Update 25: Director Ian Nathan on The Aliens Expanded Rough Cut Feedback


"Unreal as it feels to say so, the end is in sight. Though I say this with my editor’s warnings about how much is still to be done ringing in my ears. There is no let up. I’ve got to stay frosty until I am dragged from the film, kicking and screaming. That said, Aliens Expanded has reached a significant milestone. Or perhaps, it’s better to say passed through its first significant and, frankly, nerve-wracking test.

A select group of 150 or so of you, the backers, were given the chance to view the rough cut before Christmas. A version still officially known as The Assembly. Or to Sam, my droll editor, as “The Bloat Cut.” More terrifying still, the backers were asked to give their opinion.

I suppose, in Hollywood terms, this was a test screening. Although, the version was a few stages earlier than would be the norm on such studio occasions. A full story was told, but it was still to be finessed: it was too long, missing graphics and music, and with the odd egregious spelling error lurking here and there. All of which will be fixed come release, of course.

The point was to gauge what it was like to watch.

From my perspective, for the first time since we made the synopsis available, I was going naked in public again. What would the very people who had backed Aliens Expanded make of it? Was it easy to follow? Were the stories nourishing for an Aliens obsessive? Did it live up to that synopsis? Did it touch the spot? 

This wasn’t simply an exercise in stroking my ego – or crushing it! It is a valuable, indeed essential part of the process enabling me to gauge where the film is working, and where it needs work. Invaluable notes that will guide me through the final stages of the edit. To drink in the good reviews, along with the bitter draught of criticism.  

And it is a huge amount of relief that the results were so positive. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the film, but you get locked in your own little cocoon, facehugged by your own concepts. To leap horror stories for a second, you begin to wonder if you are Jack at the typewriter – all work and no play… 

Seeing so many thumbs held aloft, I have scuttled back to the final stages of the edit invigorated. It works. And now it needs to work better. The backers, you guys, have provided unbelievably useful notes. You have corrected a few errors. Noted repetitions. Highlighted some simple but crucial things. And one or two more complex fixes. But I have passed through the baptism by fire, encouraged that we, all of us – myself, my team, and you the backers – are making a definitive statement about one of the greatest science-fiction movies ever made. 

Prepare for dust off, we are almost done. But there is still plenty of work to do! 


I love the corps.


Ian Nathan - Writer / Director


Curious About The Feedback We Received? Here's A Few Sample Quotes!

"As a longtime fan... I loved it. Thank you for the tremendous work!" - Lee K


"An amazing documentary, everything I wanted for a look at the best movie ever made." - Aaron B


"I enjoyed watching the documentary, reliving all of the things that I loved about the film." - Zach M


"Loved it, was engaged and captivated throughout." - Jann E


"10/10. I think it was excellent. There is so much information that I didn't know." - Keith H

Update 24: First Full Assembly Cut & Vidcast 4

Welcome to our latest production diary!


Read on for a message from Director Ian Nathan about our latest progress on Aliens Expanded, plus information about our upcoming vidcast on Sunday November 26th. 

'The Curous Case of Alien 3' will feature special guests Jamie Prater, founder and host of the Perfect Organism podcast, and Charles de Lauzirika, producer of Blade Runner Final Cut and director of The Beast Within: The Making of Alien 3.

Director Ian Nathan on The First Full Assembly of Aliens Expanded!

"Watching the full assembly of Aliens Expanded for the first time was a surreal experience. There have been times during the edit when you wonder if you’re ever going to get there… Then, almost suddenly, it arrives, and you set aside a day to sit back to take in your film – all five hours of it! As expected, the cut at this stage is way too long. My editor, Sam, has christened it, rather unceremoniously, the Bloat Cut – maybe it’s getting ready to burst.

