Alien: Covenant (2017)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this film is the second installment in a planned trilogy of movies that act as prequels to Alien (1979). It is a sequel to Prometheus (2012), taking place 10 years after the events of that film, in the year 2104. The third installment in this prequel series has no title or release date yet, though director Ridley Scott has stated it will go into production in mid-2018.
In early 2015, when it was unclear whether the proposed sequel to Prometheus would be green-lit, writer/director Neill Blomkamp posted some concept artwork he had drawn for a proposed Alien sequel. Actress Sigourney Weaver, showed an interest in Blomkamp's idea and was willing to reprise the role of Ripley. Despite denying that he intended to "undo" the events of Alien³ (1992) and Alien: Resurrection (1997), details of Blomkamp's film (working title Untitled Neill Blomkamp/Alien Project) remained sketchy but it appeared to be an alternative sequel to Aliens (1986), which establishes a different timeline and basically ignores the events of the third and fourth movies in the series. The film was green-lit by 20th Century Fox shortly thereafter, with Ridley Scott producing. However, at the end of 2015, it was announced that the studio had decided to develop Ridley Scott's Prometheus sequel Alien: Covenant (2017) first. Blomkamp was asked to alter his screenplay so as to not clash with Scott's storyline. Blomkamp's project was then put on hold indefinitely while Scott was working on Alien: Covenant and its intended sequel. In 2016, Blomkamp announced that the chances of his film ever being made were now slim and that he intended to move on to other projects. In 2017, Scott also stated that it was doubtful Blomkamp's film would ever be made as there had never even been a script written for it, but simply a basic, undeveloped concept built around Blomkamp's artwork.
Yes, this was made more clear in the prologue The Last Supper. All of the crewmembers, with the exception of Walter () were made up of married couples. The pairings were as follows: Daniels (). Their pairings aren't made clear. It's possible they are part of the security detail and not necessarily couples.
This is explained in the prologue The Crossing. Following the events of Prometheus, Elizabeth repairs David and they set out to find the Engineers' homeworld in one of the alien spaceships. Elizabeth then goes in to cryostasis for the journey there, which is the last we see of her in the prologue. In this film, the crew of the Covenant come across some evidence of Shaw. When they meet David, he explains that the weaponized cargo (the black liquid) aboard the Engineer spacecraft accidentally deployed on the planet, killing all of the indigenous life. During the confusion, their ship crashed and Elizabeth was killed thus leaving David alone on the planet for several years. Although he claimed to have buried her body and a gravestone with her name on is seen, Elizabeth's body is later discovered on a table, mutilated, dissected and preserved. In the blu-ray special features, there is a short film in which David documents what happened in between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. In it he states that he killed off the inhabitants as a 'gift' to Elizabeth, in order to cleanse the planet. David says "We could have built anew. A second Eden, but she refused. What choice did I have? She was the perfect specimen, I tried so desperately to make her more than human; evolved. But without her cooperation, I had to salvage her parts to begin work on my masterpiece. You wouldn't believe the secrets I've unlocked."
Late in the film, David stabs Walter in the neck in an attempt to disable him. We see the small wound in his neck close up. Later, Walter re-appears, and says to David "There's been some improvements since your time.". Some viewers interpret this to mean that the androids are able to self-repair. Others seem to think this means that stabbing them in the neck simply won't disable them, as David believes. It's also possible with both androids, small wounds will self-close immediately, such as the nail wound on David's chin and the stab wound in Walter's neck. But deeper gashes and wounds won't heal without some repairs done or they will heal slowly over time as wounds on a human do. As we see in previous Alien films, no android with a major wound is able to repair themselves. Not even Call, an android advanced by centuries is able to repair a gunshot wound in Alien: Resurrection.
David was created by Peter Weyland to help him discover the meaning of life and hopefully a way to make him immortal. In Prometheus, Weyland ordered David to "Try harder.". While it was never made abundantly clear what was meant by that, it can be assumed Weyland was ordering David to use the mutagen to experiment on crew members of the Prometheus to see what would happen, in order to try and find some life-extending properties.
In Alien: Covenant's prologue, which takes place decades before Prometheus, we see the first interaction between Weyland and David. It starts out as a conversation between the creator and his creation, much like a conversation between father and son. However, within minutes, David begins to suggest that as a synthetic, he may also have the power to create, thereby implying that he could be equal to a human, or even better as he will never die like humans do. Weyland is visibly annoyed by the notion, and immediately puts him to a menial task, i.e. making David walk across the room and pouring Weyland a tea, from a kettle that is literally arm's reach from him. Essentially Weyland is reminding David "You were created to serve and you will do my bidding." It is suggested that the seeds for David's disdain for human arrogance are sown here.
Throughout Prometheus, there are signs of David feeling increasingly superior over his human colleagues, up to the point where, at Weyland's suggestion, he starts to experiment on them. After confronting the lone Engineer who kills Weyland and beheads David, David may have concluded that the Engineers found their human creations unworthy, given that one of them was setting course to Earth in order to annihilate humanity. Seeing the Engineers as a threat instead of perfect gods, David decided to go to their homeworld with Elizabeth Shaw, where he destroyed the Engineers with their own weapons.
