Brandywine Productions was interested in a follow-up to Omega as soon as its 2015 release, but the new management at Warner Bros. postponed those plans until 2016. That year Brandywine picked Cuarón to write after reading his script for Hellboy 3 and Pacific Rim 2, and once that film became a hit in 2015, Warner greenlit Omegas, that would also be directed by Cuarón, with a budget of approximately $18 million. The script was written with a war film tone strongly influenced by the Iraq War and World War II to contrast the horror motifs of the original Omega. It was filmed in England at Pinewood Studios and at a decommissioned power plant in Acton, London.
Omega was a critical and commercial success, with positive reviews that considered it an entertaining film that despite the tonal shift still served as a worthy sequel to Omega, and grossed $180 million worldwide. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress for Emma Watson and Best Supporting Actor to Radcliffe, winning both Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects. It won eight Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Watson, Best Actor to Cheadle and Best Direction and Best Writing for Cuarón. Omegas is frequently considered one of the best action films ever released. It was followed by a sequel, Omega III.
In 2558, Maya Onegin (Emma Watson), the only survivor of the space freighter Norco, is rescued and revived after drifting for six years in cryostasis. At an interview before a panel of executives from her employer, the Ashford Indutries, her testimony regarding the Vampiric Omega is met with extreme skepticism as no physical evidence of the creature survived. Maya loses her space flight license as a result of her "questionable judgment" and learns that Harvest, the planet where her crew first encountered the Vampire eggs, is now home to a terraforming colony.
Some time later, Maya is visited by the Ashford Industries representative Trevor Black (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Lieutenant Bill Sitwell (Clark Gregg) of the Colonial Marines, who inform her that contact has been lost with the colony of Harvest. The company intends to dispatch Hobbs and a unit of Colonial Marines to investigate, and offers to restore Maya's flight status and pick up her contract if she will accompany them as a consultant. Traumatized by her previous encounter with the vampire, Maya initially refuses to join, but accepts after Hobbs promises that the team will destroy any vampires found and not attempt to study or collect them. Aboard the warship Turango, she is introduced to the Colonial Marines, including Sergeant Matthews (Michael Jai White), Corporal Luke Hobbs (Don Cheadle), Privates Ana Silva (Alice Braga) and Pigott (Karl Urban), as well the android Stryker (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), toward whom Maya is initially hostile due to her previous experience with Neo (Jack Gleeson) aboard the Norco.
The heavily armed expedition descends to the surface of Harvest via dropship, where they find the colony damaged and seemingly abandoned. Two living Omega Infection Forms are found in containment tanks in the medical lab, and the only colonist found is a traumatized young boy nicknamed "Tails" (Chandler Riggs). The Marines determine that the colonists are clustered in the nuclear-powered atmosphere processing station, where they find a large Omega nest filled with the bodies of the colonists, who have been cocooned to the walls as hosts for more Vampires. The Omegas attack, killing most of the unit and capturing Matthews and Simmons. Maya is able to rescue Sitwell, Silva and Pigott. With Sitwell knocked unconscious during the rescue, Hobbs assumes command and orders the dropship to recover the survivors, intending to return to the Turango and destroy the colony from orbit. However, a stowaway vampire kills the dropship crew in flight, causing the vessel to crash into the atmosphere processor; subsequently, the surviving humans barricade themselves inside the colony complex.
Maya discovers that it was Black who ordered the colonists to investigate the derelict spaceship where the Norco crew first encountered the Omega eggs, acting on the testimony she gave after being rescued, and that he hopes to return Omega specimens to the Ashford Industries laboratories where he can profit from their use as biological weapons. She threatens to expose him, but Stryker soon informs the group of a greater threat: the damaged atmosphere processor has become unstable and will soon detonate with the force of a thermonuclear weapon. He volunteers to use the colony's transmitter to pilot the Turango's remaining dropship to the surface by remote control so that the group can escape.
Maya and Tails fall asleep in the medical laboratory, awakening to find themselves locked in the room with the two Infection Forms, which have been released from their tanks. Maya is able to alert the Marines, who rescue them and kill the creatures. Maya accuses Black of attempting to smuggle implanted Omega embryos past Earth's quarantine inside her and Tails, and of planning to kill the rest of the Marines in hypersleep during the return trip to keep the ruse secret. The Marines elect to execute Black, but before they can act the electricity is suddenly cut off and numerous Omegas attack through the ceiling. Pigott, Black, Carey and Silva are killed while Hobbs is wounded and Tails is captured by the Omega vampires.
