The Alien franchise means a whole lot to this particular writer. It’s a bizarre genre blend that comments on gender politics, deals with rape in a metaphorical and appropriate manner, and Lovecraftian themes of unstoppable terror. It’s all paired with stunning science fiction imagery with unlimited potential. In recent years, the franchise has… not been doing well. Two Alien vs. Predator movies fell into embarrassingly direct-to-video quality of content (and not the fun low-bar entertainment kind) and all but killed the franchise on the big screen. Video game adaptations haven’t fared much better, with the exception of the excellent Alien: Isolation.
But, The good news is Ridley Scott is back at the helm after the moderately successful but divisive Prometheus. All I ask is that Alien: Covenant continues to be successful enough to warrant further exploration of the Xenomorph world. I don’t want to know what a retconned Alien universe looks like with Newt and Hicks back at the forefront. I want a science fiction and horror series where terror lies around every corner. So, I’ve picked 5 directors to pick up the mantle once Ridley Scott has finished telling his stories in this universe.
Robert Eggers just knocked audiences onto their asses with his superb directorial debut The Witch so it’s only a matter of time until he gets into the franchise game. Ideally, I’d love to see what other insane concepts this man comes up with but if he has to go to any franchise, he might as well craft a story involving the Xenomorph. His focus on atmosphere and monsters without constantly showing the titular beast is vital to the nature of this specific franchise. I also expect he’d come up with some pretty grizzly kills.
Jennifer Kent blew me away with The Babadook, a movie utilizing horror as metaphor to devastating effect. She’s gone on record saying she would never allow a sequel to The Babadook to be made, but what about helming a sequel to an existing franchise? Not only can she create genuine scares with interesting psychological repercussions, Kent crafts compelling narratives to hang the scares on. It’s a testament to her capability as a storyteller that would fit well within the confines of another Weyland-Yutani disaster or Xenomorphic nightmare.
Nicolas Winding Refn
The inclusion of Nicolas Winding Refn is obligatory, given his knack for getting extra weird with the borderline gratuitousness in his violence. He’s never worked on a project as large as this so I’m sure it’d be daunting, both for him as the director and us as the viewing audience. But if he were up to the task? There’s nothing to convince me his entry wouldn’t match my love for Alien 3 (which is great, in case you’ve forgotten). Neon would bleed onto the Xenomorph’s pitch black shell. Abstract, nightmare visuals would corrode into seemingly never ending hallways. Ryan Gosling would probably be in it. Just have Gosling return as his character from the upcoming Blade Runner sequel and we’ve got ourselves a crossover winner.
Another newbie but one who made a loud pronouncement with a strict genre flick in this year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, the masterful follow up to Cloverfield, one of our recent entries in The Greats. What Trachtenberg was able to utilize within his cinematography parameters illuminated his abilities in laying out geography, informing and withholding the appropriate amount of information, and (SPOILERS) his ability to tap into science fiction contingencies along with a thriller/horror vibe. Regardless of what he does next, Trachtenberg is a name to watch out for.
Guillermo Del Toro
There’s a good chance Guillermo Del Toro is the world’s cuddliest director. I also have a working theory that he might be capable of anything and everything. We’ve seen the director move from his roots in horror (everything from The Devil’s Backbone to Pan’s Labyrinth) into pulp adventure serials (Blade 2 and the hopefully-yet-unfinished Hellboy trilogy) and gothic romance (Crimson Peak). His stories are always filled to the brim with heavy world building, instantly recognizable and likable characters, and wondrous design elements that only Del Toro could explore. But most importantly, he understands the roots of horror and how we are affected by fear. It’s a key component to the franchise that has been missing for some time.
Featured Image: 20th Century Fox