First “Alien: Romulus” Images Unleash the Xenomorph in Fede Alvarez’s Upcoming Interquel

Yesterday, we got our first glimpse at director Fede Alvarez’s Alien: Romulus, the latest installment in the Alien franchise, yet one that is taking a different approach from the more recent films. Alvarez, with the blessing of both Ridley Scott and James Cameron, has made an “interquel,” a film that connects Scott’s groundbreaking 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien and Cameron’s sizzling 1986 follow-up Aliens. 

This means that because he’s set his Romulus in the 57-year span between Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) battle with a vicious Xenomorph aboard the spaceship the USCSS Nostromo in Alien and Ripley’s rematch with another Xenomorph (an alien queen, no less) and her offspring aboard the Sulaco, the look and feel of Alvarez’s film will be similar to those iconic installments, and that’s clear, thus far, in both the trailer and the first images. Think claustrophobic spaces,  clunkier technology, more space truckers in a rundown long-haul vessel than space explorers in a billion-dollar ship, which we saw in Prometheus. 

David Jonsson as Andy in 20th Century Studios’ ALIEN: ROMULUS. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Romulus is centered on a crew of young space colonists who come into contact with a fearsome Xenomorph, the acid-spewing, multiple-mouthed creature that literally burst onto the scene in Scott’s original. Romulus boasts an ensemble of young performers led by Cailee Spaeny, Isabela Merced, David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Spike Fearn, and Aileen Wu.

Alvarez revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that his idea to focus on these younger characters was drawn from a deleted scene from Aliens. 

“There’s a moment where you see a bunch of kids running [and riding a big wheel] around the corridors of this colony. And I thought, ‘Wow, what would it be like for those kids to grow up in a colony that still needs another 50 years to terraform?’” Álvarez told The Hollywood Reporter. “So I remember thinking, ‘If I ever tell a story in that world, I would definitely be interested in those kids when they reach their early twenties.’”

Director Fede Álvarez on the set of 20th Century Studios’ ALIEN: ROMULUS. Photo by Murray Close. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Romulus is set 20 years after Ridley Scott’s Alien, and it carries a lot of DNA from the original and Cameron’s sequel.

Alien: Romulus takes 20 years after the first one, and for me, I don’t see it as upsetting the canon,” Alvarez told Variety. “It’s something I take personal pleasure in doing, making sure that it all tracks and is all part of the big Alien franchise story — not only in the story but also when it comes to how to make it. I talked with Ridley [Scott] as a producer and had long chats with James Cameron about it at the script level. After the movie was done, I showed it to them.”

Cailee Spaeny as Rain Carradine in 20th Century Studios’ ALIEN: ROMULUS. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Alvarez hired a lot of the same people, including folks who made miniatures on the original films, yet he was able to liberally choose elements he liked from both Scott and Cameron’s films.

“I think what happens when you come into a franchise like this one is that everybody has a different idea of what this is or must be,” Alvarez told Variety. “When I did Evil Dead, some people thought it was a twist that I played it with a straight face because, for a lot of people, that is a comedy. But if you saw the first one when you were a kid, like I did, there’s nothing funny about it. In the Alien franchise, there were places that the directors and Ridley were more interested in that necessarily wasn’t related to the horror of it all. But for me, Alien works at its best when it’s scary and when it’s action, like Aliens. The horror and the shock of that world is personally what I liked the most.”

Xenomorph in 20th Century Studios’ ALIEN: ROMULUS. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Alien: Romulus arrives in theaters on August 16.

For more stories on 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Marvel Studios and what’s streaming or coming to Disney+, check these out:

First “Alien: Romulus” Trailer Reveals the “Interquel” Connecting Franchise’s Most Iconic Films

Darkness Rises in “The Acolyte” Trailer, Revealing a New Kind of “Star Wars” Series

Disney+’s New “Star Wars” Series “The Acolyte” Unveils Premiere Date

Featured image: Isabela Merced as Kay in 20th Century Studios’ ALIEN: ROMULUS. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


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