Michael Fassbender is playing two different android characters in Alien: Covenant, and he wanted to make sure the differences were striking. Fassbender stole scenes as the android David in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, beginning as a maintenance worker for the real humans aboard the ship but developing his own dangerously human-like characteristics, such as jealousy and insecurity toward the crew.
Fassbender is back in Alien: Covenant, which also brought back Scott to direct his first proper Alien film since the 1979 original. However, in a fascinating new twist, the actor plays two android characters. The Academy Award-nominated actor reprises his role as David, but he is also playing an android named Walter who is expected to be quite different. That is, less human; the actor previously described Walter as more of a “straightforward” android in Screen Rant’s visit to the Covenant set.
Speaking in a new interview with EW, Fassbender explained that Walter, although technically an updated version of David, is supposed to have the former’s human-like characteristics stripped away. Walter is less emotionally complex than the ego-wracked David and is more bound by logic – characteristics that Fassbender compared to a certain iconic Star Trek character:
“I wanted Walter to be more Spock-like — devoid of human characteristics or emotional contents that are programmed into David. I want him more like a blank canvas one can project things upon.”
Walter recently appeared on an international poster for Alien: Covenant, side-by-side with a Xenomorph with a tagline that translates to “What will be the end of mankind?”, hinting at a nefarious future. The character has been a big focus of the film’s viral marketing, with a standout piece showing his creation. This is in contrast to the movie, it seems, which is expected to open with a prologue showing David’s awakening.
Walter is being built up as a more robotic servant of the Covenant ship, while David’s role in the film is largely unknown. He is likely to show up on the mysterious planet where the Covenant crew encounters the Xenomorphs (and Neomorphs), but where he goes from there is anyone’s guess. Fassbender’s description of Walter as a “blank canvas” that others can “project” upon is nonetheless intriguing; it’s likely that the two androids encounter each other at some point and it’s possible that David attempts to corrupt or influence Walter in some fashion.
Fassbender isn’t the only actor from Prometheus returning for Covenant. On top of a recently revealed cameo, the film will also see the return of Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw, although whether she’ll be alive or not by the time of the film’s events is unclear.