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The “Predator” franchise recently got a substantial creative shot in the arm with the Hulu original “Prey.” And surely 20th Century Studios is hoping they can do the same for the “Alien” franchise following the underwhelming response to “Alien: Covenant,” which left the series floating in space. While we’re still waiting on some plot details and how a new film, directed by Fede Álvarez, will factor into the greater franchise mythology, it looks like it will indeed be female-centric like the Ellen Ripley movies and Ridley Scott’s prequels.
According to Deadline, actress Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) is being courted for the lead role. Spaeny may not sound like a huge name at the moment, but she is a rising star, having had a major role in “Pacific Rim 2,” star alongside John Boyega and Scott Eastwood, standing out in Alex Garland’s ‘Devs” FX series and appearing in the Sundance indie “How It Ends.”
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Like “Prey,” the next “Alien” film is heading directly to streaming (Hulu domestically and Disney+ internationally) and landed the aforementioned horror director Fede Álvarez. He was behind the reboot of “The Evil Dead” and directed the Stephen Lang hit thriller “Don’t Breathe.” Scott’s production company, Scott Free, is directly involved as stewards of the franchise and is also behind the Earthbound prequel series that is being developed by Noah Hawley (“Fargo”).
Filming is expected to begin in early 2023, meaning more casting announcements are expected. When the picture takes place would explain how it fits into the greater mythology is unknown. “Alien Isolation” is a video game that follows Ripley’s daughter long before the events of “Aliens” (Amanda is long dead as revealed in the director’s cut) as she faces a xenomorph that wreaked havoc on a populated space station. That certainly feels like material that could be adapted into a feature, but who knows?
In case you need more evidence that Hollywood is all about Spaeny, up next for her are two more significant roles. Another Alex Garland film, his upcoming sci-fi film “Civil War,” and then an even bigger milestone: playing Priscilla Presley in Sofia Coppola’s upcoming “Priscilla” opposite Jacob Elordi, who will play Elvis.