Alien TV Series Won’t Focus on Weylan-Yutani, Is Going Back to Basics

Information about Noah Hawley’s upcoming alien television series for FX has been sparse, but recent comments from FX chairman John Landgraf seems to hint at a series that’s going back to what made the alien movie franchise so great.

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Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter recently, Landgraf said that rather than ground everything in the universe that had already been established, Hawley has instead aimed to create an experience that’s similar to watching the first two films for the first time.

“I’m a big fan of alien and aliens, and I remember watching both of them in the theater and how shockingly original and surprising each of them was in its own way,” Landgraf said. “And so, similar to his approach to Fargo, Noah decided not to take Ripley or any character from alien — except perhaps the xenomorph itself — but go back and figure out what made the franchise so great and so durable in the first place and see if he could find an experience that felt like walking into a theater and seeing one of those first two movies, where you get caught off guard. That’s all I can say at this point, though.”

Landgraf was also asked about the inclusion of the Weylan-Yutani corporation in the upcoming series. In previous alien films, the corporation has been a mainstay, and is usually at the forefront of whatever confrontation occurs in the film. However, while they do appear in the alien series, it’s in a much more subdued way, with the series focusing on a different competitor to Weylan-Yutani.

“The alien cinematic universe is that it’s a world where that’s sort of dominated by large corporate entities, and Weylan-Yutani has been an important component of the movies,” said Landgraf. “There are references to that corporation in this show. But it actually takes place in the territory of a different corporation that Noah invented.”

These comments somewhat echo past discussions Hawley has had with the show, where he mentioned bringing in other companies who are attempting to strive for immortality in different ways than Weylan-Yutani is.

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“In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence—but what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way, with cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads?” Hawley said in an interview with Esquire earlier this year. “Which of those technologies is going to win? It’s ultimately a classic science fiction question: does humanity deserve to survive? As Sigourney Weaver said in that second movie, ‘I don’t know which species is worse. At least they don’t f— each other over for a percentage.’ Even if the show was 60% of the best horror action on the planet, there’s still 40% where we have to ask, ‘What are we talking about it, beneath it all?’ Thematically, it has to be interesting. It’s humbling to get to play with the iconography of this world.

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