Can a movie be a prequel and a sequel at the same time? Only if it’s an “Alien” film.
“Alien: Covenant” takes place 18 years before the events that happened in the original “Alien” that came out in 1979 and was directed by Ridley Scott. But it also takes place 10 years after the events in “Prometheus,” which was also directed by Scott and released in 2012. Got all that?
Here’s a primer on “Covenant” (if you haven’t seen “Prometheus,” STOP READING NOW – major spoilers ahead).
Where do the other sequels fall in this timeline?
They don’t. Just pretend that “Alien 3,” “Alien: Resurrection” and “Alien vs. Predator” didn’t exist (especially that last one).
What is ‘Covenant’ about?
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, crew members on the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise and naturally check it out. After landing, they meet David, the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition a decade earlier. But soon, the paradise turns dark, and the gooey aliens rear their ugly heads.
What is ‘Prometheus’ about?
The discovery of a clue to mankind’s origins leads a team of explorers to a distant planet on a ship named Prometheus. Two brilliant young scientists lead the expedition: Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), who hopes that they will meet a race of benevolent, godlike beings known as “the Engineers,” and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), who is out to debunk any spiritual notions. Among the crew is David (Michael Fassbender), a synthetic artificial intelligence being.
So the Engineers created mankind?
Sort of. They also changed their minds, in a way, and began laying out a plan to destroy the race with a pathogen that causes various mutations. The Engineers are giant, milky-skinned-looking thingies you wouldn’t want to bring home to meet Mom. In “Prometheus,” there is one lone Engineer still living on the planet that is awakened by David.
What is the origin of the Xenomorph (or alien)?
In “Prometheus,” Charlie unknowingly ingests the pathogen (after David knowingly puts it in Charlie’s drink) and then hooks up with Elizabeth, who gets pregnant really, really fast. The next day she gives birth to a “trilobite,” or “Facehugger,” as they have become known in the movies. It attacks the lone Engineer, who then births a “proto-Xenomorph,” one of the beasts that burst out of John Hurt’s chest in the original “Alien.” Yeah, there was a lot of birthing going on.
Who stars in ‘Covenant?’
Katherine Waterston – the daughter of acting vet Sam Waterston – looks to be the Ripley-esque character here, with her short hair and tough demeanor. James Franco stars as the ship’s captain. Other crew members are played by Danny McBride, Billy Crudup and Demian Bichir. Michael Fassbender returns as the synthetic David but also plays Walter, an upgraded synthetic being.
Will there be more action or heady stuff?
The existential questions and gloomy tone at the heart of “Prometheus” left some fans a little lukewarm, but that doesn’t look like it will be the case with “Covenant.” Judging from the trailers, this film looks to be more like the original “Alien” and “Aliens” in tone and suspense. After all, no one in space can hear you scream.