So after Weyland's death and the eradication of the Engineers, David didn't have any specific purpose, as his previous goal in life was to try and save Weyland's. As he confesses, Weyland's death taught him that Weyland (and perhaps, by extension, humanity) was weak. However, Weyland's suggestion to "Try harder" likely stuck, as was his desire to become better than both humanity and the Engineers. David was left on a world full of mutagens and alien creatures to experiment on, and continued his work. He engineered several Alien eggs; as he mentions to Captain Oram, what was still missing was a "Mother", implying that he needed a 'womb' or host for his new creature, the "perfect organism", and sees himself as its father. As soon as the Xenomorph is birthed from Oram, David takes great pride in the creature mimicking his gestures. After David has fooled everyone into thinking he is Walter, one can speculate that he will use the two facehugger embryos he brought with him to birth two more Xenomorphs from Tennessee and Daniels, and from there, use the rest of the colonists aboard the Covenant to create even more.
There are currently two schools of thought on that: one where David was the first to create the classic Xenomorph, and one where he simply recreated a process via his experimentation that others had already mastered. And which theory is correct depends on the age of the derelict ship in Alien (1979).
It is often presumed that the derelict ship found on LV-426 in Alien had been there for thousands of years because Dallas makes a comment about the corpse of the pilot looking "fossilized". However, as Prometheus highlighted, the Engineers wear a suit and helmet that resembles an exoskeleton, and so this may appear to look like fossilized remains when in actuality it isn't (the crew of the Nostromo did not make a thorough examination of the pilot, merely a brief visual inspection and an assumption). At the time, the makers of Alien kept everything about the ship purposely vague, so the pilot and derelict ship could have crashed on LV-426 much more recently, after Alien Covenant, but perhaps only years or even months before the Nostromo was rerouted there. Given the fact that Alien: Covenant takes place only 19 years before Alien, it is possible we will see the derelict ship crash on the planet in a future film.
If we assume this to be the case, then David may have created the first Xenomorph, but it should also be noted that David's version differs somewhat from the classic Alien Xenomorph in a few places. First, when it hatches, it seems to be covered in some kind of amniotic sac, and it is already fully formed, with an elongated head and limbs. This is in contrast to the classic chestburster, which was much more snake-like and did not have limbs. As David explains, the black mutagen from Prometheus can exist in many forms: as a liquid and even in an airborn gaseous form. Different forms of the mutagen combined with different lifeforms can produce wholly different results. So far, we have seen the mutagen decimating everything in its gaseous form; it can mutate a corpse in liquid form, create snake-like creatures from worms, giant squid-like facehugger embryos inside humans, and so on. In Alien: Covenant, its airborne form can create Neomorphs directly inside a living host, completely bypassing any egg or facehugger stage. So, David's Xenomorph may have been created by a process almost, but not quite, similar to the one that would later produce the Xenomorph from Alien, but he could indeed have been the first to create a Xenomorph.
The other theory assumes that the Engineer aboard the derelict ship is fossilized, or at the very least "dead a long time", and had crashed there considerably longer than 19 years before. Some assume that it was one of the Engineer ships that left LV-223 (the planet seen in Prometheus) during the outbreak of the black substance hundreds of years before (as witnessed by the Prometheus crew in a hologram). Assuming that the ship is very old, then the Xenomorphs aboard had probably been created before David even existed, and the Engineers would be their most logical creators. They may have discovered the Xenomorph the same way David did: by experimenting with the mutagen, and combining it with insects as well as several other species from their homeworld. It is even hinted that David may have used some parts from Elizabeth Shaw's body (which seems to be lacking several abdominal organs), possibly for use in creating the Xenomorph eggs (which may explain the subtle differences in appearance between his Xenomorph and the one from Alien). David may have had many trial and error attempts to get it to that stage, but if this theory is correct, he basically recreated a process that had been mastered years or even centuries before.
All of this is speculation, as no film in the series has (yet) given exclusive evidence, but it's possible and even likely that it will be explained in the next sequel.
David quoted the sonnet Ozymandias throughout the film. When Walter asks him who wrote it, David responds "Byron". Walter corrects him and says "Shelley". Walter then goes to say "One wrong note eventually ruins the whole symphony.". This implies that David's mental capacities are failing or there's a glitch in his memory banks. Androids should not remember things incorrectly, so it could be akin to madness for an android. Michael Fassbender said in an interview that these days "You know what happens if you don't turn your phone off once in a while.". Essentially, David had gone 10 years without any form of maintenance done on him. So whether these flaws were built in him to begin with or developed over time is up to the viewer to decide.
It's likely he manufactured them at some point and kept them stored away, in the hopes of being rescued some day. Once his plan was set into motion, he simply swallowed them in order to stow them aboard the Covenant.
