With ‘Alien: Covenant’ Creeping Up, Could Xenomorph Cartoon Still Happen?

Alien: Covenant will hit theaters on May 19, 2017. Directed by the man behind the original — Ridley Scott — it promises to be a horrific return to form.

Going by everything released in the trailers thus far, it could be on the right path.

For years, this series has been the one that would not die. It even survived the widely unpopular AVP (Alien vs. Predator) pair of films and the uneven Prometheus.

While the latter is “fresh” on critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it got there with just a 75 percent average, and only about 68 percent of the audience community embraced it.

The film did, however, manage to score $403 million in worldwide box office against a production budget of $130 million. Still, when factoring in marketing costs, the profit margins were not as wide as a studio would like to see from a franchise picture.

So for there to be more xenomorphic fun in the years ahead, Alien: Covenant needs to do well. And if it should manage to do well, then there is a tantalizing possibility that almost happened a couple of decades ago that could be back on the table.

While hardcore fans will probably not learn anything new from this, most of you will be surprised to find the R-rated monster movie saga almost had its own Saturday morning cartoon.

Some stills from the unaired show were recently dug up along with an old commercial from the planned toy line. It’s important to note the series would have followed more closely to the second Alien film, Aliens, which was directed by James Cameron.

Scott’s original was much more of a horror movie effort than Cameron’s, which took space marines, fancy weaponry, and hero-building to a new level. Because of that film, Sigourney Weaver would become the template for the female action hero.

The two films are of the same franchise but differ greatly in genre, and the other films — Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection — struggled to decide what they wanted to be, to the point subsequent efforts have pretty much glossed over them as if they never happened.

Alien: Covenant is more legitimate because it has the original director’s handprints on it, so if it does hit big — or big enough — Fox will likely be looking into ancillary products.

As it turns out, the Operation: Aliens cartoon was far enough along that creators would not have to start from scratch to bring it to fruition relatively quickly.

The series, Bloody-Disgusting notes, “would have followed Ripley (Weaver’s character) and Hicks (from Aliens) and a group of Colonial Marines battling Xenomorph threats across the galaxy.”

While Operation: Aliens would have been a more sanitized rendering for the Saturday morning cartoon crowd — not uncommon in those days as uber-violent properties like RoboCop, Rambo, Mortal Kombat, and Conan the Barbarian all had toned-down animated versions — a new take on it would not have to play it so safely.

With content hubs like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Crackle, all vying for eyeballs, selection has grown more niche-friendly. It would not be as crazy today as it would have been in 1990 to see a cartoon with face-hugging and chest-bursting, in other words.

Even if Alien: Covenant doesn’t do as well as Fox is hoping at the box office, there could still be room for this as the franchise has endured far worse than what it is likely looking at when the film opens in May.

What do you think readers?

Is the release of Alien: Covenant a good opportunity to reopen the possibility for an Operation: Aliens cartoon? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Fox]