Ridley Scott likes to move fast. Which, for his age and for the kinds of movies he makes, is kind of incredible. At 79 the guy is churning out almost a movie a year, but these aren’t Woody Allen comedies or Clint Eastwood dramas—they’re big, brash blockbusters like Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Martian. He most recently completed the Prometheus follow-up Alien: Covenant, and while Scott has talked in the past about continuing on with the franchise, he’s now saying the sequel to Covenant is already written and ready to go.
Buried in the bottom of a set visit report from the Sydney Morning Herald (via AVP Galaxy) is the news that Scott is ready to get moving on an Alien: Covenant sequel:
While working on Alien: Covenant, he had the next installment written so he is ready to keep advancing the saga.
“You’ve got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you’d better be ready,” he says. “You don’t want a two-year gap. So I’ll be ready to go again next year.”
It’s unclear when this interview was conducted (our set visit took place in 2016), so by “next year” he could mean 2017—meaning production could begin later this year.
Back in 2015, Scott said there would be two more Alien movies after Alien: Covenant, saying they would be “origin stories” that would answer “very basic questions” that were posed in Alien regarding who might have made it and where it came from. But before Prometheus was released, Scott was talking up sequels that would venture further away from the Alien franchise, focusing on Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender’s characters as they set off to find the home world of the Engineers. It doesn’t look like that’s the case in Covenant, which is yet another riff on a human crew encountering the alien threat, so it’s possible those plans have changed.
What Scott does seem to be consistent about over the past couple years is saying he intends for these movies to wrap around and connect back to the original Alien, leading right up to the events of Ripley and the original crew. When exactly that happens, what Covenant has to do with it, and even who wrote this Covenant sequel are still unanswered questions, but Scott seems to be in this thing for the long haul after taking a lengthy break from the sci-fi genre following Blade Runner.
What this also means is that Neill Blomkamp’s own Alien sequel is probably dead, or at the very least in a state of cryofreeze. The District 9 filmmaker shared some fan art of his online ahead of the release of Chappie and subsequently made a deal with Fox to actually turn his idea into reality—a film that would pick up after the events of Aliens and bring Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn back into the franchise. At that time Scott was busy with The Martian and it was unclear if/when Prometheus 2 would happen, but Blomkamp’s movie lit a fire under Scott, who subsequently forged ahead with Alien: Covenant and ensured that his movie would be made before Blomkamp’s. We’ve since heard nothing official about Blomkamp’s Alien sequel, and with Scott already gearing up to make the next Alien movie, we may not for quite some time.