How to watch the 'Alien' movies in order

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien
(Image credit: FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo / 20th Century Studios)

“Alien” was born over forty years ago, and ever since we first saw the terrifying creatures on our screens, the franchise has become one of the greatest hits to ever exist in the entertainment industry. From vicious lifeforms hunting down an innocent crew in space to a parasitic species that latches onto your face, there are many things to fear in “Alien" — but also many things to experience.

The first movie “Alien” begins with the crew of the spaceship Nostromo as they encounter a deadly lifeform while investigating a mysterious transmission. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the lead protagonist who must find a way to escape the creature after it wreaks havoc on the ship. 

Seven more movies follow, including the introduction of a new terrifying creature called the Predator and the new standalone “Alien: Romulus”. This upcoming movie focuses on a group of young space colonists who encounter the iconic Xenomorph while scavenging a space station.

So, do you want to stream this franchise before “Alien: Romulus” comes out in August? Figuring out the right order of the “Alien” movies can be tougher than hiding from an Xenomorph, but we’re here to help you avoid this situation. In space, no one can hear you stream one of the best franchises ever, so here’s how to binge-watch these movies to your heart’s content. 

How to watch the 'Alien' movies in release order

The “Alien” series began with Ripley’s journey back in 1979 as she encountered the Xenomorph for the first time. This movie also stars Tom Skerritt as Dallas, Veronica Cartwright as Lambert, John Hurt as Kane, Harry Dean Stanton as Brett, Yaphet Kotto as Parker, and Ian Holm as Ash. 

Three more movies center around the terrifying lifeform, along with Weaver reprising her role as she becomes one of the most badass women in movie history. “Aliens” actually earned the highest rating in the franchise due to it being “bigger, stronger, and faster.”

The original "Alien" movies are available to stream on Hulu

  • "Alien" (1979): Stream on Hulu
  • "Aliens" (1986): Stream on Hulu or Max
  • "Alien 3" (1992): Stream on Hulu
  • "Alien: Resurrection" (1997): Stream on Hulu

Then in 2004, the franchise went down a different path by introducing a new extraterrestrial species called the Predator. “Alien vs. Predator” saw the creatures together, with humans caught in the middle of a dangerous battle. These movies didn’t do so well due to the low ratings, but they are a good addition to the “Alien” franchise if you want to see another creepy threat. 

“Alien vs. Predator” also links to the “Predator” movies, so you can go ahead and stream those once you’ve finished this franchise. 

  •  Alien vs. Predator (2004): Stream on Hulu
  •  Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007): Stream on Hulu

Rather than making more “Alien vs Predator” movies, the franchise decided to return to the classic lone Xenomorph. Ridley Scott and director James Cameron created prequels for the original “Alien” to avoid repeating the same storyline. These prequels introduced the Engineers, an ancient extraterrestrial species that actually created the Xenomorphs. 

The Engineers had some of the most advanced technology in the entire universe. Each prequel highlights their skills in genetic engineering and their link to the human race.

Like the other “Alien” movies, you can stream one of these prequels on Hulu, with the other being on different streaming platforms:

How to watch the 'Alien' movies in chronological order

Xenomorph in Alien: Covenant

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

If you want to watch the “Alien” movies chronologically, the order does shift around quite a bit. This is because we have prequels and predator movies that are set years before the original “Alien." Watching these in order will help form a cohesive timeline, from a deeper dive into the wealthy industrialist Charles Weyland to exploring the Engineers, there are a few jumbled events to put together.

Although watching these movies chronologically sounds right, we actually recommend streaming them in release order. This is how the story was told and written, which builds mystery instead of giving you answers straight from the get-go.

Here is the chronological order of the “Alien” movies:  

  • Alien Vs. Predator (2004)
  • Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) 
  • Prometheus (2012) 
  • Alien: Covenant (2017) 
  • Alien (1979) 
  • Aliens (1986) 
  • Alien 3 (1992) 
  • Alien: Resurrection (1997) 

Where does 'Alien: Romulus' fit in the timeline?

“Alien: Romulus” is a horror movie you have to see on the big screen. The teaser trailer alone gives us a taste of what to expect, including the claustrophobic hallways and eerie face-huggers lurking around corners. This movie focuses on a group of youths who board an abandoned space station, only to confront the most terrifying lifeform in space. It stars Cailee Spaeny as Rain, Isabela Merced as Kay, David Jonsson as Andy, Archie Renaux as Tyler, along with Spike Fearn and Aileen Wu as unnamed characters. 

Director Fede Álvarez stated that “Alien: Romulus” is a standalone story set between “Alien” and “Aliens”. This means you don’t have to watch the other movies to experience it, but “Romulus” still has a place in the timeline if you plan on watching the franchise in order. 

Álvarez also said to IGN: “The way this movie works is if you haven’t seen any of them, you’ll have a blast. And if you haven’t seen any of them, I’m actually jealous of you because you go, ‘Wow. Wow.’ Man, you’re in for a ride. Because a lot of ideas that will feel like we just created them on here, they were created by masters of this genre in the past, and I’m lucky enough to be able to do it again.”

You can watch “Alien: Romulus” in theaters on August 16.

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Alix Blackburn
Staff Writer, Streaming

Alix is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, which basically means watching the best movies and TV shows and then writing about them. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Screen Rant and Bough Digital, both of which sparked her interest in the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing about the latest movies and TV shows, she’s either playing horror video games on her PC or working on her first novel.