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Operation: Aliens
OP ALIENS
Surviving stills from the pilot
Status Lost
Opposter

1992 "Assault" poster advertising the series.

20th Century Fox's Alien franchise has been successful for more than three decades, with plenty of tie-in movies, games and merchandise to its name. Yet, there were also plans at one point to market a cartoon series based on the films!

Operation: Aliens was a proposed cartoon

pilot that was developed in 1992, both to coincide with the release of the third film in the series, Alien 3, and with a proposed line of action figures Kenner Toys was producing. Details on the pilot itself are scarce, but what is generally known is that the idea to do a cartoon series was envisioned by Fox during the marketing blitz for the third film, and work was outsourced to a Korean animation studio.

What happened next is unclear. Production evidently got far enough along that an Operation: Aliens toy and merchandise line was planned and designed, and that the pilot was due to be aired in Fall 1992 on Fox's television network. However, the pilot was scrapped, although late enough in the process that several pieces of merchandise went to store shelves still bearing the Operation: Aliens banner.

Assuming that the plots outlined in the mini-comics from the Kenner toyline were intended to be part of this cancelled series, the pilot would have followed Lieutenant Ellen Ripley and several returning members of the Colonial Marines (including deceased ones oddly enough) as they captured or destroyed dangerous xenomorphs who were attacking various locales. One major conceit of the action figure line is that the xenomorphs were breeding new hybrids, in the form of the chestbursters assimilating various traits of their hosts (including a bull, a mantis, a scorpion and others).

It's likely the pilot was scrapped when members of the production realized that it's incredibly difficult to plan a children's program where the antagonists are double-jawed, phallic-shaped creatures with acid for blood. It's also likely that the lackluster box office performance of the third film put a damper on any future opportunities for tie-in films or shows. A popular theory may be that the Action for Children's Television deemed this to violent and saw it as a TV commercial for a line of toys which TV activists was strongly agent and which the government was making a law on around that time. and selling a movie that kids are too young to see ,There for marketing a product to the wrong demographic.

The pilot has never been released in any form, and the only evidence that it was at least partially animated are a series of screencaps that appeared on a now-defunct website for Korean animation.

References

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