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Warning: Massive spoilers ahead for Alien: Covenant. Don't read any further if you haven't seen Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi horror outing!
Anyone who has seen Alien: Covenant knows that the ending of the film has massive implications for the mythology of the franchise. The film reveals Michael Fassbender's David as the creator of the dreaded Xenomorph and thrusts the series into a direction that no one would've ever thought possible back in 1979. David's creation of the Xenomorphs is a phenomenally poetic twist for the Alien franchise, but it also raises a very specific question that Covenant never answers. Specifically, the central twist of Covenant seems to turn the gloriously H.R. Giger-inspired Xenomorph mural from Prometheus into a glaring plot hole.
Alien: Covenant goes to great lengths to establish the fact that David is the creator of the Xenomorphs. His talk of selective breeding would make Reginald Punnett proud, and the sequence in which the chestburster murders its way out of Oram's (Billy Crudup) breastplate is played by Ridley Scott and the actors as the birth of the first of these terrifying creatures. It's a fantastic moment, but it also seemingly creates an enormous anachronism for Prometheus, as that movie featured a mural on LV-223 that appears to show fully formed Xenomorphs. This means that the Engineers apparently knew about these creatures long before humans arrived, meaning David couldn't be the creator of the alien in the way that Covenant would suggest.
Of course, some fans have tried to plug this plot hole by pointing out that the beast depicted in the mural is not a Xenomorph, but a Deacon -- the proto-Xenomorph seen in the final moments of Prometheus.
There's certainly credence to the idea that it's a Deacon on that mural and not a Xenomorph, but certain aspects of that argument still don't completely add up. For starters, the Deacon comes to life through a VERY specific set of breeding circumstances. Holloway's (Logan Marshall-Green) sperm is infected with the black goo, which leads Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) to birth a squid-like proto-Facehugger, which then crossbreeds with an Engineer, which THEN bursts out of the Engineer's chest to reveal the Deacon. Human DNA is necessary for at least two separate steps of the process for a proper Deacon to show up.
On a less scientific level, I would argue that the alien seen in the mural simply resembles the classic Xenomorph more than it does the Deacon. The artwork on the wall shows an alien with slightly more biomechanical features (like the Xenomorph) and a head that seems rounder than the Deacon's. I want to believe that there's a greater scheme at play here, but it's hard to shake the feeling that Ridley Scott either forgot about the Prometheus mural when he sat own to develop Covenant, or he simply chose to ignore it.
CinemaBlend will keep you up to date with more information concerning the future of the Alien franchise as more information about David and his Xenomorphs becomes available to us. Alien: Covenant is now in theaters.
What do you think? Is the mural seen in Prometheus a plot hole?