James Cameron has never shied away from a challenge. After all, his career is synonymous with innovation, with the majority of films boasting technological breakthroughs that have pushed the cinematic medium forward. Still, when directed and co-wrote Aliens, he probably had doubts about delivering a worthwhile follow-up to a bona fide sci-fi horror classic.
To Cameron’s credit, Aliens is nothing like its iconic predecessor. It would have been easy to repeat the haunted house-esque formula that makes Ridley Scott’sAlien work; however, Cameron’s sequel opts for militaristic action over claustrophobic horror, an experiment that paid off dividends, as evidenced by the film’s success and acclaim among horror fans. That being said, Scott wasn’t the happiest chap when he learned that another director had been tasked with continuing the franchise he helped create.
“I was pissed. I wouldn’t tell that to Jim, but I think I was hurt,” Scott told Deadline. “I knew I’d done something very special, a one-off, really. I was hurt, deeply hurt, actually, because, at that moment, I think I was damaged goods because I was trying to recover from Blade Runner.”
Blade Runner was initially a flop, albeit one that went on to become a beloved cult classic. Following its release, Scott needed a hit, and directing Aliens could have been beneficial to his own career in the 1980s. Still, there was never any bad blood between Scott and Cameron, and the former has nothing but nice things to say about the Alien sequel.
“It’s always a tough job to follow a successful film with a sequel to it, so what I think James Cameron did was an excellent action picture,” Scott said of the sequel in Aliens: The Illustrated Screenplay. “It really was amazing what he accomplished. There’s also no question that Cameron made an excellent film with Aliens. It really is an achievement.”
Other Creators Will Carry the Alien Franchise Forward
The Alien franchise has undergone numerous transformations throughout the years, with several filmmakers bringing their distinctions to the Xenomorph-populated universe. Ridley Scott has occasionally returned to the director’s chair as well, with prequel films Prometheus and Alien: Covenant expanding on the franchise’s lore. He hasn’t ruled out returning to the prequel universe either, but he’s letting other directors take the reins for the time being.
And fans won’t have long to wait to see more Xenomorph action. Fede Alvarez’sAlien: Romulus is scheduled to arrive in August 2024, and it promises to be a terrifying experience. While speaking at the recent Director’s Guild of America Latino Summit, Alvarez confirmed that Scott has seen the film and hailed it as “f**king great.” Scott is known for being difficult to please, so the fact he’s a fan of Alien: Romulus is a good sign.
Elsewhere, Noah Hawley is working on an Alien TV series that will reportedly return to the franchise’s roots. No details about when it will premiere have been released yet, but FX Chairman John Landgraf told a panel last year that the story takes place before the first film and will introduce a new entity known as the Prodigy Corporation. Expect some anti-corporate themes from this series, which just so happens to be a product of Disney.