substantial to begin with. No Alien sequel, no matter how fun, could possibly match the twists and turns of Blomkamp’s real-life struggle to get the film made.
While audiences remain pretty split on Ridley Scott’s first official Alien film in nearly 40 years, one thing we can all agree on is there are some interesting gaps in the storytelling. It’s always difficult to argue that fans need to do homework before seeing a movie to appreciate the film; while there certainly are some clips and features available online that add depth to Alien: Covenant, a movie should always stand on its own two legs, and those frustrated by Scott’s decision to chop out sections of the movie aren’t going to give him a pass because they may be added back in somewhere later in the process.
Alien: Covenant is arriving soon, whether we’re ready for it or not, and a short new clip assures us that this movie is definitely more horror than sci-fi. Even these thirty seconds are enough to make one feel antsy, and the final sound effect is enough to send a million chills down the spine. The Xenomorphs are back, baby!
In hindsight, it seems kind of odd that we had two directors competing to make movies in the same franchise. Back in 2015, director Neill Blomkamp sort of bull-rushed Hollywood by releasing concept art from the Alien 5 sequel he had been working on for 20th Century Fox. This was despite the fact that Ridley Scott had already made Prometheus — a direct prequel to the events of the Alien universe — and was working on what would later become Alien: Covenant. After months of rumors and Blomkamp’s promise to bring back a few beloved characters, the project petered out, and Scott emerged the sole proprietor of the Alien franchise.