Despite the announcement of Alien: Covenant, Alien 5 is still very much going ahead, and the movie gained some momentum this week when one of the franchise’s beloved stars, Michael Biehn, revealed that Alien 5 will feature Newt in adult form — and the torch will be passed between Ripley and her favorite little girl.
Speaking to Icons of Fright, Biehn (who played Corporal Hicks in Aliens, and is expected to reprise the role in the sequel) revealed that Alien 5 will be put on the backburner temporarily, not permanently, in light of Scott’s revelations. When Sir Ridley Scott announced his franchise sequel, he stated that it would be a follow-up to 2012’s Prometheus — but with the Alien title, many fans thought it would lead the plot back to the timelines of the original movies, thus eliminating the need for Alien 5, which would be directed by Neill Blomkamp.
However, fans can rest easy in light of Biehn’s interview, where he revealed the following.
“The basic idea is acting like Alien 3 and 4 never existed, so if you go on Neill Blomkamp’s site, everyone can see all of the artwork for that. I know Ridley Scott is doing his movie first and is going to be the executive producer on this one, so I’m really looking forward to that. I know that Ridley’s focus is on the second Prometheus and I’m sure that he and Fox both don’t want that and Neill’s movie to come out right next to each other, because they’re kind of two different worlds. I know they’re putting the brakes on Neill’s movie just for a little while.
“I think when they put that (Aliens 5) out there and have pictures with me as Hicks again, people were excited. They’re planning on bringing me and Newt back and at this point Newt will be around twenty-seven years old. I know that every actress in Hollywood is going to want to play this one, it’s really a passing of the torch between Sigourney and this younger actress who would play Newt.”
The revealing news from this interview, aside from confirming that Alien 5 is still very much a go, is the return of the original cast. If Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection are being removed from the canon, this shoots the plot right back to 1986’s Aliens. In the original timeline, Newt and Hicks were unable to survive hypersleep at the beginning of Alien 3, and Ripley stood as the sole survivor. Biehn’s revelation indicates that Alien 5 will be a direct, timeline-altering sequel to Aliens, which opens up a realm of possibilities.
Sigourney Weaver’s return as Ripley is no secret — it was announced in the press early in 2015, including the Independent — but the return of Newt as an adult is an interesting concept and, as Biehn confirmed, a passing of the torch for whichever actress is cast in the role. When Weaver was cast as Ripley in the ’70s, it was a career defining role, and many expect this to be true of whoever steps into the shoes of Newt. With Biehn attached, and the concept art strongly suggesting so, the return of Corporal Hicks seems like a foregone conclusion. Rumours are constantly flying with regards to characters and actors involved, but it seems we will have to wait a while with Alien: Covenant taking pride of place at 20th Century Fox.
Either way, this is great news for fans who felt the third and fourth installments of the franchise did Aliens a disservice. Where both films had their moments, both were received with mixed to negative reviews from the general populace, and the franchise has struggled to produce a stand-alone movie since. When Prometheus dropped in 2012, it reignited the franchise somewhat, providing an interesting origin story to the Alien brand. It remains to be seen if this will light a fire under the franchise, but with two films in development, and interest at an all-time high, the future looks decidedly bright.
Alien 5 doesn’t have a release date yet, but Alien: Covenant is scheduled for U.S. cinemas on October 6, 2017.
[Image via 20th Century Fox and Sega]