Director Ridley Scott scared a generation of movie fans with his sci-fi horror hit Alien back in 1979, and five films later, the franchise is still going strong with the introduction of a prequel series set decades before the crew of the starship Nostromo first tangled with a terrifying, acid-blooded xenomorph.
The next installment of the prequel series, Alien: Covenant, serves as both a sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus and a bridge — possibly one of several bridges — between the events of that film and the franchise-spawning 1979 movie.
Directed by Scott from a script penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator), Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Katherine Waterston, and Danny McBride, among many others. With Alien: Covenant scheduled to hit theaters May 19, 2017, here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
What’s past is ‘Prologue’
In honor of “Alien Day” on April 26 — so designated by the name given to the moon LV-426 on which Aliens is set — 20th Century Fox released a fascinating clip called Prologue: The Crossing, which serves as an “official prologue short” ahead of Alien: Covenant that will bridge the gap between Prometheus and its forthcoming sequel. In the clip, the android David (Michael Fassbender) narrates the journey he and Prometheus protagonist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw undertook to find the alien home world of the film’s “Engineers.”
In many ways, this journey was thought to be the natural progression the new sequel would take, but it seems instead that this part of the story serves simply as a lead-in to the new film’s storyline. Along with setting up a fascinating tee-off point for Alien: Covenant, the clip also partially demystifies the rumors about Noomi Rapace’s involvement in the new film (which we touch on further below). There has been much debate about just how big a part Rapace would play in Alien: Covenant. While we don’t yet know if her character will make it to (or off) the Engineers’ home world, from all the footage we’ve seen so far, it appears she isn’t a part of the Covenant’s main crew, and therefore she likely won’t be integral to the new film’s primary story arc.
As another addition to the “Alien Day” celebration, the studio also released a brief, immersive peek into the world of Alien: Covenant via a new, 360-degree video titled Alien: Covenant in Utero.
Available now for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, the two-minute virtual-reality experience lets viewers experience the terror of Alien: Covenant from the perspective of one of the film’s alien antagonists. The video puts viewers in the role of an alien on the cusp of emerging from its human host, then pursuing new prey after it makes its violent, bloody entrance.
“For me, it was about giving the audience an element of wish fulfillment,” said Alien: Covenant in Utero director David Karlak during a press event for the video earlier this week. “We’ve always been on the receiving end of [the] violence.”
The film is reportedly inspired by a scene in Covenant and uses various CGI assets from the project created by visual-effects studio MPC.
One of the recent, persistent rumors surrounding Alien: Covenant is that Katherine Waterston’s character, Daniels, is actually the mother of Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, from the original Alien.
Given that the timeline for the franchise makes this entirely possible — Covenant is set approximately 20 years before the events of Alien — it stands to reason that Waterston’s character might be as much of a connecting thread as the aliens themselves. Asked about the rumor, Waterston didn’t deny the possibility and instead chose to plead ignorance of any potential connection.
“Yeah… I’m aware of the rumor,” she told SFX Magazine (via Games Radar). “There’s this episode of Fawlty Towers where John Cleese tells Manuel he has to lie about something. ‘Whenever anyone asks you, you say, ‘I know nothing.’’ So, that’s what plays on my mind whenever people ask me these spoiler questions.”
Behold: The Neomorph
Alien: Covenant is expected to connect the events of Prometheus with the original Alien in various ways, including the deadly creatures at the heart of the sci-fi horror series.
In April 2017, Empire Magazine posted a trio of new images from Covenant. Along with photos featuring one of the humanoid race of “Engineers” and actors Michael Fassbender and Guy Pearce as the android Walter and Peter Weyland, respectively, the set of images also included a shot of one of the new creatures making its debut in Covenant: the terrifying neomorph.
The neomorph — which seems to be an early iteration of the “xenomorphs” from Alien, Aliens, and the series’ subsequent sequels — is pictured in the midst of making a meal (or possibly hatching) from the body of a human victim. It’s a chilling look at what could very well be an ancestor of the iconic xenomorphs we know so well.
A pair of promotional videos from Alien: Covenant released in April 2017 tease some of the scares to come, but also offer some insight regarding the mission undertaken by the crew of the Covenant.
In one of the videos, Waterston’s character attempts to send a message to her father, only to have the video periodically cut to brief scenes from the film that suggest a dire outcome for the ship’s crew.
The second video features Crudup’s character reading some verses about the crew’s impending arrival on a new world. The video, like the one featuring Waterston’s character, is also cut with scenes from the film that hint at the trouble that awaits them.