Creatives: Scott Middlebrook, Alien Universe Timeline

via The Alien Universe Timeline

Image – Alien: The Weyland Yutani Report Hardcover – 1 Jul 2016 by S.D. Perry (Author)

Recently I (Clara) have had the pleasure of being introduced to Scott Middlebrook, who has consulted for 20th Century Fox and has helped with the Weyland Yutani Report.

Both Jason and I are constantly brimming with questions about Alien Canon, so Bradley Suedbeck kindly put us through to Scott to help quell any doubts we may have about the present state of it.

@jasonromeo Jason Leger: Hi Scott, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, it’s appreciated.  I just have a basic inquiry in regards to the film “canon,” and or established timeline.  I just wanted to know how things are established as canon, and how or why things are included or excluded from the timeline?

Scott Middlebrook: I made up my own version of what was and wasn’t canon when I created the timeline, whenever it was – 1999 I think?  This included the films as the primary resource, with other stuff connected to the films like novelisations, or production info or shooting scripts, as a secondary resource where they didn’t conflict with the films.

@muthur9000 Clara Fei-Fei: In regards to the Weyland Yutani Report, I heard that 20th Century Fox didn’t acknowledge it officially as canon for 2 years. I don’t know how it is possible if you were involved with fact-checking. What hoops does one need to go through to publish an alien reference like that?

SM:  The Weyland-Yutani Report was written as a canon piece and intended to be as canonically accurate as possible at that point.  Any discrepancies are due to the fact it was written in 2013, and neither S.D. Perry nor any of us who did any proofreading – as far as I’m aware – had any insight into what was going to happen with Covenant.  Perry was approached by either 20th Century Fox or Insight.

JL: Does 20th Century Fox have specific guidelines for it to be considered canon or are some things never meant to be in the first place? For instance, does is Dark Horse or Titan Books work with 20th Century Fox when producing new material?

SM: Fox works with its licensees about what they can and can’t do. I think it’s fairly well known, for example, that the timeframe for the Fire & Stone comics had to be changed to avoid conflicts with a Prometheus sequel.  After working on Weyland Yutani Report and 20th Century Fox officially publicly including non-film references like Fire & Stone, River of Pain and the Alien: Isolation game; I updated my timeline to also include those events.

CF:  Two discrepancies I have noticed now in the WYR, Elizabeth Shaw’s birth year which is different from the Alien: Covenant Novelisation and the information. If there is a resource of what her birthday is, why is there a mistake?

SM:  Elizabeth’s birth date is different due to the fact Perry used my timeline, where I based it on Noomi Rapace’s actual age.  Not sure where Alan Dean Foster sourced his date from(Alan Dean Foster later confirmed the date came down from 20th Century Fox).  I read a draft of Origins back in May or something, but never saw a draft of the novelisation, so I’m not sure how the mistake happened.  I’ve been considering the option of David being an unreliable narrator for the date discrepancy.  It works as a decent fix as far as I’m concerned. It’s irritating but these kinds of errors are always going to happen.  I completely missed a mistake in WYR that said Vriess died in Resurrection (which I think was later corrected).

CF:  About David in regards to the Prometheus mission since it was revealed in A:C that he is indeed the first prototype and not a David 8 built within years of Weyland passing away. Did the company not know? Is that how they are going to play that information now?

SM:  Same deal with the changes with David from Prometheus to Covenant.  WYR used the film, virals, and Weyland Corporate timeline as a resource.  Some of those things in the virals and corporate timeline may now be apocryphal.

CF: Could you tell me the official date of Weyland’s death? Or should I say faked death? Since it wasn’t on the original Weyland Industries Timeline.

SM: By the time of Covenant it seemed to be common knowledge – at least within the Company – that he’d travelled with the Prometheus and was lost when it disappeared.  There’s no official version of events of what people knew on Earth after the Prometheus left.  I’m not sure how much publicity was given to a mission travelling to a classified location.

 JL:  Any chance Aliens Defiance might be added as its or seems linked to isolation (although through cameo only)? 

SM:  Defiance was recently included in the main timeline. Ditto Dead Orbit and Life & Death.  The Rage Wars and Bug Hunt will also be included when I get around to it – more than likely in the non-canon stuff (Bug Hunt was deliberately written that some stories fit and some don’t – I’m not sure which so am putting them in the ‘don’t’ category for the time being). So there will be more updates in the coming months.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, to follow Scott’s progress go to Alien Universe Timeline

*As you know since Disney had acquired Fox the contents of this interview is subject to change, thank you.