Alien 5, written by Joss Whedon and set on Earth after Alien Resurrection, is one of the most infamous sequels that never saw the light of day. It could have been so different if Alien 5’s reportedly finalised script had been realised. Joss Whedon, the writer behind The Avengers, proposed a script that would bring the saga full circle, set 30 years after the Nostromo’s disastrous mission back to mother Earth before a slew of difficulties derailed his plans. Here’s why Joss Whedon’s Alien 5 was never made, and how it would have looked if it had.

 Alien 5 Story Details

How Alien 5 would have looked and why it didn't happen.
Joss Whedon’s Alien 5

While narrative information for Alien 5’s script has only been leaked in bits and pieces, it is believed to take place on Earth shortly after Alien: Resurrection. Following the explosion of the Auriga in a typical Alien manner, Ripley and Call resume their journey to the planetoid, unaware that they are not alone. Alien 5 was created to bring the Alien storey to a close with Sigourney Weaver’s legendary Ripley’s return to the planet after 257 years away, giving the original film series a sense of closure.

Whedon’s decision to end Ripley’s loop demonstrates that he recognises the necessity of restoring the Alien films to Ridley Scott’s human, tension-driven settings. Watching John Hurt’s Kane choke in the mess hall late at night after waking up from his nightmare is a visceral experience that is unaffected by complicated creature-based sequences. In this sense, the premise of the Alien 5 script promised to bring Ripley back to the forefront while avoiding the hectic and often unintelligible action of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

Why Alien 5 Never Happened

How Joss Whedon's Alien 5 would have looked and why it didn't happen.
Xenomorph from alien covenant

Several reasons conspired to bring Alien 5’s development to a halt, with the script failing to make a strong effort to be seriously considered for release. In 1998, 20th Century Fox began developing a “Frankenstein Meets Werewolf” scenario that would match Ridley Scott’s Alien against John McTiernan’s Predator in their original forms. James Cameron, who had been approached by Fox to assist in the writing of a fifth Alien film (following in the footsteps of his Aliens success), quickly distanced himself from the project, dismissing it as something that would “destroy the validity of the series.”

Despite losing their man at the helm, the company persisted, eventually releasing AVP: Alien vs. Predator by Paul W.S. Anderson in 2004. Whedon’s rejected Alien 5 script, which took the Alien franchise on a less serious tangent while simultaneously destroying Alien 5’s obviously human idea, met its demise with the publication of AVP.

Alien 5 – Will It Happen?

How Joss Whedon's Alien 5 would have looked and why it didn't happen.
Alien Resurrection

While Joss Whedon’s idea for the shelved Alien 5 is unlikely to be revived, plans for a fifth Alien film are well advanced. Prometheus, the Alien prequel, appeared to be pushing the franchise in a radical new direction at first, earning the highest reviews for an Alien film since Aliens. However, Alien: Covenant, the sequel, was released in 2017 to mixed reviews, prompting 20th Century Fox to reconsider their position on the overall prequel storey. After officially announcing at the 2019 CinemaCon that Alien sequels were in the works, Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019 changed the actors in the Alien landscape, but possibly not the linear franchise plan.

How Joss Whedon's Alien 5 would have looked and why it didn't happen.

While Weaver’s return for Disney’s Alien projects has yet to be confirmed, it’s difficult to envision a Xenomorph plot without the famous Ripley. Although Joss Whedon’s Alien 5 concept appears to be destined for obscurity, his idea of Alien 5 embracing its human element is one that any future Alien franchise entries should follow.

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