Alien (franchise)

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Alien
Alien (franchise) logo.png
The current logo of the franchise.
Created by Dan O'Bannon
Ronald Shusett
Original work Alien (1979)
Print publications
Novel(s) List of novels
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Film(s)

Original series

Prequel series

Games
Role-playing Aliens Adventure Game (1990)
Video game(s) List of video games

Alien is a British-American science-fiction horror media franchise centered on the film series depicting Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley (played by 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. It was followed by three sequels, Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997). Scott also directed a prequel series, composed of Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017).

The series has led to numerous books, 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.

Background[edit]

After completion of the film Dark Star (1974), writer Dan O'Bannon wanted to develop some of the ideas (especially "alien hunts crew through a spaceship") 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 entitled Star Beast—it was changed to Alien after O'Bannon noticed the number of times the word "alien" occurred in the script.[1][2] Their script was sold to Brandywine Productions, a company formed by producers Gordon Carroll, David Giler, and Walter Hill which had a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. The writers expected it to be a low-budget film, but the success of Star Wars inclined 20th Century Fox to invest millions.[3]

In the original script, the ship had 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 was to be played by Tom Skerritt. Later, when Fox president Alan Ladd, Jr. and the producers at Brandywine heard rumors of Fox working on other titles with strong female leads, it was decided to cast a female as Ripley and Skerritt became Captain Dallas. Shortly before filming began, Veronica Cartwright was set for the Ripley role, but director Scott opted for Sigorney Weaver following screen tests.[1][4] Cartwright played Navigator Lambert in the movie, the final crew member to be killed.

Swiss painter and sculptor H. R. Giger designed the alien creature's adult form and the derelict ship, while French artist Mœbius created the look of the spacesuits and Ron Cobb provided most of the on-set design.[5][1][6]

While the first film of the series, directed by Ridley Scott, was successful, 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.[7] Cameron wrote the screenplay from a story he developed with Giler and Walter Hill.

Following the second film, 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 offered a $5 million salary and a producer credit to make Alien 3. Released in 1992, the film was troubled from the start, with production beginning without even a finished script. With $1 million already spent on production, music video director David Fincher, the third director considered for the film, was hired to helm the project.[8] Giler, Hill and Larry Ferguson wrote the screenplay, based on a story from an earlier script by Vincent Ward. After production was completed in late 1991, the studio reworked the film without Fincher's involvement or consent.[9] The death of Ripley was designed to bring closure to the Alien franchise by killing off the principal character.

While fans and critics initially did not receive Alien 3 well, the film still did well at the box office worldwide 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, although she later joined the project after being promised an $11 million salary and more creative control, including being able to approve director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.[clarification needed] The script, set 200 years after Alien 3, resurrected the Ripley character via human cloning.[10] The film, released in 1997, experienced an extended production and was described by screenwriter Joss Whedon as having done "everything wrong" with his script.[11]

List of films[edit]

Original series[edit]

Alien (1979)[edit]

On its way back to Earth, the U.S. commercial spaceship 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.

Aliens (1986)[edit]

After 57 years in hypersleep, the sole survivor of the Nostromo, LT 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) 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 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.[12]

Alien 3 (1992)[edit]

Due to a fire aboard the 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, some alien facehuggers were 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)[edit]

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. The Aliens escape their enclosures, while Ripley 8 (a clone with some Alien DNA herself) and the mercenaries attempt to escape and destroy the Auriga before it reaches Earth.

Prequel series[edit]

Prometheus (2012)[edit]

Some thirty years before the events of Alien, scientists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, they journey aboard the spaceship Prometheus and arrive on a distant world in the Zeta2 Reticuli system, the same region of space in which the planetoid 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.

