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While it took director Ridley Scott 33 years to return to the world of Alien with 2012's Prometheus, there was one element of the franchise that he was never able to shake. As he regularly spoke about in interviews and on DVD commentaries, he spent decades wondering about the origins of the xenomorphs and how one came to torment Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo in the 1979 original. It was a mystery that the filmmaker began to solve with Prometheus, and he will continue to do so with the upcoming Alien: Covenant... but you really shouldn't be expecting the new blockbuster to deliver all the final answers.
I learned about Alien: Covenant's relationship with the series' biggest question when I had the incredible opportunity last summer to fly down to Sydney, Australia with a group of other film journalists to visit the set of the movie while it was still in production. For what should be obvious reasons, Ridley Scott was busy for most of the day that we were there, but when a short window in his schedule opened, he spent a few minutes with us talking about the movie. Talking about his further interest in exploring the fictional world, the director made a contrast between his approach on Alien and Alien: Covenant, and how he views the film as part of a reinvention for the series. Said Scott,
You come back with a very simple idea, which is 'Who made it and why?' No one ever asked that question. [Alien] was just about 'There it is, it exists and this is what it is.' It became seven guys and gals in a steel hull, so it was frankly a very old idea of the old dark house, and who's going to die next. The funny thing about the actual fundamental basis of the first Alien was pretty B movie, B-minus movie, but I think with our cast and the way it was done, it came out as a pretty A+ movie! We've reinvented the idea of Alien, I think, with Prometheus and this, Covenant. It gets a step closer to who and why was this thing designed and made. Who did it?
Before any of us could ask about the specific answers Alien: Covenant would provide, however, Ridley Scott punctuated the statement by saying:
And if you think it's them you're dead wrong!
Rather than having Alien: Covenant give us all of the answers that Ridley Scott has been searching for, it instead sounds like the movie will be another stepping stone to that truth. With Prometheus' Michael Fassbender coming back as David, and Noomi Rapace once again playing Elizabeth Shaw, we can perhaps guess that they have some hand in it, but we hardly expect the full explanation to be anything simple.
Thanks to an impressive number of great interviews with castmembers and filmmakers on set, we will have plenty more updates about Alien: Covenant here on CinemaBlend very soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. The sci-fi horror blockbuster is set to arrive in theaters on May 19th, and you can head over to Page Two to watch the brilliant new trailer that was just released!