Noah hawley is a busy man these days. The fascinating storyteller is perhaps best known for creating the hit TV series Fargo, based on the Coen brothers classic, as well as several near misses on projects that may or may not come to fruition. The last time we heard, however, Hawley was preparing for a surprising trip to the Extraterrestrial universe – this time, through television. Now we finally have concrete information on what to expect, straight from the man himself. Some information makes perfect sense for a new series set in the world that Ridley scott created, while others are a little more… interesting.
What to expect and what not to expect
First and foremost, don’t expect the other Sigourney weaver appearance like the iconic Ripley. According to Hawley (courtesy Vanity Fair), “This is do not a story of Ripley. It’s probably for the best, because Extraterrestrial might start to feel at risk of turning into Star wars – with pretty much every new story in the world always coming back and revolving around one character or group of characters from the original. While Extraterrestrial may not lend itself to the construction of shared universes that Disney currently has in mind for this galaxy far, far away, it’s still smart of Hawley to diversify his storytelling as much as possible. He seems to agree, as he goes on to say:
“[Ripley]is one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story was told quite perfectly, and I don’t want to disturb her. It is also a story that takes place on Earth. Alien stories are always trapped… Trapped in a prison, trapped in a spaceship. I thought it would be nice to open it up a bit so that the stakes of “What if you can’t contain it?” Are more immediate.
the Extraterrestrial franchise also has an established history of comparisons to our real world, from corporate contempt for their own workers in the original, to a stimulating exploration of the prison industrial complex of that of David Fincher Alien 3. Now Hawley seems determined to add his own twist to it. After the suggestion that being unable to “contain” deadly things seems oddly familiar to what the world has been going through for over a year now, Hawley goes on to develop his specific worldview for this new series.
“At one level, it’s also a story of inequality. You know, one of the things I love about the first movie is how much of a 70s movie it is, and how it really is this world of blue collar space truckers that Yaphet Kotto and Harry dean stanton are basically Waiting for Godot. They are like characters in Samuel Beckett, who have been ordered to go to a place by an anonymous and anonymous company. The second movie is an ’80s movie, but it’s still all about grunts. Paul reiser is middle management at best. So, this is the story of the people you send to do the dirty work.
But not to be confused with the simple retreading of the same land which Extraterrestrial and its following episodes already covered, Hawley specifies that his series will offer a whole new point of view. “In mine, you will also see the people who send them. So you will see what happens when the inequality we are currently grappling with is not resolved. “
It sounds well intentioned but also… a lot. The beauty of previous films (Prometheus and parts of Alien: Alliance included!) is in how they handled these issues with an effortless, yet invigorating approach. Xenomorphs are big slasher villains, sure, but the show has extracted a ton of nuance by positioning faceless societies, directive-obsessed androids, and imperfect humans as nearly equal enemies. It remains to be seen how or if Hawley can exploit similar ground here, but we look forward to finding out for ourselves.
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