We have sharpened our knives and set about trimming the fat, though nothing ultimately will ever go to waste, with the opportunities for bonus material. But that is for later, right now I endure the agonies of cutting moments and ideas I am very fond of, but which slow down the forward momentum. I have to remind myself of the James Cameron philosophy – above all else, tell the story. 
Perhaps, the strangest thing about watching your film in its entirety for the first time is discovering what story it tells. There are all the ingredients I put into the pot, all the questions I wanted to ask, the points I wanted to make. But in the mix of personalities and their responses, and the way Sam has braided the contributors and clips together, a new film has appeared. A better one, I hope. My colleagues that have seen the Assembly reassure me that it is, at least, in focus. 
Here's the thing: Aliens Expanded is teaching me so much about Cameron and about his finest film, and about the power of storytelling. But having drunk in a year’s worth of labour, longer even, my first thought was a simple one - I really want to watch Aliens again. 
On another note, I can’t tell you how thrilling it has been hearing the score come together. Our composer, Txema Cabria, is just knocking it out of the park. He, Sam, my motions graphic team, Paul and Chris, are all making me look so good. I’ll happily take the credit, but I should recognise their masterful contributions.


The journey continues, but from the mists of possibility a film has emerged.
I can't wait for you to see it.  
Signing off.


Ian Nathan - Writer / Director


Live Vidcast 'The Curious Case of Alien 3' on Sunday Nov. 26th at 7pm GMT / 2pm ET / 11am PT with Special Guests Jamie Prater & Charles De Lauzirika


Click the link in your email to go to YouTube and selected 'Notify Me' to ensure you don't miss it and submit your questions using the form! You can also click here to check the event time in your timezone.


Please note: Because this is a private event you'll need to use the link in your email to access it.


Update 23: Production Update

With a fair bit of relief and satisfaction, Aliens Expanded has reached a significant milestone. We have an assembly of over half the film. My creation lives and breathes! 


It’s a long way from finished, and very much a rough cut, of course, but a documentary is emerging from the mists of a high concept. The potential is being realized. Once film clips are woven around the interviews by my brilliant editor, there is a real feeling of voyaging into Aliens. 


I can see how I want to refine the film: there is hard work to be done with the graphics and the music, and some judicious cuts. And some additions. But even having watched these chapters multiple times, the interviewees still hold me spellbound with their memories, their insight and, above all, their passion. 


That’s the key word. 


I’m preaching to the converted, I know, but what speaks so clearly from even this untamed version of Aliens Expanded is the passion people have for Aliens. How much they love talking about the film. And that love reaches out from the screen. Only this week we were putting together a sequence on Bill Paxton and the significance of the part Hudson plays in the drama (and the comedy). There were tears in my eyes as well as those on the screen. 


Ian Nathan

Writer/Director: Aliens Expanded


Update 22: Live Q&A With Aliens Creature Effects Artist Alec Gillis

Join us on Sunday 24th September for an hour-long moderated Q&A with Alec Gillis, part of the creature effects team on Aliens.


This event is exclusive to Aliens Expanded backers and won't be seen by anyone else. You can submit your questions either live on the day or before the event (see link in your email) and although we can't guarantee we'll answer every question, we'll get through as many as we can in the hour.

Please note: Because this is a private event, you'll need to use the link in your email to access it. Please check your email for the link to the Q&A submission form and the link to the channel on the day of the event.


Update 21: We're Looking for the Perfect Composer - Can You Help?

Aliens Expanded is looking for a soundtrack/score composer! If you're interested, or know someone that might be, you can find a link to the brief below:

Aliens Expanded Composer Brief

Update 20: Help Us Bring Paul Reiser to Aliens Expanded - Your Voice Matters!

As you know, we have been working tirelessly to make Aliens Expanded the most comprehensive and engaging movie documentary ever. One key element we are eager to include is an interview with actor Paul Reiser, who brilliantly portrayed the character Burke.

We reached out to Paul via Twitter and he responded positively, but we haven’t yet managed to make the interview happen. We believe that Paul may not realise just how many of you would love to see him featured in our documentary.

We are not giving up, and we need your help to show Paul just how much his performance is appreciated by the fan community and how vital Burke is as a character to the entire structure of Aliens.

Is he a mere tool of Weyland-Yutani or a rogue element out entirely for himself? Paul is so good we never entirely lose sympathy for him. There is so much to talk about with him!


Here’s how you can help:


Step 1: Please Retweet


We have posted a tweet on our official Twitter account asking Paul to join our documentary. Please retweet this post and add why you want to see Paul in the documentary and what questions you would like him to answer.


