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“Alien Is On Some Level The Complete Opposite Of Star Trek. It’s Sort Of About Humanity At Its Worst” – Noah Hawley Talks FX Alien Pitch

Back in March 2019 news broke that Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley had pitched an Alien mini-series to FX, but 20th Century Fox/Studio’s President of Production Emma Watts had wanted to keep Alien a theatrical series. Hawley has never talked about the series though. Until now.

In a new article with Observer, talking primarily about his stalled Star Trek project, Hawley spoke about what he was looking to achieve with his Alien mini-series. He doesn’t go into any story details, but he compares what he would have done with Alien with how he approached Legion.

“Alien is on some level the complete opposite of Stark Trek. It’s sort of about humanity at its worst,” he said. “There’s this moment in the second film when Sigourney says, ‘I don’t know which species is worse. At least they don’t screw each other over for a percentage.’ If you look at what Aliens tends to be, it’s usually a trapped story – trapped in a ship, trapped in a prison, etc. And because the Alien has this life cycle to it, where it goes from egg, to chestburster, to xenomorph, there becomes a certain routine to it.”

He continued: “I thought it would be interesting if you could expand. If you’re going to make something for television, you’ve got 10 hours let’s say. Even if you have a lot of action, like two hours, then you’re still going to have eight hours left. So what is the show about? That’s what I tried to talk to them about. As I did with Legion, the exercise is: Let’s take the superhero stuff out of the show and see if it’s still a great show. What’s the show about? Let’s take the Alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama? Then we drop the aliens back in and we go, ‘This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there’s aliens!’”

 “Alien Is On Some Level The Complete Opposite Of Star Trek. It’s Sort Of About Humanity At Its Worst

“Let’s take the Alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama?”

How would you feel about a series set within the Aliens universe that put a much heavier focus on the character drama? Let us know down below! Thanks to The Playlist and The Perfect Organism Podcast for the news.

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Comments: 71
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  1. judge death
    A Hadley's Hope story would give us that same sense of dread -- we know it's all going to end horribly, we just want to see how.

    I've really never understood the appeal of seeing an Aliens prequel. The colony is so much creepier for not seeing how it got that way.

    Although maybe my opinion's just tainted by the fact I think so little of Newt's Tale and River of Pain.

    The fact remains, the same story would probably be far more interesting if you just made it another colony.
    Mainly due to: nostalgia, want to see more of the aliens movie and see what happened prior to it and make it to a part of the aliens movie and make fans of it relive the feelings they had, and this is why it most often fails: as the same feeling and theme etc is almost impossible to recreate and it also in most cases fails to live up to the expectations fans have had of what happened there for so many years that only a mircale of storywriting can live up to it.

    Same reason why so many fans want to get more colonial marines vs aliens movies and have more action scenes and tension and themes aliens did, instead of something new which I hold Alien 3 in high regards of doing.

    So yes I like you think doing a story/movie of a different colony or ship etc getting infested by aliens and new charachters is the way to go.
  2. HuDaFuK
    A Hadley's Hope story would give us that same sense of dread -- we know it's all going to end horribly, we just want to see how.

    I've really never understood the appeal of seeing an Aliens prequel. The colony is so much creepier for not seeing how it got that way.

    Although maybe my opinion's just tainted by the fact I think so little of Newt's Tale and River of Pain.

    The fact remains, the same story would probably be far more interesting if you just made it another colony.
  3. SiL
    Re. The Terror.

    The Terror has a historical basis to it that helps out with its oppressive atmosphere of danger. Much like the Chernobyl mini-series. I feel like fiction has to work twice as hard to get the same kind of powerful effect. (Although, granted, Terror did have the made-up thing with the bear monster.)

    TC
    A Hadley's Hope story would give us that same sense of dread -- we know it's all going to end horribly, we just want to see how. I think that's what gives things like Chernobyl and The Terror their atmosphere -- they're otherwise so fictionalised I don't feel the reality of their origin gave them too much of a leg-up.
  4. TC
    Re. The Terror.

    The Terror has a historical basis to it that helps out with its oppressive atmosphere of danger. Much like the Chernobyl mini-series. I feel like fiction has to work twice as hard to get the same kind of powerful effect. (Although, granted, Terror did have the made-up thing with the bear monster.)

    TC
  5. SM
    We already have Apocalypse - The Destroying Angels.

    And the original Colonial Marines comic.

