The Alien franchise has proven remarkably adaptable, going from the haunted house in space chills of the original to the wacky action antics of Alien: Resurrection. It’s a beloved series with iconic characters, monsters, and dialogue, and has also been spun-off into various video games, action figures, novels, comics and even plushy toys.
Alien Covenant marks the eighth film in the series and the first time in nearly a decade the original Xenomorph design has been used in a movie. The series spans multiple centuries, timelines, and lead characters too, meaning there’s a whole lot of story and mythology to unpack.
Naturally, with a franchise this size, there are a number of unresolved subplots or cliffhangers that didn’t lead anywhere, enigmas which fans are still speculating on to this day. Some of these unanswered questions were by design, while others were left unfinished when the series went in a different direction.
This list will explore 15 Unresolved Alien Series Plotlines, diving deep into the biggest unanswered questions while trying to offer an explanation for some of them. It’s possible that a couple of these questions will be answered in future adventures, but unfortunately, most of them will forever remain a topic of fan debate.
15 What Happened To The Deacon?
Prometheus started life as a direct Alien prequel with the subtitle Engineers and featured classic tropes like the facehuggers, chestbursters, and – of course – the xenomorph itself. During pre-production, both Fox and director Ridley Scott decided against using the original alien design, feeling it had been overexposed and rendered lame across various sequels and spin-offs.
While this disappointed many, Scott did throw fans a bone in the final scene with a creature heavily inspired by the classic Xenomorph. This creature is the result of an Engineer being impregnated by an alien octopus thing and is dubbed The Deacon. This beastie originally played more of a role in the movie and was meant to pursue Elisabeth Shaw while she and David are escaping the planet, but its role was ultimately reduced in the final version.
Covenant doesn’t touch on what happened with The Deacon, and it’s presumably still trapped on LV-223 waiting for another ship to stop by. Maybe a future sequel will explore its fate, but for now, it's just hanging out in the wreckage of the Prometheus.
14 The Fate Of Ripley 8 From Alien: Resurrection
The odds of Sigourney Weaver returning to the franchise after part three looked remote following Ripley’s fiery demise in Alien 3. Never underestimate the power of a large check, however, as Resurrection featured a cloned Ripley in the starring role, over two centuries after the original's death.
Ripley 8 has some alien attributes, including acid blood, super strength, and heightened senses, and after a long struggle, she manages to escape with a few survivors. The movie ends with Ripley 8 entering Earth’s atmosphere, unsure of what to do next.
To date, this is the last time Weaver has appeared in the film series, and it looks unlikely that a future movie will pick up on Ripley 8’s story. This is a pity, because Weaver was clearly having fun with this more playful version of the character, and the struggle between her human and Alien sides could have been explored further in future entries. A book titled Original Sin found Ripley 8 becoming the new captain of The Betty crew, but this novel is considered non-canon.
13 What Happened To Jones The Cat?
Okay, this is a relatively minor unanswered question, but Jones the cat is still a fan favorite. In a way, Jonesy is one of the luckiest creatures in the series, having come face to face with the Xenomorph and lived. He went to sleep with Ripley for 57 years following the events of Alien, and when Ripley was called to help investigate LV-426 with the marines, she left him behind.
That’s the last time he was mentioned in the series, and he presumably lived out the rest of his days on Gateway Station. The Alien 3 novelization mentions that even if the LV-426 mission had gone well, Jones probably would have been dead by the time Ripley returned.
Unless there’s some kind of kid-friendly movie spin-off detailing Jones’ adventures with another alien outbreak, fans will just have to assume he lived out his remaining years hunting for mice (while suffering from PTSD memories of his time on The Nostromo, probably).
12 How Did An Egg Get On The Sulaco?
Alien 3 picks up shortly after the ending of the previous movie, where the Alien Queen has apparently laid an egg that goes on to cause havoc onboard the Sulaco. The issue many have with this is that the film glosses over how exactly the Queen managed to lay this egg, and where she laid it.
If she was going to lay it anywhere it would be in the back of the dropship, but from the brief shot of the egg shown in the movie, it doesn’t seem to be on the ship. Some fan theories believe it could have been Bishop who brought the egg onboard, since he would have been following company orders. Given the character’s innocent nature, however, this seems unlikely, and he at least would have secured it instead of randomly planting it on the ship to hatch.
The likely answer is that the writers couldn’t come up with a logical answer for the egg to be there, so they glossed over it quickly to set the story in motion.
