Alien is one of the great monster movies of all time — maybe the greatest — but there’s always been a brain at the crown of the franchise’s nervous system. The closer Ripley and her gang of blue collar grunts’ scrapes with xenomorphs and facehuggers, the more they realize they’re considered expendable cannon fodder by faceless corporations back on earth. “Maybe humans are the real monsters” isn’t exactly a daisy fresh premise in 2021, but when Sigourney Weaver first fought her way to safety in 1979, it was a relatively new concept bursting from the Hollywood blockbuster chest.
Now, Noah Hawley is ready to take the themes to another level. The auteur showrunner behind idiosyncratic series like Fargo and Legion has been tapped to make an Alien show for FX, and he’s opening up about some of his ideas. He wants to continue to explore the ways in which the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is just as dangerous as the big creepies stalking the U.S.S. Sulaco.
Hawley’s Alien series will take place on earth, which is a departure for the franchise. “The Alien stories are always trapped,” he told Vanity Fair. “Trapped in a prison, trapped in a spaceship. I thought it would be interesting to open it up a little bit so that the stakes of ‘What happens if you can’t contain it?’ are more immediate.”
Earth will also give Hawley a chance to illustrate some of the issues he’s got on the brain more concretely.
“On some level it’s also a story about inequality,” Hawley explained. “You know, one of the things that I love about the first movie is how ’70s a movie it is, and how it’s really this blue collar space-trucker world in which Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton are basically Waiting for Godot. They’re like Samuel Beckett characters, ordered to go to a place by a faceless nameless corporation. The second movie is such an ’80s movie, but it’s still about grunts. Paul Reiser is middle management at best. So, it is the story of the people you send to do the dirty work.”
In other words, we’ve seen a lot of the blue collar action in this franchise. What’s happening with those darn wealthy elites?
“You will see what happens when the inequality we’re struggling with now isn’t resolved,” he continued. “If we as a society can’t figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what’s going to happen to us?”
Hawley didn’t give too many more details. He confirmed this won’t be a Ripley story, he’s got two scripts in the can and the series will start filming early next year. If you’re excited, let me hear you scream! (Unless you’re in space. In space, no one can hear you scream.)