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List of Alien films and television series

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), Alien³ (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 Alien vs. Predator franchise combines the continuities of the Alien franchise with the Predator franchise and consists of two films.



Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Alien Quadrilogy
Alien May 25, 1979 (1979-05-25) Ridley Scott Dan O'Bannon Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill
Aliens July 18, 1986 (1986-07-18) James Cameron James Cameron, David Giler & Walter Hill Gale Anne Hurd
Alien³ May 22, 1992 (1992-05-22) David Fincher David Giler, Walter Hill & Larry Ferguson Vincent Ward Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill
Alien Resurrection November 26, 1997 (1997-11-26) Jean-Pierre Jeunet Joss Whedon Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill and Bill Badalato
Prequel series
Prometheus June 8, 2012 (2012-06-08) Ridley Scott Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof David Giler, Walter Hill and Ridley Scott
Alien: Covenant May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19) John Logan & Dante Harper Jack Paglen & Michael Green David Giler, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam and Michael Schaefer

Alien QuadrilogyEdit

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.[1][2] 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.[3] 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.[1][4]

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.[5] 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.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.

Alien (1979)Edit

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.

Aliens (1986)Edit

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.[10]

Alien³ (1992)Edit

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)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 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.

Prequel seriesEdit

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.[11][12]

By 2014, development on the second prequel was underway, with Scott returning as director.[13] 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.[14][15] The film, titled Alien: Covenant, commenced production in February 2016 and was released on May 19, 2017.[16][17] 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.[18][19] 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 titled Alien: Awakening was planned, but by the end of 2017 had been cancelled.

Prometheus (2012)Edit

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)Edit

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.[20]


Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5Edit

In 2014, Sigourney Weaver expressed interest 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."[21] She also stated regarding the hybrid character that "had we done a fifth one, I don't doubt that her humanity would have prevailed."[22] In February 2015, director Neill Blomkamp posted concept art on his Instagram feed stating that for years he has been "wanting to make an Alien film". The filmmaker developed the story and artwork after previously working on Chappie with Weaver,[23] who stated that she would reprise her role as Ripley if Blomkamp was directing the project.[24][25] Later that month, it was confirmed by the studio that Blomkamp would direct a new Alien film starring Weaver.[26] Blomkamp's film would tie directly into the story of Aliens without retconning the other two films in the series.[27][28] By March 2015, Blomkamp reported that there were plans for more than one Alien project in development.[29][30] Later that month Michael Biehn, confirmed at Pensacon that he would be reprising his role as Corporal Dwayne Hicks from Aliens.[31] Frequent Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley expressed interest in portraying a Xenomorph, while Bill Paxton also expressed interest in returning to the franchise.[32][33]

Blomkamp announced that filming would take place sometime during 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, while producer Ridley Scott confirmed that production would begin following the completion of Alien: Covenant.[34][35][36][37] Blomkamp released concept art, including a piece featuring an adult-age Newt.[38] The following January, Blomkamp stated that he believed chances for production being greenlit were getting "slim".[39] Scott stated his doubts that the film would ever be made, as his understanding was that there never was a complete script, only a 10-page pitch.[40]

By May 2017, Blomkamp's film was officially cancelled in favor of the third film in Scott's prequel series,[41][42] which was later also cancelled or postponed. By July 2018, fans of the franchise had started an online petition to produce Blomkamp's cancelled film.[43] In October 2018, Weaver stated that James Cameron wanted it to be produced.[44] In February 2019, Cameron stated that he was working on reviving the project.[45]

Untitled third prequel filmEdit

Between September and November 2015, Ridley Scott revealed he was planning two or more sequels to Prometheus, which would lead into the first Alien film.[46][47] According to an interview 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.[48] By March 2017, Scott stated that if Alien: Covenant and the film that would follow it were successful, he had plans for another three movies.[49] In May 2017, Neill Blomkamp's planned Aliens sequel was cancelled, and Scott revealed the title Alien: Awakening.[50] As of July 2017, however, 20th Century Fox was reassessing the sequels pitched by Scott, due to Covenant under-performing at the box office.[51] In the audio commentary for Alien: Covenant, Scott confirmed that a sequel to Alien: Covenant, is being written by John Logan, with Fassbender, Waterston and McBride reprising their roles. Scott also confirmed that the film will cap his prequel trilogy, leading directly into the events of Alien.[52][53] By September 2017, 20th Century Fox CEO Stacey Snider stated that although Alien: Covenant was a financial disappointment, the studio intends to proceed with Ridley's sequel when the right story is developed.[54] In late September 2017, screen-graphics designer Carl Braga announced that preproduction of the film was cancelled, following the disappointing box office results of Alien: Covenant, with nothing currently being developed.[55]

