Director Fede Alvarez is now in production on the new Alien film, which may be called Alien: Romulus. Here’s everything we know about it
If all has gone according to plan, director Fede Alvarez should now be in production on the new movie in the Alien franchise, a project which may or may not be called Alien: Romulus. So as a filmmaker who’s known for moments of brutal, cringe-inducing violence works to bring the Xenomorphs back to our screens, we decided it was time to put together an article that keeps track of Everything We Know About Fede Alvarez’s New Alien Movie.
First, we have to address whether or not Alien: Romulus is really the movie’s title. The fact is, we don’t know. It could very well be a working title or a codename title that will end up being changed down the line. The first time we ever saw the Alien: Romulus title was on a production listing that was posted by the Film & Television Industry Alliance. That listing also said the movie would begin filming in Budapest, Hungary on February 6th… and while the production start date got pushed back to March 9th, filming is indeed taking place in Budapest, Hungary. The location information was correct, now we’ll have to wait and see if the title sticks as well. “Romulus” brings to mind two things, neither of which are likely to have any bearing on what the movie is about: Romulus was the name of the founder and first king of Rome, and it’s the name of a planet in the Star Trek universe.
YOUNG CHARACTERS IN PERIL
Alvarez put young characters through the wringer in his films Evil Dead (2013) and Don’t Breathe, and it looks like he’s going to be doing exactly the same thing in his new Alien movie. Every announced cast member in this film seems to be in their 20s (going by birthdates available online), and The Hollywood Reporter says that “as opposed to the other movies which focused on adults in corporate, militaristic and scientific roles, this now-ninth installment of the franchise will focus on a group of young people. On a distant colony, the group finds themselves in a fight for their lives with the titular alien, a creature known as a Xenomorph, whose race propagates by implanting eggs into people’s stomachs via face-huggers, with the juveniles eventually violently bursting out of the host’s chest.” Will this be the Alien equivalent of a slumber party slasher?
The cast consists of Cailee Spaeny (Mare of Easttown), David Jonsson (Industry), Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone), Spike Fearn (The Batman), Aileen Wu (Away from Home), and Isabela Merced (Rosaline).
THE OTHER IDEAS
There were several directions the Alien franchise could have gone after the release of 2017’s Alien: Covenant. Although that film didn’t go over well with fans or critics, it did okay at the box office ($240 million worldwide) and Alien director Ridley Scott wanted to make a direct sequel. A chance to wrap up the Alien prequel trilogy he had begun with Prometheus and continued with Alien: Covenant. So that could have happened. Alternatively, the studio could have chosen to revive the Alien 5 project Neill Blomkamp had been developing, which would have brought Sigourney Weaver back as franchise heroine Ripley and given Michael Biehn’s Hicks character from Aliens a different fate than the one we had seen in Alien 3. Blomkamp’s ideas had a lot of fan support (and support from Weaver and Biehn), but it was put on ice because Scott wanted the focus to be on his prequel trilogy. Which ran into a dead end anyway. Another filmmaker who wanted to make an Alien sequel that would have brought Weaver back as Ripley was Walter Hill, who has been a producer on every Alien movie (and got writing credits on Aliens and Alien 3). Hill wrote a 50-page Alien 5 treatment with fellow franchise producer David Giler, who has since passed away, but somehow it didn’t gain any traction. So by getting his Alien movie into production, Alvarez has beaten competition from the likes of Ridley Scott, Neill Blomkamp, and Walter Hill.
THE PITCH STUCK WITH RIDLEY SCOTT
We may not know exactly what Alvarez’s story is, but we do know the pitch made an impact on Ridley Scott, who is producing the movie that could be called Alien: Romulus. Apparently Alvarez told Scott his idea for how to approach a new Alien movie years ago and it was stuck with him. In 2021, Scott called Alvarez and asked him if he was still willing to make that Alien movie. Obviously he was. 20th Century Studios president Steve Asbell had said that they decided to move forward with the project “purely off the strength of Fede’s pitch”, as it’s “just a really good story with a bunch of characters you haven’t seen before.”
NO CONNECTION TO OTHER ALIEN FILMS
Sources say that the script Alvarez has written with his frequent collaborator Rodo Sayagues doesn’t have any connection to the previous Alien movies – except, of course, for the presence of the Xenomorph. So we shouldn’t expect to see any tie-ins with the Scott prequels, the adventures of Ripley, or the Predator crossovers. However, doesn’t the story about a distant colony being stricken with a Xenomorph problem sound a lot like what happened on LV-426 before Ripley and the Colonial Marines showed up in Aliens? This is only speculation, but Alvarez could be cooking up a surprise “mid-quel” that takes place within the timeframe of Aliens. The story of the downfall of LV-426. But, maybe it really is a completely different colony. Maybe the sources aren’t trying to throw us off the trail and the movie really doesn’t have any connection to previous installments.
Just like last year’s new Predator movie Prey, the new Alien movie is going to be released through the Hulu streaming service. That release strategy seemed to work very well for the latest addition to the Predator franchise, so hopefully things will go just as well for Alien: Romulus, or whatever it’s called. 20th Century Studios’ Steve Asbell thinks the Hulu release will be beneficial because, “It’s not a film that has to be all things to all people with those gargantuan budgets. They get to be authentically what they are. And this is closer to its genre roots.”
Are you looking forward to watching a new Alien movie that leans into pure horror territory as Fede Alvarez sets the Xenomorph lose on a group of young colony residents? Share your thoughts on this project by leaving a comment below.