When Prometheus released back in 2012, fan reception was clearly divided. Half the fan base lauded the film as a return to form for Ridley Scott, who hadn’t helmed a film in the franchise since the original Alien back in 1979. On the other side of the aisle, the film was criticized for a weak plot, paper thin characters, and too many unresolved storylines. If there was one element of Prometheus that seemed to work for both sets of fans (as well as critics), however, it was the performance of Michael Fassbender as the android David.
While David’s fate was left uncertain at the end of Prometheus, fans now know that the character will return in the upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant. Fassbender will actually be pulling double duty, as he’ll also portray a new android, Walter, an "improved" David model who is incapable of feeling emotion. With a ten year gap between Alien: Covenant and Prometheus as well, it’s natural to expect that a character like David would undergo some changes during that time alone with Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace).
While visiting the set of Alien: Covenant, Screen Rant had a chance to talk to Fassbender himself about the changes that David has undergone between the two films. As far as characteristics go, Fassbender described David as “more human” than before - including all of the more negative emotions that come with that. Discussing how the character has become more human and evolved over the past (in-story) decade, Fassbender explained:
“[David is] engaged in all sorts of human characteristics — insecurity, ego. Rage might come out of an insecurity. I don’t know if just rage on its own is an emotion. So playing those kinds of things is kind of tricky. But things like pride can be played, envy — we saw a bit of that with Logan Marshall-Green’s character in the last one. I suppose he likes to feel important. Pride, it comes back to that I suppose. So it’s just all a mix of those things, and they definitely are more prominent in him through the years, as time has passed.”
As far as physical changes in Alien: Covenant go, David will have his body back after having his head removed from it in Prometheus. Still, Fassbender did reveal that he did record more disembodied head scenes for the film, though in what context they take place is unclear. The most likely scenario is that it’s for flashback scenes, though it’s hard not to imagine David finding another way to quite literally lose his head.
David’s development into a more human-like character certainly makes sense, especially if he’s been spending the last decade with Shaw, and it’ll be interesting to see how Fassbender not only portrays the character changes on screen but how he differentiates between David and Walter. Given how well received he was in Prometheus, though, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t knock it out the park when Alien: Covenant releases.