"Alien Anthology" Blu-Ray box set (2012)
|Directed by||Ridley Scott (1)
James Cameron (2)
David Fincher (3)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (4)
|Produced by||Gordon Carroll (1, 3–4)
David Giler (1, 3–5)
Walter Hill (1, 3)
Gale Anne Hurd (2)
Bill Badalato (4)
|Written by||Dan O'Bannon (1)
James Cameron (2)
David Giler (3)
Walter Hill (3)
Larry Ferguson (3)
Joss Whedon (4)
|Story by||Dan O'Bannon
Ronald Shusett (characters)
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith (1)
James Horner (2)
Elliot Goldenthal (3)
John Frizzell (4)
|Cinematography||Derek Vanlint (1)
Adrian Biddle (2)
Alex Thomson (3)
Darius Khondji (4)
|Editing by||Peter Weatherley (1)
Terry Rawlings (1, 3)
Ray Lovejoy (2)
Hervé Schneid (4)
|Studio||Brandywine Productions (1–5)
SLM Production Group (2)
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
The Alien film franchise is a science fiction horror film series, focusing on Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) and her battles with an extraterrestrial lifeform, commonly referred to as the "Alien". Produced by 20th Century Fox, the series started with the 1979 film Alien, which led to three movie sequels, as well as numerous books, comics and video game spin-offs.
Alien (1979) 
The spaceship Nostromo visits a desolate planetoid after receiving an unknown signal from a derelict alien spacecraft. While exploring the ship, one of the Nostromo's crewmen discovers an egg-like object, which releases a creature that attaches itself to his face and renders him unconscious. Some time later, the parasite dies and the crewman wakes up, seemingly fine. However, an alien creature later bursts out of his chest and, after rapidly growing into an eight-foot creature, starts killing other members of the crew.
After completion of the film Dark Star (1974), executive Dan O'Bannon thought to develop some of the ideas (especially the theme of "alien hunts crew through a spaceship") and create a science-fiction horror film. It was provisionally called Memory. Screenwriter Ronald Shusett collaborated with O'Bannon on the project, adding elements from a previous O'Bannon script, Gremlins, which featured gremlins causing mayhem aboard a World War II bomber and wreaking havoc with the crew. The duo finished the script, initially entitled Star Beast, and O'Bannon noticed the number of times the word "alien" occurred in the script, and so he adopted Alien for the film's title. The writers imagined a low-budget film, but Star Wars' success inclined Fox to invest millions on the production.
In the original script the ship has an all-male crew (though the script's 'Cast of Characters' section explicitly states that "The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women"), including the Ripley character, who would be played by actor Tom Skerritt. Later, when producer Alan Ladd, Jr., and script-doctors Walter Hill and David Giler heard rumors of Fox working on other titles with strong female leads, Sigourney Weaver was cast as Ripley and Skerritt became Captain Dallas.
Swiss painter and sculptor H. R. Giger designed the alien creature's adult form and the derelict ship, while Moebius created visuals for the spacesuits and Ron Cobb provided most of the on-set design.
Aliens (1986) 
Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, the only survivor of the Nostromo, awakens from hypersleep 57 years later, aboard a new space station. She discovers that the planetoid from the first movie (now known as LV-426) is now home to a terraforming colony. When contact with the colony is lost, Ripley accompanies a squad of Marines there aboard the Sulaco.
The first film of the series, directed by Ridley Scott, was successful, but Fox did not consider a sequel until 1983, when James Cameron expressed his interest to producer David Giler in continuing the Alien story. After Cameron's The Terminator became a box office hit, Cameron and partner Gale Anne Hurd were given approval to direct and produce the sequel to Alien, scheduled for a 1986 release. Cameron wrote the screenplay from a story he developed with Giler and Walter Hill.
Alien 3 (1992) 
Due to a fire aboard the Sulaco, an escape pod is released. It crash-lands on the refinery/prison planet Fiorina "Fury" 161. Ripley is the only survivor. Unknown to her, an egg was aboard the ship. The creature is born in the prison and begins a killing spree. Ripley later discovers there is also an alien queen growing inside her, and decides to sacrifice herself to save the galaxy. This was designed to bring closure to the Alien franchise by killing off the main heroine, although her character was revived via human cloning in a fourth movie.
