The current logo of the franchise.
|Created by||Dan O'Bannon|
|Original work||Alien (1979)|
|Owned by||The Walt Disney Company|
(via 20th Century Fox)
|Book(s)||List of books|
|Novel(s)||List of novels|
|Comics||List of comics|
|Films and television|
|Short film(s)||List of short films|
|Play(s)||List of stage|
|Traditional||List of board games|
|Video game(s)||List of video games|
Alien is a science-fiction horror/action media franchise centered on the film series depicting warrant officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her battles with an extraterrestrial lifeform, commonly referred to as "the Alien". Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the series began with Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott, and was followed by three sequels, Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997), directed by James Cameron, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, respectively.
Scott also directed a prequel series, composed of Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017), which follows the exploits of the David 8 android and the creators of the titular creatures referred to as the "Engineers". The series has led to numerous novels, comics, and video game spin-offs. The Alien vs. Predator franchise combines the continuities of the Alien franchise with the Predator franchise and consists of two films as well as varying series of comics, books, and video games.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Films
- 3 Crossover series
- 4 Web series
- 5 Stage
- 6 Cast and characters
- 7 Additional crew and production details
- 8 Reception
- 9 Home video releases
- 10 Other media
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
The Alien franchise depicts a series of deadly encounters between humanity and the Aliens; a hostile, endoparasitoid, extraterrestrial species. Predominantly transpiring in the future, between the 21st and 24th centuries, humanity is shown to have become a space-faring race that has established an interstellar dominion. Travel between the different sectors of space is achieved through lengthy travel that typically lasts for months or years and necessitates the extensive utilization of cryosleep for the brunt of it. Throughout the series, an ensemble of characters are repeatedly manipulated by and put in harm's way by the greedy, unscrupulous, megacorporation Weyland-Yutani Corp which seeks to capture the Aliens for bio-weaponization purposes.
The series provides a fictionalized account of the origin of the human race. Millions of years prior to the main events of the films, a member of an ancient humanoid species called the "Engineers" sacrifices himself, allowing for his DNA to spark the genesis of mankind. The Engineers' other experiments, designed to exterminate the human race through the means of a deadly mutagen, paves the way for the Aliens to rise and populate through the traumatic implantation of larvae in hosts. Different incidents transpiring over several generations are chronicled throughout the franchise. A crew aboard the luxury science vessel Prometheus perishes when they discover the Engineers and the Alien mutagen. The android from the mission, David 8, experiments with the mutagen on the Engineers' Earth-like world, wiping out the population and subsequently luring the colony ship, Covenant, to continue his work. Decades later, the crew of the Weyland-Yutani space freighter Nostromo inadvertently allows for an Alien to gestate, leading to the destruction of the ship. Ellen Ripley, the lone survivor of the Nostromo and main protagonist of the original series, experiences several additional encounters with the Aliens and Weyland-Yutani, leading to her suicide on the rugged prison planet Fiorina 161 and subsequent cloning several hundred years later.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|Alien||May 25, 1979||Ridley Scott||Dan O'Bannon||Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett||Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill|
|Aliens||July 18, 1986||James Cameron||James Cameron, David Giler & Walter Hill||Gale Anne Hurd|
|Alien 3||May 22, 1992||David Fincher||David Giler, Walter Hill & Larry Ferguson||Vincent Ward||Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill|
|Alien Resurrection||November 26, 1997||Jean-Pierre Jeunet||Joss Whedon||Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill and Bill Badalato|
|Prometheus||June 8, 2012||Ridley Scott||Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof||David Giler, Walter Hill and Ridley Scott|
|Alien: Covenant||May 19, 2017||John Logan & Dante Harper||Jack Paglen & Michael Green||David Giler, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam and Michael Schaefer|
After completion of the film Dark Star (1974), writer Dan O'Bannon wanted to develop some of the ideas and create a science-fiction action film. 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. The duo finished the script, initially titled Star Beast — it was changed to Alien after O'Bannon noticed the number of times the word "alien" occurred in the script. Their script was sold to Brandywine Productions, which had a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. The writers anticipated a low-budget film, but 20th Century Fox was inclined to invest millions, thanks to the success of Star Wars. The original script featured an all-male crew, including Ripley character, with Tom Skerritt attached, with the caveat that the roles were interchangeable for men or women. When Fox president Alan Ladd Jr. and the producers at Brandywine were made aware of Fox working on other titles with strong female leads, Skerritt was cast as Captain Dallas and Ripley was recast with Veronica Cartwright, before director Ridley Scott opted for Sigourney Weaver shortly before filming.
