Ridley Scott’s Alien epic franchise is growing all over the world almost as fast as the Xenomorphs in the movies. Scott is preparing to release Alien: Covenant, the sixth film in the Alien franchise, almost 40 years after the original Alien film was released. As with many other major franchises, the timeline of the Alien story has changed a lot over time.
The ever-expanding mythology of the franchise also means that the order in which you should see the Alien films doesn’t necessarily correspond to their release order.
The Alien Franchise is made up of two series, the original films, and prequels. To be the star of the Alien franchise, one must start with Prometheus, the most recent Alien film, and then work their way up to the original Alien. You will have to wait for two movies before you can see Ripley, Sigourney Weber’s iconic female hero. If you are hesitant about getting into the Alien series, I recommend starting with Alien. You can fall in love with Ripley’s world and you can then work your way back.
Alien movies are a predictable genre. The most important thing is a strong female protagonist. Don’t worry! You can still have amazing feminist moments and lots of fun starting at the beginning.
- Prometheus – Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is a stunning science-fiction movie. It raises many questions about human origins but doesn’t provide the answers. This is the kind of material I love. It’s seamless, with special effects, story, and casting that is flawless, and filmed in 3-D that’s not distracting.
- Alien: Covenant – Ridley Scott’s stunning “Alien: Covenant”, ten years after “Prometheus”, is a direct sequel. It bridges the gap between the original film and “Alien”. The story begins with an accident aboard the Covenant colony ship heading for a paradise world.
- Alien (2122) – So, after detecting the signal on planetoid LV-426, Nostromo lands. Kane, the executive officer, dies after being infected with an alien face-hugger. The alien picks up the crew one at a time, leaving Ripley, Jones, and the ship’s cat alive.
- Aliens (2179) – After being in stasis for 57+ years, Ripley is rescued and returns to LV-426. Hadley’s Hope lost contact with Hadley’s new colony.
- Alien 3 – Ellen Ripley crashes on Fiorina 161, a maximum-security prison, after her last encounter. Ripley discovers she brought with her a dangerous and unwelcome guest when a series of bizarre and tragic events occur shortly after her arrival.
- Alien Resurrection – Two hundred years later, United Systems Military scientists create an Ellen Ripley clone using DNA taken from her blood before her death. Ripley’s DNA and that of the Xenomorph queen have been combined to create the clone. It also contains an embryo. Scientists extract the embryo and raise it. Ripley 8 is kept alive to study further. The clone can rely on the Xenomorphs DNA in her body, which gives it enhanced strength, reflexes, slightly acidic blood, and a psychic connection with the Xenomorphs. The Xenomorph’s gene memory also allows the clone some of Ripley’s memories.
- AVP: Alien vs Predator – Charles Bishop Weyland, an ambitious and wealthy man, funds an expedition to Antarctica to search for a mysterious source of heat. Weyland and his team are led by Alexa Woods, a tough guide. They also discover a pyramid. However, they also discover malevolent parasitic aliens. The conflict is made worse when Predators, an extraterrestrial species known as Predators arrive to hunt other aliens.
- AVPR: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem – Gunnison, Colorado is caught in the middle of a long-running conflict between two
- Exoterrestrial species – One side are the nearly indestructible aliens; the other is the lone Predator, who has the mission to eradicate all traces of the Alien invasion from Earth.
Alien Movies in Chronological Order
Prometheus (2089 – 2093)
Prometheus is the beginning of the Alien timeline. It shows us the initial journey of humanity into the stars. We don’t see Ellen Ripley from Sigourney Weaver or any other space truckers that Ridley Scott introduced us to in Alien’s first film.
But humanity’s first journey into deep space under the cover of exploration yields a more horrific and deadly result than anyone could have expected. Two new characters are added to the Alien series. They are Michael Fassbender’s David, an android sent to assist in the journey by the Weyland Corporation, and Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw, an archeologist who helps to find the location of The Engineers and also gets to see the first steps of creating the Xenomorphs.
