Noah Hawley has a tall order to fill with his Alien TV series he's currently developing for FX. A recent interview with StarsInfoCity has revealed the magnitude and scope of topics his show aims to touch on - and it's vast. Not only will the series apparently look to discover more layers to the Alien life cycle (by way of reinventing the horror aspect of it all) but the show will also be addressing the advancement of artificial intelligence, trans-humanism (blending of A.I. and Humanity) and... climate change? Essentially Noah Hawley is attempting to address the "between a rock and a hard place" Humanity will soon find itself stuck between. The Alien being a threat from our past and the A.I. advancements being a threat from our future while nature itself continues to threaten us with its fluctuations in the past, present and future. Basically Humanity needs to find a way to survive seemingly impossible odds:
What’s rooted in the horror of ‘Alien’ is discovery. The life cycle of this creature, besides being insane, is truly terrifying. It’s an egg, and inside that egg is a creature that attaches to your face. I’m already out. But then that creature that attaches to your face lays another creature inside of you — hold on a second. Then that creature bursts out of your chest and grows to 9 feet tall? What is this creature? The experience of watching “Alien” for the first time is so visceral; it just gets worse and worse and worse and worse. [Director] James Cameron was able to take that and turn it into an action movie in which you knew what the life cycle was, so there was the horror of anticipation. But who’s laying those eggs? So he added that other element to it. But after that, there’s no discovery or surprise, we’re just doing that again and again.
The challenge for me is: Is there a way that we can take the audience back to “wait, what’s happening? What does this thing do?” That was the first challenge. The second challenge, which is why I think it justifies a show with multiple hours of storytelling, is that it’s not just a monster movie. It’s about humanity trapped between this primordial “they want to eat us” past and the AI future, and they’re both trying to kill us. We’ve created these tools that are turning on us, or if we program them correctly, we’ll go insane. Those elements of humanity, artificial intelligence, trans-humanism — ‘what’s the future of humanity?’ is a really interesting thing to talk about right now. Combined with the revenge of nature — we’re experiencing that now as weather or viruses or whatever. If we’re in a place where our self-driving cars are gonna kill us, or we’re going to drown in them, there’s a story to be placed in the middle of that.
During the interview, Hawley also touched on the overall aesthetic of the show, which by the sounds of it will maintain the retro tech look of the 70s and 80s, rather than the polished, over-the-top hologram-obsessed aesthetic of most modern sci-fi nowadays:
The prequels aside, because those are historical documents, what do we really know about the ‘Alien’ universe? We know there’s a company called Weyland-Yutani. We don’t know a lot more about it. We don’t know what the government structure is, the politics of it, what’s Earth — none of that. That’s liberating on some level to not have to thread various needles. But the challenge is also that we’re only ever in these artificial environments, the spaceship or a prison or whatever. What does an apartment look like on ‘Alien’? That basic stuff of the palette of ‘Alien,’ the design of that ship, that dripping is so specific. I think that the sweaty aesthetic of ‘Alien’ plays very well into climate change and the hot, wet future that we’re all moving toward. Technology in the first two movies was rooted in the retro futurism of the ’70s and ’80s. Is that our aesthetic? Those challenges really excite me because I would much rather deal with computers that look like that than holograms and feel like I’m in an Apple store.
The Alien FX series definitely sounds like it's got a lot of ground to cover and some ambitious storytelling goals. Hopefully the pursuit of answering these questions don't take away from the established Alien lore. It is within that mystery that makes the Alien franchise so captivating and unique.
What do you think of Noah Hawley's direction for Alien so far? Are you eager or skeptical? Let us know your opinions below!
The Alien franchise is taking a dramatic turn at 20th Century Studios, now owned by Disney. Currently there are two major Alien projects in development - a new Alien TV series by Noah Hawley and a new, stand-alone Alien movie being directed by Fede Alvarez. Both of which will be taking the franchise in a new direction - moving away from the Alien prequel direction Ridley Scott set out to pursue back in 2012.
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