Alien Movies In Order (Release & Chronological) | Screen Rant

The Alien franchise has a unique release date order compared to its chronological watch order. Created by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, Alien was created as a horror-in-space tale, inspired by the works of artist H.R. Giger and the sci-fi films of earlier eras, such as The Thing From Another World, Planet of the Vampires, and Forbidden Planet. Ridley Scott was the first director to set the tone and style for the series, as his work on Alien helped bring O'Bannon and Shusett's vision to life in a way that launched a global franchise, spawning multiple films, books, games, merchandise and more for more than four decades and counting. The titular "alien" of the series, known as the Xenomorph XX121, or simply, Xenomorph, has since become a staple of the sci-fi horror genre.

The first Alien film was released in 1979, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, who became the human face of the series for the first four films. Director James Cameron picked up the sequel reigns with 1986's Aliens, which served as more of a sci-fi action film than a sci-fi horror film. Alien 3, released in 1992, was director David Fincher's first feature film, which served to close out a trilogy of sorts. But, five years later in 1997 the Joss-Whedon scripted Alien: Resurrection would be released, which was a box-office dud and effectively closed out Weaver's run on the series.

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In 2004, director Paul WS Anderson directed the much-hyped AVP: Alien vs. Predator feature film, which put both the Alien and Predator franchises together in a monster mash-up feature that was loosely based on the comic-book series of the same name from Dark Horse. A sequel was released in 2007, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, but fizzled at the box office. Ridley Scott returned to the series in 2012 with a prequel film, Prometheus, then followed that successful endeavor up with a 2017's Alien: Covenant, which had a lukewarm reception and is the last of the Alien films to be released in theaters. The next Alien franchise effort will be in the form of Noah Hawley's Alien series for FX, which takes place toward the end of the 21st century on Earth.

The release order for the Alien movies is broken into three quadrants that are relatively easy to follow. The first four films, Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien: Resurrection all follow a straight-line narrative that follows Weaver's journey as Ripley within the world of the xenomorphs. The next two entries in the series are the Alien vs. Predator films, AVP and AVP: Requiem, which break away from Weaver's story, taking place in the present day, which is many decades before Ripley comes into the picture. The last section of the franchise in release order is the two prequel films, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, which tell the earliest version of the xenomorph's story. Below is the viewing list of the Alien films in release order:

Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Alien 3 (1992)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Prometheus (2012)

Alien: Covenant (2017)

For those wanting to watch the Alien films in chronological order, the roster is a bit tricky, as the films shuffle around quite a bit. Oddly enough, the AVP films are the earliest films of the Alien franchise, as they take place well before the events of Prometheus or Alien, starting off at the dawn of human civilization, where Predators used Earth as a hunting ground for xenomorphs, leading all the way up to the present day (21st Century). Prometheus takes place roughly 80 years after AVP: Requiem, tracing the very origin of the xenomorphs and the Engineers who helped create them. Alien: Covenant continues the origin story that Prometheus started, taking place in 2104, leading to Ridley Scott's original. Alien takes place two decades after Alien: Covenant and begins the journey of Weaver's Ellen Ripley, the main protagonist of the series. Ripley is in stasis for 57 years between Alien and Aliens, taking the franchise to the year 2179, which is also when Alien 3 takes place. The last film in the Ripley series, Alien Resurrection, takes place in 2318, roughly 200 years after Alien 3 when her character is brought back as a clone. Below is the chronological viewing list for the Alien franchise:

AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Prometheus (2012)

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Alien 3 (1992)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

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