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FX confirms no Ripley in Noah Hawley's 'Alien' series, explains why 'Y: The Last Man' was canceled

No Ripley, but at least one very important legacy character is still expected to appear.

By Tara Bennett

Since it was first announced during the Disney Investor Day 2020 live stream that Noah Hawley would be developing a canon, original Alien TV series, executive produced by Ridley Scott, details have been sparse. But today at FX's Television Critics Association winter virtual press day (attended by SYFY WIRE), FX chairman John Landgraf dropped a lot more details about the upcoming series, which is set to go into production in 2023.. 

Currently in pre-production, Landgraf said that Hawley has turned in five scripts, and noted that gearing up for production is a "massive undertaking." The show is set to go into production after the Hawley finishes up on Fargo's fifth season next winter. 

While the Alien series setting was previously announced as Earth, Landgraf confirmed that Hawley is looking to design a future Earth in a "distinctive and original way." Alas, he also said that franchise MVP, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), would not be part of the series. 

"It's set before Ripley," Landgraf shared. "It's the first story in the Alien franchise to take place on Earth, right near the end of this century, 70-odd years from now. So, Ripley won’t be a part of it, or any other characters aside from the alien itself."

Asked his thoughts on the first scripts and overall series direction, Landgraf enthused that, "Noah has the ability to find a way of showing fidelity to the original creation but then also to bring something new to the table that represents extension and reinvention of a franchise. He's doing a masterful job with Alien like he did with Fargo. There are big surprises in store for the audience. It's faithful but also is a really brave reinvention to the franchise."

In other genre development at FX, Little Demon starring Aubrey Plaza and Danny DeVito, is coming soon. It tells the story of the Antichrist's teen daughter and her mother's attempt to live an ordinary life in Delaware. However, they are constantly thwarted by monstrous forces, including Satan, who yearns for custody of his daughter’s soul. No premiere date has been set yet.

And in cancellation news, despite six years of contentious development and fan anticipation, the adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's comic book Y: The Last Man into the big budget FX series proved ill-fated. Asked what went wrong, Landgraf said he felt terrible personally and for the talented creative team about the cancellation, but the series was a ratings non-starter. Citing FX's meticulous tracking of audience trajectory for every one of their series since 2002, Y: The Last Man was loved and admired internally, but not watched by audiences. "[Executive producer] Eliza Clark did a great job but the audience decline was really, really, really steep."