Alien Showrunner Offers Update on Series, Details Experience as "Humbling"

When most people think of the Alien franchise, they typically think of the terrifying xenomorph wreaking all sorts of intergalactic terror, but there are other sci-fi concepts that have been explored in the decades since the franchise debuted, with showrunner on the upcoming Alien TV series Noah Hawley weighing in on the themes his narrative will explore. Rather than merely focusing on a variety of spaceship crews being terrorized by the creatures throughout space, he aims to tackle the ways in which humans prove themselves to be much more ruthless threats than the towering beasts. The Alien TV series is expected to debut on FX though it does not yet have a release date.

"It's set on Earth of the future. At this moment, I describe that as Edison versus Westinghouse versus Tesla," Hawley explained to Esquire. "Someone's going to monopolize electricity. We just don't know which one it is ... In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence-but what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way, with cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads? Which of those technologies is going to win?"

He added, "Alien is a fascinating story because it's not just a monster movie; it's about how we're trapped between the primordial past and the artificial intelligence of our future, where both trying to kill us ... As Sigourney Weaver said in that second movie, 'I don't know which species is worse. At least they don't f-ck each other over for a percentage.' Even if the show was 60% of the best horror-action on the planet, there's still 40% where we have to ask, 'What are we talking about it, beneath it all?' Thematically, it has to be interesting. It's humbling to get to play with the iconography of this world."

Of course, finding that balance is easier said than done, as one of the big struggles of the series in recent years has been finding the appropriate balance of themes. For example, 2011's Prometheus leaned more heavily into the themes of corporate greed and artificial intelligence than a cat-and-mouse game between humans and xenomorphs, which frustrated many audiences. The follow-up, Alien: Covenant, leaned more heavily into straightforward horror, though that film also failed to resonate with audiences.

Regardless of the specificities of the narrative, seeing the first long-form live-action story for the franchise will surely have Alien fans excited for what Hawley is cooking up.

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