Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Last year, I visited the set of Alien: Covenant. Today, I was able to publish my observations, and I wrote all about the film’s gore and monsters, its cast of characters, its sets and costumes, and its connections to Prometheus. And then, like clockwork, a new trailer arrived, and you know what means – it’s time to go through this whole thing frame-by-frame.
Please note: While I have not seen Alien: Covenant, I will incorporate observations from the set visit into this trailer breakdown. Any potential spoilers are purely speculation. If you want to go in as fresh as possible, I’d recommend not reading any further.
“You’ve all sacrificed so much to be here…” Interestingly, the trailer opens with footage that I’m not convinced is in the final movie at all. This scene, where the crew of the Covenant gathers for a meal at the start of their expedition, comes from the special “prologue” short that was released last week, and it’s directed by Luke Scott, the son of director Ridley Scott. Since the actual plot of the film kicks off with the crew already deep into their outer space voyage, it wouldn’t be surprising if this scene never exists outside of the internet and the home video extra features.
Welcome to the Covenant, a massive colony ship that is venturing into deep space to find an uninhabited planet to terraform and make suitable for human life.
“This crew is made up of couples.” Because the crew of the Covenant is on a one-way mission that ends with everyone finding a new home and staying put, the entire ship is staffed with couples. You know, to assist the colony in growing in the years to come. Because this is the future and everyone has actually important things to worry about, same-sex couples are also present and one bats an eye.
Here’s one of those couples right now: Danny McBride‘s Tennessee, the Covenant‘s chief engineer, and his wife Faris, played by Amy Seimetz.
Although most of Alien: Covenant was shot on sets built on soundstages, two weeks were spent filming in New Zealand. Although this trailer certainly features some digital assistance, there is plenty stunning scenery on display. It’s easy to see why the crew would see this place and think “Yeah, let’s settle here.”
Naturally, every doomed mission needs to begin with on-the-ground recon, with Covenant scientists exploring this uncharted world alongside the military security team tasked with keeping them safe.
Meet Walter, one of two characters Michael Fassbender is playing in Alien: Covenant. While the sinister David (introduced in Prometheus) is back, the trailer keeps him offscreen. This new artificial person is made from the same mold, but his human trails and emotions have been dialed back – Fassbender compares him to Star Trek‘s Spock. He’s sort of an all-purpose ship handyman, with several crew members thinking of him as only a tool and nothing more.
Here’s some New Zealand countryside. It’s not quite a lush or as inviting as Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth, almost as if…I don’t know…as if there’s something wrong here…
One of the tricky aspects of Alien: Covenant is that it has to be a prequel to Alien, with its (awesome) analog technology while also feeling like a somewhat realistic depiction of the future. I love how this little rover looks like the next natural step above the devices NASA is already using today.
“This is wheat. What are the odds of finding human vegetation this far from Earth?” That’s an excellent question. Meet Sergeant Lope (played by Demián Bichir), the head of security on the Covenant mission and a seasoned military man. He’s in a relationship with Hallet (Nathaniel Deen), one of the soldiers under his command.
Although we do not know her name yet, this is a biologist played by Carmen Ejogo. She’s married to Billy Crudup‘s Christopher Oram, who we’ll meet soon enough. Take careful note of the wheat field – we’ll be back here under more dire circumstances later in the trailer.
Meet Daniels (Katherine Waterston), the third-in-command of the Covenant mission and the expedition’s chief terraforming expert. She’s been planning this expedition for a decade and surely all of her hard work won’t end in blood and screaming. Right? She’s the lead character of the film and the latest in the Alien series’ line of tough ladies rising to the occasion.
On the Alien: Covenant set, we saw several different versions of the classic Xenomorph design, with some looking more like the classic alien than others. This shot of a boot crushing some odd vegetation and releasing some tiny spores makes me wonder if we’ll see some additional creature origins in addition to the classic egg/facehugger set-up.
Meet Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup) the chief science officer and first mate on board the Covenant. Despite his scientific background, Oram is a very religious man and sees his mission into the unknown as an act of divine providence. He doesn’t like the crew, and the crew doesn’t like him.