Above all, please be respectful and positive. Our aim is to show Paul how much he is appreciated, not to pressure or harass him or his representatives.


Here's the tweet (click the image to go to Twitter): 

Step 2: Spread The Word


The more voices we have, the stronger our message will be. Share this initiative with fellow Aliens fans and encourage them to join in.


Thank you for your continued support and for being an integral part of "Aliens Expanded". Together, we can make this documentary the best it can be.

Update 19:  Michael Biehn - Interview Excerpt

As the edit gathers pace, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to give you a brief taste of Aliens Expanded. Please bear in mind this is not footage from the finished documentary, but an edited sample from our Michael Biehn interview. Hopefully, Hicks waxing lyrical will get you in the mood for what is to come. Prepare for dust off, we are gonna need immediate evac…As the edit gathers pace, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to give you a brief taste of Aliens Expanded. Please bear in mind this is not footage from the finished documentary, but an edited sample from our Michael Biehn interview. Hopefully, Hicks waxing lyrical will get you in the mood for what is to come. Prepare for dust off, we are gonna need immediate evac…

Update 18: Aliens Expanded begins Post Production

Welcome to our latest production diary!

Read on for messages from Director Ian Nathan and Executive Producer David Weiner, as well as introductions from two new team members who have just come on board and information about our upcoming live Q&A with Director Ian Nathan & Executive Producer Robin Block!

Director Ian Nathan on Entering Post-Production

"With twenty-five interviews in the can, it is thrilling to be moving into post-production, scripting and editing, choosing clips, getting a feel for pace and nuance. We are having meetings about the score! Even at these early stages, I can see the story begin to take shape like a great ship emerging from the mist. The video link is still scrambled, but something is being discovered. There is much debate to be had - what to keep in, what agonizingly to leave out. My most excellent editor, Sam Way, has a sixth sense for clarity. And keeping it all moving. But there in front of me is actual footage from Aliens Expanded. Lance Henriksen, then Mark Rolston, before a bone-dry retort from the unimpressible but magnificent Alan Dean Foster. Of course, production to post marks a porous border. Interviews are still being corralled and scheduled, names are being sought to enhance what we already have. In the last two weeks alone, we have added Hicks and Newt to the roster. This will carry on even as the edit is fine-tuned. So there is still a long road ahead. And some late nights. But I wouldn’t have it any other way"

Ian Nathan - Writer/Director

A Message From Executive Producer David Weiner

"Aliens Expanded continues to stay frosty. Week after week, I marvel at helmer Ian Nathan’s ability to conduct ace interviews with the key notables who know and love Aliens (those in front of/behind the camera of the ’86 film, and the experts who keep the torch lit), while navigating his own intricate film structure like a synthetic and leading our tight-knit platoon through the hive trenches. On the editorial side, I am excited to see the Power Loader duo of Samuel Way and Paul Konschake joining the project — both veterans of In Search of Tomorrow and the In Search of Darkness trilogy — to enable Ian to build the ultimate badass documentary about James Cameron’s Aliens. Now I know for certain that Aliens Expanded will be a lean, mean fighting machine with plenty of narrative firepower and visual magic. I can’t wait for the world to see it in 2024."

David Weiner - Executive Producer

In Search of Darkness Editor Samuel Way Joins Aliens Expanded

"Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen! Aliens is one of the best films ever made and a personal favourite of mine. I jumped at the chance to edit this documentary and I am pumped to team up with Ian Nathan to create the ultimate compendium to Aliens. I have seen the interviews that we have in and I just know that the fans are going to love this one."

Samuel Way - Editor

Introducing Motion Graphics Legend Paul Konschake

"Aliens is one of those rare films you can just watch over and over again without ever getting tired of it. It’s one of the best films ever made and being able to work on this project about such a timeless masterpiece fills me with joy and excitement. Let’s roooock!"

Paul Konschake - Motion Graphics

Live Backer-Only Q&A with Ian Nathan & Robin Block on June 4th 11am PDT, 2pm ET, 7pm BST

Writer / Director Ian Nathan & Executive Producer Robin Block are looking forward to answering your questions in this upcoming backer-only Q&A!

