by Benjamín Harguindey
20th Century Fox finally released the trailer for Ridley Scott’s new movie Alien: Covenant, a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and “the second in a new trilogy” of movies set before the original Alien (1979). What do we know about the movie?
Blade Runner (1982) won’t be the only Ridley Scott sci fi cult classic to be sequelized in 2017. Scheduled for release on May, the film apparently picks up where Prometheus left off and follows a crew of colonists (under the ‘Covenant’ flagship) as they discover a supposedly paradise-like planet (the original working title was ‘Alien: Paradise Lost’), only to fall prey to the latest iteration of H. R. Geiger’s voracious xenomorph creature.
Returning from the preceding movie is Michael Fassbender as android David, who greets the colonists on the desert planet (perhaps the Engineer homeworld), as well as Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce, who theory has it will be making flashback appearences. The crew of colonists is a bit more star-studded this time and includes actors James Franco, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Demián Bichir and Danny McBride.
Based on the trailer, the movie appears to hew closer to the spirit of the original 1979 horror/sci-fi film rather than its 2012 prequel, in that it features a skeleton crew of blue-collar expendables being prominently picked off one by one by the xenomorph. But the trailer shows perhaps a bit too much of the movie, spoiling no less than two character deaths as well as showcasing what should be surprise reveals, like a grisly new take on the infamous ‘chestburster scene’ – something the original would never have done, and indeed its secret was held even from the very actors playing said scene until the camera was rolling.
This is maybe the movie’s way of disarming the spectator before shocking them with a curve ball move (for example, there’s an intriguing shot of what appears to be a kind of miniature fungus floating towards someone’s ear). Indeed there’re rumors that the movie will feature a new kind of alien, dubbed a neomorph.
By all accounts Scott is at this point filling in the vast blank between the prequel canon and the original canon, a practice very much in vogue these days. Like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Alien: Covenant runs on nostalgia, aping its parent movie and offering a kind of ‘behind the scenes scoop’ fans will appreciate. We can only hope its a worthier entry into the franchise than Prometheus.
Benjamín Harguindey / Managing Editor, Writer (Mar del Plata, Argentina – 1989) Screenwriter graduated from Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires. Benja’s worked for EscribiendoCine as a film critic since 2010, covering the Biarritz, San Sebastián and Venice festivals. He judged the CILECT Prize and won several writing & criticism contests. He’s published one novel, Noches de Tartaria (2006).