    I had a couple of things in the pipeline before the Mouse foiled me.
  6. SM
    I think the ideas they had were sound.   How they might've played out could've been different, but we'd talked a lot about how the marines worked as an organisation, how they interact with the Company, Cameron's original concept based on British-East India company etc.  So the powers-that-be were well aware of the deets.
  7. SM
    I wasn't disagreeing.

    And in reference to a post a few posts up - The Terror was f**king great.  Something like for Alien would be sweet if it hadn't already been done with The Terror.

    Silence pathetic edgelord!

    But isn't that how the RPG is trending though?

    Don't think so.  But people can make it trend anyway they want.  Had Olivia Schipp's story been able to progress beyond Echo, it would've gone into the a-bit-too-cosy relationship between the Company and USCM.
  8. SiL
    Don't make an Alien TV show that doesn't have Aliens in it (not that that was what the dude was even saying anyway).
    I know, my point was more I'd use something like Outland as a starting point for human drama in an Alien universe, then drop Aliens back into it. Regular people against the natural and man-made problems around them, rather than the machinations of the people in charge.

    Still need to read Cold Forge. I think I put it on my Christmas wishlist this year.
  9. TC
    I'm thinking The Terror meets The Expanse.

    I was watching The Expanse not so long ago and it occurred to me how well it matched up to a potential Alien series:

    Three rival factions, Earth, Mars, and the Belters, could have been W-Y, Seegson and UPP. The protomolecule everyone is chasing could have been xenos. The alien stargate that appears could have been space jockey tech.

    The Expanse has alien mystery and conflict, political intrigue, military action, and a solid sci-fi base.

    Maybe Hawley missed  the boat a long time ago. Maybe his Alien series has already been done; all it was missing was, you know, Aliens.

    TC
  10. SM
    Cold Forge is arguably the most popular Alien book and that's all about corporate intrigue.

    It's not just that though.

    Don't make an Alien TV show that doesn't have Aliens in it (not that that was what the dude was even saying anyway).
  11. SiL
    I maintain an Alien-less series would be more Outland and less Corporate Intrigue 2122.

    Tell Hadley's Hope getting overrun in a series? Or a similar situation.

    Congratulations, you can put together engaging character drama and Alien fun times and avoid the Colonial Marines and work in some corporate shitf**kery.
  12. Kimarhi
    Aliens running around killing humans without context would be pretty f**king boring.


    If that is your kick boot up AvP or AvP2 and play the Alien campaign. 


    If there is no human characters to care about nobody will give a shit. 


    I wouldn't want a story of only WY that is of any length just because it HAS been played out over the years, even when they called it Bionational in the comics.  But a story that involves different aspects of the universe functioning in tandem with other parts of it would be nice.

    Lets say you have somebody in ICC quarantine trying to find out why WY is trying to be so elusive with shipments coming to and from a deep space black lab or something like that.  Or the United Americas government catching wind of WY wrong doings and sending out an investigative team.  WY can't be too powerful or Burke wouldnt even bother trying to pull a fast one on the Marines.  He would've just ordered the Marines to take the facehuggers back and that would've been that.  There are all kinds of different dynamics and power struggles that could be explored.

    There are other aspects of the universe that can be expanded on.  It doesn't have to just be WY and the Colonial Marines.



  13. Richman678
    I have to agree here.

    If you make the movie/show about the alien you get a creature feature (which is not what you want)

    People need to feel for characters when they get killed. Like the chills you get watching Hudson get dragged under the floor, or how bad you feel watching Lambert break down as certain death approaches her.

    I would rather have 4 episodes introduce a setting and characters followed by 4 hours of terror. Rather than opening shot of random person getting eaten, or killed, or whatever.
  14. Drukathi
    It doesn't matter, I'm not going to change your mind. And I still believe that corporate intrigue - one of the most boring things in the universe. Except for melodrama. It will destroy the Alien Universe and turn away fans of other worlds.
  15. HuDaFuK
    Oh, rolls eyes, I know. But they are closer than meaningless and the worn-out сorporation of stupidity. At least the Colonial Marines promise adventure and fun in contrast to the boring, cliched evil corporation that is the perfect food for misanthropists and pathetic edgelords.

    I'm not sure I have enough fingers on my hands to count all the boring, cliched future space marine stories we've had over the years.
  16. Nightmare Asylum
    Maybe I'm a "misanthropist and pathetic edgelord" but I don't really find the Colonial Marines in Aliens to be adventurous or fun. They're people thrown into a situation they don't understand at all, underestimating it every step of the way, and they get slaughtered because of it.

