alien covenant prologue

If you were watching Legion this evening (and you really should be watching Legion!), you were offered a brief preview of looks like an extended clip from Alien: Covenant. The full scene has arrived online and it introduces us to the crew of the colony ship Covenant, which is venturing deep into space on a mission to establish human outposts on other planets. But it’s not actually a scene from the movie – it’s a short film called Prologue: Last Supper and it’s directed by Luke Scott, the son of director Ridley Scott.

While it probably doesn’t feature any footage from the actual movie, the short does offer something the final film probably will not: this group of people actually having a good time, with no running or screaming or eviscerations. Let’s see what we can gleam from it.

Here’s the description of the short, which helps set the table for what we’re about to see:

The Prologue: Last Supper short introduces the crew of the mission. Set aboard the Covenant, a colonization ship on its way to a remote planet to form a new human settlement, the main crew (all couples) and their android, Walter, enjoy one last meal together before cryosleep.

And here’s the short itself. Let’s talk about it after everyone has had a chance to watch it.

Okay, let’s run down what we can gather from this short.

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James Franco is playing the captain of the Covenant and he seems like a pretty buttoned-down and serious fellow, a big change of pace from the sleazeballs and weirdos he plays so often. He doesn’t seem to be feeling well, which isn’t a good look for anyone in the Alien series. However, his ailment is probably not related to any Xenomorphs – no one in the crew has even entered cryosleep yet, which means they’re not deep enough in space for things to have gone horribly wrong.

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Danny McBride is playing Tennessee and based on his position at the front of the ship, he appears to be the Covenant‘s pilot. From what we can see in this footage, this guy is a less obnoxious, more personable version of the typical McBride character: loud, fun-loving, and prone to being more than a little brash. His reaction to two male crew members kissing is also typical of McBride – any potential discomfort is disarmed by a self-deprecating joke about his own sexuality. His wife is played by Upstream Color star Amy Seimetz, which is an actor combination I never thought we’d ever see.

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Let’s talk about two gay crew members (one of whom is played by Demián Bichir) and how they represent the Covenant‘s somewhat progressive set-up. While the colony ship is made up entirely of couples (for the purposes of repopulation, you see), same-sex couples are not excluded. Welcome to the future, where your sexuality does not prevent you from going on terrifying space voyages!

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The only people who don’t seem totally chill with Bichir and Kleut’s characters are the couple played by Billy Crudup and Carmen Ejogo. But they also seem totally uncool with Tennessee’s drinking and gambling and general loudness, so they may just be a bunch of prudes.

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Next up is Michael Fassbender‘s Walter, an android based on the same design as David, the more menacing artificial person introduced in Prometheus. We know from recent interviews with Fassbender that Walter is a little more advanced than David and a whole lot less threatening. While David looked like he was modeled after David Bowie, Walter looks far more blue collar and approachable, with a gruff, American accent instead of a posh English one. That voice, along with his very direct way of dealing with a choking crew member, seem to deliberately recall Lance Henriksen’s Bishop from Aliens.

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And finally, the clip ends with Katherine Waterston‘s Daniels speaking to the crew and…we don’t know much about her…except that the captain seems to trust her.

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Let’s end this with a look at the Covenant itself, which appears to be absolutely massive. Alien: Covenant opens on May 19, 2017. This is the last time we will probably see these characters smile and laugh, so don’t get used to it.

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

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