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Alien’s TV Show Revives The Original Movie’s Biggest Wasted Subplot

The Alien movies never fully explained the AI villains of the franchise, something that Noah Hawley’s upcoming Alien TV show is promising to do.

Showrunner Noah Hawley’s Alien TV show promises to expand on the franchise’s sprawling mythology and will touch on the original movie’s biggest wasted subplot in the process. Although director Ridley Scott’s original Alien is a sci-fi horror masterpiece, the movie cut a lot of interesting subplots to keep its story airtight and tension constantly sky high. For example, the story of the nefarious android Ash and his willingness to sacrifice the Nostromo’s human crew was never explored in as much depth as it might have been, in case it slowed down the momentum of the terrifying sci-fi horror—something that the upcoming Alien TV show can fix.

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The role that artificial intelligence plays in the Alien movies has always been confined to the background of the series and is treated as a fact of life by its characters, with the movies never fully explaining how robots became commonplace in its version of the future. However, with the hugely successful Alien franchise now finally coming to the small screen, showrunner Noah Hawley has promised his series will expand on this element of the franchise. As proven by David of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant fame, some of the franchise’s most memorable characters are the not-quite-human androids seen throughout the series.


Related: Prometheus’ Original Story Made David The Alien Franchise’s Best Villain

The amount of screen time afforded to David in the Alien prequels may be explained by the original Alien’s lack of engagement with Ash’s subplot, something that the franchise’s upcoming TV series can further rectify. Alien skims over the story of how the duplicitous android Ash was hoping to let the Xenomorph kill most of the Nostromo’s crew provided the monster survived to reach Weyland-Yutani and never thoroughly explored the question of how much the minor villain was aware of his actions and their impact. Likewise, the sequel Aliens cut an android villain from its original script to streamline the story where, in contrast, Hawley’s FX spinoff seems set to focus on the threat of AIs in the world of the Alien franchise.


Alien Ash android

Per an interview with Hawley regarding his plans for the Alien series, “(Alien) is not just a monster movie; it’s about how we’re trapped between the primordial past and the artificial intelligence of our future, both of which are trying to kill us.” While the original Alien certainly illustrated the threat represented by the primordial past with its toothy, terrifying titular antagonist, it only just about touches on the threat represented by the cold, unfeeling future’s robotic “helpers.” Since Scott (unlike Alien’s original director Robert Altman) prioritized scares over satire, the director had no issue with letting Alien’s depiction of AI going rogue take a backseat to monster attacks.


While this approach resulted in one of the most iconic monster movies of all time—and paved the way for the successful franchise to include a TV show in the first place—it is promising to see Hawley return to this idea. The AIs of the Alien universe always deserved further fleshing out, something that the medium of TV is more attuned to than blockbuster horror. Thus, it is exciting to see the Alien TV series bring back one of the movie’s most under-utilized plot points.

More: Every Bill Paxton Sci-Fi Movie Ranked Worst To Best

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