This is the foundation on which all films will be built. David’s arc serves as the narrative glue that links the Alien movie timeline. Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland, who is an enigmatic force behind the eventual Weyland Yutani Corporation, is a part of this arc.
Alien: Covenant (2104)
Alien: Covenant is only 11 years old. A new crew of human colonists is now making their way through deep space colonization missions. The Covenant crew meets someone who has experience in deep space exploration and the creatures that lurk within it.
Michael Fassbender does double duty in the Alien movie timeline. Walter, a new android, is introduced by Alien: Covenant’s crew. We also see the roots and stories of the franchise about androids that have a hidden agenda.
It is also significant that Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland made his second and last appearance. Although we haven’t yet seen the Weyland Yutani Corporation in its current form, Weyland’s growing obsession with studying The Engineers and learning their secrets continues to grow.
Now we are in the “modern” era, where Alien’s iconic story is finally included in the series. This happened 18 years after Alien Covenant. Alien’s adventures connect to larger mythology that shows a human race that is dominated by mega-corporations. One of them wants to purchase a perfect, remorseless killing device.
Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, makes her Alien franchise debut. She takes over from there as the focus lead for the Alien movie timeline. As of now, there is no more link between her lineage with the worlds Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Ripley may eventually have an antagonistic relationship with androids, in the form of Ian Holm’s Ash in Alien and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
Ripley’s hatred of synthetic beings and “The Company”, aren’t fully developed here. As both Ripley and the Xenomorph face off in what promises to be a time-spanning battle, we see them on the same page for the first time. It’s a wild ride!
James Cameron, the writer/director of Aliens, was largely responsible for the creation of the Alien timeline we now know. Ellen Ripley wakes up 57 years later after the horrifying terror of Alien was over. Now, she and a group of space marines are on their way to LV-426 to investigate a Weyland Yutani Corporation colony that has just gone dark.
Ripley’s second grudge is finally settled. Weyland-Yutani sent a somewhat untrustworthy human to replace the android threat. Strangely, Lance Hendrickson plays the android Bishop of the mission. He is one of the most heroic synthetics in the history of Alien movies.
The backstory of Weyland-Yutani’s creation as “The Company”, the greatest human threat in the series has been revealed in some Alien movies, but Aliens is where it all began to take root in the original Alien franchise era.
Alien 3 is one of the most controversial sequels to Alien 2. It takes place just after Aliens. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley survives the events of Aliens 2. David Fincher’s entry in the franchise strands our hero in a hellish penal colony.
Alien 3 is a sequel to the Alien timeline. A random Facehugger laid an egg in Ripley’s chest. This was supposed to be the end of the Alien series. Ripley wouldn’t have survived tangling with an alien within her. Her grudge against Weyland-Yutani Corporation saw what seemed to be its final resolution.
Clemens, the prison physician, awakens Ripley and informs her that she’s the only survivor. Harold Andrews, the prison warden warns Ripley that her presence could have disruptive effects. Ripley insists on a Clemens autopsy of Newt. Hicks and her bodies are then burned. Ripley is secretly concerned that Newt might be carrying an Alien embryo. Despite protests by Aaron and the warden, the autopsy proceeds, and no embryos are found.
Andrews presides over the funeral in the foundry. The spiritual leader Dillon delivers a speech on behalf of the deceased before their bodies are lowered into the furnace. Spike releases a quadrupedal alien from another prison.
Ripley discovers the injured Bishop in the prison’s trash dump. As she is about to leave the area, Ripley is confronted by four prisoners and nearly gang-raped. Ripley is saved by Dillon and she returns to the hospital. Bishop activates Ripley and confirms via scanning ship records that a Facehugger was aboard. He then went with them to Fiorina, in the escape pod. The alien grows to full size and kills Murphy, Boggs, Rains. Golic, an outcast prisoner, is returned to his psychopathic condition. Andrews is informed by Ripley about her encounter with the Xenomorphs. She suggests that everyone join forces to hunt it down. The highly skeptical Andrews does not believe her story and explains that even if she were telling the truth, the facility is without weapons. So, the rescue ship is the only hope that was sent for Ripley.
