When it comes to film franchises, the noble Roman numeral used to be all you needed to denote a follow-up to a popular film. The advent of Marvel’s “universe” of shared films, which are all set in the same world while advancing their own stories, made things a little more complicated, although its movies generally stick to being sequential. But there’s nothing more confusing than the constantly changing Alien franchise, which boasts normal sequels, crossover prequels, and most recently Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, best described as a “spiritual prequel.” And, now, the newly announced Prometheus sequel, which is titled called Alien: Paradise Lost.
No flow chart or infographic could help untangle this mess. When Prometheus was originally announced, it was pitched as a prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece Alien, coming from the same director and answering the question of just how those scary eggs ended up on a remote planet in the first place. By the time Prometheus was released in 2012 to mixed reviews, it was downgraded to simply “sharing DNA” with the Alien franchise, and indeed its plot couldn’t logically match up with Scott’s original film to make it a real prequel. Perhaps Scott has realized that was an error and is now trying to rectify it by making another film that actually does count as part of the Alien series. But his reasoning is a little bit more vague.