Click the link below to go to YouTube and selected 'Notify Me' to ensure you don't miss it and submit your questions using the form! You can also click here to check the event time in your timezone. Please note: Because this is a private event you'll need to use this link. And to submit questions for the Q&A please use this link.


Update 17: Michael Biehn Joins Aliens Expanded

We are delighted to announce that legendary actor Michael Biehn, Cpl. Dwayne Hicks himself has joined the cast of ALIENS EXPANDED.

Update 16: Live Q&A with Jenette Goldstein

Join us for a Live Q&A session with Jenette Goldstein, Vasquez herself! Make sure to submit some questions beforehand using this survey https://forms.gle/z5cEhbaxyZUmtK21A.

We will see you there.

Update 15: 


Welcome to our latest production diary and Happy Alien Day!

Before handing over to Ian for our production news, we have an important announcement to make. We have taken the decision to move the release date of Aliens Expanded to spring 2024, a year from now, to coincide with Alien Day on April 26 2024.

As Ian will explain in more detail below, this comes down to making the best documentary possible so that we can do this incredible film justice.

Here's Ian:

Happy Alien Day!
What better occasion to bring you up to date with how the production of Aliens Expanded is progressing? And progressing it is. I have recently completed my twenty-first interview and we are far from finished.

Indeed, there will be some exciting announcements very soon.

The documentary is definitely taking shape. The bones of the synopsis now have a layer of muscle and tissue. Organs are appearing. It’s like one of those medical diagrams that show the insides of the human body, or one of Giger’s glorious biomechanical paintings – a bit of weirdness is always to be encouraged.

Talking of which, Creature Effects Coordinator Alec Gillis, who can picture every model and costume he made as if it were yesterday, is so good on what he calls “the foundational work” of H.R. Giger – it was an entire language from which they could expand. He is convinced there wouldn’t have been a franchise if it wasn’t for Giger’s visionary contribution.

While we were setting up the shot, with some of his maquettes silhouetted behind, a last-minute adjustment was made to the tableau at Gillis’s request – there was a xenomorph he felt shouldn’t be shown, one he had made specifically for Neill Blomkamp’s aborted reboot-sequel. I couldn’t make out exactly what was different, but it was a tantalizing glimpse into what could have been. And another line of enquiry for Aliens Expanded.

The big, on-screen names from the cast have provided such good material, but there is a unique texture you get from some of the behind-the-scenes artisans, people who went right back with Cameron to his Roger Corman days.

Model maestro Robert Skotak, for instance, is a treasure trove of Aliens lore, and he is a writer himself, having regularly contributed to Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria. That is alongside his immortal model work, with brother Dennis, on not only Aliens, but Escape from New York, The Terminator, Tremors, Darkman, and Batman Returns. You have to love a credit list – he also did all the miniatures for Captain Ron. Skotak is a real night owl. It was 11pm, his time, when we spoke. But so worthwhile. He held me under his spell for the entire interview, bringing to life an entire era of hand-crafted special effects.

Here's an Alien/Aliens curio: Skotak mentioned how, prior to the sequel, he had worked on a live Halloween production of Alien with Bob Burns. Burns was the legendary genre aficionado and prop collector who mounted fully immersive, movie-themed Halloween shows at his house in Burbank, California every year, utilizing the skills of up-and-coming effects people – not only the Skotak brothers, but the likes of Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, and D.C. Fontana. Shows featured The Exorcist, The Thing, and Forbidden Planet. And in 1979, it was the turn of Alien. It ran on two consecutive weekends, with thousands queuing around the block. Such was the innocence of the age, that 20th Century Fox actually provided the original model of the Derelict and the xeno headpiece.

And that’s how they got hold of the Derelict for Aliens, a little battered and bruised since production in 1978, but they spruced her up ready to use in scenes that would ultimately only make the Special Edition. Which means, technically speaking, production on the sequel began in the US, where all the background plates were shot for the Jorden family excursion to the Derelict.

I love this kind of detail, how it enhances the mythology of the film, exposing the grain of history, and the connective tissue between sequel and original. And also the sense of the movie tradition into which Aliens was born – not only in relation to Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, but the history of science fiction and horror as a whole.

