It’s been a while since we’ve heard District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp talk about his cancelled Alien 5 project, but he started posting new concept artwork on his social media accounts.
The first piece is from Alien: Isolation concept artist Callum Alexander Watts. Thrilling that Blomkamp was smart enough to have Watts working on the film as his art used on Isolation felt organic to the DNA of the franchise and having him return to help design a feature film is such a missed opportunity.
We can also see the project title listed on the art is Red Harvest, a nod to the Star Wars working title Blue Harvest.
Here are two other new pieces of concept artwork Neill posted to his Instagram.
Alien 5 has always been an odd project as Blomkamp originally hatched the idea on his own while filming Chappie with Sigourney Weaver pitched his idea to her and the two started revealing this during the press tour. Blomkamp then posted concept art he had commissioned without the knowledge of 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott.
Fox eventually signed Blomkamp to a development deal with Ridley Scott added as producer. A script came together, despite Ridley later suggesting it didn’t exist. A statement refuted by both Weaver (attached to reprise the role of Ripley) and Aliens director James Cameron, the latter calling the script “gangbusters” while at San Diego Comic-Con celebrating the 30 Year Anniversary with a Hall H panel.
Details are scarce about the film itself but concept artwork suggested that we would also see the return of both Dwayne Hicks and an adult Newt. The film was said to be direct sequel to Cameron’s Aliens and would potential retcon the deaths in Alien 3. Neill had suggested the film could lead into a sixth film seeing Newt taking over the franchise.
Jim liked Neill’s script so much he took the concept of retconning sequels and bringing back an older female main lead for Tim Miller’s Terminator. The film will dismiss the last three films and will see the return of Linda Hamilton‘s Sarah Connor. Linda hasn’t been part of the franchise since 1991, not unlike Weaver being last seen as Ripley in 1997.
At one point, we had word that Neill and Fox were eyeing a production in Vancouver which for whatever reason was cancelled. Fox would shoot Shane Black’s The Predator there recently.
There has been some suggestion that there was tension between Ridley and Blomkamp, as plot points from Alien 5 were conflicting with Paradise Lost aka Covenant. Mainly, the experimenting angle that was sort of brushed over in the final version of Alien: Covenant. Blomkamp had to rework his project a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t too similar with Ridley’s Prometheus sequel.
Hard not to notice that the Watts concept art above seemingly inspired the look of Katherine Waterston’s Daniels.
One theory has been that Scott saw Alien 5 (the return of Ripley) as a threat to his multiple sequels and used his weight at Fox to eventually have it killed and his films made the priority.
Blomkamp hasn’t revealed what actually happened but moved on to develop a wave of short films at his production facility Oats Studios in Vancouver. We assume Oats would have been the base of operations for Alien 5.
Covenant was a box office letdown (Ridley Scott seems in denial) and there had been rumors that studio was reassessing the franchise which led to unsupported rumblings of various new directions Fox was considering.
In September, Fox’s Stacey Snider revealed that Ridley Scott was still working on ideas with studio vice-chairman Emma Watts. And we revealed that at one point Fox planned on shooting Alien: Awakening over the summer of 2018.
It’s currently unknown what the future holds for the franchise as Disney will takeover the rights and studio in 2019. We wouldn’t be terribly shocked if they pursue a new direction from Ridley’s films or drastically cut his budgets.
SOURCE: NEILL BLOMKAMP