‘Alien’ TV Series Will Be Prequel Set in 21st Century, Filming Delayed to 2023

Noah Hawley's limited series has been pushed back until after he completes Season 5 of "Fargo."
ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver, 1979 TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.
20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Noah Hawley’s limited FX series based on “Alien” is one of the most anticipated science fiction projects in development right now, but fans will have to wait a little bit longer for the series to come to fruition. Speaking to the Television Critics Association this week, FX chairman John Landgraf said that the prolific showrunner will film the fifth season of “Fargo” before jumping into Ridley Scott’s science fiction universe.

“We need to shoot ‘Fargo’ this winter, so we’ll be shooting ‘Fargo’ before ‘Alien,’ though we have more scripts for ‘Alien’ than ‘Fargo,’” he said. “Noah is writing both right now.” With “Fargo” filming this winter, that pushes “Alien” towards a 2023 start date. There is no word yet on when the series might eventually premiere.

While it was previously confirmed that the “Alien” series will be set on Earth — the first entry in the franchise to do so — Landgraf offered more information about the plot of the mysterious show. The series will be a prequel to the original “Alien,” taking place before Ripley ever graced the screen. The FX executive said that Hawley’s show will take place on Earth at the end of the 21st century, roughly 70 years from now. Scott’s original “Alien” was set in 2122, so the series should predate it by three decades. Landgraf also confirmed that no characters from preexisting “Alien” movies will appear in the show.

“All I can tell you is Ripley won’t be a part of it, and neither will any other characters — other than the alien itself,” he said. “Noah has an incredible ability to both find a way of being faithful and showing fidelity to an original creation, like to the Coen brothers or to Ridley Scott’s movie and James Cameron’s follow-up ‘Aliens,’ but also to bring something new that represents both an extension and reinvention of a franchise at the same time.”

While the delay will undeniably disappoint some fans, Landgraf believes the show will be worth the wait. He had high praise for Hawley’s unique direction, saying that “setting it on Earth is really interesting. We have to think forward about the future of the planet in terms of the environment, governance, technology and create and design a version of the planet in the future,” he said. “Noah wants to do that in a distinctive and original way.”

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