Alien & the Ill-Advised World of Prequels: The Cinefantastique Roundtable Podcast 2:3

ALIENS (1986)
ALIENS (1986)

Seems that it was a good call, us taking the news portion of The Cinefantastique Podcast and mating it with what had to date been called the Cinefantastique Post-Mortem Podcast. Word that Ridley Scott is turning his scheduled ALIEN prequel into a kinda non-prequel puts Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons in a ruminative mood, prompting a discussion of the cursed genre of prequels, followed by a desperate quest for the handful of “early years” follow-ups good enough to merit actual being watched.
Before that, there’ll be news and discussion of upcoming releases, a couple of listener responses to our SEASON OF THE WITCH review, and some thoughts on the nominees for Best Make-Up Oscars. Plus, many, many tangents and asides. Come join us!

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Sharlto Copley Talks District 9 Prequel


Still from District 9
Still from District 9

Sharlto Copley, star of last years sci-fi sleep hit, DISTRICT 9, has been talking to Empire during the press tour for THE A-TEAM and sheds some light on its follow up. Copley explains how he and DISTRICT 9 director, Neil Blomkamp, are thinking of making a prequel rather than a direct sequel and plan to shoot it after Blomkamp is done with his next feature film.

Copley and Blomkamp are apparently determined to ensure that it’s not a typical sequel and mention the possibility that it could be a prequel,

“There’s a million ways you can go. Neil’s actually very interested in prequels as well; he’s said that a few times. We wouldn’t do the traditional Hollywood version of the sequel which would just be 100 aliens fighting humans.”

Copley adds,

“Neil wants it and I want it. Neil’s doing another film first. Then I think if everything goes according to plan we’ll do the second film in about two years time. That story can go in so many different ways. There’s a whole universe. I’m sure a lot of writers say that, but we actually have an entire universe.”

The first DISTRICT 9 told the story of how an extraterrestrial race, forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. DISTRICT 9 was an amazingly fresh and exciting dose of sci-fi action so it’s good to hear that both the films star and director don’t want to go the obvious route with the sequel. As for a release date, it seems we’ll have to wait a while longer but you can be sure Cinefantastique Online will keep you updated on the project.

to ensure that it’s not a typical sequel – and the possibility that it could be a prequel.

The Hobbit Coming in 2013?


Gandalf The Grey in the Lord of The Rings
Gandalf The Grey in the Lord of The Rings

Following Peter Jackon’s previous recap on highly anticipated fantasy prequel, THE HOBBIT, comes a new press release from IMAX.com which states the film is due for release in 2013. A lot could happen between now and then but it’s a good signal that the troubled production is finally getting closer to our screens.

THE HOBBIT, an two-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s tale which leads up to the events depicted in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, still doesn’t have a greenlight due to the ongoing financial issues faced by MGM. However, since this press release is as official as they come it seems as if Warner Bros. are confident THE HOBBIT will overcome these problems as it states a December 2013 release date projected for the film.
The press release also mentions other big movies, with release dates for Zack Snyder’s (WATCHMEN, 300) LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE (September this year) and the two final HARRY POTTER films (November this year and July next year respectively). Additionally BATMAN 3 and the new SUPERMAN also get a mention, but have no release dates attached.
This is good news for Tolkien fans around the globe but shouldn’t be read as the gospel; there’s still no greenlight for the project and there’s a lot of time between now 2013 in which for things to go wrong. Fingers crossed people…

UPDATE: Scott Breaks Silence on Alien Prequel/s 3D


Director Ridley Scott
Director Ridley Scott

MTV have been speaking to Ridley Scott (ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER) during his ROBIN HOOD press tour and have managed to squeeze some exciting information out of him in regards to ALIEN 5. We’ve been aware that Scott has signed on to direct the prequel for a while but the director has remained largely silent on the project. That is, up until now.
According to Scott the script is progressing well,

“As we speak, I’ve got a pile of pages next to me; it’s like the fourth draft. It’s a work in progress, but we’re not dreaming it up anymore. We know what the story is.”

As for what exactly we can expect from this story Scott says,

“It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley]. It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?” He adds, “I’m basically explaining who that Space Jockey — we call him the Space Jockey — I’m explaining who the space jockeys were.”

He also mentions changing the appearance of the alien with original designer H.R. Giger,

“I have to design — or redesign — earlier versions of what these elements are that led to the thing you finally see in “Alien,” which is the thing that catapults out of the egg, the face-hugger…Once I get more serious and get going, and the big wheels start turning, we’ll certainly talk. And maybe we’ll come up with something completely different.”

It’s good to hear Scott finally talk about ALIEN 5 and if I had to choose anyone to direct the film it would be him but I still have my reservations about the project. Every single ALIEN film since ALIENS has been pretty dire and prequels are rarely successful ventures. Furthermore, focusing on the Space Jockey race of aliens and redesigning the original alien will be extremely hard tasks for Scott to pull off but if he does, it could be the true return to form the series so rightly deserves.
There’s no official release date for ALIEN 5 as of yet but Scott says he’s, “Hoping to have it in theaters in late 2011, or maybe the best date in 2012”.
UPDATE: Collider have also been grilling Scott about ALIEN 5 and apparently it’s two films, not one, and is going to be shot in 3D. Scott says, “It’ll be two. Prequel one and two, then ALIEN 1 .” When asked if he will be filming them back to back, his response was, “At the moment I’m just trying to get the first one out.” He was also asked if it’ll be in 3D, to which he replied, “Of course, it’ll be 3D”. Pretty big news then, but I can’t say either are indicative of quality. If anything, this has just made me even more sceptical about the project.

Downey & Mendes On For Wizard of Oz Prequel?


Still from The Wizard of Oz
Still from The Wizard of Oz

According to Production Weekly’s Twitter feed THE WIZARD OF OZ prequel, entitled OZ THE GREAT AND THE POWERFUL, may have secured it’s director and star. Following the sad BOND 23 news it seems director Sam Mendes (ROAD TO PERDITION, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD) has found his next project and Robert Downey Jr. (IRON MAN, SHERLOCK HOLMES) is interested in playing the lead role.

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is being brought to us by Disney, produced by Joe Roth (ALICE IN WONDERLAND, HELLBOY) and the screenplay has been written by Mitchell Kapner (THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, ROMERO MUST DIE). The origin tale will be told from the wizard’s perspective and details how, as a young man, he arrived in Oz as part of a travelling circus, and how he became to be the coward behind the curtain of the original film.
Nothing about this project sounds particularly interesting, or indeed necessary, but it’s too early to discount it entirely. The thought of Mendes and Downey teaming up, however, does spark a bit of excitement as both are talented big-names in the business. There’s no word on a release date just yet but does anyone want to take a bet on how long it takes before it’s confirmed to be in 3D?