Neill Blomkamp’s proposed Alien sequel – set between the events of the second and third films and featuring the return of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley – is now “totally dead”, according to the director.

In an interview with The Verge, Blomkamp confirmed his dream project isn’t happening now. “It’s sad. I spent a long time working on that, and I feel like it was really pretty awesome”

Ridley Scott has since reclaimed the franchise with Alien: Covenant and has another two prequels planned, which will dovetail into the events of the 1979 film.

Blomkamp notes that he wants to remain respectful to one of his childhood idols, and not intrude on the world Scott has created. “I think that if the circumstances were different, and I didn’t feel like I was getting too close to something that he obviously feels a massive personal connection to, that things that may have played out differently.”

The South African filmmaker instead plans to return to the world of his 2009 breakout film, District 9, and will also launch his own production company, Oats Studios, which will focus on short sci-fi films.