Scripting is gathering pace, and it is always a pleasure to see how bringing quotes together yields new directions. Incidental points grow into major themes, stories you think you know take on new dimensions.

The challenge that lies ahead is how to bottle all this nuance into a satisfying story.

With each interview, Aliens Expanded grows: historically, technically, anecdotally, and with a vital sense of the richness and personality of those involved at every level.

Which brings me to our release date announcement.
We have taken the decision to postpone the release date of Aliens Expanded to spring 2024, a year from now, to coincide with Alien Day on April 26.

This is good news. The documentary will only get better.

More time offers more flexibility to pursue yet more interviews with top tier talent. There is more time to finesse and shape a new species of documentary, to react to interviews and delve ever deeper, and also to continue taking onboard your ideas and advice from the recent backer consultation (which bring a whole level of detail in themselves) to pictorial elements. The opportunity to tell a better, more layered, and even more passionate story keeps, well, expanding.
By extending the production period, I am also giving myself breathing space in post-production, which will allow my editor to get their head around the frankly dizzying levels of material.
Put simply, I don’t want to rush it. From the outset, it has been my mission to make the ultimate statement about our collective love of Aliens, and I don’t want to short change my own ambitions, and most importantly, I don’t want to short change you.

And to be fair, James Cameron delayed his Avatar sequel by over a decade!
In the meantime, the live events will be extended (more vidcasts, more live Q&As, more interaction). And we will keep you posted every step of the way.

I thank you so much for your patience and belief. This is a journey we are making together, and I couldn’t do it without you.

Stay frosty,

Ian Nathan
Writer/Director Aliens Expanded

Update 14: Cast Update, Alan Dean Foster & Cynthia Scott

Two more fantastic people join the cast of Aliens Expanded. Author Alan Dean Foster and Aliens' own Cynthis Scott (Corporal Dietrich herself)! Look forward to seeing them in the film, as they both have such fantastic insights to Aliens and all things Sci-Fi.

Update 13: Live Q&A with Mark Rolston

Join us on Sunday 12th March for an hour-long moderated Q&A with Mark Rolston (Private Drake)!

This event is exclusive to Aliens Expanded backers and won't be seen by anyone else. You can submit your questions either live on the day or before the event (see link below) and although we can't guarantee we'll answer every question, we'll get through as many as we can in the hour.

If you have not yet received an email from us, please get in touch via social media @aliensexpanded or through our support email support@creatorvc.com, we will respond as soon as possible.

Update 12: A New Cast Member

Writer/Director Ian Nathan sat down to interview author V Castro, talking about her recent novel, Aliens: Vasquez, and all things Aliens and expanded universe!

Update 11: New Interviews

This week our illustrious writer/director Ian Nathan sat down with Colette Hiller, AKA Corporal Ferro & James Dyer, Writer at Empire Magazine to discuss all things Aliens!

Update 10: Production Diary

Writer/Director Ian Nathan gives an update to the production of Aliens Expanded. From interview updates to the scripting progress - Stay Frosty

Update 9: Vidcast 002

Writer/Director Ian Nathan was joined by special guest Christian Matzke from the Perfect Organism Podcast to discuss Chestbursting: Under the Microscope! You can watch it down below if you were not able to join them live or if you simply wish to re-watch the Vidcast. Make sure to keep an eye on our socials for the next Vidcast so you can join them live and participate in the discussion. 

Update 8: Interviewing William Hope

We sat down with the amazing William Hope to discuss all things Gorman, Cameron & Aliens! Ever the consummate pro, full of opinion, story, charm, and energy, look forward to hearing more in Aliens Expanded.

Update 7: See Our Response to Your Feedback & Cast Update

We've loved receiving your feedback on our plans for Aliens Expanded! Click the image below to view our video featuring Writer/Director Ian Nathan and Executive Producer Robin Block discuss your responses and how they help shape our plans for Aliens Expanded:

p.s. If you haven't given feedback yet but would like to, it's not too late! Check out the links below - we read every comment.

Read The Synopsis

Feedback Form

We are delighted to announce that Aliens Expanded has welcomed William Hope and Daniel Kash to our cast!


