Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Alien’ Sequel Was Possibly Cancelled Due to ‘Chappie’
Alien 5 was announced as being in development on February 18, 2015. The project had District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp attached. The sequel was intended to be included as part of the original Alien series, rather than Ridley Scott‘s prequel movies. The studio slated the sequel to hit theaters in 2017, but they ultimately cancelled it. The plot would ignore events of Alien 3 and pick up after James Cameron’s Aliens. Actor Sigourney Weaver expressed interest in Blomkamp’s iteration.
Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Chappie’ underperformed
Sony released Blomkamp’s Chappie in theaters in 2015. The story is set in the future, where a robot police force is now the standard. However, one of these robots is taken and reprogrammed to be different from the typical model. The droid becomes sentient and learns from a couple of gangsters, who name him Chappie. The cast includes Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Weaver, and the music group duo Die Antwoord.
The budget of Chappie was $49 million. It ultimately brought in $31.6 million from North America and $102.1 million from the global box office. However, the movie performed poorly from critic review aggregator websites and with audience review ratings.
Blomkamp originally designed for Chappie to be a trilogy, which he had already written the screenplays for. However, the studio never gave the greenlight. The first installment didn’t perform well enough to warrant another two entries. The studio cancelled Alien within the following months.
Neill Blomkamp blames ‘Chappie’ for ‘Alien’ sequel getting cancelled
Blomkamp talked about the Alien sequel in an interview with The Guardian. He specifically pointed to Scott and Chappie as being the potential reasons for why the project ended up getting cancelled. Blomkamp explained, “It’s possible that Ridley watched Chappie and he was like, this guy can’t do Alien so let’s just go ahead and move on.”
He was really excited to have the opportunity to work with Weaver in bringing another installment to the original franchise. Similarly, Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode in David Gordon Green’s Halloween. Fans of the franchise applauded the reboot. This would have generated a similar amount of excitement from audiences of the Alien sequel.
Blomkamp continued: “I also felt bad for Sigourney because she was really into what I had brought forward. I felt like [for] audiences who loved Aliens, there was an opportunity to do one more film with Sigourney in a way that may have satiated what people were looking for and what I think I was looking for. “
Neill Blomkamp’s negative experience with ‘Alien’ impacted his future with franchises
There wasn’t nearly as much fan demand behind Alien: Covenant as there was around Blomkamp’s Alien installment. However, Fox still went ahead with Scott’s prequel entries, instead of pursuing the sequel that the District 9 filmmaker had already been working on.
Blomkamp was understandably confused and upset by the cancellation of the project, given the opportunity for financial gain. He noted, “What doesn’t make sense is that I feel like it’s what the audience wanted so it’s strange because Fox would never really turn down money.”
Blomkamp and Scott haven’t spoken since the project failed. Blomkamp explained, “I’m not gonna work on a film for two years and have the rug pulled out from underneath me and then go hang out and have beers. It’s exactly why I don’t want to do IP based on other people’s stuff ever again.”
It’s understandable why Blomkamp would be upset after he had already put so much work into making this sequel. While he likely won’t be working on another creator’s IP again, audiences will be getting a District 10 in the future.