Development of a fifth film in the series began in the early 2000s when both Ridley Scott and James Cameron started to develop ideas for a story that exploring the origins of the Alien. By 2003, the development of Alien vs. Predator had taken precedence, and the fifth Alien film project remained dormant until 2009 when Scott again showed interest. Jon Spaihts wrote a script for an Alien prequel, but Scott then opted for a slightly 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 less of a direct prequel to it, concentrating more on discovering the advanced race that created the titular Aliens rather than the Aliens themselves (though variants of the Alien in its facehugger and full-sized form are seen in the film). 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 2012 and stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce. The film grossed over $400 million worldwide and garnered mostly positive reviews, with a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Alien: Covenant (2017)[edit]

Eleven years after the events of Prometheus, the colony ship 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 the apparently habitable Engineer home world, devoid of all non-floral life. When several crew members are infected by the mutagen and give birth to a new breed of alien life, the Neomorphs, the android David 8 rescues them. His motivations to create Aliens and destroy human life are made apparent, however, and with the birth of the first Aliens, the survivors, now led by Daniels, are forced to flee from the world. After disposing of the Alien, the crew members 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 Earth, stating that while the majority of the crew was killed in the neutrino blast, they would be continuing on towards Origae-6.[13]

By March 2014, a Prometheus sequel was in development, with Scott set to return as the director.[14][15] Michael Green wrote a script based on a first draft from Jake Paglan, which reportedly was more like a horror film than the original.[16] Shooting was scheduled to begin in February 2016, with a planned release date of October 6, 2017, which was eventually brought up to May 19, 2017.[17][18] Rumored to be titled Paradise, but originally revealed as Alien: Paradise Lost, the film was later retitled Alien: Covenant.[19] Actors Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston were expected to appear, with Waterston in the lead role of Daniels.[20][21] Though Scott claimed that Noomi Rapace's character would be returning for Alien: Covenant in November 2015, he confirmed in an interview in January 2016 that Rapace would not be reprising her role and that the casting process for the lead roles were ongoing.[20][22] However, it was later confirmed that Rapace was, in fact, reprising her role and that the cast would also include Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demian Bichir.[23]

Cancelled films[edit]

In the mid nineties screenwriter Stuart Hazeldine wrote a treatment titled Alien: Earthbound. Fox executives were impressed by the script, having read it after Alien Resurrection had entered post-production.[24]

Joss Whedon had written an Earth-set script for Alien 5, but Sigourney Weaver was not interested and wanted it to be set on the original planetoid. She has remained open to a role on the condition that she likes the story.[25] Before 20th Century Fox greenlit Alien vs. Predator, James Cameron had been collaborating on the plot for a fifth Alien film with another writer, but ceased work on learning of the crossover. Cameron stated that the crossover 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 the final product, he ruled out any future involvement with the series.[26]

In a 2002 interview, Ridley Scott stated that a new Alien project "would be a lot of fun", but "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.", which became the basis of his Prequel Series.[27] In late 2008, Weaver hinted in an interview with MTV that she and Scott were working on an Alien spin-off 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.[28] Instead, Scott worked on a prequel that explained the "Space Jockey" found on the derelict spacecraft from Alien, titled Prometheus, which was released in 2012.[29]

In 2014, Sigourney Weaver hinted that she was interested in returning to the role of Ripley, stating that Resurrection's ending "feels incomplete to me. I wish it didn't, but it does. We left it hanging. And there's a way to finish this story that I think would be satisfying to me and the many fans."[30] She also stated regarding the hybrid character that "had we done a fifth one, I don't doubt that her humanity would have prevailed."[31]

In February 2015, director Neill Blomkamp posted concept art on his Instagram feed, saying in an interview that he had been "wanting to make an Alien film for like years and years" and had developed the story and artwork after working on Chappie with Weaver.[32] Weaver responded that she would be willing to reprise her role as Ripley if Blomkamp was directing.[33] On February 18, 2015, it was confirmed that Blomkamp would direct a new Alien film featuring Weaver.[34] Although no official statement was made, the film was believed to disregard the events of Alien 3 and Resurrection, and instead directly follow Aliens.[35][36] Blomkamp denied these rumors, saying instead that he simply favored the first two films and wanted his to tie into them.[37] Weaver has specified "It's just as if, you know, the path forks and one direction goes off to Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection and another direction goes off to Neill's movie."[38] In March 2015, Blomkamp reported that the title of the film would not be Alien 5 and further confirmed plans for more than one Alien sequel/prequel.[39][40]

