An early draft of Alien: Covenant acted as a bridge between Prometheus and Covenant and provided resolution for the character of Elizabeth Shaw. Alien fans couldn't have been more excited when Ridley Scott announced he was returning to the series to helm a prequel. Scott had long been fascinated by the Space Jockey creature the Nostromo crew find dead in the original movie and was surprised none of the other sequels explored the creature's backstory. Scott thus signed on for a script dubbed Alien: Engineers by screenwriter Jon Spaihts, which revolved around a team of scientists flying to a planet to explore the origins of mankind.
The script was a direct prequel to Alien, explaining how the derelict crashed on LV-426, in addition to featuring eggs, facehuggers and new takes on the xenomorph. It was by all accounts a solid story, featuring great setpieces and additions to the lore of the series, but Scott had a big issue with it; he was bored by the Alien. The parts of the script that interested him was the idea of mankind literally meeting their makers, a Christian scientist reconciling her faith when confronted with the truth of humanity's origin and the relationship of A.I. David to his creator Weyland. Scott felt the xenomorph has been overexposed and "cooked" by too many sequels, so Engineers morphed into more of a spin-off when Damon Lindelof came onboard to rewrite.
Prometheus was arguably one of the most anticipated movies of the last decade, but the final product proved divisive. The movie received good reviews for being an ambitious blockbuster asking interesting questions, some of the setpieces – like Shaw's gruesome alien cesarean – proved Scott still had a knack for horror, and Michael Fassbender was praised for his turn as android David. That said, the prequel drew flak for featuring unlikeable characters who often made baffling decisions and being an awkward mesh between high minded sci-fi and trashy B-movie.
The movie was still a financial hit and ended on a tantalizing cliffhanger where lone human survivor Shaw (Noomi Rapace) jets off with the severed head of David to find the Engineer homeworld, and learn why they hate mankind. Prometheus 2 was supposed to follow Shaw's continuing adventures – but those who've seen Alien: Covenant will know that plans changed dramatically in the five-year gap between movies. Scott's interest shifted to the journey of sociopathic A.I. David, and Shaw was sidelined as a result. However, an early draft of Covenant by writer John Logan provided more of a bridge between the two movies and filled in a lot of blanks for those upset with Shaw's eventual fate.
This Page: The Original Plans For Prometheus 2
The Original Plans For Prometheus 2
In the years between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, Scott would provide the occasional hint of where the story was heading, but some of his comments could be contradictory. He claimed for a long time the Alien definitely wouldn't appear - only to confirm it would before production began. Shortly after Prometheus, the director teased the sequel would have found Shaw and David reaching the Engineer homeworld, which Scott called "Paradise" - only to find the planet is anything but.
Shaw was still very much the lead during this period, with Scott even labeling it essential that she and David remain alive. Sadly, no synopsis or early draft of this iteration have surfaced, so it's hard to know how the story would have played out. Concept art from 2014 by Khang Le – back when the project was still called Prometheus 2 –hints at a much different take to Covenant. The Engineer city looked totally different and was much more Giger-like in design. It appears David would have still unleashed the Xenovirus on the city, but the difference is some Engineers would have survived. David would have carried out his experiments on these living subjects, and it appears some of the Engineers would have mutated into the Neomorphs seen in Covenant. Additional artwork shows even the local animals and plant life had mutated according to David's design.
It appears at this point in the project's development Scott's focus had shifted to David as the lead since Shaw doesn't appear anywhere in the artwork. Scott has since confirmed he wants the series to move away from the xenomorph and focus on A.I.s instead, and it appears the seeds of this early concept – David creating his own Eden free of humanity – are intended to form the basis of a potential third movie.