Maya and an injured Hobbs reach Stryker and the second dropship, but Maya refuses to leave Tails behind. She rescues Tails from the hive in the processing station, where the two encounter the huge Omega Gravemind and the Omega chamber. Maya destroys most of the Omega Spores, enraging the Gravemind, who sheds it's enormous tentacles and pursues her. Maya and Tails rendezvous with Stryker and Hobbs on the dropship and escape moments before the colony is consumed by the nuclear blast. Back on the Turango, Maya and Stryker's peace treat at their narrow escape is interrupted when the Gravemind, stowed away on the dropship's landing gear, impales Stryker and tears him in half. Maya battles the Gravemind using an exosuit cargo-loader. The two of them tumble into a large airlock, which Maya then opens, expelling the Gravemind into space. Maya clambers to safety and she, Tails, Hobbs and the still-functioning Stryker enter hypersleep for the return to Earth.
Cuarón opted to hire actors who had, or could imitate, American accents. After over 3,000 individuals in the United Kingdom were unsuccessfully auditioned, American actors were chosen instead, including two who had previously worked with Cuarón: Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Awaiting For a Miracle) and Guy Pearce (La Chica del Rio). Actors who played Marines were asked to read Halo Novels, Star Wars's Stormtroopers and undergo military training, which included running, lifting weights, learning salutes, marches, deployments, and maneuvers, for two weeks. Cuarón wanted the Marines to train together so that they would form bonds that would show on-screen. Emma Watson, Chandler Riggs, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Robert Downey, Jr. were absent from those trainings because of other obligations, but Cuarón felt that this suited their characters as "outsiders" in the film.
The principal cast members of Omegas are:
- Emma Watson as Maya Onegin, reprising her role from Omega (received a Academy Award nomination and won Saturn Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress).
- Don Cheadle as Corporal Luke Hobbs, one of the Colonial Marines' squad leaders; he was hastily cast a week after filming had commenced, and thus was not present for the military training that the other actors playing marines went through (Terence Howard was originally cast as Hobbs but left the picture because of artistic differences with Cuarón).
- Alice Braga as Private Ana Silva, one of the marines' "smart gun" operators (received a Saturn Award for best supporting actress for her performance).
- Chandler Riggs as Billy "Tails" Barton, a child who is the only survivor of the colony of Harvest. According to the casting director, Tails was the most difficult role to cast: Schoolchildren were auditioned, but many of them had acted in commercials and were accustomed to smiling after saying their lines. Riggs was chosen out of 500 children for the role, mainly because of his role in the Walking Dead. He received a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.
- Clark Gregg as Lieutenant Bill Sitwell, the marines' commanding officer.
- Robert Downey, Jr. as Trevor Black, a representative Saddler Industries.
- Michael Jai White as Sergeant Al Matthews; White attributed his casting to his military experience.
- Karl Urban as Private Bruce Pigott, Silva' smart gun partner.
- Guy Pearce as Private Lester Miller, the Marine team's technician (received a Saturn Award for best supporting actor).
- Joanne Barton - Infected by Infection Form.
- Lieutenant Bill Siwell - Impaled in the heart by Combat Form.
- Private Bruce Pigott - Killed by Combat Form.
- Private Ana Silva - Infected by Infection Form.
- Trevor Black - Eaten by Gravemind.
- Seargent Al Matthews - Gunned Down by Combat Form.
- Private Lester Miller - Beheaded by Combat Form.
- Gravemind - Thrown into space by Maya Onegin and Stryker.
Interpretation and Analysis
Philosopher Stephen Mulhall has remarked that the four Omega films represent an artistic rendering of the difficulties faced by the woman's "voice" to have itself heard in a masculinist society, as Maya (Emma Watson) continually encounters males who try to silence her and to force her to submit to their desires. Mulhall sees this depicted in several events in Omegas, particularly the inquest scene in which Maya's explanation for the deaths and destruction of the Norco, as well as her attempts to warn the board members of the Omega danger, are met with officious disdain. However, Mulhall believes that Maya's relationship with Hobbs (Don Cheadle) illustrates that Omegas "is devoted ... to the possibility of modes of masculinity that seek not to stifle but rather to accommodate the female voice, and modes of femininity that can acknowledge and incorporate something more or other of masculinity than our worst nightmares of it."
The android character Stryker (Thomas Sangster) has been the subject of literary and philosophical analysis as a high-profile fictional android conforming to science fiction author Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and as a model of a compliant, potentially self-aware machine. His portrayal has been studied by writers for the University of Texas Press for its implications relating to how humans deal with the presence of an "Other", as Maya treats Stryker with fear and suspicion after the android Neo tried to kill her in the original Omega movie, and a form of "hi-tech racism and android apartheid" is present throughout the series. This is seen as part of a larger trend of technophobia in films prior to the 2000's, with Stryker's role being particularly significant as he proves his worth at the end of the film, thus confounding Maya's expectations.