When it was announced that the next film in the Alien franchise to be released was going to be a sequel to 2012's Prometheus, rather than Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5, fans weren't entirely sure what to expect from it. The answer so far has been that Alien: Covenant will be more like the 1979 original than the divisive 2012 film, with a horrifying tone and gorier elements that clearly to harken back to the isolated roots that made Alien so terrifying and memorable in the first place. However, it's still not entirely clear what connections to Prometheus fans can expect to see in Covenant - and at the center of that debate, is Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw, the protagonist and last living human survivor of Prometheus.
It's already been confirmed that Michael Fassbender's David will be returning in Covenant (though it's not clear what his role in the film will be), while it took quite a bit longer for Rapace's Shaw to be confirmed. But even after the news of her inclusion in the film, Shaw has been entirely absent from all marketing and footage released from Covenant, much to the confusion and dismay of fans who expected her to play a much larger role in the Prometheus sequel than she clearly is.
Director Ridley Scott hasn't been exactly forthcoming with information regarding Rapace's role in Covenant either. While recently speaking with Fandango about the film, though, Scott did confirm once and for all that Rapace will be appearing in the final version of Alien: Covenant, but not in a way that some fans might expect:
"Yes, in a way. Not fully, but in a way. She was integral to what David carried out later."
So while fans can expect to learn what happened to Shaw after Prometheus, it doesn't look like she'll be returning "fully" in the sequel, which could mean she's only shown through flashbacks. It's hard to know for sure what Scott means by that, but based on his comments here, it appears as though David may have used her or did something to Shaw in between the events of Prometheus and Covenant, that will likely play a major role in the story of Covenant. Especially if David is up to something similar to how he was in Prometheus, which he almost certainly will be.
This is definitely a bit of a bait and switch on Scott's part since the ending of Prometheus made it look like the next film in the franchise would continue to follow Shaw and David, as they further explored the Engineer's home world. But considering how most fans reacted to the tone and story of Prometheus compared to how positively they're already reacting to the trailers and footage from Alien: Covenant, that unexpected storytelling swerve may have been for the best in the end.
- Alien: Covenant (2017) release date: May 19, 2017