Could a They Live Sequel Actually Work?

Sometimes fandom blinds our better judgment. When the parody news website, The Hard Timesproclaimed: “John Carpenter Announces Release Dates for ‘They Live’ Sequels ‘They Laugh’ and ‘They Love,'” a number of fans thought to themselves, those are super weird titles, but They Live is a weird movie, so this is great news! Unfortunately, there is no actual development happening for a They Live sequel, or is there?

The 1988 film has amassed an impressive fan base today with merchandise, viral memes, and conspiracy theories that continue to keep the title relevant all these years later. The action / sci-fi / tongue-in-cheek film follows George Nada, played by Roddy Piper as a well-intentioned drifter who strolls into Los Angeles looking for labor work. He is welcomed into a homeless community, where he soon discovers an underground resistance group that uncovered an alien invasion. Lifting the veil on reality with special frequency tuned sunglasses, it is revealed that the planet has been occupied by creepy aliens who are running our capitalistic society.


While the movie does not really call for a sequel, the fake news that quickly spread across the pop culture zeitgeist revealed there is certainly an apatite to further explore the themes in John Carpenter’s cult classic, They Live. With alien and UFO interest reaching new heights, as well as the phenomenon itself, perhaps there is more story to be told in regard to an ugly reality that humans are unaware of. Let us explore the conspiracy theory-riddled possibilities of a They Live sequel and how it could resonate even more so today than in 1988.

Could It Be a Reality?

They Live 1
Universal Pictures

The Fermi Paradox has not exactly aged well. The well-known scientific assertion that there is a conflict between the lack of clear, obvious evidence for extraterrestrial life and various high estimates for their existence presents a fundamental dismissal of reality in the modern world. It has become increasingly inconvenient to maintain a worldview where nothing is happening on earth that is beyond human understanding. While Enrico Fermi’s 1950 assessment is hopeful, if not adorable, that an encounter with extraterrestrials would be a polite and safe landing of a saucer in a public space with greetings from deep space, it may not take into consideration all the nuances, good or bad , that may accompany first contact. So if aliens are not knocking on our front doors with religious pamphlets to sell us on Ziblox, their space god, could Carpenter’s assessment of alien contact be a more accurate hypothesis?

Related: John Carpenter Discusses Escape from New York Threequel, Backs Wyatt Russell as Snake Plissken

For anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole of internet conspiracy theory on the subject and managed to come back without completely losing their mind, there does exist countless narratives that paint a more dynamic picture of our possible relationship with aliens that may already be occupying the planet with us. From human-alien hybrids, warring species who fight for planetary dominance, and invisible insectoid creatures that are watching you from across the room as you read this, there is a treasure trove of ideas to draw from to further flesh out the alien agenda.

As more and more people surface with restored memories, claims of complex top-secret programs, and the untapped resources hidden within our own consciousness, writers and directors could easily weave an even more sorted tail about what these aliens are up to and, more importantly , how to spot them and mow them down with a machine gun.

They Live 2 Could Go Deeper

Keith David
Universal Studios

While the reality of indiscriminately murder an alien species may not be the most politically correct move, it does represent a form of catharsis in the face of an overwhelming lack of control. It is uncomfortable, especially for the world’s greatest thinkers, to face a reality where we may not be the sharpest tools in the shed.

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They Live could be developed into a franchise that leans into this kind of appetite where audiences are given the opportunity to root for human values ​​over a frightening cosmic reality that we really do not have much control over. Born into a kind of bondage where acquiring money can easily become the only objective in our daily lives, storytelling may be one of the few methods we have to call it out. It forces an important conversation about human values ​​and how to maintain them in a world that continues to alienate us from one another with technological convenience.

They Live On

While The Hard Times may have had a good laugh at the expense of They Live fans, the article may have inadvertently awoken a hungry beast. After all, there is a ton of room for world-building in They Live‘s cinematic universe which may very well include giant alien monsters that stalk the creepy and clever overlords on their home planet. Perhaps George Nada’s well-intentioned effort to destroy the satellite keeping humanity in the dark about the alien presence has unseen consequences that go well beyond the silly ending showing a woman realizing she’s being intimate with an alien. The invading species may be forced to unveil an exo-political reality to humans that we should not have known about for another million years or so. The possibilities are endless for They Live 2, and studio executives would be foolish to ignore them.

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