Ridley Scott has thrown the gauntlet down to James Cameron‘s Avatar by saying his rival director “won’t get away” with raising the bar – and promised his two Alien prequels will top the sci-fi fantasy.
The director had previously been reported as working on a single prequel, but told Collider.com there will now be two.
The films are to be made in 3D, though reports differ on when the films will be set in relations to the original franchise.
Screen Daily suggest any prequel will be set five years before the original, though Scott recently told MTV News it would take place 30 years in the past, with hero Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, not yet having been born.
It is now thought that the first film is set 30 years prior to Alien, with the second movie five years before.
Scott has confirmed Weaver will take no part in the first prequel – not even in a voiceover role – but the lead character will once again be a woman.
The 72-year-old director, who made the critically-aclaimed Alien in 1979 but hasn’t made a sci-fi film since 1982’s Blade Runner, explained: “Jim‘s [Cameron] raised the bar and I’ve got to jump to it. He’s not going to get away with it.”
Alien spawned three sequels made by other directors, notably Aliens by Cameron himself, which was by far the most revered of the follow-ups.
The director told Screen Daily the films will explore the “gods and engineers” that bought the aliens to life.
“The film will be really tough, really nasty. It’s the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would actually go in and clean up a planet?” he said.
“It will take place in the years before that, when they first come across this thing on a planet called Zeta Reticuli. And it will ask who was that guy in the first film lying in a chair with his chest blown outwards when they first go into the giant spacecraft.”
Scott admitted in an interview with MTV News, however, that the subsequent Alien sequels and spin-offs – notably Alien vs Predator which he had no part in – have diluted the creature’s shock value.
“Yeah, the thing about Alien vs Predator is, I know it’s commerce, but what a pity,” he said. “I think, therefore, I have to design — or redesign — earlier versions of what these elements are that led to the thing you finally see in Alien, which is the thing that catapults out of the egg, the face-hugger. I don’t want to repeat it. The alien in a sense, as a shape, is worn out.”
Scott‘s latest film is Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, which is set to open the Cannes Film Festival on May 12.