Following the second movie, Aliens, Weaver was not interested in returning to the series and so producers David Giler and Walter Hill commissioned a third Alien film without the Ripley character. The premise was to return Ripley in a fourth installment, but Fox's president Joe Roth did not agree with Ripley's removal and Weaver was approached to make Alien 3. Released in 1992, the film was troubled from the start of production; without even a finished script and having already spent a million before then, pop music video director David Fincher, the third director considered for the film, was hired to helm the project. After production was completed in late 1991, the studio reworked the film without Fincher's involvement or consent. Giler, Hill and Larry Ferguson wrote the screenplay, based on a story from an earlier script by Vincent Ward.
Alien Resurrection (1997) 
Two hundred years after the events of the previous film, Ellen Ripley is cloned and an Alien queen is surgically removed from her body. The United Systems Military hopes to breed Aliens to study on the spaceship USM Auriga, using human hosts kidnapped and delivered to them by a group of mercenaries. The Aliens escape their enclosures, while Ripley and the mercenaries attempt to escape and destroy the Auriga before it reaches its destination, Earth.
While fans and critics did not receive Alien 3 well, the film still made millions worldwide at the box office and piqued Fox's interest in continuing the franchise. In 1996, production on the fourth Alien film, Alien Resurrection, began. Ripley was not in the script's first draft, and Weaver was not interested in reprising the role, though later joined the project after being given a reported million dollar salary and more creative control (including being able to approve director Jean-Pierre Jeunet). The film, released in 1997, experienced an extended production and was described by screenwriter Joss Whedon as having done "everything wrong" with his script.
Alien vs. Predator (2004) 
In 2004, a Predator ship arrives in Earth orbit to draw humans to an ancient Predator training ground on Bouvetøya, an island about one thousand miles north of Antarctica. A buried pyramid which gives off a "heat bloom" attracts humans led by Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), who unknowingly activates an alien egg production line. Three Predator hunter initiates enter the structure, killing all humans in their way with the intention of hunting the newly formed alien warriors. Two Predators die in the ensuing battle, while the third allies itself with the lone surviving human, Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) in order to battle the escaped Queen Alien. The Queen is defeated, but not before she fatally wounds the last Predator. The orbiting Predator ship uncloaks and the crew retrieve the fallen Predator. A Predator elder gives Alexa a spear as a sign of respect, and then departs. Once in orbit it is revealed that a chestburster was in the corpse, though this specimen has Predator mandibles.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) 
Set immediately after the previous film, the Predalien hybrid on board the Predator scout ship, which just separated from the mothership from the previous film, has grown to full adult size and sets about killing the Predators on board the ship, causing it to crash in Gunnison, Colorado. The last survivor activates a distress beacon with a video of the Predalien, which is received by a veteran Predator, who sets off towards Earth to "clean up" the infestation. When it arrives, the Predator tracks the Aliens into a section of the sewer below town. He removes evidence of their presence as he goes by using a corrosive blue liquid. It uses a laser net to try to contain the creatures, but the Aliens still manage to escape into the town above. The Predator fashions a plasma pistol from its remaining plasma caster and hunts Aliens all across town (accidentally cutting the power to the town in the process). During a confrontation with human survivors, the Predator loses its plasma pistol. The Predator then fights the Predalien singlehandedly, and the two mortally wound one another just as the US military drops a tactical nuclear bomb on the town, incinerating both combatants as well as the few remaining humans in the city. The salvaged plasma pistol is then taken to Ms. Yutani.
Prometheus (2012) 
Prometheus, a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, was originally conceived as a prequel to Alien. Development of the film began in the early 2000s as a fifth installment in the Alien franchise. Scott and director James Cameron developed ideas for a story that would serve as a prequel to Alien. By 2003, the development of Alien vs. Predator took precedence, and the prequel project remained dormant until 2009 when Scott again showed interest. Jon Spaihts wrote a script for an Alien prequel, but Scott opted for a different direction. In late 2010, Damon Lindelof joined the project to rewrite Spaihts's script, and he and Scott developed a story that precedes the events of Alien but is not directly connected to that franchise. According to Scott, although the film shares "strands of Alien's DNA, so to speak", and takes place in the same universe, Prometheus explores its own mythology and ideas.
Prometheus was released in June 2012 and stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, and Charlize Theron. The story is set in the late 21st century and follows the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, they arrive on a distant world and discover an advanced civilization and a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race. The film grossed over $400 million worldwide. Prometheus is meant to show how the sequel of "Aliens" started.