    Yippie!
  17. Drukathi
    The Marines have nothing to do with the original ideas of O'Bannon and Shusett either. They're entirely a construct of Hill, Giler and Cameron.

    Oh, rolls eyes, I know. But they are closer than meaningless and the worn-out сorporation of stupidity. At least the Colonial Marines promise adventure and fun in contrast to the boring, cliched evil corporation that is the perfect food for misanthropists and pathetic edgelords.
  18. Drukathi
    I feel like it goes further and further away from the original ideas of O'Bannon and Shusett. Not that this is bad in itself, but it is less and less relevant to the Alien Universe. A kind of procrastination. Not developing or deepening the franchise.

    The show about Colonial Marines will be better. Even without aliens, but with other situations, monsters, military conflicts. Anything would be better than a shitshow about the corporation. Even androids for next ten films.
  19. son_of_kane
    A corporate espionage type show with the xenos appearing sporadically might be interesting. Then again, it may also be well written with fleshed out characters but pretty dull overall. But I'd be willing to give it a shot  8)
  20. T Dog
    I wrote my pitch for Alien V in the Walter Hill thread. Here's some ideas I had for a tv show:

    "Weyland/Yutani"

    Set during the time of the merger between the 2 companies. Tone: 80's corporate douche bags trying to sell each other out Robocop/Burke style, corporate esponiage, weapon divisions/androids.

    Leads: a character based on Machinko Noguchi on the Yutani side. Starts the series as a cold, corporate suit, ends being one of the heroes.

    On the Weyland side we have Charlize Theron returning as Vickers. She sent a highly advanced, prohibitively expensive to mass produce android replica of herself on the Prometheus mission. She is running the company and must reluctantly merge with Yutani for survival.

    Plot/Story wise: I got nothing!
  21. SiL
    The worrying line for me was 2 hours of action over a ten hour series.

    If only because that can so easily turn into 8 episodes of character drama with 2 hours of Alien-related content right in the last two episodes.
  22. Corporal Hicks
    You would have to hold them back a bit, naturally, but that's why it would be important that there's a good strong backbone there without the XTs themselves. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that mentality, and I think it's important. It's important that there being strong characters, and strong stories without the Aliens themselves on all the time.
  23. Stitch
    Yeah, this exists. It is called Bladerunner

    I don't seem to recall any Aliens in Blade Runner.
    I think this was meant as a response to the TV show pitch of what happens if you have an Alien style universe but without the aliens. Megacorporations, robots who want to be human... Yup, sounds like Blade Runner.

    But nothing Hawley's statement mentioned anything about the show not having Aliens.

    His exact quote was as follows: "As I did with Legion, the exercise is: Let’s take the superhero stuff out of the show and see if it’s still a great show. What’s the show about? Let’s take the Alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama? Then we drop the aliens back in and we go, ‘This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there’s aliens!’”

    The "Let’s take the Alien out of the show" bit isn't at all him saying that there won't be Aliens; it is just step one in his creative process of figuring out the characters and and the narrative and making sure that they're interesting even when the Aliens aren't on screen.
    I get that. Just trying to interpret the comment. I must admit, though, I thought Hawley's comments implied a show where the alien wouldn't appear that often.
  24. Chris!(($$))!
    I loved Legion. Also loved Fargo (I guess he worked on that show too) and I'm sure he could do a decent ALIEN mini series.

    I don't know why people are taking that quote out of context. He very clearly says he would figure out the characters on their own merit to make them compelling and THEN throw the Xenos into the mix to dial that shit up to 11.

    And I think Hawley totally has the right idea. Capitalism plus the greed, vanity, and power hunger of humanity could definitely be pulled out of the films, including Prometheus and Covenant. Thats a strong theme to work with.

    Space explorers, ancient alien space archeologists/scientists, etc. Those aren't themes. Those are plot points and backdrop setups. BUT they could absolutely work with the themes of corporate capitalism and the expendability of humanity in the pursuit of wealth, power, technology all of which could culminate with discovering a Xenomorph which would represent a remarkable vessel that literally represents the pinnacle of science, violence, biological weaponry. The Xenos literally cannot thrive without destroying another species much like corporations are recklessly harming the world.