A fan at Pensacon in March 2015 reported that actor Michael Biehn, who played Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Aliens, confirmed in a private conversation that he had been contacted regarding the film.[41] On March 24, 2015, Sharlto Copley revealed his interest in portraying an Alien.[42] On May 20, 2015, Bill Paxton also expressed interest in reprising his role from Aliens.[43] On June 29, 2015, Blomkamp stated filming was set to begin in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[44] In August 2015, however, it was reported that the project was on hold until at least 2017.[45] In September 2015, Ridley Scott confirmed that he would produce, and that production would begin after that of the sequel to Prometheus was finished.[46] Blomkamp stated in October 2015 that the Alien project might be shelved pending the outcome of the second prequel film, and thus he would be moving on to other projects.[47] During a VMware event in April 2016, Weaver stated she thought that the proposed fifth Alien film would still go into production after the completion Alien: Covenant.[48] Late that month, Blomkamp shared concept art via Instagram, featuring an adult Newt.[49][clarification needed] Weaver told Variety that both she and Blomkamp hoped to finish Ripley's story in the film.[50] In January, Blomkamp said that the odds of the film going into production were "slim".[51] In April, Scott said that he didn't think the film will ever be made. He elaborated that there was never a complete script, just a 10-page pitch, which Fox decided they didn't wish to pursue any further. Commentators have noted this goes against Weaver's and James Cameron's statements about reading Blomkamp's script for the film, although it's possible Weaver and Cameron were referring to the pitch document.[52] On May 1, 2017, Ridley Scott confirmed that Blomkamp's film had been officially canceled, and stated that its title had been Alien: Awakening, and that he had repurposed the film to be set between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.[53]

Future[edit]

Alien: Covenant 2[edit]

In September 2015, Ridley Scott revealed he was planning two sequels to Prometheus which would lead into the first Alien film, also stating that there might be "even a fourth film before we get back into the Alien franchise."[54][55] In November 2015, Scott confirmed that Alien: Covenant would be the first of three more films before linking up with original Alien, thus starting a new trilogy of sci-fi films, and stated that the Prometheus sequels would reveal who created the Aliens.[56][57] According to an interview with Scott that took place on the set of Alien: Covenant in 2016, Scott had the screenplay for the third prequel film written while working on Alien: Covenant, so that he could "be ready to go again next year." Scott also mentioned the revived franchise might go on for even longer than previously mentioned; "I can keep cranking it for another six. I'm not going to close it down again. No way."[58] In March 2017, Scott stated that if Alien: Covenant and the film that would follow it were successful, he had plans for another three Alien films. Scott explained: "It will go Prometheus, Awakening, Covenant."[59] In May 2017, Scott revealed that Alien: Awakening was originally the name of Neill Blomkamp's since-cancelled Aliens sequel.[60] 20th Century Fox is currently reassessing the sequels pitched by Scott, due to Covenant under-performing at the box office.[61] In the audio commentary for Alien: Covenant, Scott confirmed that a sequel to Alien: Covenant, tentatively referred to as Alien: Covenant 2, is being written by John Logan, with Fassbender, Waterston and McBride reprising their roles. Scott also confirmed that the film will cap his prequel series, leading directly into the events of Alien.[62][63] In an interview with Variety on September with Stacey Snider, the current chief-executive-officer of 20th Century Fox she stated while Alien Covenant was a financial disappointment they still trust Ridley Scott to know the right story and to proceed with the sequel.[64]

Other films[edit]

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. Attempts to create a shared universe between the Alien and Predator franchises followed, through comics and video games, until a film franchise was launched with the release of AVP: Alien vs. Predator in 2004, and a sequel in 2007. The future of the franchise remains uncertain due to a largely negative critical response.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)[edit]

In 2004, a Predator ship arrives in Earth's 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 hunters 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)[edit]

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. It removes evidence of their presence as it 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 single-handedly, and the two mortally wound one another just as the US military drops a tactical nuclear bomb on the town, incinerating both combatants and the few remaining humans in the city. The salvaged plasma pistol is taken to Ms. Yutani.