Clemens and Ripley are attacked by the Alien in the prison infirmary. He kills him and Ripley is captured. Ripley escapes but mysteriously saves her. Ripley rushes to alert the others and then runs to the cafeteria. Andrews claims she is delusional, and orders Aaron to bring her back to the hospital. However, the warden is dragged into vents and is killed by the monster.
Ripley takes command and rallies the inmates. He proposes that they ignite the ventilation system with flammable toxic waste to flush out the extraterrestrial. Its intervention results in a premature explosion and many prisoners are killed. Aaron helps Ripley scan herself with the escape pod’s medical equipment. She discovers that Ripley has an Alien Queen embryo growing within her.
Ripley concludes that the Alien won’t kill her due to the embryo she carries. Dillon agrees, but only if Ripley helps the inmates kill off the Alien. They devise a plan to lure and trap the Alien in the foundry’s molding plant, then drown it in molten Lead. All the other prisoners, except Dillon and Morse, are killed by the bait-and-chase scheme. Dillon gives his life to help the Alien get into the mold, while Morse pours molten lead onto it. The Alien escapes from the mold despite being covered in molten lead.
Jumping 200 years into the future, Alien: Resurrection finds Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weber’s Ellen, returning unconventionally: as a clone. As part of the same military experiment, a new queen Xenomorph, with her DNA already on file, is born as a clone.
We are now able to see Ripley develop a connection with the Alien creature she has been known to dislike. Alien Resurrection is Ripley’s team of fun criminals and smugglers, which feels like Firefly’s initial ragtag team.
Soon, Ripley 8 is encountered by the Betty crew. Annalee Call recognizes her and tries killing her. She suspects that Ripley 8 is being used to create Xenomorphs. However, the creatures are already cloned. The mature Xenomorphs are now aware of the acidic properties of their blood from the aforementioned gene memory and escape confinement by killing one of their own to use their acidic blood to torch their enclosures.
They capture Dr. Jonathan Gediman and then kill another scientist. They also damage the Auriga, killing some people who didn’t evacuate, including General Perez or Elgyn. Moreover, another crew member is captured, and cocooned to egg morph. Dr. Wren, a military scientist, reveals that the ship’s default order in an emergency is to return home to Earth.
Ripley 8 and Wren, mercenaries, realize that this will unleash Xenomorphs onto Earth. Purvis, a Marine named Distephano and Wren, decide to head to the Betty to use it to destroy Auriga. Ripley 8 finds a laboratory that contains the horrifying results of seven previous failed attempts to clone Ellen Ripley. Ripley 8 begs the surviving one to kill her. She agrees and incinerates both the laboratory and its contents.
The group swims through a flooded kitchen as they make their way through the shipwrecked ship. Two Xenomorphs chase them. The one is killed while Hillard is snatched by the other. The Xenomorph appears and blinds Christie as they flee the kitchen. Christie then sacrifices his life to save the Xenomorph so that the others can escape. Wren is betrayed by the group and Call is revealed as an auton.
This is an improved version of a synthetic human. The call uses her ability to interface to the Auriga systems to set it on a collision course to Earth in an attempt to kill the Xenomorphs. She blocks Wren’s escape path and directs the Xenomorphs to him. Ripley 8 is taken by a Xenomorph while the rest of the crew head towards Betty. Wren, already aboard, shoots Purvis and takes Call hostage, demanding that he stop the collision.
Wren is attacked by Purvis, who inflicts injury on her. Wren then presses Call to her chest, forcing him to turn his head. Wren also suffers a head injury when the Xenomorph embryo he is carrying bursts his ribcage. Wren was also injured, and both of them were killed. The survivors kill and shoot the juvenile Xenomorph.
