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Up next for a remake: ‘Alien Nation’

The director of the sci-fi reboot says he's almost finished with a script. Now the question is whether Disney will let the project go forward.
Published Nov. 3, 2018

The news out of Hollywood is so predictable these days, we could just use a template to write these updates. So here's the latest '80s movie that is getting a remake: Alien Nation. Seriously?

While our beloved decade was renowned for its sci-fi classics, 1988's Alien Nation rarely gets name-checked – and that's a shame. The movie – about a group of alien refugees struggling to make new lives for themselves on Earth – was strong enough to kick-start a pretty good TV series on Fox. And even after that series was canceled, the franchise lived on through five TV movies. It was a smart concept that was executed with good actors, entertaining scripts and impressive flair. now reports that director Jeff Nichols is nearly finished with a script for a remake. Will it reflect our nation's current battle over immigration?

"How could it not?" Nichols told the website. "I'm almost done with it. I'm hoping this draft that I'm working on now will be my last. The studio seems to really love it, and we're working on conception design of the aliens and everything else…"

The biggest question mark: The studio he's working with is Fox, which is in the process of being acquired by Disney, so it's hard to say what the new owner will think of the project.

"It might just blow away, which would be a real shame, but everybody at Fox has been so good to me about it," Nichols said. "And they're so positive about it, obviously I'm trying to stay in the positive zone, and hopefully knock out this last draft."

The original movie featured James Caan as a human cop and Mandy Patinkin as his alien partner. Directed by Graham Baker, it combined the noir and buddy cop genres into a new style of movie that appealed to movie-goers more than critics. It maintains a 54 percent "fresh rating" on Rotten Tomatoes.