Cast and crew[edit]

Recurring characters[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • 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-only role.
  • A M indicates a motion-capture only role.
Character Original Series Prequel Series
Alien
(1979)
Aliens
(1986)
Alien 3
(1992)
Alien Resurrection
(1997)
Prometheus
(2012)
Alien:
Covenant

(2017)
Alien:
Covenant 2

(2019)
Arthur Dallas Tom Skerritt Tom SkerrittP  
Ellen Louise Ripley
Ripley Clone 8
Sigourney Weaver Sigourney Weaver
Nicole FellowsY
  TBA[65]
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
Goran D. Kleut
TBA
MU / TH / UR 6000
"Mother / Father"
Helen HortonV   Steven GilbornV   Lorelei KingV
Jones Various animal performers  
Engineers Appeared   Ian Whyte
John Lebar
Daniel James
Appeared TBA[66]
Bishop
Michael Bishop Weyland
"Bishop II"
  Lance Henriksen  
Rebecca "Newt" Jorden   Carrie Henn Danielle Edmond  
Dwayne Hicks   Michael Biehn Michael BiehnP  
Elizabeth M. Shaw   Noomi Rapace
Lucy HutchinsonY
Noomi Rapace  
David 8
Walter
  Michael Fassbender
Peter Weyland   Guy Pearce  
Charlie Holloway   Logan Marshall-Green Logan Marshall-GreenP  
Janet "Danny" Daniels   Katherine Waterston
Tennessee "Tee" Faris   Danny McBride

Crew[edit]

Role Main series Prequel series
Alien
(1979)
Aliens
(1986)
Alien 3
(1992)
Alien Resurrection
(1997)
Prometheus
(2012)
Alien: Covenant
(2017)
Director Ridley Scott James Cameron David Fincher Jean-Pierre Jeunet Ridley Scott
Writer(s) Story by: Ronald Shusett
Dan O'Bannon
Screenplay by: Dan O'Bannon
Story by: Walter Hill
David Giler
James Cameron
Screenplay by: James Cameron
Story by: Vincent Ward
Screenplay
by:
David Giler
Walter Hill
Larry Ferguson
Joss Whedon Jon Spaihts
Damon Lindelof
Story by: Jack Paglen
Michael Green
Screenplay by: John Logan
Dante Harper
Producer(s) Gordon Carroll
David Giler
Walter Hill
Gale Anne Hurd Gordon Carroll
David Giler
Walter Hill
Gordon Carroll
Bill Badalato
David Giler
Walter Hill
Ridley Scott
David Giler
Walter Hill
Ridley Scott
David Giler
Walter Hill
Mark Huffam
Michael Schaefer
Music(s) Jerry Goldsmith James Horner Elliot Goldenthal John Frizzell Marc Streitenfeld Jed Kurzel
Cinematography Derek Vanlint Adrian Biddle Alex Thomson Darius Khondji Dariusz Wolski
Editor Terry Rawlings
Peter Weatherley
Ray Lovejoy Terry Rawlings Hervé Schneid Pietro Scalia
Production Companies Brandywine Productions Scott Free Productions
Brandywine Productions
Dune Entertainment TSG Entertainment
Distributor(s) 20th Century Fox
Running time 117 minutes 137 minutes 114 minutes 109 minutes 124 minutes 123 minutes
Release date May 25, 1979 July 18, 1986 May 22, 1992 November 26, 1997 June 8, 2012 May 19, 2017

