Though it first launched in 1979, Ridley Scott's Alien franchise is far from over. The visionary director reintroduced fans to the franchise with 2012's Prometheus, a prequel that began to set up the treacherous world that the Nostromo crew faces in Alien. One of the most notable performances from Prometheus was that by Michael Fassbender, who played an android named David who begins to resent his human creators.
David (and Fassbender) will make a reappearance in the highly-anticipated Alien: Covenant, but this time, he won't be the only android on board. In the upcoming prequel-sequel, David is joined by Walter, also played by Fassbender. According to Fassbender, Walter is a dumbed down version of David, whose overly human characteristics began to unsettle potential buyers. Where David will be operating on ten years of developing human traits, Walter is merely there to serve the ship. This difference is perhaps most apparent in the separate viral video marketing campaigns for David and Walter.
A promotional video for Prometheus unveiled David, and Alien: Covenant released its Walter video counterpart just last week. In his debut ad, Walter plays a much more passive role than David. Whereas David explains his own skills and advantages in the Prometheus video, Walter hardly speaks. Walter's video also primarily focuses on his creation at the hands of two creepily-clad women. The devil's in the details here, and it took considerable creative power for the team behind this meta ad. Perhaps most integral is Maciej Kuciara's concept art behind Walter's creation, which we've been lucky enough to uncover via Scified. Check out the delightfully creepy concept art, below.
[vn_gallery name="Alien: Covenant – Walter Concept Art" id="924272"]
Even judging by this concept art, it's clear that Walter is supposed to come off as less human than David. The promotional video hinted at that behavioral difference when Walter introduced himself by saying "We are Walter," indicating that individuality has been completely removed from this line of 'droids. Rather than merely introducing us to the character, this meta ad is supposed to immerse us in the futuristic Covenant world, when personal assistant androids are a social norm. According to creative director Chris Eyerman:
"The Meet Walter film and marketing push is a platform to create conversations about whether the technology could exist and how mankind will deal with the potential of an android being a personal assistant."
Though they may seem small, details like this concept art reveal just how elaborate the Alien universe is, from marketing to final product. The Meet Walter website takes an impressive look at what futuristic ad campaigns may hold, while melding modern marketing aesthetics and urging fans to "reserve" a copy of Walter, by connecting the page to their Facebook accounts. It's fascinating to get a closer look at this integral piece of marketing material for the film, as there is bound to be a tense Walter-David dynamic aboard the Covenant.
It seems Covenant will beg the question, would you rather have a human-like android who could turn on you, like David, or an empty pseudo-human, like Walter? We can't wait to see how the film explores these questions in just a few months. Plus, it's never a bad thing to have twice the Fassbender.
- Alien: Covenant (2017) release date: May 19, 2017