Filming is currently getting underway in Australia on Alien: Covenant, director Ridley Scott’s sequel to his own Alien quasi-prequel Prometheus. Michael Fassbender will reprise his Prometheus role as the android David in the followup, though the movie’s central cast is otherwise composed of Alien franchise newcomers; including, Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs), Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight), Jussie Smollett (Empire), Danny McBride (This Is the End), Carmen Ejogo (Selma), Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience), and Callie Hernandez (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) as the members of the spaceship Covenant’s crew.

Covenant picks up about ten years after the events of Prometheus, as the eponymous ship makes its way to “a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy” (as the film’s official synopsis puts it), only to find a world that appears uninhabited – save, that is, for David. While the Weyland Corporation was the organization that backed the Prometheus vessel and crew’s expedition to the moon LV-223 in Scott’s previous film, the first image from Covenant confirms that the famous Weyland-Yutani corporation is the company that funds the Covenant’s mission.

The first Covenant image was released through 20th Century Fox’s official Alien Anthology Twitter account, in honor of “Alien Day” on April 26th. It shows one of the uniforms worn by the Covenant crew, decorated with the emblem for the Weyland-Yutani corporation and its motto, “Building Better Worlds.” Both Weyland Corporation CEO Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and his daughter “Meredith Vickers” (Charlize Theron) were killed during the Prometheus’ mission, so it stands to reason that their deaths helped lead to Weyland Corporation merging with Japanese company Yutani Corporation in the aftermath.

You can check out that Alien: Covenant image, below:

Weyland-Yutani was the organization that the crew of the Nostromo – including Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – worked for in Scott’s original 1979 Alien film, which takes place in the year 2122. Seeing as the Prometheus crew arrived on LV-223 in the year 2093, that means that Alien: Covenant should take place around 2103 e.g. some 19-20 years before the events of Alien.

Ripley is only around 10-11 years old at the time of the events that will take place in Covenant, but Scott has revealed that this new film will have “connections” to Ripley’s backstory nonetheless. Perhaps one (or both) of Ripley’s parents works for Weyland-Yutani and/or will be mentioned during Scott’s Prometheus sequel? The downside of such a move would be that it places Covenant in danger of suffering from the common prequel ailment of tying its events too closely to those of the first installment in its respective franchise – something that could happen in this case if, for example, it turns out one or both of Ripley’s parents were a member of the Covenant’s crew. The Alien film universe doesn’t need to feel that “small”, after all.

Funnily enough, that would be the opposite of a problem that a number of hardcore Alien fans had with Prometheus; namely, that its connections to Scott’s 1979 Alien film were simply too tangential. Prometheus was a divisive movie for this reason (and more), which is why the news that Fox and Scott are now planning an entire Prometheus trilogy has been met with a mixed response from Alien fans. Depending on how Covenant is received when it arrives, that outlook could change – whether for the better or for the worse – but that is where the Alien franchise stands for the time being.

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Alien: Covenant opens in U.S. theaters on August 4th, 2017.

Source: 20th Century Fox