EXCLUSIVE: ‘Alien’ Prequel Set 30 Years Before Original, Features A Female Lead, Redesigned Aliens

All the way back in June of last year we heard that plans were gearing up to unleash an “Alien” prequel on the world. Now, almost a full year later, we’ve got some news from Ridley Scott, creator of the franchise and director of both the first movie and the coming sequel, about what fans can expect.

“It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley],” the “Robin Hood” director said in an exclusive interview, in advance of next week’s summer preview week on MTV.com. “It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ’Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair. Remember that?”

Of course we do, Ridley. Fans have been wondering about that thing for years. It’s identity, it’s origin, it’s relationship with the Xenomorphs. Finally, answers are coming. In addition to “explaining who the space jockeys were,” Scott will also explore humanity’s expansion into the galaxy.

“[The film] is about the discussion of terraforming — taking planets and planetoids and balls of earth and trying to terraform, seed them with the possibilities of future life,” he explained. The initiative will be led by the Weyland Corporation, an early iteration of the Weyland-Yutani Corp. that causes so many problems throughout the series. “Weyland hasn’t joined Yutani yet, so they go and see Weyland,” Scott said.

Scott promises a movie experience that won’t require past knowledge of the series. Still, the prequel will definitely nod towards a number of motifs that have been established across the life of the franchise, particularly the focus on having a strong female lead.

“Well, the main character [in the prequel] will be a woman, yeah,” he revealed. “We’re thinking it could go down that route, yeah. When I started the original ’Alien,’ Ripley wasn’t a woman, it was a guy. During casting, we thought, ’Why don’t we make it a woman?'”

Perhaps most interesting is Scott’s attitude towards the titular aliens. He thinks of the original designs from artist H.R. Giger as “worn out.” It wouldn’t be much of an “Alien” prequel if we didn’t see the Xenomorphs, but Scott is already giving serious thought to collaborating with Giger again on a redesign.

“Yeah, he’s still around. Once I get more serious and get going, and the big wheels start turning, we’ll certainly talk. And maybe we’ll come up with something completely different.”

For more of Scott’s thoughts on the franchise, including his opinions on the most recent “Aliens vs. Predator,” check out Larry Carroll’s full report on MTV.com.