Update 6: The Updated Synopsis

We've updated our Aliens Expanded Synopsis and need your feedback to help us ensure this is the best documentary possible! 

To get started, first read Ian's introduction, then watch his intro video, add specific comments to the document, and then provide general feedback on our form (links below).

Thank you for your help! 

Introduction from Ian


Greetings my Aliens hive mind. 

This week I am lifting the veil on the latest version of my synopsis. This is basically a road map for the documentary, the all-important plan – my guiding light as the interviews are done, clips chosen, choices made, as we move forward through the labyrinth of tunnels ahead. 

Hopefully, it will give you an idea of how I am approaching the film in an entirely new way – not simply as a making of, but entering into the completed Aliens and exploring it from within, scene-by-scene. You will see the many different angles I’m taking and the chances to spin off into fascinating sidebars, opening whole new areas of discussion. Put simply, the synopsis shows I am going to swim about within a classic. All the layers within layers. 

Some things to bear in mind. This is a fluid document. As interviews are done, the synopsis will be reshaped with new ideas. Time will also be a factor – figuring out how much of the running time will be devoted to each element. It is also presented in my shorthand, sketches of ideas that should be clear, but only outline what will be far more in-depth in the finished film.

I am also looking for your input. 

As a trusted backer of Aliens Expanded, you are a vital voice in the creative journey. Using the Backer Consultation Form please complete the survey on what you think, good or bad; what might be missing; alternative angles, and personal obsessions. I want to hear it all. Especially any fan theories you might have.  

I admit that this is a nerve-wracking process – showing my notes ahead of time. But I am convinced it is a dynamic and valuable way to bring originality and energy to the finished documentary – to tap into your collective knowledge and love of Aliens. So I look forward to hearing from you. 

Stay frosty. 


Watch Ian's Introductory Video

Read and Comment on the Synopsis

Fill In Our Feedback Form

Update 5: Jenette Goldstein Interview

We sat down with Private Vasquez herself, Jenette Goldstein. With insights to the character she played and the events of filming the iconic Aliens, along with the legacy of both - a phenomenal addition to Aliens Expanded.

Update 4: Aliens Expanded Vidcast 1 - The Legacy of Alien

The very first of our Aliens Expanded Vidcasts will ponder the legacy of what James Cameron likes to think of as the “prequel” to Aliens - Ridley Scott’s magnificent original Alien. I will discuss the greatness of Scott’s film not only in its own right but in terms of what it offers to a sequel, as well as the stylistic differences between the Scott and Cameron approach. Think of it as a Christmas special in which we wax lyrical about the delights of chestbursting and android meltdowns. 


What’s more, I am delighted to announce that Aaron Percival from AVP Galaxy will be the special guest. 

If you missed the event, you can still watch the recording by using the link below.


Update 3: Bishop Joins the Cast!

We are very proud to announce that Aliens Expanded has welcomed Lance Henriksen to the cast!

Lance Henriksen as Bishop, Aliens (1986)

Update 2: Aliens Expanded Backer Event Replay

We had a great time at the backer event and met with many backers. If you weren't able to attend you can watch a replay of the event here.

Update 1: Live Aliens Expanded Backer Event October 30th

Please join Writer/Director Ian Nathan, Executive Producer Robin Block, and Executive Producer David Weiner for our first live Aliens Expanded Backer Event on Sunday, October 30th at 12:00pm US (PST) / 7:00pm UK (BST).

In this event, we will share behind-the-scenes updates and provide an insider view of our Aliens Expanded production process, including updates on casting, timeline, future events, and more.

Submit Your Questions!

After the success of our initial fan consultation, we are eager to hear more from backers. You will have the opportunity to chat with the creators and ask your questions live, however we encourage you to submit your questions ahead of time using this Google Form.

Aliens Expanded Backer Event YouTube Livestream 

Here is the link to the Aliens Expanded Backer Event Livestream. Registration is not required. If you cannot attend the event, a recording will be made available. If you have questions, please contact support@creatorvc.com.

We will promptly start at 12:00pm US (PST) / 7:00pm UK (BST). Be sure to join us on YouTube at least 5 minutes before the event starts. 

We look forward to seeing you there!