The Alien franchise is a science fiction horror franchise, consisting primarily of a series of films focusing on the voracious extraterrestrial endoparasitoid species Xenomorph XX121, commonly referred to simply as "the Alien". Unlike the Predator franchise, which mostly consists of stand-alone movies, the Alien films generally form continuing story arcs, the principal of which follows Lieutenant Ellen Ripley as she battles the Aliens in a future time setting. Newer films preceding Ripley's exploits center around the android David, exploring the possible origins of the Aliens and their connection to an ancient, advanced civilization known as the Engineers. Produced by 20th Century Studios, the franchise began with the 1979 feature film Alien, and continued with three sequels, Aliens (1986), Alien3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997); a potential fifth film has been in development hell since the release of Alien Resurrection. A series of prequel movies has also been produced, including Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017). As well as the feature films, the franchise also includes numerous "expanded universe" comic books, novels and video games.

Related to the Alien franchise is the Alien vs. Predator franchise, including the feature films Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), which pits the titular Aliens against the Predator creatures from the Predator franchise.


Original series

Alien (1979)

Main article: Alien (film)

The commercial freighter Nostromo investigates a desolate planetoid after receiving an apparent distress signal from a derelict alien spacecraft. Whilst exploring the ship, one of the Nostromo's crew discovers an egg-like object which releases a creature that attaches itself to his face and renders him unconscious. After he is returned to the ship for medical attention, the parasite dies and the crewman wakes up, seemingly fine. However, an alien creature later bursts out of the man's chest and, after rapidly growing into an eight-foot tall creature, begins killing the rest of the crew.

Aliens (1986)

Main article: Aliens (film)

Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the Nostromo incident, awakens 57 years later from hypersleep to discover that the planetoid where they discovered the Alien, now known as LV-426, is now home to a terraforming colony. However, contact with the colony has been lost, and in response a squad of Colonial Marines are sent to investigate aboard the USS Sulaco, accompanied by Ripley. Once back on LV-426, they soon discover that the colonists had discovered the derelict ship and that the Aliens now infest the entire colony.

Alien3 (1992)

Main article: Alien 3

A fire aboard the Sulaco as it returns to Earth causes the surviving crew to be ejected in an escape pod, which then crash-lands close to a prison colony on Fiorina "Fury" 161, killing everyone on board except Ripley. Unbeknownst to her, a Facehugger has accompanied her, and quickly spawns a new Alien in the prison. The creature soon begins a killing spree, while Ripley discovers there is also an Alien Queen growing inside her. 

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Main article: Alien Resurrection

200 years after the events on Fiorina 161, Ellen Ripley is cloned and the Alien Queen inside her is surgically removed from her body. The United Systems Military hopes to breed Aliens to study and research on the USM Auriga, using human hosts kidnapped and delivered to them by a group of mercenaries. The Aliens soon escape their enclosures, and Ripley 8 and the mercenaries resolve to escape and destroy the Auriga before it reaches its destination — Earth.

Prequel series

Prometheus (2012)

Main article: Prometheus (film)

Several decades before the events of the original Alien, archaeologists on Earth discover star maps apparently left by a race of extraterrestrials involved in shaping humanity's ancient past. Securing financial backing from ageing industrialist Sir Peter Weyland, an expedition is launched to investigate the distant system indicated by the messages, where the explorers hope to make contact with the aliens. However, what they find threatens not only their own safety but the future of the entire human race.

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Main article: Alien: Covenant

When the colony transport ship Covenant detects a transmission seemingly of human origin being broadcast from an uncharted but verdant world, the crew elect to divert their course and investigate. Upon landing, they encounter deadly alien life as well as the android David, the last survivor of the Prometheus expedition, who may be responsible for the very creatures that stalk the Covenant crew.


Attempts at producing a sequel to Alien Resurrection have been trapped in development hell since the release of the film in the late 90s. Such a project almost entered production under director Neill Blomkamp in 2016/2017, although the film was subsequently cancelled, with Ridley Scott, director of Alien, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, stating that Fox "didn't want to do it".[1]

Subsequent to the release of Alien: Covenant, Scott has also been working on further prequel films. On March 3, 2017, it was reported that the next prequel film had already been written and would be ready to film in 2018, dependant on the success of Alien: Covenant.[2] Later the same month, in an interview with Fandango, Scott appeared to accidentally reveal that the title of the next film would be Alien: Awakening and also seemed to suggest that it would be a prequel set between Prometheus and Covenant.[3] The director went on to state that there would be at least three further prequel films, assuming the two movies were successful.[3] Regarding their content, Scott has suggested that in these subsequent films he intends to replace the Xenomorphs with AI-based antagonists, claiming that the sequels to the original Alien had reduced the creature's ability to scare audiences.[4] Thus the sequels will explore what a world created by AIs (without human interference) would look like,[5] although the Engineers are also said to be returning in a larger role.[6]

In April 2018, Katherine Waterston, who played heroine Daniels in Alien: Covenant, stated that she hadn't "heard anything in ages" regarding a sequel, but did reveal that she had heard rumors "a long time ago" as to where her character may go next. Following the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney, it was confirmed at the 2019 CinemaCon that future Alien films were still in development,[7][8] including Scott's third prequel, which is currently being written.[9]

In March 2022, an untitled Alien film was announced by 20th Century Studios for release on Hulu. Fede Álvarez will write and direct the feature, which is said to be unconnected to prior films in the franchise, while Ridley Scott will produce under his Scott Free Productions banner.[10]

Web Series

Alien: Isolation - The Digital Series (2019)

Main article: Alien: Isolation - The Digital Series

15 years after her mother Ellen disappeared along with the Nostromo, Amanda Ripley searches for clues that might reveal her mother's fate. Her search leads her to Sevastopol Station, where she finds herself trapped with terrified survivors and stalked by an Alien that has turned the station into a nightmare. An adaptation of the video game Alien: Isolation.

Comic Books

Dark Horse Comics

Main article: Aliens (comics line)

The vast majority of the comic books based on the Alien franchise have been published by Dark Horse Comics. These include adaptations of three of the four Alien films and several unproduced scripts, as well as a large number of original stories set in the Alien universe.

Film adaptations

Original stories

Non-Dark Horse comic books

While Dark Horse are by far and away the most prevalent publisher of Alien comics, a small number of officially licensed comic books based on the franchise have also been released by other publishers, most notably the adaptation of the original 1979 film. These are not considered a part of Dark Horse' continuity, and have never been collected together with Dark Horse stories.

Film adaptations

Original stories


Alien franchise novels have included both novelizations (of films, comic books and video games) and original stories.


Film novelizations

Comic novelizations

Video game novelizations

Original stories

Video Games

There have also been numerous video games based on the series, some of which have been (sometimes loose) adaptations of the films.


See Also