It’s way too early to speculate. So let’s speculate!
You’ve probably heard that Disney has been in talks to purchase 21st Century Fox, which would see them acquiring Fox’s movie and TV studio, in addition to all kinds of other assets. From what we understand, a deal could be announced as soon as this week.
The possibility of the deal leaves us pondering one thing in particular: since Fox owns the Alien franchise and Disney may acquire Fox… Disney may soon own the Xenomorph?!
The idea of Disney owning the Alien franchise is nothing short of a bizarre and completely unexpected one, but if the deal goes through as speculated, that would indeed be one of the many interesting outcomes of it all – the most interesting Disney-related happening in the film world since the company acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012.
Star Wars fans were concerned about the Disney acquisition at the time the deal was announced, but now that we have four years distance from the news, it’s become clear that the franchise is in great hands. After all, The Force Awakens, Rogue One and this weekend’s The Last Jedi have restored the franchise to its former glory.
But the Alien franchise, well, that’s an entirely different story altogether. To date, every film in the horror franchise has been released with an “R” rating, and it goes without saying that Disney doesn’t exactly deal in rated “R” cinema. So then, what does the future of the Alien franchise look like, if Disney gets hold of it and wishes to continue it?
Would Ridley Scott go away? Would it lose its “R” rated edge all together?
My best guess? If Disney ends up owning the Alien franchise at some point in the future, we probably won’t be seeing the continuation of Ridley Scott’s vision.
It wouldn’t be fair to call this year’s Alien: Covenant a total bomb, as it made over $240 million worldwide on a $97 million budget (not counting the marketing spend), but at the same time, it would be fair to say that Scott’s latest Alien prequel under-performed at the box office. It also wasn’t very well received by the franchise’s most die-hard fans, suggesting that most (myself very much *not* included) just aren’t into Scott’s new vision for the series. So we can’t imagine a timeline wherein Disney pursues a continuation of what really hasn’t been working all that well for Fox these last several years – regardless of how dead set Scott himself is on finishing up his prequel franchise, a clear passion project for the 80-year-old filmmaker.
If what they’ve done with Star Wars is any indication, Disney would likely aim to reinvigorate fan interest in the Alien franchise by bringing in fresh voices to restore it to its former glory while also injecting new life into it. Which kinda sorta describes Neill Blomkamp’s vision for an “Alien 5,” doesn’t it? Blomkamp hoped to bring Ellen Ripley back for a sequel to Aliens that would give her character a proper sendoff, while also (presumably) paving the way for brand new installments jumping off from that point.
Disney’s penchant for four-quadrant tent-poles certainly fits in line with that vision, so we *could* see them hire Blomkamp or at least take a similar approach. After all, the one thing that probably would put asses in the seats at this point, in regards to the Alien franchise, would be bringing Sigourney Weaver’s badass heroine back for one more fight.
But would Disney make the bold choice of heading into “R” rated territory? That’s the biggest question of all… and the biggest fear that comes with this potential deal.
Then again, a mega-budget, action-adventure movie with Weaver back as Ripley isn’t sounding like a terrible idea to me right about now… even if it’s PG-13. Am I crazy?