11 Why Did The Engineers Invite Humanity To LV-223?
The story of Prometheus is kicked into gear when scientists find a star map inviting humanity to come and meet their creators, with the coördinates leading to planet LV-223. While these maps were set up before the Engineers grew sour on mankind and wanted to destroy them, it makes little sense that they’d invite their creations to come visit them on a planet that acts as a weapons base.
It’s possible that the Engineers were being careful by not handing out coordinates to their home planet, just in case mankind didn’t come in peace, but a weapons testing planet isn’t exactly the best place for a first meeting, either. Perhaps the planet wasn’t originally the site of this base, but the movie itself doesn’t offer any reason why it was chosen as the point of humanity’s first contact. In all likelihood, this one will be damned to the speculation zone from here on out.
10 What Condition Is Earth In?
There was much excitement when a teaser trailer for Alien 3 appeared to suggest it would be set on Earth, which ultimately wasn’t the case. The closest Ripley got to Earth was the ending of Alien: Resurrection, though audiences don't get to see what condition it was in.
There are big hints that the planet isn’t in great shape, with Call making reference to the “Lacerta Plague” and crew member Johner dismissing Earth as a “s***hole.” An alternate ending for the film actually featured The Betty landing in a ruined version of Paris, suggesting the planet is mostly abandoned. Joss Whedon also scripted an ending where The Newborn lands on the planet and the crew have to chase it down, but this was cut for budgetary reasons.
It seems to be a creative decision to keep the movies off of Earth – with the exception of the AVP spin-off series – so its condition is kept a mystery for moviegoers.
9 Was Bishop II An Andriod?
Despite being (understandably) suspicious of androids after her encounter with Ash, Ripley grows to trust Bishop following the events of Aliens. Sadly, Bishop gets badly mangled during the finale and chooses to be switched off permanently during Alien 3.
During the finale, another Bishop turns up, claiming to be the man who designed the android. He tries to sweet talk Ripley into giving up the Alien Queen in her chest and shows a range of emotion from tenderness to anger. There’s still much debate over the question of his humanity, however.
He receives a nasty head wound that should at the very least have knocked him unconscious, and while he bleeds red blood, he could just be an advanced model. Actor Lance Henriksen has also made contradicting comments about the character’s humanity, and he’s listed as Bishop II in the credits. The evidence leans towards him being human, but it’s a fun topic to debate nonetheless.
8 What Caused The Destruction Of The Engineer Base?
It soon becomes clear that some nasty event caused the destruction of The Engineers on LV-223, as all but one of the creatures has perished when the Prometheus lands. David activates a holographic recording that shows them running away in panic, suggesting something was chasing them.
This is another question the movie leaves unanswered, but looking at the clues, it seems the black goo mutated out of control, possibly creating a huge beast that rampaged through the base. The movie shows the goo to be unstable, so perhaps they were performing tests with it that got a bit out of hand.
That said, if they did create some sort of monstrosity, then its body is nowhere to be found when the crew searches the base, so who knows what happened there. This is another event fans love to speculate on, and (again) it seems unlikely that further Alien movies will provide a clear answer.
7 What Happened To Morse After Alien 3?
It’s somewhat surprising that the only survivor of the outbreak on Fury 161 is Morse, one of the prisoners. Morse isn’t a main character in the film, and he only becomes prominent as the story progresses, eventually helping Ripley commit suicide so that Weyland-Yutani won’t get the Alien Queen in her chest.
He’s shown in the final scene being escorted off the planet, and he appears amused that somehow, he was the only one to make it. Morse’s fate hasn’t been mentioned in the movie series since then, though some spin-off media has hinted at his ultimate fate (he lost his faith following the events of Alien 3 and suffered horrible nightmares).
He eventually wrote a book about it called Space Beast, which was quickly banned. Apparently, Alien: Resurrection’s Call read this book, explaining how she knew of Ripley and the Xenomorph. Since the character will probably never appear in another movie, this explanation is considered canon.
6 What Happened To Hicks After Colonial Marines?
One of the most controversial events in the Alien series was the abrupt deaths of Hicks and Newt in Alien 3, which renders the finale of Aliens slightly pointless. It was a gut punch fans are still sore about, but here's a little-known piece of trivia: Hicks’ death was retconned by the canon video game Alien: Colonial Marines.
The story takes place a few months after Aliens, where a rescue squad lands on LV-426 and discovers Weyland-Yutani is up to no good (again). It also reveals that Hicks is still alive, and that another wounded man – who was falsely identified as Hicks in the third movie -- ended up taking his place in the lifepod. It’s a weak retcon that makes little sense, but most fans were just happy he was back.
