Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols has signed on to write and direct 20th Century Fox's remake of Alien Nation. The studio first set up this sci-fi remake in March 2015, when they brought on Iron Man screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, but now Jeff Nichols will take over the writing duties. No production schedule was given at this time, and it isn't known if 20th Century Fox is eyeing a particular release date quite yet.
The original Alien Nation was set in a future where humans and an alien race were forced to co-exist with each other, as the humans keep the alien species segregated from the general population with very little rights. The plot followed the first ever alien police officer (Mandy Patinkin) on Earth, who is paired up with a racially-biased cop (James Caan). Although they have their differences, a case comes up that causes them to form a mutual respect for one another. The report from Deadline didn't specify any details about Jeff Nichols' new take on this story.
The original movie spawned a short-lived TV series and a number of TV movies such as Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, Alien Nation: Body and Soul, Alien Nation: Millennium, Alien Nation: The Enemy Within and Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy, along with novels and comic books. The original movie was directed by Graham Baker from a script by Rockne O'Bannon, with Kenneth Johnson creating the TV series, which only spanned 22 episodes. Kenneth Johnson also wrote and directed all of the TV movies.
Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Sara Greene are producing Alien Nation alongside Jeff Nichols. The producers also worked with the director on his new film Loving, starring Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews. Focus Features acquired the film, based off promo footage shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, and has set a November 4 release date, putting it up against Doctor Strange.
While it's far to early to discuss any casting possibilities, it's worth noting that Michael Shannon has had roles in all five of Jeff Nichols' movies. The actor has appeared in Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special and Loving. It's certainly possible that Michael Shannon will have some sort of role in Alien Nation, but nothing is set yet.