Following the release of Alien: Resurrection, Fox announced plans for a fifth Alien film, with Joss Whedon set to pen the script. Whedon had contributed to the script for Alien: Resurrection, but this sequel would have been entirely his own.
Fox’s chief of production at the time, Tom Rothman, said Entertainment Weekly (via Winona-Ryder). “Joss Whedon will write it, and we expect to have Sigourney and Winona if they’re up for it.”
Whedon discussed the idea, claiming that Ressurection set the stage for what will happen in the fifth picture. “There’s a big story to tell in another sequel,” he stated (via Alien movies). The fourth film serves as a prequel to a film set on Earth. Consider all of the possibilities. If I write this movie and it includes my writing credentials, it will be on Earth… And it will be extremely different from the previous one.”
“The studio talked about Alien Resurrection as a kind of placeholder,” the filmmaker said, explaining what the studio was thinking and what he was looking to do. ‘We want to do Earth or the great Alien planet, but we’re not persuaded that this franchise has legs yet,’ they stated. So we’d like to tell a smaller story.’ I don’t believe you can achieve it with Alien 5. I believe the days of people running around in tin cans are over. You must work on a larger scale or it will become an episode rather than a new film. You have to erupt from the first to the second as Cameron did, and that implies going somewhere new… I utilized the first two films as templates for Alien Resurrection, but with this one, I can promise you something new, something completely different from what you’ve seen before.”
This version of Alien 5, named Alien: Revelation, was scrapped after Whedon became dissatisfied with the success of Alien: Ressurection. Whedon simply lost interest once Fox placed the film on hold. “I’ll tell you there was a time when I would have been interested in that,” he explained, “but I’m not interested in making somebody else’s franchise anymore.” Any film I make will be entirely my own.” Whedon went on to work on franchise films for Marvel and DC.
Not long later, Cinescape magazine speculated that the plot of Alien 5 would revolve around Ripley 8 traveling to the Alien home world to battle the Xenomorphs. However, nothing came of it. When questioned about it in 1999, Sigourney Weaver told Sci-Fi Wire, “I’ve always wanted to do one [an Alien film] where we go back to the planet from which the Alien originally came.” I’m not sure if there are any plans for another one. It wouldn’t surprise me if you saw a white-haired Ripley stumbling around out there in the next twenty years or so. But I’ve never heard of anything.”
Around 2002-2003, rumors spread that James Cameron and Ridley Scott were planning to collaborate on an Alien 5 film, which would have been incredible! When asked about his probable involvement in that, Scott remarked, “You know, I thought it’d be nice.” It’s something I’d do. It is entirely reliant on how the material is seen. It’s all about the stuff. When questioned about Alien 5, I responded, “Of course.” We’ve begun a script meeting. I mean, I’ve already begun it, so I might as well close the door if this is the last one. He added, “I will decide in the next 5 weeks. I’m looking at Alien 5 [for] sure. Why not? Maybe.”
The story of Cameron and Scott collaborating on Alien 5 began with journalist Ian Nathan, who stated that there “has been talk of a heavenly partnership with Cameron to work out an idea” for a fifth Alien film. “What came up was the idea of doing Alien 5,” Cameron said, “and at one point I pitched that I would write it and produce it, and Ridley would direct it, and we had lunch talking about this.”
This Alien 5 film project never materialized, and Cameron blamed Alien vs. Predator for the film’s demise. It would have been fascinating to see Cameron and Scott work together on an Alien sequel, and it’s a shame that it never occurred. The fact that Fox chose Alien vs. Predator over Cameron and Scott’s concept was a bad judgment made by Tom Rothman.