The game ends on a cliffhanger, where he vows to bring down Weyland-Yutani, but the intensely negative reaction to the game makes a sequel unlikely. Neill Blomkamp's proposed Alien 5 also featured artwork showing Hicks alive, but since that project appears to canceled for good, it looks like another Hicks story isn’t going to happen.
5 Did The Alien Vs Predator Movies Actually Happen?
While both of the AVP movies made money, they were also universally panned. Requiem, in particular, was the most poorly received and lowest-grossing entry in the franchise, and it's reviled amongst the fanbase. It appears Ridley Scott wasn’t a fan either, because when Damon Lindelof pointed out that Prometheus contradicted events shown in AVP, Scott instructed him to ignore it.
In fact, Alien Covenant appears to suggest the Xenomorph as viewers know it only came about due to David, a timeline that makes the events of the AVP movies impossible. Ridley Scott appears to be taking ownership over the Alien series with his new movies and isn’t concerned if this path renders other entries or spin-offs null and void.
While Fox hasn't come out and said the AVP movies are officially non-canon, given the many contradictions and timeline errors presented by the new movies, it a safe assumption to make at this point.
4 Was Vickers An Andriod?
Both Prometheus and Covenant focus on the relationship between parents and their offspring as a central theme, be it the Engineers and mankind or Shaw and her slimy “child.” Prometheus reveals that Charlize Theron's Vickers is the daughter of Peter Weyland, who is just waiting for her distant father to die so she can take over his company.
Their relationship is clearly a cold one, and it’s implied that Weyland created David so he could have a son instead of a daughter. The movie also drops hints that Vickers herself could be an android, however, which Captain Janek outright asks her about. While she acts very human in several scenes, expressing anger and fear, she could just be an advanced model. That said, an advanced model would probably have known not to run in a straight line to avoid being crushed by a falling Engineer ship, so she's likely just a not-so-bright human.
A betting man would put money on Vickers being human, but like Bishop II, it’s another fun topic for people to debate.
3 What Happened To Walter?
-- SPOILERS for Alien: Covenant lie ahead --
One of the most intriguing elements of Covenant is David's relationship with Walter, the android aboard The Covenant. David grows to view Walter as a brother, trying to teach him to play music and convincing him to view humanity with the contempt he does.
When you have an actor as good as Michael Fassbender, it makes sense to pair him with an actor worthy of his skill; in this case, another Michael Fassbender. The actor is able to create two distinct personas with both characters, climaxing in an emotional fight between the two. The last time we see Walter, he’s about to land a killing blow on David, but he hesitates before dealing it. Off-screen, David takes his place, impersonating him so that the crew will take him back to the ship.
The movie ends without revealing Walter’s fate, though it’s likely that David killed him. There’s still a chance he’s stranded on the planet, though, a question a future entry might deal with.
2 Why Did The Engineers Turn On Humanity?
Prometheus asks a lot of big questions about humanity and the relationship between creators and their creations, but it doesn’t provide many answers. It becomes clear during the story that the Engineers grew to hate humanity, and planned to destroy us before some kind of disaster befell them.
The movie ends with Elisabeth determined to find the answer to this question, but Covenant shows that she never got the chance to ask them. This leaves the question unanswered, but there are numerous fan theories exploring the possible cause. A popular one suggests that the Engineers were concerned about humanity’s violent and self-destructive ways, so they send an emissary – Jesus, basically – to try and calm us down, only for him to be crucified.
Ridley Scott suggested that this was the case himself in an interview, but despite hints of Christian subtext (the story takes place during Christmas, Elisabeth has a virgin birth, etc.) the film never explicitly states that to be the case.
1 What Caused The Derelict To Crash?
Before Alien: Engineers was re-written to become Prometheus, it directly set up the events of the original Alien. The movie was set on LV-426, and during the finale, an Engineer becomes infected with a chestburster, which explodes out of him while he’s trying to fly off the planet, causing the ship to crash-land.
While Ridley Scott has said we’ll eventually come full circle and learn how The Derelict ended up on LV-426, the movies have yet to reach this point. It’s still unknown what caused the ship to crash, though it seems like it was flying somewhere with its deadly cargo but a facehugger got loose and infected the pilot, and whatever ripped out of him caused the ship to crash.
The canon video game Colonial Marines allows players to explore The Derelict, and an easter egg shows a hologram where the ship is shot down by another alien craft. This seems to be more of a fun fan theory than a true attempt to answer the question, and it’s unlikely Ridley Scott will follow this version of events.
What other plotlines are dangling around in the Alien movie franchise? Let us know in the comments.
Alien: Covenant opens on May 19th, 2017.