When Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant Will Actually Take Place

Though there were a lot of people left dissatisfied with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus back in 2012, the idea of the legendary director once again returning the universe he first visited with Alien in 1979 is still a tantalizing proposition. And these movies move forward, with an emphasis on the their Alien-ness, it’s easy to get excited. As production creeps closer, details have been sparse, but now we know when the next chapter, Alien: Covenant, will take place, which could provide some clarity on a few issues.

Costume designer Janty Yates is a frequent collaborator with Sir Ridley, having worked with the 78-year-old (how is he that old and still working at such a brisk pace? It’s enough to make you feel downright lazy) on the likes of The Martian, Kingdom of Heaven, and tons more. She recently spoke to Collider about Alien: Covenant, among other things, and revealed when it is set, saying the story takes place:

10 years in the future beyond 'Prometheus.'

While that’s not the biggest jump in time, considering some of what we know, it explains a few things. At the end of Prometheus, the only two survivors of the ill-fated mission are Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and pieces of the android David (Michael Fassbender). We know that Fassbender will be back in a substantial capacity, perhaps even in a dual role, but while Rapace will also reportedly return, from what we’ve heard thus far, it will be in a very minor way.

David is synthetic, so it makes sense that he’ll still be kicking, but given that they’re trying to survive in deep space and limited access to supplies, Shaw’s is less guaranteed. Ten years is a long time to stay alive in the most hostile conditions you can imagine, where any mistake is fatal, so it’s entirely possible she’s gone by the time the movie starts. She could show up as a hologram, possibly in a flashback, on a recording, but it’s doubtful she’ll be a huge factor in the foreground story if this is the timeframe.

The most recent news we’ve had is that Inherent Vice star Katherine Waterston will play a character named Daniels. Ridley Scott has talked about how Alien: Covenant will be connected to the original films, leading many to wonder if perhaps Daniels is the mother or other ancestor of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. That would certainly tie the two together.

Covenant, which we now know picks up ten years after Prometheus, is the second in a new trilogy that will ultimately lead us directly back to Alien. The plot revolves around a colony ship called, you guessed it, Covenant. When the crew comes across a planet that they believe is an uncharted paradise, they are so, so wrong. The only inhabitant is David, and things are far from as idyllic as they seem. And we’re supposedly going to see a bunch of vicious alien threats, both new and familiar, so, that should be fun. For us anyway, probably not the crew of the Covenant.

Production on Alien: Covenant is slated to kick off in Australia in the early months of 2016, which is very, very soon, and it hits theaters on October 6, 2017.

Brent McKnight