Though Alien was successful, Fox did not consider a sequel until James Cameron expressed his interest to producer David Giler in 1983. After the box office success of Cameron's The Terminator in 1984, Cameron was given approval to direct and produce Aliens. The third film in the series, Alien³, faced a mired production, with extensive script difficulties, trouble securing a director, production beginning prior to the completion of a final script, as well as studio interference against the director selected to helm the film, music video filmmaker David Fincher. Though Alien³ was not a critical success, the film was an international box office hit and piqued Fox's interest in continuing the franchise. The fourth film, Alien Resurrection, began production in 1996, with Jean-Pierre Jeunet directing and Weaver receiving more creative control and an enhanced salary. The film was released in 1997, to mixed to negative reviews and modest box office returns, marking the last installment in the original series to date. The story of the original series focuses on Ellen Ripley's struggle for survival against the Aliens, alongside several groups of comrades, while also preventing Weyland-Yutani from obtaining the creatures. After sacrificing herself, Ripley returns two hundred years later as a human-Alien hybrid clone called Ripley 8, retaining genetic memory, but with a different personality and superhuman abilities.
On its way back to Earth, the commercial spaceship USCSS Nostromo is diverted to a desolate planetoid by a cryptic signal from a derelict alien spacecraft. While exploring the alien ship, one of the Nostromo's crewmen discovers the remains of the ship's pilot and also a large chamber that contains thousands of egg-like objects. One of the eggs releases a creature that attaches itself to his face and renders him unconscious. The others break quarantine to bring him back aboard the ship. The parasite dies and the crewman wakes up, seemingly fine. Soon afterwards, an alien organism bursts from his chest and grows extremely rapidly into a terrifying eight-foot (about 2.5 meters) tall creature that starts killing off the crew.
After 57 years in hypersleep, the sole survivor of the USCSS Nostromo, WO Ellen Ripley, awakens aboard a medical space station orbiting Earth. Her story of the Alien terror she encountered is disbelieved and she learns that the planetoid from the first film (now designated as LV-426 or Acheron) is now home to a terraforming colony. When contact with the colony is lost, Ripley, against her better judgment and to regain her pilot's license, hesitantly accompanies a squad of high-tech Elite Colonial Marines aboard the spaceship USS Sulaco to investigate. Once there, they discover the colonists have been wiped out after finding the derelict alien ship (and its deadly cargo) from the first film.
Alien 3 (1992)
Due to a fire aboard the USS Sulaco, an escape pod carrying the survivors of the second film is automatically jettisoned. It crash-lands on the refinery/prison planet Fiorina "Fury" 161, but Ripley is the only one to survive the crash. Unbeknownst to her, an Alien Facehugger was also aboard the ship. Before long, a full-sized Alien is then loose in the prison, killing the inmates and staff. Ripley also discovers there is an Alien queen growing inside her, and must not only kill the rampaging Alien but also herself in order to save humanity.
Alien Resurrection (1997)
Two hundred years after the events of the previous film, several clones of Ellen Ripley (including the alien queen she was carrying) are produced. The Alien queen is surgically removed from her body as 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 onboard a transport starship called the Betty. The Aliens escape their enclosures, while Ripley 8 (a clone mixed with Alien DNA) and the mercenaries attempt to escape and destroy the Auriga before it reaches Earth.
Development of a prequel story began in the early 2000s when both Ridley Scott and James Cameron started to develop ideas for a story that would explore the origins of the Alien. In 2002, the development of Alien vs. Predator had taken precedence and the prequel project remained dormant until 2009. Jon Spaihts wrote the first screenplay for the project, but Scott then opted for a different direction and hired Damon Lindelof in 2010, to rewrite the script into a story that focused on the creators of the Aliens, rather than the Aliens themselves. The film, titled Prometheus, was released in 2012 to box office success and lukewarm critical reception.
