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Noah Hawley's long-awaited 'Alien' TV series finally in pre-production at FX

When are we getting our Alien television series?!

By Tara Bennett
Alien (1979)

The Alien franchise certainly isn't dormant, with Ridley Scott currently exec producing the next installment of the Xenomorph film mythology from director Fede Álvarez. But arguably the most interesting continuation of the franchise is writer/director Noah Hawley's still untitled FX series that's been in development since 2020. At today's Television Critics Association Winter press day for FX (attended by SYFY WIRE), John Landgraf, Chairman of FX Content and & FX Productions, gave an overall update on their upcoming slate of 23 series in 2023, including the status of Hawley's series.

Unfortunately, the Alien series will not be one of the 23 shows slated to premiere because Hawley's fifth season of Fargo is on deck first. As the showrunner and a director for Fargo Season 5 — which will star Juno Temple and Jon Hamm — Hawley intends to fill the same roles for the Alien series, which means he wasn't able to juggle both projects at the same time.

However, Landgraf confirms that Hawley has written all the scripts for the Alien series, which have been read and reviewed by the studio. And as the production on Fargo winds down, the Alien series is now in "active pre-production." Landgraf said, "He's meeting with the production designer now. And it starts production this year." With that timeline, a 2024 premiere could be in the cards.

What exactly do we know about Hawley's take on the Alien mythology? It will be the first live-action Alien story to take place on Earth, and it will be set before Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) encounters the Xenomorphs in the film installments of Alien, Aliens, Alien3, and Alien Resurrection. Per an interview Hawley did with Esquire a year ago, the writer/director teased of his approach, "I've made a certain business out of reinvention. Alien is a fascinating story because it's not just a monster movie; it’s about how we're trapped between the primordial past and the artificial intelligence of our future, where both [are] trying to kill us...I describe that as Edison versus Westinghouse versus Tesla. Someone’s going to monopolize electricity. We just don't know which one it is."

Hawley continued, "In the movies, we have this Weyland-Yutani Corporation, which is clearly also developing artificial intelligence — but what if there are other companies trying to look at immortality in a different way, with cyborg enhancements or transhuman downloads? Which of those technologies is going to win?" he posed. "It’s ultimately a classic science fiction question: does humanity deserve to survive? As Sigourney Weaver said in that second movie, 'I don't know which species is worse. At least they don't f**k each other over for a percentage.' Even if the show was 60% of the best horror action on the planet, there's still 40% where we have to ask, 'What are we talking about it, beneath it all?' Thematically, it has to be interesting. It’s humbling to get to play with the iconography of this world."

We don't have premiere dates yet for either of the big Alien projects in development at the moment, but stay tuned for more details as they come.

In the meantime, if you're in the mood for a far funnier alien, check out SYFY's Resident Alien, streaming now on Peacock!