Fresh off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Katherine Waterston has joined another franchise that has cemented a place in cinema history. The first Alien movie launched one of the biggest thriller/sci-fi franchises ever, and while it eventually fizzled out, Ridley Scott has made it his effort to revitalize it. This quest began with Prometheus and will next see Waterston take the lead in Alien: Covenant. From early on, her character (known as simply Daniels for now) drew comparisons to Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, with some speculation going as far to theorize that Waterston’s Daniels is Ripley’s mother.
Even if this is not going to be the case, however, the Covenant promotional department has done very little to separate the two characters (Daniels and Ripley) from one another. This is the case once again with the latest image of Waterston in Covenant begging comparison to Ripley, even as Waterston explains that two are very different space explorers.
Empire exclusively unveiled the new photo of Waterston with a gun in hand standing next to Scott in between takes on the Covenant set (see below). While her look is reminiscent of Ridley, Waterston says that they will not be the same character. Their ranks are different, but deep down there may be some similarities after all, according to the actress:
Unlike Sigourney in Alien, [Daniels] is in a survival mode of sorts from the beginning. She’s not the captain, but she’s a natural leader so in times of crisis she falls into that position quite easily.
Even as everyone points to the uncanny similarities that the two characters share, Waterston has not been overwhelmed by those making the comparisons. Instead, she says she tries to not think about it – which is tough, as she is constantly reminded of it:
These are things you actively don’t think about until you get interview to remind you that you should be pissing yourself.
Waterston may have a tough time carving out her own space in this franchise, seeing as Ripely is such a big part of Alien‘s DNA. While there are sure to be callbacks to earlier films or scenes done to mirror previous ones in Covenant, Waterston should still be able to standout as Daniels so long as she delivers a good performance, on her own terms. Noomi Rapace was able to avoid the Ripley comparisons with her character Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus and proved to be another quality female lead for the Alien franchise, providing something of a template for Waterston to follow.
Given the way that Fox has marketed Covenant and Waterston’s character so far, it would not come as a huge surprise were Daniels to indeed be Ripley’s mother. Such a plot development would risk making the Alien universe feel too connected, but then again movies have a long history of connecting various characters through family ties. If Daniels is, in fact, Ripley’s mom, then hopefully Covenant will find way to prevent the idea from coming off as forced or overly contrived. Either way, here’s to hoping that Waterston shines in her role in the film.