Noah Hawley Expands On His ‘Alien’ FX Series, Confirms It Won’t Be About Ripley

The Alien franchise has been in need of a revamp for decades. While Ridley Scott has done a marginally successful job with his recent prequels, the entire thing needs to be looked at from a different angle. Fortunately, Noah Hawley has built his career expanding our understanding of established properties with his Fargo series and X-Men spinoff Legion. And now he’s going to do the same with his Alien series on FX.

What little we knew about it before Hawley’s interview with Vanity Fair, is that his Alien will be set on Earth and focus on the people who launch those doomed missions into space. Hawley expands on that idea, in the context of the films that came before…

“Those are great monster movies, but they’re not just monster movies. They’re about humanity trapped between our primordial, parasitic past and our artificial intelligence future—and they’re both trying to kill us. Here you have human beings and they can’t go forward and they can’t go back. So I find that really interesting.”

One thing that his show won’t be about? Ripley. So don’t expect any Sigourney Weaver cameos or anything…

“It’s not a Ripley story,” Hawley said. “She’s one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story has been told pretty perfectly, and I don’t want to mess with it. It’s a story that’s set on Earth also. The alien stories are always trapped… Trapped in a prison, trapped in a spaceship. I thought it would be interesting to open it up a little bit so that the stakes of ‘What happens if you can’t contain it?’ are more immediate.”

“On some level, it’s also a story about inequality. You know, one of the things that I love about the first movie is how ’70s a movie it is, and how it’s really this blue-collar space-trucker world in which Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton are basically ‘Waiting for Godot.’ They’re like Samuel Beckett characters, ordered to go to a place by a faceless nameless corporation. The second movie is such an ‘80s movie, but it’s still about grunts. Paul Reiser is middle management at best. So, it is the story of the people you send to do the dirty work.”

“In mine, you’re also going to see the people who are sending them. So you will see what happens when the inequality we’re struggling with now isn’t resolved. If we as a society can’t figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what’s going to happen to us? There’s that great Sigourney Weaver line to Paul Reiser where she says, ‘I don’t know which species is worse. At least they don’t fuck each other over for a percentage.’”

I’ve never watched Fargo despite the critical acclaim, and enjoyed what he did with Legion for the most part. But is Alien something people will want to watch if there isn’t the chance of a xenomorph bursting out of someone’s chest? I’m not so sure.

Production on Alien begins next spring.


Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.