Future films 
Whedon had written an Earth-set script for Alien 5, but Sigourney Weaver was not interested in this setting, and sought to return the story to the planetoid from the first film. Weaver has remained open to a role in a fifth installment on the condition that she likes the story. Before 20th Century Fox greenlit Alien vs. Predator, James Cameron had been collaborating on the plot for a fifth Alien film with another writer. However, upon learning of Fox's plans for a crossover, he ceased work on his concept. Before he saw the film, Cameron had stated that it would "kill the validity of the franchise", and that "it was Frankenstein Meets Werewolf" – like "Universal just taking their assets and starting to play them off against each other". Although he liked Alien vs. Predator, Cameron ruled out any future involvement with the series.
In a 2002 interview, Ridley Scott stated that a new Alien project "would be a lot of fun", but that "the most important thing was to get the story right". Scott's concept for the plot was "to go back to where the alien creatures were first found and explain how they were created". In late 2008, Weaver hinted in an interview with MTV that she and Scott were working on an Alien spinoff film, which would focus on the chronicles of Ellen Ripley rather than on the Aliens, but the continuation of Ripley's story has not materialized.
During the March 17, 2012 WonderCon convention, Scott said that the film leaves many questions unanswered, and that these could be answered in a sequel. He said, "If we're lucky, there'll be a second part. It does leave you with some nice open questions." Asked if a sequel would be a direct prequel to Alien, Lindelof said "if we’re fortunate enough to do a sequel ... it will tangentialize even further away from the original Alien." In June 2012, Lindelof said that while plot elements were deliberately left unresolved so that they could be answered in a sequel, he and Scott had thoroughly discussed what should be resolved so that Prometheus could stand alone, as a sequel was not guaranteed. Scott said that a sequel would follow Shaw to her next destination, "because if it is paradise, paradise cannot be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous." Lindelof cast doubt on his participation, and said, "if [Scott] wants me to be involved in something, that would be hard to say no to. At the same time, I do feel like [Prometheus] might benefit from a fresh voice or a fresh take or a fresh thought." Scott said that an additional film would be required to bridge the gap between the Prometheus sequel and Alien. On August 1, 2012, it was confirmed that Fox was pursuing a sequel with Scott, Rapace, and Fassbender involved, and was talking to new writers in case Lindelof does not return. The film would be scheduled for a release no earlier than 2014. On December 19, 2012, it was reported that Lindelof had decided not to work on a sequel, citing other commitments.
Characters and portrayers 
|Alien (1979)||Aliens (1986)||Alien 3 (1992)||Alien Resurrection (1997)|
|Ripley / Ripley 8||Sigourney Weaver|
|Captain Dallas||Tom Skerritt||Tom Skerritt (photo only)|
|Navigator Lambert||Veronica Cartwright||Veronica Cartwright (photo only)|
|Enginner Brett||Harry Dean Stanton||Harry Dean Stanton (photo only)|
|Warrant Officer Kane||John Hurt||John Hurt (photo only)|
|Ash||Ian Holm||(Mentioned and photo)|
|Engineer Parker||Yaphet Kotto||Yaphet Kotto (photo only)|
|Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden||Carrie Henn||Danielle Edmond||(Mentioned only)|
|Carter Burke||Paul Reiser|
|Dwayne Hicks||Michael Biehn||(body)|
|Jenette Vasquez||Jenette Goldstein|
|William Hudson||Bill Paxton|
|Bishop / Bishop II||Lance Henriksen|
|Dillon||Charles S. Dutton|
|Mason Wren||J.E. Freeman|
Box office 
(All time domestic)
|Alien||May 25, 1979||$80,931,801||$24,000,000||$104,931,801||#685||$11,000,000|||
|Aliens||July 18, 1986||$85,160,248||$45,900,000||$131,060,248||#629||$18,000,000|||
|Alien 3||May 22, 1992||$55,473,545||$104,340,953||$159,814,498||#1,139||$50,000,000|||
|Alien Resurrection||November 26, 1997||$47,795,658||$113,580,410||$161,376,068||#1,353||$70,000,000|||
|Prometheus||June 8, 2012||$126,477,084||$276,009,603||$402,486,687||#335||$130,000,000|||
Please note that the figures in this table are not inflation adjusted
|Alien||97% (88 reviews)||83/100 (22 reviews)|
|Aliens||98% (50 reviews)||87/100 (9 reviews)|
|Alien 3||42% (43 reviews)|
|Alien Resurrection||52% (69 reviews)||63/100 (21 reviews)|
|Prometheus||73% (255 reviews)||65/100 (42 reviews)|
IGN listed Alien as the thirteenth best film franchise of all time. Alien was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning for Best Visual Effects. Aliens received seven nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver, and won for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects. Alien 3 was nominated for Best Visual Effects. Alien was also inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for historical preservation as a film which is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The American Film Institute ranked Alien as the sixth most thrilling American movie and seventh-best film in the science fiction genre, and in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list, Ripley was ranked eighth among the heroes, and the Alien was fourteenth among the villains.