By 2014, development on the second prequel was underway, with Scott returning as director. The film's screenplay was initially written by Jack Paglen in 2013, but was subsequently rewritten by Michael Green and Dante Harper, before Scott's collaborator from Gladiator, John Logan, wrote the final version. The film, titled Alien: Covenant, commenced production in February 2016 and was released on May 19, 2017. Alien: Covenant was a box office disappointment, grossing $240.9 million worldwide against a production budget of $97 million, while also receiving lukewarm critical reviews. The story of the prequel series centers around the android David 8, and two crews he accompanies on expeditions to meet the mysterious Engineers. A third film was planned, but by the end of 2017 had been cancelled.
Some 30 years before the events of Alien, scientists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Accompanied by David 8 and hoping to discover the origins of humanity, they journey aboard the spaceship Prometheus and arrive on the distant planet LV-223 in the Zeta2 Reticuli system, the same region of space in which the planetoid LV-426 from Alien is found. There they discover the remains of an advanced civilization (the same race as the dead pilot from the derelict ship in Alien), who were developing biological weapons which could have driven the human race extinct. The horrors they encounter result in the loss of the crew except for David and Shaw.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Eleven years after the events of Prometheus, the colony ship USCSS Covenant, carrying thousands of colonists and hundreds of human embryos in cryo-stasis, makes its way towards the planet Origae-6. The crew intercepts a transmission sent from Shaw, which they decide to trace to an apparently habitable Engineer home world (referred to as Planet 4), devoid of all non-floral life. When several crew members are infected by the mutagen and give birth to a new breed of Alien, the Neomorphs, the android David 8 rescues them. It is revealed that he brought Shaw to the planet, where he killed all non-floral life and began experimenting on Shaw's corpse to engineer Aliens. His motivations to replace human life with Aliens is made apparent, and with the birth of yet another new breed of Alien the survivors, now led by Daniels, are forced to flee from the world. After disposing of the Alien chasing them, the crew members return to the Covenant and are put back into cryosleep by someone they believe to be their shipboard synthetic, Walter. Only when Daniels is put in her cryopod does she realize that Walter has been replaced by the identical David. With the crew, colonists, and embryos at his mercy, David contacts Weyland-Yutani back on Earth, stating that while the majority of the crew was killed in the neutrino blast, they would be continuing on towards Origae-6.
Sigourney Weaver has expressed her interest in returning to the role of Ripley with Neill Blomkamp directing a story which would tie into the first two Alien films. This was cancelled in favor of Scott's own untitled third prequel, which was later also cancelled or postponed following the disappointing box office results of Alien: Covenant. In February 2019, James Cameron stated that he was working on reviving Blomkamp's project.
After the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company, it was confirmed at the 2019 CinemaCon that future Alien films are in development, including the third prequel, which Ridley Scott is working on, and is currently being written.
In 2012 and 2017 respectively, Ridley Scott directed eight short films to tie in with the releases of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. In July 2018, it was reported that 20th Century Fox had joined forces with Tongal to produce short films, intended to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Alien franchise. By March 2019, the details of the short films were released. Tongal co-founder and CEO James DeJulio stated that the joint-production is "reflective of Tongal's mission to bring creative opportunities to the next generation of talent." The shorts will be released weekly on IGN, after which the films will be uploaded to the Alien Universe web page, as well as all Alien social media pages on May 5 of the same year. All six of the short films will premiere at the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Writer(s)||Producer(s)|
|TED 2023||March 16, 2012||Ridley Scott|
|Introducing the Next Generation David||April 18, 2012|
|Prometheus: Quiet Eye||May 17, 2012|
|Alien: Covenant — Prologue: Last Supper||February 22, 2017|
|Alien: Covenant — Meet Walter||March 10, 2017|
|Alien: Covenant — Crew Messages||April 17, 2017– April 20, 2017|
|Alien: Covenant — Prologue: The Crossing||April 26, 2017|
|Alien: Covenant — She Won't Go Quietly||May 5, 2017|
|Alien: Containment||March 29, 2019||Chris Reading||Tongal Studios|
|Alien: Specimen||April 5, 2019||Kelsey Taylor|
|Alien: Night Shift||April 12, 2019||Aidan Breznick|
|Alien: Ore||April 19, 2019||Kaley & Sam Spear|
|Alien: Harvest||April 26, 2019||Benjamin Howdeshell||TBA|
|Alien: Alone||April 26, 2019||Noah Miller|
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|Alien vs. Predator||August 13, 2004||Paul W. S. Anderson||Paul W. S. Anderson, Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett||John Davis, Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill|
|Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem||December 25, 2007||Greg and Colin Strause||Shane Salerno||John Davis, David Giler and Walter Hill|
Inspired by the Dark Horse Comics series, the filmmakers of Predator 2 (1990) incorporated an easter egg in which an Alien skull was seen in a Predator trophy case. Expansions upon this shared universe between the Alien and Predator franchises followed through comics and video games, leading up to the launch of a film franchise with the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, followed by Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007; an eventual third film is possible. The franchise has spawned various new comics, novels, video games, and other merchandise based upon or inspired by the films.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
In 2004, a Predator mothership 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 giving off a "heat bloom" attracts a group of explorers led by billionaire and self-taught engineer Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), the original founder and CEO of Weyland Industries, who unknowingly activates an Alien egg production line as a hibernating Alien Queen is awakened within the pyramid. Three Predators descend onto the planet and enters the structure, killing all humans in their way with the intention of hunting the newly formed Aliens, while the scattered explorers are captured alive by Aliens and implanted with embryos. Two Predators die in the ensuing battle with an Alien, while the third allies itself with the lone surviving human, Alexa "Lex" Woods (Sanaa Lathan), while making their way out of the pyramid as it is destroyed by the Predator's wrist bomb and eventually does battle with the escaped Alien Queen on the surface. The Queen is defeated by being dragged down by a water tower into the dark depths of the frozen sea, but not before she fatally wounds the last Predator. The orbiting Predator mothership uncloaks and the crew retrieves the fallen Predator. A Predator elder gives Lex a spear as a sign of respect, and then departs. Once in orbit it is revealed that an Alien Chestburster was present within the corpse, thus a Predalien hybrid is born.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Set immediately after the events of the previous film, the Predalien hybrid aboard the Predator scout ship, having just separated from the mothership shown in the previous film, has grown to full adult size and sets about killing the Predators aboard the ship, causing it to crash in the small town of Gunnison, Colorado. The last surviving Predator activates a distress beacon containing a video recording of the Predalien, which is received by a veteran Predator on the Predator homeworld, 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 the town. He removes evidence of their presence as he moves along using a corrosive blue liquid and 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 air force drops a tactical nuclear bomb on the town, incinerating both combatants along with the Predalien's warriors and hive, as well as the few remaining humans in the town. The salvaged plasma pistol is then taken to a Ms. Yutani of the Yutani Corporation, foreshadowing an advancement in technology leading to the future events of the Alien films.
In 2014, Sega published the video game Alien: Isolation. On February 20, 2019, Axis Animation reported that a seven-episode animated adaptation of Alien: Isolation was in development; on February 27, 2019, IGN confirmed that the seven-part Alien: Isolation - The Digital Series would be exclusively released to IGN on February 28, 2019. The series, developed by 20th Century Fox in conjunction with Reverse Engineering Studios and DVgroup was created using a combination of brand-new scenes animated from scratch, cinematics taken directly from the original game, and digital recreations of first-person scenes from the game. Alien: Isolation is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens, following Amanda Ripley, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother, Ellen Ripley, as she is transferred to the space station Sevastopol to find the flight recorder of the Nostromo only to discover an Alien has terrorized the station, killing the vast majority of the crew. Andrea Deck reprises her role as Amanda Ripley.
From March 19 to 22, 2019, North Bergen High School (New Jersey, US) staged an adaptation of Alien entitled Alien: The Play, which was widely praised and granted seals of approval by Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver and Walter Hill. In the aftermath of the play's popularity and approval, North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco's non-profit foundation pledged funds for more performances.
Cast and characters
- This table shows the recurring characters and the actors who have portrayed them throughout the franchise.
- A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's presence in the film has not yet been announced.
- A Y indicates an appearance as a younger version of a pre-existing character.
- A C indicates a cameo appearance.
- A P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs only.
- A D indicates an appearance in deleted scenes only.
- A V indicates a voice role.
- A U indicates an uncredited role.
