Should Fede Alvarez’s Alien Bring Back Ripley?

The Xenomorph, which first appeared in in the 1979 classic Alien, that we all know and love has been through the wringer. Between Alien: Resurrection, Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem and Alien: Covenant, cinema’s most iconic creature has not had the best representation on screen in a while. Ever since Covenant was released in 2017, there were rumblings of a potential sequel that would tie the prequel series to Ridley Scott’s original film. But that never came to fruition as Covenant heavily underperformed and was not beloved by fans. The franchise essentially died again — until now.

The Disney-Fox merger left a lot of intellectual properties in limbo, and the Alien franchise was one of them. Audiences didn’t know if the family-friendly mouse house would continue producing films revolving around a chest-bursting alien, but that all changed in 2020 when they announced that Fargo’s Noah Hawley would be creating a new show for FX/Hulu. As if that wasn’t enough, the studio confirmed that Evil Dead’s Fede Alvarez would be directing a new Alien movie with Ridley Scott returning to produce the film, Alien: Romulus.

So the question is, should they bring back Sigourney Weaver’s genre-defining character of Ripley? If so, is this going to be another Halloween or Scream type of nostalgia fest?

Update November 16, 2023: This article has been updated with more information regarding the upcoming film, Alien: Romulus as well as if the Sigourney Weaver should return as Ellen Ripley.

Ripley’s Last Alien Movie

20th Century Fox

Cinematically, we last saw Ripley in 1997’s Alien: Resurrection, a critically panned film that effectively smothered the franchise. Depending on which alternate ending audiences saw, Ripley either returned to a ravaged Earth or ended her journey aboard the Betty. Ripley has undoubtedly been through a lot between all four Alien movies Between her first encounter with the Xenomorph and her last duel with the “newborn,” some might say that the road to bring Ripley back is closed.

Everyone except District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp. His potential story featured Ripley picking up arms again right after James Cameron’s Aliens, effectively retconning Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection to continue Ripley’s story. Infamously, Ridley Scott chose another direction and decided to tell something of a Xenomorph origin story in 2012’s Prometheus.

The Alien Movies Without Ripley

Ridley Scott's film Prometheus
20th Century Fox

Between these movies, Fox tried their hand at resuscitating the Alien franchise with Alien Vs. Predator. Not surprisingly, this was not received well by fans. With Prometheus, Ridley Scott had the opportunity to craft a solid story that would truly connect to his original movie, but the former delved into philosophical ideas about androids and religion and only raised more questions. Alien: Covenant, on the other hand, had closer DNA to the original Alien, but this movie also tangled itself up in nonsensical ideas that were never really realized to its fullest potential.

Related: What Could We Expect from an Alien TV Show?

So with one series of films that ended her story and one series of films that had nothing to do with her, it seems like Ripley has nowhere to go. Scott could potentially cave into the nostalgia trend and find a way to bring back Ripley for one last hurrah, but this would not make sense from a timeline perspective.

Ripley Won’t Be Part of the Alien TV Series

Alien movie with Sigourney Weaver
20th Century Fox

When Noah Hawley first announced the Alien series, fans were ecstatic about the idea that this would be a continuation of Ridley Scott’s universe. There are undoubtedly many stories to tell within this universe, and the streaming formula allows for a great deal of character development. However, late last year, Hawley said that his series would be the very first Alien story, i.e., set way before Scott’s prequel series.

This means that Ripley would not be a part of this adventure, but that begs the question: do audiences want a prequel to the prequel series? Hawley recently told The Wrap that production on the series should start again soon, now that the SAG-AFTRA strike is resolved, with a likely premiere in early 2025.

What Will Alien: Romulus Be About?

aliens 1986
20th Century Fox

Don’t Breathe‘s Fede Alvarez is also writing and directing a new standalone Alien movie, which supposedly has no connection to Ripley. Alien: Romulus’ synopsis reads, A group of young people on a distant world, who find themselves in a confrontation with the most terrifying life form in the universe.” The fact the film will stream directly on Hulu means it will not have to be censored, and considering Alvarez’s track record, audiences may finally get a dose of true, contained Xenomorph horror.

Related: Alien: Why it May be Time For the Franchise to End

These two projects clearly show that Disney understands the value of the Alien franchise, but whether bringing Ripley back is truly dependent on the direction that both projects explore — and, more importantly, how they end. The series could very much drop Easter eggs about a future Ripley, and the movie could very well reference Ripley’s encounter with the Xenomorph, but as for bringing her back, that ship may have left this part of the galaxy.

Reviving Ripley Would Be a Mistake

alien ripley spacesuit
20th Century Fox

The question of a Ripley revival has been on the minds of many an Alien fan for years. With the actress still actively participating in Hollywood, one would think that the studio would perhaps dabble in this idea. Earlier this year, Weaver herself discussed a possible return to the franchise that kickstarted her career. In an interview with Total Film, Weaver said, “There are all kinds of younger actors taking this kind of role. And there was an Alien [film] that I really wanted to do with Neill Blomkamp, and we didn’t get to do that, but, you know, that ship has sailed.”

Hawley could still eventually recast Ripley with a younger actress for the FX series, which could be exciting for new viewers of the franchise. However, most longtime fans would probably riot if Weaver doesn’t somehow return, too. From a business standpoint, these new projects have a lot of longevity as they inject new life into the franchise and allow for more significant, more complex stories rather than focusing on a singular plot point. After all, how many times can audiences watch a former scream queen be put through the wringer again (see 2018’s Halloween)?

So, while bringing Ripley back may prove logistically difficult from a timeline perspective, her return could also be somewhat disingenuous to fans. The first few Alien films told a story that has since concluded. Scott’s prequel series attempted to tell a story that wasn’t received well, so maybe these new projects should disregard what came before and carve out an original path. One that honors the past and allows for more significant stories in the future. Because, in space, no one can hear you scream.

Alien Movies

Release Date

Where To Watch



Stream on Hulu



Stream on Starz

Alien 3


Stream on Hulu

Alien: Resurrection


Stream on Hulu

Alien vs. Predator


Stream on Hulu

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem


Stream on Starz



Rent on AppleTV+

Alien: Covenant


Rent on Apple TV+

Alien: Romulus


Coming To Theaters


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