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James Cameron Wanted To Make 'Aliens 5' With Ridley Scott, Says 'Prometheus' "Didn't Add Up Logically"

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by Edward Davis
April 14, 2014 9:39 AM
6 Comments
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Alien 5, Scott, Cameron

You probably remember that at one point in the early aughts, Ridley Scott wanted to return to the 'Alien' franchise. This is years before “Prometheus” took shape and this version would have essentially been a more traditional “Aliens 5” with Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, and the alien battle taking place on Earth. But the “Aliens Vs. Predator” series not only stole the idea, but in the eyes of Scott, it sullied the franchise and he didn’t want anything to do with it. Though, they did consider it regardless for a while. "We’d have to go back to the drawing board on [the fifth alien film]," Weaver told MTV in 2008. "Ridley said that right away when we first talked about [a fifth film]." But in the end he wiped his hands clean of it all for years until he found the right way to reboot the series with the prequel-like “Prometheus.”

But did you know James Cameron could have been involved as well? Scott obviously got the series started with “Alien,” and Cameron made another classic in the action-heavy “Aliens,” but at that point, the two sequels that followed were major disappointments. During a recent Reddit AMA, Cameron spoke about the potential plan that was cooking up way back in the day.

“We never talked about [doing] ‘Alien 3,’ ” Cameron said. “I don't remember the timing exactly, but I might have been making 'The Abyss' at that time, also for Fox. What came up was the idea of doing ‘Alien 5,’ and at one point I pitched that I would write it and produce it, and Ridley would direct it, and we had lunch talking about this, and we were in violent agreement, then nothing happened. What happened was Fox went ahead with ‘Aliens Vs Predator,’ and I said, 'I really don't recommend that, you'll ruin the franchise, it's like Universal doing ‘Dracula versus the Werewolf,’ ' and then I lost interest in doing an Alien film. But ‘Prometheus’ is seen as the A-level alien, as opposed to rather, the derivative. I don't think I have anything to offer on the 'Prometheus' sequels, that's Ridley's, I think I'll stick to the ‘Avatar’ universe.”

A James Cameron-written and -produced “Alien” movie directed by Ridley Scott, starring Sigourney Weaver? That would have been a powerhouse effort, no doubt. Incidentally, what did Cameron think of “Prometheus”? Well, sounds like he was a bit cool on it.

“Interesting. I thought it was an interesting film,” he said. “I thought it was thought provoking and beautifully, visually mounted, but at the end of the day it didn't add up logically. But I enjoyed it, and I'm glad it was made. I liked it better than the previous two Alien sequels.”

How did he feel about the two previous “Alien” films? He doesn’t say in the AMA, but in a 2003 BBC interview, Cameron railed into the David Fincher-directed “Alien 3” with venom. "Hated it. Simple as that. I hated what they did.... I couldn't stand ‘Alien 3’ - how they could just go in there and kill off all these great characters we introduced in aliens, and the correlation between mother and daughter? It stunk, but hopefully I'll get a chance to rectify all that. We're looking at doing another one. Something similar to what we did with ‘Aliens.’ A bunch of great characters, and of course Sigourney. I've even discussed the possibility of putting him [Arnold Schwarzenegger] into the Alien movie."

So yep, not only did you miss out on Cameron, Scott and Weaver, but you could have had Arnold too. Of course, that interview was done around the time of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” In the AMA he said, “I don't think that the 3rd or 4th [Terminator] film[s] lived up to that [franchise] potential.”

But that being said, he also still has some praise for the third movie: "There was a small part of me that hoped it wasn't good - but another part of me hope'd it succeeded. And it did. And I'm so glad it did. Jonathon's made a great movie. Arnold's in great form. I really like what he's done with it.”

Anyway, for more on the mooted "Alien 5," be sure to read "The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made" which has a full account of the development of that project before it all fell apart. Fascinating stuff.

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6 Comments

  • phil | July 28, 2014 6:11 PMReply

    I think they should fill in the gap between the end of aliens and start of alien3. Please don't say they have as you can't make a sequel to an epic flim like alien in game form , like what gearbox did and failed miserably in doing a sequel in game form

  • Jeremy | June 2, 2014 12:14 AMReply

    Fincher is amazing. Alien 3 was completely different. It played more on desperation, and ended the series on a darker note than what's usually expected... But it was still fantastic cinematography, a good premise, and had Fox let him do what he wanted, it probably wouldn't have fallen flat. Cameron's Aliens has not aged well... It's chock full of 80's cheese and it's hard to watch any scene with Bill Paxton in it without disconnecting and rolling your eyes. The action was good and the suspense at the climax was great, but man.. "Game over man game over!" It's one of those movie's I wish had been made now so it wouldn't have been such a period piece, but that was back when Cameron was making movies, not science projects. Avatar was great.... but so was Dances with Wolves.

  • Elle | May 5, 2014 5:48 PMReply

    @Many: You are incorrect in part; Aliens *is* Cameron's baby. Listen to his anger when he comments on the characters he created being destroyed in Alien3. He put a lot of work into Aliens. He loves that film. It's his baby all right.

    The Alien franchise, however, had multiple "fathers," as it were. Scott and Cameron were the best by far.

    Fox green lighted Aliens Versus Predator because it had the potential to spawn numerous sequels, thereby giving the studio more chances of making money. Alien 5, however, would be a one-shot deal and Fox knew this. Sigourney Weaver is getting older. The original franchise extends back to 1979 and could not be carried on much farther than that, if at all. Fox went with the baser product for financial reasons.

    I do think, however, that fans could get an Alien 5 if they wanted to. We may even be able to get Cameron, Scott and Weaver. Start a petition. It can't do any harm. If there is enough public interest, minds might be changed. Who knows?

  • Bob | May 5, 2014 2:26 PMReply

    Agreed, agreed, agreed. Us fans deserved an Alien 5, not AVP or even Prometheus. We deserved a final epic showdown where the Alien finally makes it to Earth. Stupid decision, Fox. Epically stupid decision.

  • many | April 15, 2014 1:12 AMReply

    Instead of moping about Aliens, Cameron should be fighting to get the rights back for Terminator. That's his baby, not Alien.

  • Rob | April 14, 2014 10:51 AMReply

    cameron's correct on all points.

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