Face Huggers

The Alien TV Series Timeline Has A Prometheus Problem

When did Weyland Corp become Weyland-Yutani?

20th Century Studios

As the 1979 classic Alien returns to theaters to celebrate its 45th anniversary, and the forthcoming film Alien: Romulus plans to fill in the gaps between Alien and Aliens, the chest-bursting franchise is expanding as a TV franchise too. A new TV series from FX from showrunner Noah Hawley will serve as a a prequel to the entire Alien franchise — and it might just have shaken up the entire timeline once again.

First comes the big question: Didn’t we already have an Alien prequel in 2012 with the Ridley Scott movie Prometheus? Didn’t Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) get impregnated with a bloodthirsty squid alien, that, by the time of Alien: Covenant, resulted in a proto-version of the xenomorph? If the Alien story doesn’t really begin with Prometheus, what is this new TV series about? The rumored timeline of the Alien TV series will put it a few years before the events of that prequel, which already seems like a continuity hiccup. Here’s why the Alien TV series will have to hammer out the formation of the most corrupt sci-fi corporation of all time: Weyland-Yutani.

Alien TV series timeline, explained

When did David create the Aliens? When was David created? These answers might be less straightforward than we thought.


According to Deadline, and elucidated by IGN, the Alien TV series will be set “a few years before Prometheus (2093) and some 30 years before Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror Alien.” So, if the new TV series takes place in the late 2080s, it would seem that it will depict the earliest point in the Alien franchise overall, right?

Maybe not. Although most consider Alien vs. Predator (2004) non-canon, that film did show an alternate version of Weyland Industries, headed by Charles Bishop Weyland (played by Aliens veteran Lance Henriksen). And, because AvP depicted xenomorphs arriving on Earth sometime around 2500 B.C., and had xenomorphs battling Predators in 2004, that film technically is the earliest prequel to the overall story of the Alien franchise, even though it doesn’t “count.” Plus, both AvP movies, combined with Prometheus seem to muddy the origin of the Weyland-Yutani Corp, which creates a bigger question that the new TV series seems destined to tackle: when did the Weyland Corp become Weyland-Yutani?

Prometheus, Peter Weyland, and Covenant

Everyone knows that Peter Weyland started making robots in the 2020s. But what the new Alien TV series presupposes is...maybe he didn’t?

20th Century Studios

Although some fan theories suggest that Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce in Prometheus) is simply the son of Charles Weyland (Henriksen in AvP) all “real” in-canon timelines, as of now, suggest that everything starts in 2012 when Peter Weyland creates the Weyland Corp. From there, he gives a TED Talk in 2023, elucidating his ambition to continue to create humanoid androids and, eventually, discover the origin of all life. This results in the events of Prometheus — set in 2093 — where we learn that human life was created by the alien Engineers. The expedition to discover the Engineers is, of course, funded by Peter Weyland, who dreams of being immortal. (Note: the story of a space expedition trying to find the technology from a race of ancient aliens who created all life on Earth is currently the plot line of Star Trek: Discovery Season 5. Panspermia aliens are very back in 2024!)

By the year 2104, in Alien: Covenant, we learn that David (Michael Fassbender) — a robot created by Weyland in the 21st century — becomes a kind of mad scientist, and, through genetic tinkering, actually created the original xenomorphs. Also, by this point, the Weyland Corp has become Weyland-Yutani, meaning the original company had a merger at some point between Prometheus and Covenant. According to Deadline, Foundation’s Sandra Yi Sencindiver will be playing “a senior member of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.” This same report says that the show will “...take place on Earth and has been reported to deal with the emergence of the story’s infamous Weyland-Yutani Corporation and the race between corporations to create new android life.”

This last bit suggests that the series could stay fairly consistent with Prometheus canon by showing us how Weyland and Yutani became the same corporation. The detail about a race between corporations also suggests that this show will retcon the idea that Peter Weyland invented the android/robots seen throughout the franchise on his own. Instead, the rise of robots like David (Prometheus/Covenant), Ash (Alien), and Bishop (Aliens), might have come from a competition, and later a collaboration, between two fictional tech companies, destined to become one.

No aliens in the Alien TV series?

Will these creatures even appear in the TV series Alien?

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Because the new Alien TV series takes place well before Peter Weyland sends the Prometheus ship out to find the Engineers, and reportedly takes place on Earth, the natural conclusion is that this show will not have any of the titular aliens appear at all. So should we even be calling this the Alien TV series? If xenomorphs do appear in this series, and there’s no time travel involved, there will need to be a lot of timeline tap-dancing to make it make sense. Because unless this show wants to accept Alien vs. Predator as part of its backstory (unlikely!) then having chest-bursters and face-huggers on Earth will effectively create a third cinematic Alien continuity. That said, the idea that this show could reboot the canon altogether is possible, and seemingly on the table. FX John Landgraf, an executive at FX, told Deadline that the series is a “big imaginative reimagining” of the Alien franchise. Does that mean full canon reboot? Xenomorphs and cats living together, mass hysteria?

Right now, there are no clear answers, and the future of this part of the Alien timeline is hazy. But clearly, part of the tension of this prequel will not just be the thrills that are the hallmark of the franchise, but also learning how the most ruthless sci-fi corporation ever got so corrupt in the first place.

The Alien TV series is currently filming in Thailand. A 2025 release date is likely.

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