- A M indicates a motion-capture role.
|Character||Original series||Prequel series||Web series|
|Alien||Aliens||Alien 3||Alien Resurrection||Prometheus||Alien: Covenant||Alien: Isolation – The Digital Series|
|Arthur Dallas||Tom Skerritt||Tom SkerrittP|
|Ellen Louise Ripley||Sigourney Weaver||Sigourney Weaver||Andrea DeckV|
|Joan Lambert||Veronica Cartwright||Veronica CartwrightP|
|Samuel Brett||Harry Dean Stanton||Harry Dean StantonP|
|Gilbert Kane||John Hurt||John HurtP|
|Ash||Ian Holm||Ian HolmP|
|Dennis Parker||Yaphet Kotto||Yaphet KottoP|
|Aliens||Bolaji Badejo||Carl Toop||Tom Woodruff Jr.||Appeared||Andrew Crawford||Appeared|
|Goran D. Kleut|
|MU / TH / UR 6000
"Mother / Father"
|Helen HortonV||Steven GilbornV||Lorelei KingV|
|Jones||Various animal performers|
Michael Bishop Weyland
|Rebecca "Newt" Jorden||Carrie Henn||Danielle Edmond|
|Dwayne Hicks||Michael Biehn||Michael BiehnP|
|Amanda Ripley||Elizabeth InglisPD||Andrea DeckV|
|Elizabeth M. Shaw||Noomi Rapace||Noomi RapaceC|
|Peter Weyland||Guy Pearce||Guy PearceU|
|Charlie Holloway||Logan Marshall-Green||Logan Marshall-GreenP|
Additional crew and production details
|Alien||Jerry Goldsmith||Derek Vanlint||Terry Rawlings & Peter Weatherley||20th Century Fox
Brandywine-Ronald Shusett Productions
|20th Century Fox||1hr 57min|
|Aliens||James Horner||Adrian Biddle||Ray Lovejoy||20th Century Fox
SLM Production Group
|Alien 3||Elliot Goldenthal||Alex Thomson||Terry Rawlings||20th Century Fox
|Alien Resurrection||John Frizzell||Darius Khondji||Hervé Schneid||1hr 49min|
|Prometheus||Marc Streitenfeld||Dariusz Wolski||Pietro Scalia||20th Century Fox
Scott Free Productions
|Alien: Covenant||Jed Kurzel||20th Century Fox
Scott Free Productions
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Budget||References|
|Alien||May 25, 1979||$80,931,801||$122,698,829||$203,630,630||$11 million|||
|Aliens||July 18, 1986||$85,160,248||$98,156,207||$183,316,455||$18 million|||
|Alien 3||May 22, 1992||$55,473,545||$104,340,953||$159,814,498||$50 million|||
|Alien Resurrection||November 26, 1997||$47,795,658||$113,580,410||$161,376,068||$70 million|||
|Prometheus||June 8, 2012||$126,477,084||$276,877,385||$403,354,469||$125 million|||
|Alien: Covenant||May 19, 2017||$74,262,031||$164,600,000||$240,891,763||$97 million|||
|Total||$470,100,367||$880,253,784||$1,352,383,883||(E) $371 million|
Please note that the figures in this table are not inflation adjusted. Where two different figures are quoted for box office grosses, information is taken from two different sources.
|Alien||97% (9.05/10 average rating) (115 reviews)||89 (34 reviews)||N/A|
|Aliens||99% (9.01/10 average rating) (71 reviews)||84 (22 reviews)||A|
|Alien 3||42% (5.33/10 average rating) (53 reviews)||59 (20 reviews)||C|
|Alien Resurrection||56% (5.85/10 average rating) (78 reviews)||63 (21 reviews)||B−|
|Prometheus||74% (6.96/10 average rating) (299 reviews)||64 (43 reviews)||B|
|Alien: Covenant||66% (6.33/10 average rating) (378 reviews)||65 (52 reviews)||B|
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. Alien³ was nominated for Best Visual Effects. Prometheus was also 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. IGN listed Alien as the thirteenth best film franchise of all time in 2006.
|Award||Alien||Aliens||Alien³||Alien Resurrection||Prometheus||Alien: Covenant|
|Sound Effects Editing||Won|
"Alien Day", April 26, has become the fan celebration day for the Aliens franchise. The date derives from LV-426, the "426" converting to "4/26" or 'April 26'. On Alien Day 2016, Neill Blomkamp released new art for his concept of Alien 5, and the Audible Original audio play adaptation of Alien: Out of the Shadows was released. On Alien Day 2017, 20th Century Fox released "The Crossing" prologue short film for Alien: Covenant, and the Audible Original audio play adaptation of Alien: River of Pain was released.
