We're told that the Ridley Scott-helmed fifth Alien film is to be a prequel, which limits the possibilities somewhat.
Well, actually, not that much. We've put together 12 prequel plausible plots for Scott's Alien 5. And we'd happily pay to watch all of them.
The Plot: A typical man vs. space-bitch instalment in the established franchise format, but the filming style is the clincher.
Scott opts for a low-budget, retro-influenced Moon-type vibe, pitting a lone shipwrecked astronaut against a single lost alien on a silent and featureless near-future wasteland.
Most Awesome Scene: The final face-off, wherein the two creatures briefly grasp the futility of destroying their only living comrade on this drifting lump of icy rock. But then do it anyway.
Starring: Nobody you’ve ever heard of, except Alan Rickman as the voice of the ship’s computer.
The Plot: Another straight blaster that offers few surprises story-wise, but shot entirely in eye-popping, fantasy-influenced CGI.
Taking the baton from James Cameron’s Avatar, Scott makes a race of Xenomorph-human hybrids the stars of this show.
Most Awesome Scene: Hmm. Certainly NOT the graphic flashback sequence revealing that these unholy chimera were originally created through much ‘gentler’ human-beast interactions than facehugging. Grim.
Starring: Some solid voice talent - Mark Hamill, Mila Kunis, Sigourney Weaver in a controversial cameo for the much-picketed 'love' scene.
Next: Space Jockeys and hallucinogens[page-break]
Title:Aliens vs Space Jockeys
The Plot: Actually, this seems reasonably likely to be a storyline Scott might in fact pursue.
Fans have debated since 1979 over the precise implications of the gigantic chest-blown bogeyman corpse found in that spooky derelict spacecraft. Well, we’re about to find out.
Most Awesome Scene: The grotesquely explosive sequence in which our mate Space Jockey is condemned to remain seated for all eternity.
It lasts four minutes at 200,000 frames per second, deploying 68 weapons-grade blasting caps and three metric tonnes of fettuccine in custard. Roger Ebert later calls it “childish”.
Starring: Not much casting budget left, so mostly ex-Brat Packers plucked from semi-retirement. Rob Lowe earns a shock Oscar nomination, though, and his career Travoltas impressively.
The Plot: Literally-titled arthouse debunking of Alien, showing that the original Nostromo crew were merely suffering the effects of an experimental slow-release hallucinogen slipped into their water cooler.
The Xenomorphs didn’t exist as yet - the deranged crew actually slaughtered each other - but Ripley’s in situ imaginings inspired the race of genetically engineered bio-weapons later created while she drifted in hypersleep.
Most Awesome Scene: An weirdly bathetic recreation of the climactic airlock sequence, in which it proves to have been Jones, the ship’s cat, that Ripley blasted into oblivion. What she imagined to be Jones leaving with her in the escape pod was actually a set of bagpipes Parker had been trying to learn.
Starring: The (very) old team, and lots of wrinkle-smoothing latex.
Next: Two takes on Ripley's past[page-break]
The Plot: Self-indulgent Ripley biopic, seemingly engineered purely to justify her laudable-but-criminally-inefficient devotion to Newt in the first sequel. Turns out it’s something about a baby sister who perished. Or whatever.
Most Awesome Scene: The Academy go ga-ga for the Vaseline-lensed bedside melodrama. Everyone else prefers the bits where teenage Ripley starts drinking heavily and gets expelled from Military Space College for shaving rude words into her hair.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Elle Fanning, that scruffy terrier who played Baxter in Anchorman.
The Plot: Our heroine learns that Resurrection wasn’t the first time she’d been cloned.
In fact, she’s been continually rebooted since the technology was secretly developed in the 1960s, around the time covert operations started up at Area 51...
Most Awesome Scene: Ripley’s nightmarish discovery of a vast hangar hidden beneath Groom Lake, housing an entire living colony of her own clones.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney Weaver etc.
Next: Prehistory and freakonomics[page-break]
The Plot: Explores the early space-cruising history of the Xenomorph race, focusing on a previous visit to Earth during the Stone Age, and the hilariously short battles that ensued.
Most Awesome Scene: By pushing a boulder off a cliff, the cave people manage to kill one (sleeping) alien quite near the end. Alas, they then wade into the twitching porridge of viscera to drag it back for dinner, and are instantly acidified.
Starring: Numerous actorly beards including Brian Blessed, Zach Galifianakis and Chuck Norris (as the dude who pushes the boulder, obviously).
Title:Shock And Ore
The Plot: An account of the actual space-mining mission that lead the Nostromo crew into peril, it plays like an offbeat sci-fi mockumentary. Increasingly paranoid interviews with the crew in grainy handicam mode aim to create a looming sense of dread.
Most Awesome Scene(s): Ash proves to be quite the prankster, frequently hijacking Dallas and Kane’s bone-dry mission updates with robotic dance routines and re-enactments of classic movie lines. His Travis Bickle is a hoot.
Starring: All three Blair Witch leads, with Jack Black taking top billing as Ash.
Next: Ripoffs and robots[page-break]
The Plot: Shockingly derivative District 9-alike claims there has indeed been prior contact between humans and Xenomorphs. In fact, there’s still a colony of our lot kept in substandard housing on the outskirts of the alien home world.
A hush-hush rescue mission is mounted, resulting in serious diplomatic antagonism.
Most Awesome Scene: The CGI-loaded climax in which the entire alien planet is ripped in twain, forcing them to relocate to Thedus just in time for the plot of the 1979 film to still make sense.
Starring: Sharlto Copley, in an ill-advised move that more or less drives his promising career into miserable typecasting hell. A real shame.
Title:Aliens vs Androids
The Plot: A complex, morally charged explanation of why our android companions later became such unpredictable allies in the quadrilogy proper. Involves lots of weighty but clichéd psychobabble about implanted memories and ‘loyalty chips’.
Most Awesome Scene: Several hundred AI units rising up as one, tearing out their chest-mounted ethics processors and going batshit mental at a technology expo.
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Peter Weller, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rutger Hauer.
Next: Horror on our doorsteps[page-break]
Title:Day Of The Facehuggers
The Plot: It isn't doable as a prequel so it doesn’t really count, but it’d be remiss of us not to mention the franchise's worrying potential for a standard Earth-based apocalypse shooter.
So, as ever, wave upon wave of ET attack ships rain fiery, acid-dripping punishment down on several of America’s most easily identifiable buildings and landmarks. Sigh.
Most Awesome Scene: They blow up the White House! No, wait, been done. They blow up the World Trad-...uh, better not. They blow up the Las Vegas strip! Ah, screw you Con Air - only so many tourist traps look sexy falling over in slow motion, y’know.
Starring: Shia LaBeouf and Denise Richards, with Samuel L Jackson pacing around a strip-lit bunker as Professor Triedtowarnyou, PhD.
The Plot: Eco-themed morality tale. It's the consumer-driven 1980s, and few of us have heard of global warming...but the Xenomorphs have. In fact, their planet is screwed, and they approach us for help.
NASA, however, decide to let the repeated calls for aid go straight to voicemail, citing massive costs. Which makes the aliens really hate us, so over the next two decades, they start to warm our planet from afar...
Most Awesome Scene: Our first fly-by of the colossal 'astral wind cannon' - fundamentally a giant hairdryer - with which the aliens plan to teach us the error of our ways.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie. Cameo from Al Gore. Voiceover by Morgan Freeman.
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