EDIT: My intention with this thread was to discuss one question: How can this franchise be fixed?
First of all, don't get me wrong: I'm really a fan of the Alien franchise. Since I, as a 10 year old, alone in hotel room in London, saw the first Alien movie, I have been fascinated and terrified by what I see as the core of this franchise: there is something terrible and almost unimaginable out there. Humankind has only begun to grasp what it's all about. Since the first movie, a lot has happened to the franchise. I'm not the only one who has been frustrated to see the magic from Alien gradually disappear. You only have to google to see that the recent development of the brand is quite controversial. But instead of just complaining, I prefer to actually discuss how to fix things. This is a comment about the entire franchise, not just the upcoming RPG.
So, why and where did the franchise go wrong?
1. It's hard to repeat a surprise. In the first movie, the Aliens where unknown creatures, also to the audience. You almost never saw them and that was why you wanted to know more. The second movie offered a closer look, while the genre was changed from horror to action. That shift worked once or twice, but it also made it harder to do something as exciting after that. Too many of the novels and comic books puts the xenomorphs in the centre. In the long run, it gets repetitive. By now, we have seen the monsters many times, even if the characters always seem very surprised...
2. The Company with the dark secrets (we get the feeling that there is a lot more) was too much in the background. And they mainly seemed interested in the xenomorphs (and the synthetics), even though there should be a lot more. Still, the power of the Company is a core theme of the movies. I would like to get more than just a glimpse. The quite recent novel Alien: The Cold Forge is a good example of what I mean would be interesting to see more of.
3. The most recent movies, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, are not cohesive with the older stuff. We all know that the fossilized space jockey in Prometheus suddenly became a more recent Engineer pilot. In at least one interview, Ridley Scott made some vague comments about how the movies (didn't) fit together. I just felt that he didn't care about his previous movie. The fan reactions showed he was wrong. I really liked the idea of a total other species as the space jockey. It seemed more Lovecraft.
4. The Alien vs. Predator stuff is simply too much. I mean, the Predators have dread locks... That's reggae, not Lovecraft. I hope that combo will be forgotten for ever. I get some of you will disagree about that, but perhaps that can be discussed somewhere else...
5. The first Alien was basically a dystopian Lovecraft story in space. The arrogant and naive humans where confronted with something older, mysterious and very powerful. That theme has at least partly been lost. That means that the mystery was killed.
After all this, how can the franchise be fixed? I have some suggestions:
1. If the xenomorphs should be included at all (I think they could), make them more interesting by showing them in new ways. I want them to be mysterious and powerful. Knowing everything about their evolution or home planet kills the Lovecraftian mystery. And I don't want to see them just attacking people in a space ship once again. I know that's a part of the brand, but we have all seen that a lot. For example, they can be used for scientific experiments, like in Alien Resurrection and several of the novels. Drug substance (like Queen Jelly) and other medical stuff can be made from them or their DNA. I want to know more about that stuff. It seem like interesting dark secrets and it involves the xenomorphs in a way that isn't just about direct killing.
2. To make things new can also be about going into other genres that fits into dystopian science fiction. Bladerunner, that might take place in the same universe as Alien (google and you will find a lot), is a Tech Noir (film noir combined with high tech stuff from sci fi) . There must be murders in space too. Genres like Heist, Spy Drama and Mob drama (perhaps a Hong Kong triad in space) could also be ways to renew the franchise.
3. Introduce other locations than spaceships and remote planets. There is some stuff already in the canon, but there can be more, perhaps even on Earth. I have some ideas that I might make a post about later.
4. The Company seem like a really big entity. There must be people who are doing a lot of dangerous and interesting stuff in strange facilities. It doesn't have to involve the xenomorphs we already know. Probably there are other creatures and projects somewhere. The dystopian capitalism can be developed in the genres I suggested above.
5. I´m not sure it was a good idea to introduce the Engineers, but now they are a part of the franchise. It might be interesting to see more of them, but in a mysterious way. Perhaps ruins. Or deserted biomechanical spaceships (fossilized?) drifting in space. Or just bizarre artifacts that are extremely valuable, but hard to understand. Knowing everything about their culture will just make them less interesting, like in Prometheus where they became some kind of living Roman sculptures. If they are not powerful and mysterious, they are not interesting.
6. It might be better to do TV series instead of a third prequel movie by Ridley Scott. I know there has been rumors about at least two different TV series within the franchise, but they both seem to not not happen. It´s a shame because TV series might have given the franchise more of the depth I think is missing. I also liked the idea to make each season a part of different periods of the time line, just like with the series Fargo. But that could perhaps be something to explore in the campaign mode of the RPG instead.
So, what do you think about all this? I'm sure we all have our personal preferences, I know a lot of people prefer the first or the second movie and dislike te new ones. But instead of discussing the movies, I started this mainly to talk about what can be done to develop the franchise, perhaps even beyond the RPG. Fan communities are powerful.
NOTE TO READER: Previously, I have written quite much stuff for Mutant: Year Zero, and Mutant: Genlab Alpha. Both games have been published by Free League. I'm not aiming to write any more RPG stuff, but I have several ideas for the Alien RPG that I might post here.