Is the Villain of Noah Hawley’s ALIEN Series “The Company?”

Noah Hawley’s Alien series for FX is getting ready to start preproduction, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter. In an interview, Hawley revealed that the new show won’t focus on Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley character. “It’s not a Ripley story. She’s one of the great characters of all time, and I think the story was told pretty perfectly, and I don’t want to mess with it.”

It’s hard to argue with that, although we wish she had a better send-off than Alien: Resurrection. But if she does, it won’t be in this series. This show is something else. Based on what Hawley said in the recent interview, we’re guessing that the “big bad” of the series is none other than the hidden, evil company behind everyone’s woes in the films — the Weyland/Yutani Corporation.

Paul Reiser's Company Man Burke confronts Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ripley.

Twentieth Century Films

So what gives us this impression? Here’s what Hawley had to say about the major thrust of the series. “What happens when the inequality we’re struggling with now isn’t resolved. If we as a society can’t figure out how to prop each other up and spread the wealth, then what’s going to happen to us?” Judging from that one quote, they are likely going to be about the true villain of the franchise. Not the xenomorph. Although we imagine, they’ll be around too.

“Building Better Worlds”
Is the Villain of Noah Hawley's ALIEN Series

Twentieth Century Films 

In the original Alien, the Weyland/Yutani Corporation, a mega-conglomerate that owns nearly everything on Earth by the early 22nd century, diverts the mining crew of the Nostromo to the planet LV-426. To the offscreen “company,” the crew is expendable. All they want is the unique alien life form on the planet, seeing it as something they can exploit. This theme of the Weyland/Yutani corporation treating their human employees as expendable fodder continues throughout the entire franchise. The company’s catchphrase is “Building Better Worlds.” What we learn though, is that it’s at the expense of actual people.

The Future History of Weyland/Yutani
Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland in Prometheus.

Twentieth Century Films 

So what do we know about Weyland/Yutani, and what does it mean for the new FX series? Well, for starters, there are two versions. In the Alien Vs. Predator movies, which take place in the modern-day, the company has a different origin story. One that is now considered non-canon. In those two films, the founder of the company is Charles Bishop Weyland, played by Lance Henrickson. Those films have a completely different origin story for the xenomorphs, and exist in their own continuity.

When Ridley Scott returned to the franchise with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, he gave a new backstory for Weyland/Yutani. He introduced Peter Weyland, the genius tech billionaire, played by Guy Pearce. In the Alien universe, Weyland Industries transforms science and technology in the early 21st century. It’s far more advanced than anything we have in real life today. In the series timeline, Weyland introduces advanced androids, terraforming, and faster than light travel by the mid-21st century. In ancillary material, we learned that Weyland Industries absorbed the Japanese company Yutani, which becomes a mega-corporation in 2099. The original Alien takes place in 2122.

The Perfect Sci-Fi Allegory for Today
The xenomorph from Aliens.

Twentieth Century Films

With the FX series taking place on Earth, it seems likely we are finally going to see what the world looks like in the future this series takes place in. Judging from Hawley’s comments, we’ll see a world where the Weyland/Yutani Corp. is essentially the governing body of the world. “Profits over People” is the name of the game. The kind of wealth inequality we see outside our own windows will have grown exponentially by the early 22nd century.

With real-world mergers taking place daily, we believe the show will posit the dangers of one mega-corporation controlling literally everything. Especially one which has its fingers into the military-industrial complex, as Aliens showed us. The best sci-fi franchises reflect our own real world inside all the escapism. Star Trek dealt with social issues via allegory. Star Wars covers our own world history, especially World War II. And with Alien, it’s all about how a faceless corporation can treat the people it employs as less than human. Sounds like Hawley’s series will dive even deeper into that than ever.

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