James Cameron may boast two of the all-time highest-grossing films in Titanic and Avatar, but the Oscar-winning filmmaker certainly isn’t the most prolific director out there.
Across his 36-year career, Cameron has directed just 10 features, including two documentaries and several standalone films like The Abyss and True Lies. In fact, aside from his long in-development Avatar sequels, Cameron’s only true brushes with franchise filmmaking remain the first two Terminator films, as well as his 1986 sci-fi sequel Aliens.
News recently dropped Cameron would return to the Terminator franchise for the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But despite his interest in revisiting that series at least once more, the director – in an interview with Vulture – revealed he’s less enthusiastic about the upcoming prospects of franchise director Ridley Scott, who started with Alien back in 1979.
“The franchise has kind of wandered all over the map. Ridley did the first film, and he inspired an entire generation of filmmakers and science-fiction fans with that one movie, and there have been so many films that stylistically have derived from it, including my own Aliens, which was the legitimate sequel and, I think, the proper heir to his film.
“I sort of did it as a fanboy. I wanted to honor his film, but also say what I needed to say. After that, I don’t take any responsibility.
“I don’t think it’s worked out terribly well. I think we’ve moved on beyond it. It’s like, OK, we’ve got it, we’ve got the whole Freudian biomechanoid meme. I’ve seen it in 100 horror films since. I think both of those films stand at a certain point in time, as a reference point. But is there any validity to doing another one now? I don’t know.
“Maybe. Let’s see, jury’s out. Let’s see what Ridley comes up with.
“Let me just add to that — and don’t cut this part off, please — I will stand in line for any Ridley Scott movie, even a not-so-great one, because he is such an artist, he’s such a filmmaker. I always learn from him. And what he does with going back to his own franchise would be fascinating.”
Between the comparative disappointment of Alien 3 to the divisive (at best) reaction to Scott’s own Prometheus, Cameron’s not wrong in his assessment about the Alien series’ apparent lack of strong installments. Aside from Scott’s original and Cameron’s Aliens, none of the subsequent releases have made much of a cultural impact, with most fans and critics perhaps rightfully considering the pair of mid-2000s Alien vs. Predator films to be the creative low point.
Still, as Cameron points out, Scott himself is returning to the acid-spewing xenomorphs yet again for this year’s Alien: Covenant. Hopes are high that this one can redeem the mixed response to Prometheus and help the Alien series course-correct. After all, many longtime fans are still excited for director Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame to get his own take on the mythology into production.
And it’s safe to say Twentieth Century Fox is waiting to see if audiences connect to Covenant before moving forward. That film may very well mark a crossroads of sorts for the beloved sci-fi franchise.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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