Home video releases 
There have been dozens of stand-alone releases of the individual films on various formats, including Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD, though so far the Blu-ray format has only seen a boxed set of the complete series which houses all the various versions of each film (a total of eight, see Alien Anthology below). The multiple single releases on VHS were generally the original theatrical cuts of each film, though at the very end of the format there was a sole release of the Aliens: Special Edition (see below).
Laserdisc saw single releases of all of the films in theatrical versions, as well as two so-called "box sets" which only contained one film (there were two single releases, one each for Alien and Aliens) but had multiple discs and a large amount of supplemental material with a high retail price tag (around $100USD). The Aliens set included a new "Special Edition" cut of the film completed by James Cameron just for this release, which was a significantly extended version of the film.
On DVD initially the films were only available as a boxed set (see Alien Legacy below) but were then released separately (and it should be noted that Aliens was only available in its "Special Edition" cut, not its original theatrical cut which did not make it to DVD until the next boxed set). The same pattern was followed when the two-disc special editions of the films came out after the Alien Quadrilogy set (see below), as each film got individual two-disc releases which contained the content of each film from that set. Since then, there have been multiple issues and reissues of the films, in both their theatrical or extended version, though some single releases include both.
In addition to the single releases, there have been seven complete box sets of the series at various points in its history. With the exception of the DVD version of the Aliens Triple Pack, each release contained all of the films that had come out at the time the sets were released. The seven box sets each had unique characteristics and features which were then sometimes reused in later sets or single releases in one form or another, most notably the Blu-ray set which includes a detailed archive of many previous releases, including the rare Laserdisc box sets.
- Alien Triple Pack (VHS version), released on VHS in 1992 containing the first two films in the series and a third cassette with a 23-minute preview of the then upcoming theatrical release of Alien 3. (Not to be confused with the 2008 DVD set of the same name, see below.)
- Alien Trilogy, released on VHS in 1993, a three-cassette packaging of the original theatrical cuts of Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3.
- Alien Saga, a Japan-exclusive Laserdisc pack containing the first three films was released in 1999 (a planned U.S. version was canceled as DVDs were quickly taking over the much smaller domestic Laserdisc market in that country).
- Alien Legacy, a four-volume set released on both DVD and VHS in 1999, containing the 1991 Laserdisc "Special Edition" cut of Aliens (for the first time on another format), the theatrical versions of the other three films, and on DVD had various supplemental materials that were either re-used from Laseridsc or newly created.
- Alien Quadrilogy, released only on DVD in 2003, considered one of the most exhaustive box sets of the DVD era in terms of content and special features, is spread over nine discs : four discs (one disc each) for the theatrical and extended cuts of each film (new "2003" cuts of Alien, Alien 3, and Alien: Resurrection and the previously released 1991 "Special Edition" cut of Aliens), four discs containing special features specific to each film, along with an extra disc of documentaries and other supplemental content.
- The films were later re-released as 2-disc individual titles as part of 20th Century Fox's Collector's Series.
- Alien Triple Pack (DVD version), released on DVD in 2008 is a 3-disc package including the theatrical cuts of Alien and Alien 3, as well as the "Special Edition" of Aliens, reusing the name of the 1992 VHS set (this was an unusual release in that Alien: Resurrection was not included, making this the first franchise box set it had not appeared in since its release).
- Alien Anthology, a 2010 Blu-ray Disc exclusive six-disc release, which features two versions of each film (theatrical, and the same new cuts used in the 2003 Alien Quadrilogy DVD set - with the exception of additional work done on the 2003 Alien 3 "Workprint" version which included having some of the original voice actors come back to re-record poorly captured dialogue in newly inserted extended scenes) and virtually all of the special features and supplements from the previous releases (including an archive of the special edition Laserdisc box sets with all their image galleries and other unique content). As with the Quadrilogy DVD, the two versions of each film are housed on a single disc each, while the storage capacity of Blu-ray means the previous five discs of special features are included on the remaining two discs in the set, which hold approximately 60 hours of bonus video content and over 12,000 still images.
