In 1979, Ridley Scott's Alien combined elements of sci-fi and horror as the crew members of the Nostromo were stalked by a violent creature called a Xenomorph - that is, until Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) defeated the alien. The film has since become a classic and launched an entire franchise of movies including three sequels that hit theaters throughout the '80s and '90s. In 2012, Scott returned to the franchise for the start of a prequel series in Prometheus, and continuing in its upcoming followup, Alien: Covenant.
Starring Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Alien: Covenant follows the crew of a colony ship that discovers a distant planet seeming to be a paradise - however, it isn't quite what they expected. Twentieth Century Fox screened footage from Alien: Covenant for press earlier this month, in addition to the first trailer for the film, teasing the upcoming entry in Scott's Alien prequel series.
Following the footage screening, we had a chance to sit down with Waterston and discuss Alien: Covenant. Specifically, we asked about how it fits into the overall franchise as a sequel to Prometheus, but another prequel to Alien. Waterston said:
"...I think it has elements of both films. Like, it’s got some aspects that are similar to Prometheus and then [it] does feel, in many ways, like a return to the original. But again, it’s its own thing, too, and sometimes I think describing things in those terms limits it in a way and gives the audience information it’s better for them not to have.
When I first saw the original Alien, I didn’t even know what I was about to see, I had never seen a trailer or anything. My friend’s older brother put it on to traumatize us — which it did – and I think that will be the most fun way to watch this movie too — with fresh eyes. So I don’t like to give too much away about that. But obviously you look at IMDB, you know Michael Fassbender’s in it, so there is going to be a connection from Prometheus."
As Waterston mentions, Michael Fassbender will appear in Alien: Covenant as a new synthetic named Walter in addition to reprising his role as the Prometheus android David. Plus, Prometheus co-stars Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce have been rumored to appear in Covenant as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and Peter Weyland, respectively. Additional rumors have pointed to the possibility that Waterston's character, Daniels, may have a direct connection to Alien through a particular relationship with Ripley.
Aside from these castings - both confirmed and not - and rumors, few details have emerged about how Alien: Covenant specifically connects to Prometheus and the original Alien film. As for Waterston's hesitance to confirm such details, it's likely both Fox and Scott hope to keep spoilers under wraps either to allow fans to go into Alien: Covenant with fresh eyes, or because there may be another film or two before the prequel series directly connects to Alien. Scott previously revealed he has plans for a third and potentially fourth film in the Alien prequel series, with the final prequel tying directly into the 1979 movie.
That said, though the rebooted series kicked off with Prometheus may only continue for another two movies after Alien: Covenant, Fox has another sequel in development -- director Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5, which takes place after the events of 1997's Alien: Resurrection and is said to complete the story of Weaver's Ripley. Still, no matter when more concrete details are revealed concerning Covenant's connection to the original Alien, as well as the future of both the prequels and the franchise overall, fans will be able to return to the world created by Scott when Alien: Covenant hits theaters next year.