Categories Alien FX News

Noah Hawley Talks Alien Series Storytelling and Aesthetic

With filming of Noah Hawley and FX’s Alien series scheduled to recommence in Bangkok in the New Year, Noah Hawley has been discussing the upcoming serialized entry into the Alien universe again. In a new interview with StarsInfoCity, Hawley discussed the challenges in designing the shows aesthetic, suggesting that perhaps we’re returning to the lo-fi sci-fi of the original Alien!

“The prequels aside, because those are historical documents, what do we really know about the ‘Alien’ universe? We know there’s a company called Weyland-Yutani. We don’t know a lot more about it. We don’t know what the government structure is, the politics of it, what’s Earth — none of that. That’s liberating on some level to not have to thread various needles. But the challenge is also that we’re only ever in these artificial environments, the spaceship or a prison or whatever. What does an apartment look like on ‘Alien’? That basic stuff of the palette of ‘Alien,’ the design of that ship, that dripping is so specific. I think that the sweaty aesthetic of ‘Alien’ plays very well into climate change and the hot, wet future that we’re all moving toward. Technology in the first two movies was rooted in the retro futurism of the ’70s and ’80s. Is that our aesthetic? Those challenges really excite me because I would much rather deal with computers that look like that than holograms and feel like I’m in an Apple store.”

“Those challenges really excite me because I would much rather deal with computers that look like that than holograms and feel like I’m in an Apple store.”

Hawley also delved into the considerations and challenges he faced in bringing back a layer of mystery to the storytelling of Alien, while also ensuring that there was substance for the long form narrative of a series.

“What’s rooted in the horror of ‘Alien’ is discovery. The life cycle of this creature, besides being insane, is truly terrifying. It’s an egg, and inside that egg is a creature that attaches to your face. I’m already out. But then that creature that attaches to your face lays another creature inside of you — hold on a second. Then that creature bursts out of your chest and grows to 9 feet tall? What is this creature? The experience of watching “Alien” for the first time is so visceral; it just gets worse and worse and worse and worse. [Director] James Cameron was able to take that and turn it into an action movie in which you knew what the life cycle was, so there was the horror of anticipation. But who’s laying those eggs? So he added that other element to it. But after that, there’s no discovery or surprise, we’re just doing that again and again.

The challenge for me is: Is there a way that we can take the audience back to “wait, what’s happening? What does this thing do?” That was the first challenge. The second challenge, which is why I think it justifies a show with multiple hours of storytelling, is that it’s not just a monster movie. It’s about humanity trapped between this primordial “they want to eat us” past and the AI future, and they’re both trying to kill us. We’ve created these tools that are turning on us, or if we program them correctly, we’ll go insane. Those elements of humanity, artificial intelligence, trans-humanism — ‘what’s the future of humanity?’ is a really interesting thing to talk about right now. Combined with the revenge of nature — we’re experiencing that now as weather or viruses or whatever. If we’re in a place where our self-driving cars are gonna kill us, or we’re going to drown in them, there’s a story to be placed in the middle of that.”

FX’s Alien series is currently expected to begin filming again in January/February, with targeted release date of early 2025. We also recently learned that Hawley was going to be joined by his Fargo and Legion collaborator Dana Gonzales how will be directing an unknown number of Alien episodes. Thanks once again to Gimitko for the news.

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Corporal Hicks

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