- Alien Anthology, a 2012 Blu-ray Disc discount four-disc release, still with two versions of each film, but without the two additional discs of bonus features.
- Alien/Aliens Dual Pack, released on DVD. This set includes the theatrical cuts of both Alien and Aliens.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2008)|
As well the novelizations based on the various films (including Alan Dean Foster's) there are a number of novel series.
Numerous comic appearances include:
- Alien Loves Predator, a spoof webcomic
- Aliens vs. Predator
- Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator
- Green Lantern Versus Aliens
- Judge Dredd vs. Aliens
- Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator
Video games 
Alien games 
Aliens was adapted into four different video games: two different 1986 games titled Aliens: The Computer Game, a collection of minigames by Activision and a first-person shooter by Software Studios, as well as two different games titled Aliens, a 1987 MSX platformer by Square and a 1990 arcade shoot 'em up by Konami.
Acclaim released three different games based on Alien 3, two different run and gun platformers (one for various platforms in 1992, another for the SNES a year later) and a Game Boy adventure game in 1993; Sega also released a light gun arcade game Alien 3: The Gun in 1993.
Other Alien games include Mindscape's adventure game Aliens: A Comic Book Adventure (1995), the first-person shooter Aliens Online (1998), the Game Boy Color action game Aliens: Thanatos Encounter (2001), the mobile phone game Aliens: Unleashed (2003), and the arcade game Aliens: Extermination (2006).
In 2006, Sega struck a deal with Fox Licensing to release two games based on the Alien franchise on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. One of them, a first-person shooter by Gearbox Software, Aliens: Colonial Marines, was released on February 12, 2013, in the United States of America on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows. The game has also been announced for release on the Wii U later in 2013. (It is unrelated to the different game titled Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was canceled in 2002.) Sega also released a Nintendo DS game Aliens Infestation in 2011.
Alien vs. Predator games 
An Alien vs. Predator arcade beat 'em up game was released by Capcom in 1994. Two other Alien vs Predator games were also published by Activision for the SNES and Game Boy in 1993. There were also several Alien vs. Predator mobile games, and two cancelled titles for the Atari Lynx and Game Boy Advance.
In 1994, Atari Corporation released the Rebellion-developed first-person shooter Alien vs Predator for the Atari Jaguar, in which one could play as a Marine, Predator or Alien. Rebellion then went on to develop the similarly themed 1999's Aliens versus Predator for the PC. This was followed by, among others, Aliens versus Predator 2 and the expansion pack Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt. In 2010, Sega released Aliens vs. Predator, a multiplatform remake first-person shooter also made by Rebellion.
In academia 
The Bishop character has been the subject of literary and philosophical analysis as a high-profile android character conforming to science fiction author Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and as a model of a compliant, potentially self-aware machine. The portrayal of androids in the Alien series — Ash in Alien, Bishop in Aliens and Alien 3, and Call (Winona Ryder) in Alien Resurrection (1997) — has been studied for its implications relating to how humans deal with the presence of an "Other", as Ripley treats them with fear and suspicion, and a form of "hi-tech racism and android apartheid" is present throughout the series. This is seen as part of a larger trend of technophobia in films prior to the 1990s, with Bishop's role being particularly significant as he redeems himself at the end of Aliens, thus confounding Ripley's expectations.
See also 
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Further reading 
- Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley (by Ximena Gallardo C. and C. Jason Smith, Continuum, 272 pages, 2004, ISBN 0-8264-1910-0)
- The Book of Alien (by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross, Star Books, 112 pages, 1979, ISBN 0-352-30422-7, Titan Books, 2003, ISBN 1-85286-483-4)
- Making of Alien Resurrection (by Andrew Murdock and Rachel Aberly, Harper Prism, 1997 ISBN 0-06-105378-3)
- The Complete Aliens Companion (by Paul Sammon, Harper Prism, 1998, ISBN 0-06-105385-6)
- The Alien Quartet: A Bloomsbury Movie Guide (by David Earl Thomson, Bloomsbury Publishing, 208 pages, 1999, ISBN 1-58234-030-7, as The Alien Quartet (Pocket Movie Guide), 2000 ISBN 0-7475-5181-2)
- Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Alien and Predator Films (by David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-903889-94-4)