A BRIEF HISTORY OF ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’

 

It took over four years to get a sequel to the ALIEN spin-off, PROMETHEUS in the works. After a series of seemingly false starts and changed release dates, Ridley Scott announced the title, ALIEN: PARADISE LOST. Fans everywhere started freaking out being that everyone believed the title to be simply PARADISE. Less than a month later the official title was revealed to be ALIEN: COVENANT and the film was described as not exactly a sequel but an indirect continuation of the previous film. Instead of depicting the android David and Elizabeth Shaw arriving on the engineer’s planet, it involves a separate crew and a different android (again played by Michael Fassbender) coming upon the planet about ten years later. It seemed as if the writers had trouble coming up with a story for a sequel and instead chose to depict a sort of an aftermath to David and Shaw’s arrival.

 

Quite separately, DISTRICT 9 director Neill Blomkamp, had been preparing a film as a direct sequel to ALIENS, ignoring the events of ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION. Against all odds, the production seemed to be moving forward with both Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn willing to reprise their roles in the film. As ALIEN: COVENANT neared production however, Blomkamp’s film was put on an indefinite hold until at least after Scott’s film was released. Recently Blomkamp had been quoted as saying that his film had a “slim” chance of actually going into production.

 

 

Now we have word from Ridley Scott himself that there will be two or three more films related to PROMETHEUS, including one called ALIEN: ARRIVAL (or is it PROMETHEUS: ARRIVAL?) taking place between PROMETHEUS and ALIEN: COVENANT. So it seems we will get to see David and Shaw arrive on the engineer’s planet, which is odd being that I thought ALIEN: COVENANT was a result of not finding an effective way of telling that story. And now we have word on an ALIEN: COVENANT sequel called ALIEN: ARRIVAL. These things just keep getting more and more confusing.

 

Many fans were extremely disappointed by PROMETHEUS and I don’t always quite understand why. I could see the lack of more than one xenomorph being a problem but that’s not the major complaint that I often hear. I seem get the impression that most people didn’t really understand the movie. It’s really quite simple; David acquires the engineer’s black liquid and places it in Holloway’s drink; Holloway has sex with Shaw; Shaw ends up with a sort of a face-hugger growing in her and has it removed via cesarean section; The face-hugger attacks the engineer and the first xenomorph bursts from his chest. Very simple. Very logical. For some reason that is obscure to me, some of the very smartest people flat out do not get this movie and it totally boggles my mind. With what I’ve heard about ALIEN: COVENANT, PROMETHEUS is seeming more and more like a very simple prelude to utter madness and I’m perfectly fine with that idea. What seems to be following it in the new film could even make PROMETHEUS seem like a better film in some people’s minds.

 

 

One thing we know very little about is how Shaw factors into the story. Shortly after the new title had been released, the casting was announced with no mention of Noomi Repace. The immediate fan response was that Shaw must have died years before the latest crew arrives on the Engineer’s planet. Being the way fans felt towards PROMETHEUS, this response was not entirely surprising. My theory at the time was that the current crew find Shaw in cryo-sleep about two-thirds through the movie being that David never woke her up after the journey from LV-223. I have also heard rumors about her living in make-shift quarters of some part of the engineer’s ship, keeping her distance from David and his various experiments with the black liquid. I even heard a much more disturbing rumor that I will not mention here because there’s a great chance that it might be true.

 

 

There’s been some really dumb rumors floating around on how Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, factors into the upcoming prequels. The worst one I’ve heard so far is that Katherine Waterston’s character is Ripley’s mother. About a year ago many websites were reporting this rumor as true but it would make utterly no sense at all in the grand scheme of the ALIEN franchise. Why would Ripley just happen to be on a refinery ship that just happens to find xenomorph eggs after her supposed mother encountered these things before? Also, Scott himself has been quoted as saying that Sigourney Weaver could be de-aged via CGI for a future ALIEN prequel. I will tell you right now that I’m pretty sure he was joking. Like I said before, ALIEN is the very first time the character encounters a xenomorph. The last major rumor I’ve heard regarding Weaver is that she is the voice of “Mother” in the new film. It certainly makes more sense than the other rumors, but the crew of the Nostromo really got the shaft when it came to computer technology. However, it sure beats the dot-matrix computer printout paper that appears near the beginning of ALIENS.

 

Whatever happens, whatever doesn’t happen, one thing’s for sure: PROMETHEUS definitely brought the franchise back to a better direction than it had previously been going. ALIEN 3’s only achievement was putting David Fincher on the map as a director. The movie utterly destroyed everything that had been accomplished in ALIENS, save the xenomorph not getting to Earth. As entertaining as ALIEN: RESURRECTION was, the film is riddled with a silliness not present in any previous movie. We all know of the utter mess of the two ALIEN VS PREDATOR films. They’re so bad that I’m not sure I want to talk about them but what I would like is for someone to explain to me is what a character named Dallas is doing in ALIEN VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM. So what’s with the hate for PROMETHEUS? I just gave you four films that are worse. Hopefully every ALIEN film will be worse than ALIEN: COVENANT. Either way we’ll find out on May 19th.

 

 

 

Rich Maier

Rich Maier is a film and music critic and a screenwriter from the badass Chicago suburb of Blue Island. Aside from often incomprehensible Facebook rants and The Daily Grindhouse, Rich has written screenplays and comic book scripts for Kaosfield Studios. When not being a writer and a beer snob, Rich is the main musician / producer for the mostly electronic act Sanity Association. He is also the former keyboardist, programmer, and sometimes guitarist for the legendary goth band Dalet-Yod.

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