Now that the movie formerly known as Prometheus 2 is officially part of the Alien franchise, under the title Alien: Covenant, it has a different set of expectations to live up to. While Prometheus was a prequel to the Alien series in a looser sense, Alien: Covenant will have to satisfy Alien fans in a way that Prometheus did not.
For one thing, it must have xenomorphs, and luckily that box has already been checked by director Ridley Scott, who assures fans the characters in the upcoming installment will “come across the evolving creature” made by the engineers. But there is also something else the Alien series is known for, and that is a strong female lead. Whereas before that role was filled by Sigourney Weaver — and even earned her an Academy Award nomination — this time around it will be up to someone else to fill her shoes (or power loader, as the case may be).
According to Deadline, the female lead in Alien: Covenant will be played by Inherent Vice‘s Katherine Waterston. Waterston also recently co-starred in Steve Jobs and is set to appear in the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
While some fans and critics were not particularly enamored with Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s first return to the xenomorph-infested universe he helped create, much of that blame was placed on a weak script from Jon Spaihts and Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof. For better or worse, neither Spaihts nor Lindelof are involved in the script for Alien: Covenant, as it has instead been handled by Michael Green, Jack Paglen, and perhaps most notably, Penny Dreadful creator and Skyfall co-writer, John Logan.
With Waterston’s previous roles having been a little more low-key (Steve Jobs was so sparsely attended that it was pulled from theaters), landing a lead role in Alien: Covenant should make her more of a household name to science fiction fans, especially coming off her role in Fantastic Beasts. Whether or not she lives up to the challenge will be a big factor in how successful Alien: Covenant ends up being. Weaver set the standard for no-nonsense, strong female leads in science fiction, and that’s a high standard to live up to.
Alien: Covenant hits theaters on October 6th, 2017.