    IMO the show could focus on a corporation, perhaps a subsidiary of Weyland Yutani or a rival that has also discovered a Xenomorph and the pursuit of the Xenomorph ends up being their undoing. It results in the destruction and death of their off-world colonies.

    I'm thinking The Terror meets The Expanse.
  25. Nightmare Asylum
    Yeah, this exists. It is called Bladerunner

    I don't seem to recall any Aliens in Blade Runner.
    I think this was meant as a response to the TV show pitch of what happens if you have an Alien style universe but without the aliens. Megacorporations, robots who want to be human... Yup, sounds like Blade Runner.

    But nothing Hawley's statement mentioned anything about the show not having Aliens.

    His exact quote was as follows: "As I did with Legion, the exercise is: Let’s take the superhero stuff out of the show and see if it’s still a great show. What’s the show about? Let’s take the Alien out of the show. What’s the show about? What are the themes, who are the characters and what is the human drama? Then we drop the aliens back in and we go, ‘This is great. Not only is there great human drama, but there’s aliens!’”

    The "Let’s take the Alien out of the show" bit isn't at all him saying that there won't be Aliens; it is just step one in his creative process of figuring out the characters and and the narrative and making sure that they're interesting even when the Aliens aren't on screen.
  26. Nightmare Asylum
    Yeah, this exists. It is called Bladerunner

    I don't seem to recall any Aliens in Blade Runner.

    Of course you don't recall any Aliens in Blade Runner  ;)

    https://i.ibb.co/d5HrgHr/Hb-Y9-H1u-YEMj3cq-Z6-AOQzb-MKHzh-RWFp-Ce-Yv-d-Q72-J9-A.jpg

    Cake, however. That I do have very fond memories of.

  27. Immortan Jonesy
    Yeah, this exists. It is called Bladerunner

    I don't seem to recall any Aliens in Blade Runner.

    Of course you don't recall any Aliens in Blade Runner  ;)

    https://i.ibb.co/d5HrgHr/Hb-Y9-H1u-YEMj3cq-Z6-AOQzb-MKHzh-RWFp-Ce-Yv-d-Q72-J9-A.jpg



    Better is a series about explorers, other worlds and ancient civilizations. With scientists and adventurers in the lead roles. No boring family relationships, personal experiences and etc. Alien is not like Star Trek? OK bro, don't be nervous, calm down. Do it like Star Gate!

    I llike the ancient trope as one of the many elements featured in a story, ala Rised by Wolves, but not as the whole thing.
  28. paulus007@live.com
    That was too snarky. But seriously, they are supposed to be in the same universe and time period. What I would do to drive the story is [Cut to Earth / post Aliens action]: Show the BR Los Angeles with the familiar themes, including "Offworld, Find your Paradise" blimps. Have a low-mid class bar (indoor/outdoor) with a sexy/tough couple barely fitting in. They are pretending to drink and cuddle, but are watching a newsfeed of the ALIENS story, but the facts are wrong, total propaganda, then the news moves on. INTRO: A woman meets them, this was planned thru backchanels, she is mid-management for a Wayland competitor. They want to scoop the bio-weapon but dont know what it is, or what exactly went wrong with the Weyland attempts. Our super solid couple are replicants, and the entire story is a crew of replicants with one human embedded, from the competition company. Maybe this is the replicant Mfg, explaning how this crew is self-determined. The entire story presents the future of humanity/humane growth as a set of conflicts between 'natural' humans vs Mfg humans vs. Xenos with a late mixing of Engineers and maybe even a Pred ship.
  29. Fiendishly Inventive
    I adored Noah Hawley's Legion myself if you can guess, so much, I'm myself glad it never got dragged out beyond arguably some instances in the middle chapter. I do think he's ultimately got the right idea for Alien story comes first but wonder if he will get the freedom, I thought his questionable Directoral debut suffered from being forced into a pre-existing narrative and hope it's not what people, particularly ones in charge measure him by for future projects. Though perhaps he may take inspiration from things such as Glass Corridor, Sacrifice, Salvation, Survival, Inhuman Condition, Labyrinth, Wraith, Alchemy, Dust To Dust and Dead Orbit or even Alien The Cold Forge.

    https://i.imgur.com/XiHyrxI.jpg
  30. Bug hunt wilson
    I hope hulk will resurrct this sereies and I want to see the marines in if it it didn't matter if there on there for a short time and I want it to be dark rated r and have a good mix of horror and action
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