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 Alien³, 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.
Home video releases
There have been dozens of stand-alone releases of the individual films on various formats, including Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. The multiple single releases on VHS were generally the original theatrical cuts of each film.
Laserdisc saw single releases of all 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 US$100). 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.
The films made their DVD debut in 1999, both as part of a boxed set (see Alien Legacy below) and as separate single-disc releases of each film (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). Following the Alien Quadrilogy set (see below), each film received individual two-disc releases containing 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 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 Anthology, which includes a detailed archive of many previous releases, including the rare Laserdisc box sets.
- Alien Triple Pack (VHS, 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 Alien³. (Not to be confused with the 2008 DVD set of the same name below.)
- Alien Trilogy (VHS, 1993), a three-cassette packaging of Alien, Aliens (in its LaserDisc Special Edition cut, for the first time on another format) and Alien³.
- Alien Saga (VHS, 1997), UK boxed set with the first three films plus a "Making of Alien Resurrection" cassette. It was released again in 1998 with the Alien Resurrection film included. A Japan-exclusive Laserdisc pack containing the first three films released in 1999 also had the same name. (A planned U.S. version was canceled as DVDs were quickly taking over the much smaller domestic Laserdisc market in that country.)
- Alien Legacy (VHS/DVD, 1999), a four-volume set containing the 1991 Laserdisc "Special Edition" cut of Aliens, the theatrical versions of the other three films, and on DVD various supplemental materials that were either re-used from Laserdisc or newly created.
- Alien Quadrilogy (DVD, 2003), considered one of the most exhaustive box sets of the DVD era in terms of content and special features, was spread over nine discs: four discs (one disc each) for the theatrical and extended cuts of each film (new "2003" cuts of Alien, Alien³, and Alien Resurrection and the previously released 1991 "Special Edition" cut of Aliens), four discs containing special features specific to each film, and an extra disc of documentaries and other supplemental content.
- The films were later re-released as two-disc individual titles as part of 20th Century Fox's Collector's Series.
- Alien Triple Pack (DVD, 2008), a three-disc package including the theatrical cuts of Alien and Alien³, as well as the "Special Edition" of Aliens. This set reused 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 (Blu-ray, 2010), an exclusive six-disc release featuring two versions of each film (theatrical, and the 2003 cuts from the Alien Quadrilogy set—except for changes to the 2003 Alien³ "Workprint" version which included having some original voice actors come back to re-record poorly captured dialogue in newly inserted extended scenes, and fixed production errors on the "special edition" of Aliens) and almost all 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 were housed on a single disc, while the storage capacity of Blu-ray means the previous five discs of special features were included on the remaining two discs in the set, which held approximately 60 hours of bonus video content and over 12,000 still images. Most subsequent releases of the films on the Blu-ray medium are repackaged versions of the Blu-ray disks contained in this box set. A discount box set without the two additional discs of bonus features was also released.
- Alien/Aliens Dual Pack (DVD), including the theatrical cuts of both Alien and Aliens. A separate dual pack was released containing the theatrical and extended versions of Alien vs. Predator and the unrated Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
- Prometheus to Alien: The Evolution (Blu-ray, 2012), containing all of the Alien films, Prometheus, and a bonus material disk for Prometheus.
- All of the Alien films, including Prometheus, have been released in special Steelbook Blu-ray editions, although these do not come in a boxed set. While the Alien Steelbooks themselves contain the Blu-ray disks on their own, the Prometheus Steelbook contains both Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions of the film, as well as a bonus feature Blu-ray disk with seven hours of content. With the exception of Prometheus, the films had been previously released as DVD Definitive editions, which featured Steelbook casing and contained both DVD versions of the films and a bonus feature disk.[clarification needed]
- Alien: The 35th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray, 2014), released to mark the 35th anniversary of the release of the film, containing both a Blu-ray and a Digital HD copy, a reprint of Alien: The Illustrated Story and a series of collectible art cards containing artwork by H. R. Giger related to the film. The disk itself is the same as the respective disk on the 2010 Anthology Blu-ray release, and contains MOTHER mode, despite the lack of the required bonus disk. A reprint of the novel by Alan Dean Foster was also released, along with reprints of all other novels, with the Alien Resurrection novel available as of May 2015.
