Jeff Nichols speaks about his remake of the 1988 sci-fi drama Alien Nation as a ten-part television series, currently being considered by Disney.
There has been a major update regarding the long-awaited Alien Nation remake. The original 1988 drama film was praised for merging beloved buddy cop tropes, film noir flare, and classic sci-fi, and featured James Caan playing a police investigator partnered with an extra-terrestrial detective (Mandy Patinkin). Though Alien Nation largely flew under the radar, it has something of a cult following and ended up inspiring several spin offs, including comics, novels, and a short-lived television series. News of a film remake helmed by Midnight Special’s Jeff Nichols was announced all the way back in 2016, although things have been pretty quiet since then.
Now, Nichols has confirmed that Alien Nation is once again in the early stages of development – except this time, as a ten-episode television series. Nichols spoke about working on Alien Nation on the Team Deakins podcast, stating that Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019 initially killed his original grand plans for the reboot, which he described as “a little soul-crushing.” But it seems Disney changed their minds, approaching Nichols to gauge his interest in turning his hard work developing the film into a series instead. Read the full quote below:
“But they came and said, ‘Would you consider turning this into a series, potentially?’ So I have taken it and broken it into ten episodes, and it’s under consideration right now. Who knows, people in far more powerful positions than me are deciding that. One of the tricks is, I want to shoot it like a giant film, and I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get away with that.”
Disney’s acquisition of Fox continues to offer up exciting new opportunities for revivals and reboots, and it seems Alien Nation is one of many being seriously considered for a 21st-century update. If Disney decides to make it, the narrative development that a television series will allow offers Nichols a great opportunity to modernize the source material, while also staying true to Alien Nation’s important and ever-relevant exploration of key themes such as xenophobia and racism.
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