This year's Alien: Covenant was slated to be a return to the form for the Alien franchise, embracing the survival horror elements that made the original film so popular. Unfortunately, audiences didn't connect with the film in the ways the studio had hoped, posing problems for the franchise's future. A source claiming to have worked on Covenant recently shared on Blu-ray.com's forum that the next chapter in the franchise was supposed to have already been in production, with those plans now on an indefinite hiatus.
"The sequel to Covenant was originally due to start pre-production this month in Sydney," the user explained. "After the box office results filming was canceled, and a warehouse storage unit full of stuff was auctioned off a few months ago. So the original plan of pumping out another quickly has definitely changed with no immediate plans for anything."
The validity of these remarks is up for debate, but they don't seem too far off from the potential status of the franchise.
Earlier in the month, a monumental deal was struck between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, transferring ownership of the Alien franchise to Disney. Given the inherently violent nature of the sci-fi series, this could have potentially thrown a wrench in the works for the planned sequel, putting the franchise on hold indefinitely.
Following the original film in the franchise, most of the films in the saga followed a familiar format of monstrous creatures pursuing various victims through an isolated environment.
In 2012, original director Ridley Scott returned to the saga for Prometheus, which took place before the events of the first film. Many anticipated that the filmmaker would bring terror back to the franchise, only for his film to explore more existential themes of creation with tenuous connections to the first film.
Alien: Covenant appeared like it would embrace the horror elements of the first film more heavily, yet audiences still didn't connect with the Prometheus follow-up that used artificial intelligence as its main source of terror.
Scott has regularly explained there are multiple installments in the saga that he hopes to make that all take place before the events of Alien, yet the underwhelming box office performance and Disney acquisition might have solidified the franchise's fate.