Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated Alien: Covenant has some clear connections to Prometheus, the director’s last installment in the Alien franchise; set ten years after the previous film, the eponymous colony ship Covenant encounters a strange planet that appears to be inhabited only by the android David (Michael Fassbender). But besides the titular Xenomorphs, any tangible connections between Alien: Covenant and the franchise-launching originals are unclear.
One rumored connection between Alien: Covenant and the original Alien surfaced last summer that, if true, would have major implications on one of Covenant’s lead characters. The conspicuously titled character “Daniels,” played by Katherine Waterston, was rumored to be the mother of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, easily the most iconic and recognizable non-alien character in the franchise. But in a recent Covenant screening, Scott himself was quick to disprove the theory.
Speaking to MovieWeb as part of a roundtable discussion on Alien: Covenant at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Scott shot down the hot rumor about Daniels possibly being Ripley’s mother. Though he hinted that the relation between the two characters was discussed at some point in pre-production, Scott confirmed that Daniels is indeed her own character and shares no connections whatsoever with Ripley - besides, perhaps, being another strong female character:
"No. That was probably way back when. 'Should she be the daughter of Ripley?' I said 'no.' She's herself.”
Regardless of the rumors about being Ripley's mother, there are some definite comparisons to be made between the two characters. Waterston admitted in an interview with Empire that she could see the similarities between Daniels and Ripley in that they are both natural leaders, although did make clear that all of the characters from the original Alien, not just Ripley, helped inspire herself and the rest of the Covenant cast to foster a similar kind of group chemistry.
For the sake of Alien: Covenant’s own success, it is important for Scott not to overdo whatever connections it may have to the original Alien films. Making Daniels the mother of Ripley would have had the potential to take away from Waterston’s character, or conversely set expectations too high for her performance. Covenant may need to have connective tissue to the original Alien, but the film will be better off making Daniels her own distinctive character rather than try to live up to Weaver’s legacy as Ripley.
Despite Scott’s assertion that Daniels and Ripley are not related to each other, the visual similarities still remain. Although you can’t exactly say Weaver's Ripley “invented” the look that she sports in the original Alien films, it’s hard not to acknowledge the obvious visual connections between the two characters. Ultimately, regardless of Daniels’ family lineage, Waterston will need to deliver a strong performance in her own right to make Alien: Covenant a memorable addition to the franchise.
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