Ripley is brought to the Alien nest where Gediman is still alive and partially cocooned. Due to Ripley 8’s genetic contamination, the Alien Queen develops a uterus and gives birth to a Xenomorph who displays human traits. The Queen is unable to bond with the hybrid Xenomorph, which recognizes Ripley 8, as its mother, and so it kills Gediman and the Alien Queen. Ripley 8 uses the distraction to escape, and she makes her way to Betty.
The call is attacked by the “Newborn Alien”, who reaches Betty. He also kills Distephano, when he attempts to help him. Ripley 8 manages to get onto the ship and distracts Call. Ripley 8 uses her acidic blood to melt a hole in the window and push the hybrid towards it. Ripley 8 watches in horror as the decompression blows the creature out of the window and into space.
As the Auriga’s countdown continues, the survivors flee in the Betty. A large explosion occurs when the Auriga comes into contact with Earth. The call looks down at Earth and asks Ripley 8 what they want to do next. “I don’t know. She replies, “I’m a stranger here.”
AVP: Alien vs. Predator
The film Alien vs. Predator is also known as AVP: Alien Vs. Predator. Paul W. S. Anderson directed this science fiction film in 2004. The film is based upon the Alien vs. Predator crossover franchise. However, the original story was written by Anderson, Dan O’Bannon, and Ronald Shusett. Anderson and Shane Salerno influenced the screenplay by Aztec mythology and comic book series.
Alien Vs. Predator is a film that follows the adventures of a group made up of archaeologists, paleontologists, and others. It was created by Charles Bishop Weyland, a billionaire, for an expedition to Antarctica. He discovered a mysterious heat signal under the ice, which leads to the creation of Alien Vs. Predator.
Weyland and his group find a pyramid hidden beneath the ice and attempt to take possession of the valuable discovery. The structure turns out to be an ancient hunting ground where Aliens are killed and stalked by Predators. This leads to the humans being caught up in a conflict between the two species.
A Predator ship is seen uncloaked and several Predators are visible. The Predators rescue their fallen comrade, and an elder Predator gives Lex one of their spearguns as a gift. Her skill as a warrior is recognized by the symbol Scar, who burned her cheek using alien blood before he died.
Lex is left behind by the Predators’ spaceship. Lex approaches a snowcat and then leaves the area. The scar is left on a platform by the Predators, which is placed in front of a ship’s window. A Predalien chestburster displaying Alien- and Predator characteristics erupts from Scar’s chest. This leads to the events in Aliens vs Predator.
AVPR: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
It is the sequel to Aliens Vs Predator. There is a lot of collateral damage when the two opposing E. Ts land on Earth. You can see that a Facehugger attached itself to one Predator on their return home. This means that once the chest-burster has matured, there will be a hybrid species that roam the streets causing havoc wherever it goes. The “Predalien”, which kills all Predators aboard the ship, causes it to crash back to Earth, in Gunnison (Colorado).
There is always a backup plan. The distress signal from the ship that was downed alerts the Predators on the home planet. The Predator is dispatched to cover up any evidence left by the aliens. The Predator and Predalien inflict a lot of damage on their own, and so the Aliens go on a killing spree. Inadvertently, the Predator causes a blackout and everyone must work together to get out of this nightmare.
Only a few townspeople are up for the challenge as the battle for Earth continues. Dallas, an Excon, Sheriff Morales, and Dallas’ younger brother Ricky are the survivors. Kelly, Molly, Jesse, Kelly, and Dale are also there. They will either keep their heads together or become another trophy for the interstellar hunter.
Alien Movies Order by Release Date
- Alien (1979)
- Aliens (1986)
- Alien 3 (1992)
- Alien: Resurrection (1997)
- AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
- AVPR: Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
- Prometheus (2012)
- Alien: Covenant (2017)