Why “Alien: Romulus” Will Be a Successful Addition to the Famous Science Fiction Series

It’s clear that the main marketing strategy for Alien: Romulus is to highlight the film’s connections to the iconic first two parts of the series.

Jakub Piwoński

23 May 2024

The premiere is still over two months away, but the promotional campaign won’t let us forget about the latest Alien film. Recently, Fede Álvarez, the director of the movie, added fuel to the fire by revealing that he used a range of analog filmmaking techniques. He also emphasized that he consulted his vision with Ridley Scott and James Cameron. It’s clear that the main marketing strategy for Alien: Romulus is to highlight the film’s connections to the iconic first two parts of the series.

Whether intentional or not, the film’s concept forms an interesting metaphor. Romulus is set to tell the story of a group of “scavengers” who roam space in search of abandoned ships or research stations. The titular Romulus is one of these prized finds, containing many valuable elements. Of course, the group of looters will quickly regret setting their sights on this particular research station, as it turns out to be a trap.

The entire Alien series is somewhat reminiscent of such an abandoned ship, left behind years ago, yet still hiding much potential. Fede Álvarez is like a scavenger, delving into the Alien world in search of its most valuable artifacts. He deliberately references Alien and Aliens, situating the plot of his film between them, while also stylistically aligning Romulus with these two cult classics. However, exploring the abandoned Alien ship carries significant risk. It’s uncertain terrain, hiding a hungry monster, which in this metaphor represents the specter of artistic failure that could befall Álvarez. This is something both David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and paradoxically Ridley Scott himself, know all too well.

In the case of Scott, I’m referring, of course, to Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. The series’ originator decided at one point to take his creation to a whole new level, replacing horror with philosophical science fiction, and protagonists trapped in a struggle for survival with an android. Although this experiment was quite intriguing and skillfully expanded the Alien universe with new contexts, it did not appeal to the bloodthirsty audience, attached to a very narrow, if not primitive, experience of films from this universe. Alien without the Alien, no matter how cleverly demonstrated, lacked the necessary impact.

Fede Álvarez seems like a creator who has done his homework. He doesn’t want to repeat Ridley Scott’s mistakes. It appears that he’s not interested in philosophizing and delving into the mythology of the Space Jockey, although it’s not out of the question that Romulus, in addition to being a bridge between Nostromo and Aliens, could also connect Prometheus and Covenant, touching on the further journey of David. For now, it can be said beyond any doubt that Álvarez is much more interested in… making eggs. But not out of us, the viewers, but those from which Facehuggers emerge. These, of course, will impregnate the crew members, chests will explode again, and a new, younger Ellen Ripley will once again grab a Pulse Rifle to shoot a particularly nasty monster (or monsters).

Speaking of the main female role, I must say I’m confident about Cailee Spaeny. When her casting was announced months ago, I wasn’t sure what to think. Now I know. The actress recently impressed in Civil War. She played a young photographer who often had to point her camera at scenes of war. The terror and shock on her face were very convincing, and she has the spunk that might be helpful in facing a dangerous alien. The only issue is her short stature, but who says the new Ellen Ripley must be as tall as Sigourney Weaver?

This really might work out, and the last reason I sleep a bit easier thinking about the new Alien is the example of Prey. The Predator series also exhausted its formula, becoming like an abandoned ship full of valuable accessories that no one knew how to use. Dan Trachtenberg’s film, though not a masterpiece, brought a breath of fresh air to the series. I expect the same from Romulus.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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