‘Raised by Wolves’: Are Ridley Scott’s New Androids Related to ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’?

Ridley Scott executive produced and directed the first two episodes of the new series Raised By Wolves. Although Aaron Guzikowski created the show, it’s easy to see Scott’s sci-fi influence. The show stars two androids, Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) raising newborns on an uninhabited planet. They have to protect the children from natural elements and hostile invaders. 

Raised By Wolves: Abubakar Salim
Abubakar Salim | Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max

No stranger to androids and science-fiction, Mother and Father do have some similarities to the androids in Alien and Blade Runner. Guzikowski and Executive Producer David W. Zucker spoke with reporters on a Television Critics Association panel for Raised By Wolves. The show is now streaming on HBO Max with new episodes every Thursday. 

‘Raised By Wolves’ is like this classic TV drama but with androids

Zucker described Raised By Wolves as “Little House on the Prairie on another planet.” Add to that the android parents and this is more complex than the average frontier show.

You see the evolution, even in the first episode, that Campion (Winta McGrath) goes through where Mother is his savior, Mother is his protector but then he begins to have some doubt. There are certain restrictions that are put upon him and then you’ll see the rebellion. You see explicitly the kinds of struggles that parents go through, in terms of how to negotiate, how to collaborate, how to align, where fissures in trust may come, where children identify with one parent over the other, may work one parent against the other.

David W. Zucker, Television Critics Association panel, 8/4/2020
Raised By Wolves: Mother, Campion and Father
L-R: Amanda Collin, Winta McGrath, Abubakar Salim | Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max

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If you think human families are dysfunctional, wait until you see Raised By Wolves!

“It’s about androids raising humans,” Zucker said. “There’s benefits to it and there’s dangers, especially when Mother is a necromancer.  And those things get explored in all of their glory. “

These androids have one thing in common with Ash and replicants

In Scott’s Alien, Ash was an android who betrayed his human crew. The replicants of Blade Runner were so convincing they had to hire Deckard (Harrison Ford) to figure out who was a human or a replicant. Mother and Father have a specific task in Raised By Wolves, and somewhat different mechanics (although their white fluid recalls Ash too). 

Ridley Scott's Raised By Wolves
Amanda Collin and the children | Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max

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“Ridley has been working with these sorts of themes for a good long time now, starting with Alien and then Blade Runner,” Guzikowski said.  “So I think there’s a thematic connection, perhaps not a direct connection in terms of the mythology. There was a lot of sort of exchange of DNA between a lot of the mythologies that Ridley has established in the past and this new story. But, I think a lot of the rules that apply to these androids and a lot of the questions that they bring up, are similar to going as far back to Ash from Alien in 1977.”

Ridley Scott is in his element on ‘Raised By Wolves’

Guzikowski created Raised By Wolves, but Scott had a lot of influence. As the director of the pilot, he determined how the show would look. 

“There is sort of a continuity, in terms of just the visuals, in Alien and Blade Runner, Alien: Covenant, in terms of the way they’ve kind of imagined what an alien planet could look like, to the androids and even some of the H.R. Giger type of design stuff,” Guzikowski said. “In addition to that, it’s kind of evolved into it’s kind of a new stage of trying to look into the future. I think it has the DNA of Ridley’s previous work, but he’s evolving into some new stuff that we haven’t seen yet.”

Zucker adds that Scott himself has evolved between the original Alien and Raised By Wolves.

Amanda Collin and the children | Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max

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There’s nothing more thrilling than watching Ridley world create. I think harkening back to Alien, it is always finding a way of rooting these stories from a character, and from a world creations standpoint, in reality. I think you look back to Alien and you sort of feel the grit, you feel the texture. It’s something that you can hopefully relate to and identify with, no matter how fantastic some of the imagery may be. I think that that sensibility that Ridley infuses in all of his work is very evident here, both from seeing the end of Earth as it is to the pioneering journey on this new planet.

David W. Zucker, Television Critics Association panel, 8/4/2020