- The Alien Universe box set was released exclusively through Wal-Mart on April 18, 2017, and included four limited edition poster cards designed by the Mondo art company.
Several novelizations of each of the six films and some comic books as well as original canonical novels based on the franchise have been released. The original novels include Alien: Out of the Shadows, Alien: Sea of Sorrows, Alien: River of Pain, marketed as the "Canonical Alien Trilogy" and the short story collection Aliens: Bug Hunt. Out of the Shadows and River of Pain were adapted into audio dramas in 2016 & 2017 respectively released on the Alien Day of the respective year. Alan Dean Foster published Alien: Covenant – Origins, a novel set between the events of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
Dark Horse Comics published a line based on the franchise.
Other books expanding this fictional universe has been released through the years, and also such that depict the background to the films, including works by special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics Incorporated (ADI) which has worked with both the Alien, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator films.
- Giger's Alien (1979)
- The Book of Alien (1979)
- Aliens Adventure Game (1991)
- Cyberantics: A Little Adventure (1992)
- Aliens: The Official Strategy Guide (unreleased; original release date 1995)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual (1995/1996/2012)
- Alien: The Special Effects (1997)
- The Making of Alien Resurrection (1997)
- Aliens/Predator: Panel to Panel (2006)
- Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film (2011)
- Prometheus: The Art of the Film (2012)
- Alien Saga: The Poster Collection (2013)
- The Art of Alien: Isolation (2014)
- Alien: The Archive (2014)
- Alien Next Door (2015)
- Aliens: 30 Years of Terror (2016)
- Aliens: The Set Photography (2016)
- Alien Visions (upcoming; original release date 2016)
- Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report (2016)
- The Book of Alien: Augmented Reality Survival Manual (2017)
- Alien: Covenant: The Official Collector's Edition (2017)
- The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant (2017)
- Alien: Covenant - David's Drawings (2018)
- Alien: The Blueprints (2019)
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 Entertainment released three different games based on Alien³, 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 Alien³: The Gun in 1993. Acclaim's first-person shooter Alien Trilogy was released in 1996, and their adaptation of Alien Resurrection was released in 2000 as a PlayStation first-person shooter.
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 2014, Play Mechanix and Raw Thrills released Aliens: Armageddon, a rail gun first person shooter that hit arcades soon after. It has received praise, though it has also been criticized for only being four chapters long. These rail gun shooters came in two different cabinets: one featuring a large screen and assault rifles in place of laser rifles (although you use an assault rifle throughout the game regardless), the other featuring a slightly smaller screen and laser rifles.
In 2006, Sega struck a deal with Fox Licensing to release two new Alien video games on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. One of them, a first-person shooter by Gearbox Software, Aliens: Colonial Marines, was released in 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows. The game is set between Aliens and Alien³, following a group of marines sent to investigate the Sulaco who wound up crash-landing on LV-426. Sega also released a Nintendo DS game Aliens Infestation in 2011.
- Alien Game (1979) by Kenner
- Aliens (1989)
- Aliens Expansion (1990)
- Operation: Aliens - Combat Game (1992) by Peter Pan Playthings
- Aliens/Predator (1997)
- Aliens vs. Predator: Alien Resurrection Expansion Set (1998)
- Aliens (2001)
- Aliens: This Time It's War (2010)
- Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game (2015)
- Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game Expansion (2015)
- Aliens: Hadley's Hope (2018)
- Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps (2019)
In 2019, Free League Publishing announced the pending release of Alien: The Roleplaying Game to be released in late 2019. A preview & quickplay module entitled ALIEN Cinematic Starter Kit was released in summer of 2019 to those pre-ordering the rulebooks
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alien (franchise) films.|
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- 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 Unauthorized Guide to the Alien and Predator Films (by David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1-903889-94-4)
- Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of The Film (By Ian Nathan) 2011, 176 pages. Includes inserts with sticker, mini posters, art and storyboards, Blueprints and other material. ISBN 9780760341124
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