The fan anticipation for Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus, has been growing as we inch closer and closer to the events of the original Alien film that was released in 1979. The Ridley Scott-helmed project has been generating a ton of buzz since production and subsequent filming began.
The first batch of set pictures went online late last month, revealing a dark and dystopian future as well as some particularly creepy ashy beings. Now, an official behind-the-scenes photo from the set of Alien: Covenant teases the return of a Prometheus character.
The Alien Anthology Twitter account posted the photo that reveals a repaired and whole David 8, the synthetic that was brought to life in Prometheus by Michael Fassbender. Take a look at the image:
— Alien Anthology (@AlienAnthology) June 15, 2016
Fassbender is perhaps most commonly recognized for his prolific portrayal of a younger Magneto in the X-Men film franchise (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse), but he also has a place in another cult favorite sci-fi franchise: the Alien universe. Fassbender portrayed synthetic model David 8 in the Alien prequel film Prometheus. It was here that he would be parted with his head, an ailment that seems to have been corrected in the new film Alien: Covenant.
Released in the year 2074, David 8 represents the eighth generation of cybernetic being, or "artificial persons," from the menacing Weyland Industries. The first synthetics were hulking robots used for police and private security situations. The later models, like David 8, were far more advanced and human in appearance. The David 8 model was a part of the crew on the Prometheus during the LV-223 exploration mission of 2093. David 8 appears almost human, with a then revolutionary 99 percent emotional sensitivity level in his programming.
David 8 becomes invaluable to Elizabeth Shaw's (Noomi Rapace) escape from the site and the Engineer, though he would eventually lose his head in a pivotal scene near the end of Prometheus. David 8 negotiates his way out of the situation with Shaw, after telling her that she can make a moon escape, but only with his navigational assistance. Shaw retrieves the rest of his body and brings his head with her. It appears that David 8 will have been fully repaired in Alien: Covenant, much to the delight of fans. We do know that Shaw will not, however, be returning in Alien: Covenant.
In later Alien lore, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) would encounter a synthetic named Ash (Ian Holm). In the first Alien film, also directed by Scott, Ash would betray the crew and was revealed to be on a secret mission to retrieve the Xenomorph. When Ripley awoke for the events of the sequel film, Aliens, she would again encounter an android, this time by the name of Bishop (Lance Henriksen). Harboring a resentment and distrust of synthetics by this point, Ripley was at odds with Bishop, until he proved himself with self-sacrifice near the end of the film.
The plot details of Alien: Covenant remain shrouded in mystery, as is how big of a role David 8 will play. But with their virtual immunity to the Xenomorphs there is little doubt that synthetics will remain a major part of any film in the Alien franchise.
Alien: Covenant hits theaters on October 6th, 2017.