By Kevin Byrne
July 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

Acclaimed director Ridley Scott is returning to his roots in science fiction. Variety is reporting that Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner) has signed up to lens the long-awaited prequel to his classic 1979 fright flick Alien, a coup that is being touted by 20th Century Fox as part of its big budget reboot of the groundbreaking horror franchise. The plot of the new film will precede the events of the original film, in which the space crew of a commerical towing ship is overcome by a parasitic species of murderous alien creatures.