While the rest of us are eagerly anticipating Ridley Scott’s return to the mythology he helped to create with ‘Alien: Covenant‘, it seems Scott himself has his eye firmly on the franchise’s future. Though it stops short of any sort of official announcement, Scott has effectively confirmed that he is already preparing to get underway with a sequel. The following excerpt, which notes that the ‘Covenant’ sequel already has a completed screenplay, was included almost as an afterthought in a report on a set visit by the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’:

While working on ‘Alien: Covenant’, [Scott] had the next installment written so he is ready to keep advancing the saga.

“You’ve got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you’d better be ready,” he says. “You don’t want a two-year gap. So I’ll be ready to go again next year.”

That a sequel is already in the works isn’t the most surprising news, given that Scott’s stated intent was always for ‘Prometheus’ to kick of at least a trilogy of films that would ultimately lead directly into the original 1979 ‘Alien’. What is surprising is the apparent speed of the turnaround, given the five-year gap between the releases of ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Alien: Covenant’, as Scott is apparently planning to begin work on the follow-up once he has cleared his obligations to ‘Covenant’. Indeed, depending on exactly when that set visit took place, production may well begin as early as this year (though 2018 does seem more likely).

Of course, it’s impossible to cover this without acknowledging the elephant in the room: Neill Blomkamp’s long-gestating ‘Alien 5’. While it has been quite some time since there was any official word on Blomkamp’s project, the official plan has long been for that film to enter production following the release of ‘Alien: Covenant’ (though doubts have been cast on that of late). With the project in limbo and Ridley Scott apparently set to begin work on a ‘Covenant’ sequel in short order, it seems increasingly unlikely that the Blomkamp film will be moving forward anytime soon.

Be sure to check back with for more news on ‘Alien: Covenant’ and future ‘Alien’ films as it becomes available!

Directed by Ridley Scott, ‘Alien: Covenant’ is set to arrive in theaters on May 19, 2017. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, James Franco, and Amy Seimetz.