This is something that was touched upon in the original Alien. When Ash was malfunctioning he tried shoving a rolled up magazine down Ripley's throat. Ridley Scott stated the idea behind this was to suggest that's how an android would rape someone, due to them not having genitalia or at least not sexually functioning genitalia. When David and Walter first meet, Walter explains that David was programmed with too many liberties; he was too idosyncratic, which made people uncomfortable. Later models were made with more limitations to be more efficient. Therefore, David is programmed with more curiosity (for lack of a better word). He claims that he loved Elizabeth; he is even seen showing emotions such as sorrow, joy, and anger. Clearly, not having these limitations in his programming allowed David to become self-aware and develop consciousness, so it's possible he developed sexual urges, or at least desired to show affection for people without understanding when it was appropriate.
Branson (): After a solar flare causes a fire aboard the Covenant, Branson's cryotube catches fire internally, burning him alive.
Ledward (): After stepping on some spores, the particles find their way in to Ledward's ear. Shortly after making it back to the medbay on the dropship, a Neomorph bursts from his back, killing him.
Karine (): When Ledward starts vomiting blood, Faris locks Karine in the medbay with him. After the Neomorph births from Ledward, it immediately attacks Karine and kills her.
Faris (): After witnessing the Neomorph burst from Ledward, Faris is sent in to a state of absolute panic. She retrieves a weapon from the armory aboard the drop ship and attempts to kill the Neomorph. In her panic-induced state, she accidentally shoots a fuel cell aboard the drop ship, exploding the ship and incinerating herself while the Neomorph escapes.
Hallett (): After unwittingly inhaling some spores, a Neomorph bursts from his sinus cavity some time later.
Ankor (): When fighting a Neomorph, it rips Ankor's lower jaw off with its tail, killing him.
Rosenthal (): When David promises that his hideout is safe, Rosenthal goes to clean-up and change the dressing on her wound. A Neomorph makes it way in behind her. She reaches for her pistol and it decapitates her.
Oram (): Goes to look for Rosenthal, then David lures him to the basement, revealing eggs that David created. David coaxes Oram to look inside, which has a facehugger leap out and latch on to Oram's face. Some time later, a Xenomorph bursts from Oram's chest.
Cole (): Is attacked and killed by the fully-grown Xenomorph.
Walter (): Engages David in a fight in order to allow Daniels to escape. Getting the upper hand, he holds a rock over David's head, but hesitates as David reaches for a knife. The scene then cuts away. The end reveals David took the place of Walter. So it's likely David killed Walter, but his fate is ambiguous.
Lope (): Gets attacked by a facehugger, though Cole manages to get it off almost immediately. The facehugger dies after being removed, which implies that it laid the egg in Lope's chest. Aboard the Covenant, Daniels and Tennessee come across Lope's body in the med-bay, his chest burst open, birthing another Xenomorph. It's also possible David, posing as Walter put another facehugger on the tranquilized Lope.
Ricks (): While fooling around with Upworth in the shower, the new Xenomorph approaches behind him and puts its inner-mouth through the back of Ricks' head, which comes out his mouth.
Upworth (): After the Xenomorph kills Ricks, it kills Upworth immediately after.
Tennessee and Daniels ( and David ([link=nm1055413): Is left aboard the Covenant with two facehugger embryos and 2000 colonists in cryostasis on which to experiment.
In both Prometheus and Alien, it is shown that the space crews have scanners that can detect what is in a planet's atmosphere. So these scans would indicate the air quality and also pick up on any toxins or airborne pathogens. The reason the scanners didn't pick up the alien pathogen was because it had laid dormant for roughly ten years in the form of spores. It wasn't until these spores were disturbed by the crew that the pathogen was again activated. While it would likely be wise to wear helmets on a planet you know nothing about, it's likely they didn't want to bother with the cumbersome spacesuits on an earth-like planet when they didn't think it was necessary.
While this isn't definitive, it appears that no, the planet the Covenant visits is not the Engineer home world. If one looks closely during the flashback scene; the creatures we see do look similar to the Engineers, large, with bald heads. However, the inhabitants of Planet 4 (viewed here) still look quite different from the Engineers we saw in Prometheus (viewed here). Also, the planet seems primitive and completely devoid of technology, except for the docking bay for the Engineer ship hovering above the city. We know that the Engineers are clearly technologically advanced. It's most likely that Planet 4 was another "seed planet" for the Engineers, like Earth was. If one notices during the flashback, when David arrives in the Engineer ship, all of the inhabitants of the city flock to the center of the city and cheer at the arrival of the ship. As if rejoicing at the return of their gods.
Why wouldn't they trust him? Keep in mind that the crew of the Covenant never saw the movie Prometheus. So they don't know what we, the viewers know. As far as the crew of the Covenant are concerned, David is a Weyland Industries android. An identical model to Walter, their android. They had no way of knowing that David had the ability to lie, manipulate and kill human beings. So when David says something is perfectly safe, they'd take him at his word.