Ridley Scott was just getting started with Prometheus, a sort-of prequel to his masterpiece Alien. We have been coveting each and every reveal of additional information, from trailers to plot-leaks, regarding Scott’s latest return to the franchise Alien: Covenant, including this most recent “prologue.”
In the upcoming May release, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover “an uncharted paradise,” where they meet the synthetic survivor of the previous film, David (Michael Fassbender). The paradise quickly becomes purgatory and back to inferno, as the crew soon encounters the eponymous, double-jawed life-form. We’ve now gotten a closer look at said paradise planet, too.
Empire Magazine describes Covenant as a “prequel-sequel,” which seems in line with what we know so far – in that, it’s a prequel to Alien and a sequel to Prometheus, with familiar elements from both. In addition, Empire has debuted an exclusive new image from Covenant, showing the Covenant’s crew (including Katherine Waterson [Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them] and Billy Crudup [Jackie]) disembarking their ship in cautious anticipation. The ship appears to have just completed a water landing, framed by lush vegetation, towering mountains, and massive waterfalls in the distance. It’s an image in complete contrast from the stormy LV-426 the Nostromo discovered and the USS Sulaco returned to.
The new issue of Empire also confirms that this paradise planet isn’t the crew of the Covenant’s original destination. This is a detour, “to answer a distress call.” The familiar set-up no doubt follows on to the familiar horror elements that have served the Alien franchise well, but returning star Michael Fassbender praises the new film’s character development:
“What’s great about this story is the characters are so different. They’re not just filling out a spaceship, their characters have been thought about. It harks back to those really cool characters in the original Alien, where there are great relationships going on outside of the [alien].”
Despite mixed reaction to Prometheus, this prequel-sequel does look to satisfy both long-term Alien devotees and mildly curious audiences. The previous film left enough questions to be answered in, frankly, more than just one film, and that’s probably the idea. Alien: Covenant looks more overtly tied to the four Alien films, bringing in the elements to further increase the over one billion dollar worldwide gross for the franchise. This new film was inevitable, given the continued success of the Alien movie series – and that Prometheus brought in a large chunk of that cash for studio 20th Century Fox.
It also helps that Fox’s marketing team has been methodically revealing the details of the new film. A cast photo revealed earlier this week confirmed additional cast member James Franco joining Danny McBride (Vice Principals), Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight), Carmen Ejogo (Selma), Amy Seimetz (The Killing), Jussie Smollett (Empire), Callie Hernandez (La La Land), Nathaniel Dean (Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars), Alexander England (Gods of Egypt), and Benjamin Rigby (Plague).
The promise of Fassbender’s claim of a more developed character pool, the lack-there-of being one of the weaknesses of the previous film, is enticing. The screenplay for Alien: Covenant is credited to three-time Oscar nominee John Logan, who brought brains to the brawn of Gladiator for Ridley Scott previously. This should be a welcome reunion of the director’s visual panache and Logan’s written word.