Preview: Alien: Covenant

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The Alien franchise has spanned the decades since the first instalment graced our screens in 1979. Most fans will agree that Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens were masterpieces that have managed to stand the test of time. Although Alien 3 was met with severe disappointment and was followed by the monstrosity that was Alien: Resurrection, Ridley Scott is back again taking the reins for his third venture in the franchise with the highly-anticipated release of Alien: Covenant. Following the events of Scott’s prequel, Prometheus supposedly tells the story of the ship Covenant’s crew comprising of couples who plan to colonise a mysterious planet. Although Prometheus was a success it did leave fans with a lot of unanswered questions and perhaps didn’t reach its full potential. Fans are eagerly awaiting Covenant’s release due to an impressive marketing campaign. But what can we expect from this latest addition to the franchise? Firstly, we hope to get some answers about Scott’s new creations known as ‘The Engineers’ and why they are so hell bent on destroying the humans which they created. Fans are also looking to find out the fate of the remaining survivors from Prometheus, Doctor Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the head of the synthetic David (Michael Fassbender) who have both been cast in this instalment.

One thing that’s certain is that Scott has certainly made the effort to make this film look and feel a lot like his original with dreary cinematography and claustrophobic spaceship corridors. The return of the famous Xenomorph in the full trailer was a welcome addition despite Scott expressing his fear that using the creature might be “played out”. But Scott seems to really be returning to his roots this time stating in an interview. “We’ll have them all: egg, face-hugger, chest-burster, then the big boy.” Along with some Alien nostalgia, Covenant boasts some impressive cast members including Danny McBride and James Franco who has suspiciously been left out of a lot of the promotional material. Prometheus suffered because it was subject to some extensive cuts (which Scott is no stranger to). Hopefully, Covenant won’t experience the same fate and will help to provide the audience with some much-needed context that was missing in Prometheus. The four screenwriters, which includes John Logan who previously worked with Scott on Gladiator, also run the risk of writing themselves into a corner. Scott has even hinted at the idea of doing a further four films, depending on its success. This begs the question: do we want that many Alien films? Returning to an old franchise is a risk but one that can pay off greatly as evidenced by the success of the new Star Wars sequel. The news of Scott’s extensive future film plans leaves fans with some cautious optimism, but the reality is that the ticket lines will be massive come May.
Ian Mangan