The latest installment of the Alien franchise has added yet another cast member, and this is probably one that few saw coming. According to Variety, actor James Franco has joined the cast of director Ridley Scott's prequel Alien: Covenant in an unspecified role. He joins Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and Guy Pearce, who are returning to their roles from Scott's Prometheus, which itself was originally promoted as only loosely being an Alien prequel, but now appears to be much more tied into the overall Alien saga than originally thought. Franco joins Katherine Waterston, Demian Bichir, Billy Crudup, and his frequent co-star Danny McBride.
Scott is directing a script by Jack Paglen, Michael Green, and Penny Dreadful creator John Logan. According to the official synopsis, the film follows the colony ship Covenant as it heads toward a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy. Crew members discover what they believe to be an uncharted paradise, which turns out to be a dark, menacing world in which the only inhabitant is the synthetic David (Fassbender), a survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. Ridley Scott and studio Twentieth Century Fox have promised this film will have deeper ties to the overall Alien mythos than Prometheus did, although it won't feature actress Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.
Alien: Covenant was originally scheduled to come out in August of 2017, but was recently moved to early May. Recently, several minutes of the film were screened for select members of the press, who gushed about the movie and said it was very much a return to the sci-fi/horror elements of the original film. Apparently, this movie is but the second in a planned new trilogy of Alien films from Ridley Scott, and there is another possible installment of the franchise coming as well, one returning Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in a film from director Neill Blomkamp.
Alien: Covenant hits movie theaters on May 19, 2017.
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Images: Twentieth Century Fox