All year, Ridley Scott has been talking up his prequel(s) to "Alien," and things seemed to have been progressing smoothly. Fox was said to be quite happy with the script by Damon Lindelof ("Lost," "Star Trek") and in late October, a list of candidates were said to be queuing up for the lead role including Olivia Wilde, Noomi Rapace, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish and Natalie Portman. However, rumors are now surfacing that the prequel might be a bit longer off than expected.
Script Flags reports that the film's release date, tentatively slated for 2012, has been pushed a full year to 2013. The news is intriguing because recently visual FX designer Henry South in a now deleted tweet said, "Started work on alien prequel today!! Absolutely stunning. Worth waiting till late 2011 for peeps!" And last month, Scott told World Screen magazine, "It’s written and budgeted and, frankly, we’ve already booked film stages in England, so I think [it will happen soon].”
So why the sudden year bump? At this point it's hard to tell if the production is stalled, if Fox is simply making a change in their release calendar or if Scott is being given more time to get things right. It still remains unclear if one or two prequels are on the way, but a span of two years between the start of principal photography and a film hitting theaters isn't unprecedented. Universal's massive and expensive "Battleship" started shooting this summer and isn't scheduled to hit theaters until May 2012. "Avatar" and "Tron: Legacy" had lengthy production schedules as well, and we wouldn't be surprised if Fox is just ensuring the project isn't rushed.
Apparently, production was slated to begin in February with Wilde and Rapace in the race for the lead role but if no casting news is announced soon, we'd wager that indeed, the production start has been moved. We can't say we're overly moved by this news. We're not clamoring for a prequel to "Alien" and frankly, the mystery of The Space Jockeys, which will be explained away in the prequel, was one of the elements that made the pic so genuinely thrilling in the first place. There are enough prequels and sequels coming down the line in the next few years that "Alien" isn't very high on our list.