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office (adjusted for inflation 2016) Budget References
North America Foreign Worldwide
Alien May 25, 1979 $80,931,801 $122,698,829 $203,630,630 $682,636,079[67] $11 million [68]
Aliens July 18, 1986 $85,160,248 $98,156,207 $183,316,455 $406,774,526[67] $18 million [68]
Alien 3 May 22, 1992 $55,473,545 $104,340,953 $159,814,498 $277,364,676[67] $50 million [68]
Alien Resurrection November 26, 1997 $47,795,658 $113,580,410 $161,376,068 $246,835,418[67] $70 million [68]
Prometheus June 8, 2012 $126,477,084 $276,877,385 $403,354,469 $434,283,495[69] $125 million [68]
Alien: Covenant May 19, 2017 $73,757,114 $157,605,515 $231,362,629 n/a $97 million [68]
Total $468,499,321 $857,953,784 $1,342,854,749 $2,279,256,823 (E) $371 million
List indicator(s)
  • (E) indicates figures based on available information.

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.

Critical and public reaction[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Alien 97% (104 reviews)[70] 83 (22 reviews)[71] N/A
Aliens 98% (65 reviews)[72] 86 (10 reviews)[73] A[74]
Alien 3 46% (46 reviews)[75] 59 (20 reviews)[76] C[74]
Alien Resurrection 54% (71 reviews)[77] 63 (21 reviews)[78] B−[74]
Prometheus 72% (282 reviews)[79] 65 (42 reviews)[80] B[74]
Alien: Covenant 70% (300 reviews)[81] 65 (52 reviews)[82] B[74]

IGN listed Alien as the thirteenth best film franchise of all time.[83] 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."[84][85] 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.

Accolades[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Award Alien Aliens Alien 3 Alien Resurrection Prometheus
Actress Nominated
Art Direction Nominated Nominated
Film Editing Nominated
Original Score Nominated
Sound Nominated
Sound Effects Editing Won
Visual Effects Won Won Nominated Nominated

Alien Day[edit]

"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'.[86] On Alien Day 2016, Neill Blomkamp released new art for his concept of Alien 5,[87] 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,[88] and the Audible Original audio play adaptation of Alien: River of Pain was released.

Home video releases[edit]

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, although in 1991 there was also the sole release of Aliens: Special Edition (see below).

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.

On DVD initially the films were only available as a boxed set (see Alien Legacy below) but were then released separately (and 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 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 Alien 3.[89] (Not to be confused with the 2008 DVD set of the same name below.)
  • Alien Trilogy (VHS, 1993), a three-cassette packaging of the original theatrical cuts of Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3.[90]
  • 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.[91] (A planned U.S. version was canceled as DVDs were quickly taking over the much smaller domestic Laserdisc market in that country.)[92]
  • Alien Legacy (VHS/DVD, 1999), a four-volume set 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 various supplemental materials that were either re-used from Laserdisc or newly created.[93]
  • 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, Alien 3, 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.[94][95]
    • 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 Alien 3, 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).[96]
  • 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 Alien 3 "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[97]) 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.[98] 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.[99]

Other media[edit]

Novels[edit]

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

Comics[edit]

Dark Horse Comics published a line based on the franchise.

Video games[edit]

The first game based on the franchise was Alien (1982) for the Atari 2600, heavily based on Pac-Man. Another Alien game based on the first film was released in 1984.

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 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.

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.[100] 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.[101] 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.[102][103] The game is set between Aliens and Alien 3, following a group of marines sent to investigate the Sulaco who wound up crash-landing on LV-426.[104][105] Sega also released a Nintendo DS game Aliens Infestation in 2011.[106]

In 2014, Sega published Alien: Isolation. Developed by The Creative Assembly the game launched on Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms on October 7, 2014. It was directed by Alistair Hope and produced by Jonathan Court and Oli Smith. Part of the Alien series, the game is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens. The game follows Amanda Ripley, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother, Ellen Ripley. Amanda 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.[107]

The Alien also was a downloadable character in Mortal Kombat X (2015).[108]

Role-playing game[edit]

Leading Edge Games released the Aliens Adventure Game in 1990.

In academia[edit]

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.[109] 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.[110][111] 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.[112]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]