Short filmsEdit

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.[56][57][58] By March of 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, WA.[59]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Writer(s) Producer(s)
TED 2023 March 16, 2012 (2012-03-16)[60] Ridley Scott
Introducing the Next Generation David April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18)[61]
Prometheus: Quiet Eye May 17, 2012 (2012-05-17)[62]
Alien: Covenant — Prologue: Last Supper February 22, 2017 (2017-02-22)[63]
Alien: Covenant — Prologue: The Crossing April 26, 2017 (2017-04-26)[64]
Alien: Covenant — Meet Walter March 10, 2017 (2017-03-10)[65]
Alien: Covenant — Crew Messages April 17, 2017 (2017-04-17) – April 20, 2017 (2017-04-20)[66]
Alien: Covenant — She Won't Go Quietly May 5, 2017 (2017-05-05)[67]
Alien: Containment March 29, 2019 (2019-03-29)[59] Chris Reading[59]
Alien: Specimen April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05)[59] Kelsey Taylor[59]
Alien: Night Shift April 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)[59] Aidan Breznick[59]
Alien: Ore April 19, 2019[68] Kaley & Sam Spear[59] Tongal[59]
Alien: Harvest April 26, 2019[69] Benjamin Howdeshell[59] TBA
Alien: Alone April 26, 2019[70] Noah Miller[59]

Web seriesEdit

In 2014, Sega published the video game 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. On February 20, 2019, Axis Animation reported that a seven-episode animated adaptation of Alien: Isolation was in development;[71] on February 27, 2019, IGN confirmed that the seven-part Alien: Isolation 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 new animated scenes, 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 Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother. She is transferred to the space station Sevastopol to find the flight recorder of the Nostromo, and discovers that an Alien has terrorized the station, killing the vast majority of the crew.[72] Andrea Deck reprises her role as Amanda Ripley.

In-universe timelineEdit

Release year Title Type Time
2012 TED 2023 Short film 2023
Introducing the Next Generation David 2078
Prometheus: Quiet Eye 2079[a]
Prometheus Feature film 2093
2017 Alien: Covenant — Prologue: The Crossing Short film 2093–2104
Alien: Covenant — Crew Messages
Alien: Covenant — Prologue: Last Supper
Alien: Covenant — Meet Walter
Alien: Covenant Feature film 2104
1979 Alien 2122
2019 Alien: Isolation –
The Digital Series
Web series 2137
1986 Aliens Feature film 2179
1992 Alien³
1997 Alien Resurrection 2379

Crossover seriesEdit

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Alien vs. Predator August 13, 2004 (2004-08-13) 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 (2007-12-25) 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, until a film franchise was launched with the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, followed by the sequel Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)Edit

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 unto 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)Edit

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.


A third film has been variously rumored since the production of Requiem.[73][74][75] In mid-2018, Shane Black the director of The Predator, expressed his belief that a third Alien vs. Predator could still happen, indicating the studio's interest in both franchises.[76]

Cancelled projectsEdit

In the mid-1990s, 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.[77]

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.[78] 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.[79]

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.[80]

Television seriesEdit

In 1979, 20th Century Fox considered producing a television series based upon the 1979 film Alien and hoped that ABC would pick it up but its only media coverage was found in the June 1980 Fangoria issue #6 and it ended up abandoned as the 1986 sequel Aliens arrived on the scene.[81] In 1992, a now cancelled animated series inspired by the 1986 film Aliens titled Operation: Aliens was being produced along with an LCD game, board game, and action figures.[82][83][84] However the brand lived on Kenner toylines as simply Aliens and in the comics series included with the action figures as well as in the Aliens/Predator Universe trading cards set.[85] In 2007, Ain't It Cool News reported that a now cancelled animated series inspired by the 1986 film Aliens titled Aliens: War Games was being produced.[86][87] On February 13, 2019, Bloody Disgusting reported about rumors of a Alien television series currently being developed, produced by Ridley Scott and Hulu.[88]


  1. ^ The short plays back as if being analyzed by a robotic intelligence at a later date.


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