With new Alien film –Prometheus making its UK premiere in T minus 1 month, it is hoped that it will be the shot in the arm the Alien franchise needs to pick itself up and carry on.
The franchise, at one time Fox network’s jewel in the crown money spinner pretty much flatlined after 1997’s Alien Resurrection. Alien 3 was in itself, the blip that proceeded this slow death but within Alien 3, the seeds for Prometheus were sown in 1990.
Back then, Die Hard 2 Director Renny Harlin was attached to the troubled production hell of Alien 3. Many concepts had been touted as a follow up to the smash hit – Aliens – 1986.
Some involved genetic experiments on a space station getting out hand (ideas rolled up into 1997’s Alien Ressurection). Some involving lead character Ripley and others writing her out entirely as being in a coma, with the Hicks and Bishop characters taking over the lead roles.
Harlin’s intended premise was “planet of the Alien’s”, looking at the origins of the Xenomorph. No doubt this would have been some spectacle – planet of the Aliens could only involve more Aliens than Aliens – 1986. Whether this would have also involved big guns and even more marines is anyone’s guess. But looking at Harlin’s other projects – including Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea and Die Hard 2 it very well could of.
Harlin’s style was the kind of high octane that Michael Bay brushes his teeth with every morning. So what his Alien 3 would have been like – is anybody’s guess and after a year of pre-production (and not much else) Harlin walked, due to Fox dragging their feet on the agreed concept. Which left a huge shitpie, for David Fincher to eventually fall face first into.
However, a good idea in the Alien Franchise is like a plastic bag in the wind, it floats around a bit and then lands.
The cloning station idea was then genetically moulded into Resurrection. But with Resurrection‘s poor worldwide box office showing, the Franchise looked more dead than a Hadley Hope colonist attempting to fight off an Alien warrior with a toilet seat.
That was, until Ridley Scott was persuaded back on board. Again, Scott was wanted 20 years ago for an origin story for Alien 3 but due to other commitments couldn’t take the job. Well now he is available and Prometheus whilst maybe not the second coming of Ripley Christ everyone is touting it to be, looks to be a very high concept film (which in itself is something of a rarity in todays popcorn cinema market!). More importantly, it becomes a new Sigourney Weaver free offshoot on the Alien tree and could re-energise the Alien Franchise, to go off in a new direction.
Prometheus gains its UK general release on 1 June 2012.