Earlier this month, Fox showed off a bunch of footage from four of its upcoming movies. Among them were some scenes from Alien: Covenant which revealed the new cast, the new xenomorph, and the horrors that await us all. And it looks like it’s going to a hell of a prequel.
Here’s what he know about Alien: Covenant: it follows the crew of a colony ship Covenant are bound for a planet they think is perfect for them. The ship is full of people in stasis to populate the new colony. The crew manning the ship is mostly scientists and pilots, very few military folks around to help fight. Pretty much the whole crew is also composed of couples, which makes sense if they’re meant to populate a new planet.
Covenant reaches a planet they think might be the paradise they’re looking for and sends down a shuttle full of crew members to investigate. The pilot of the shuttle is Amy Seimetz, and among the people going down to the planet are Carmen Ejogo, Billy Crudup, and Katherine Waterston’s Daniels.
As the shuttle prepares to land, we see the crew banter over the radio with each other. Back on the Covenant are Danny McBride and Jussie Smollett, who declines to join in on the ribbing about various characters’ “tits.” It looks like McBride and Seimetz are a couple and they’re joking with each other.
The shuttle hits a rough patch on its way down to the planet, and Daniels looks nauseous. She seems like she isn’t used to flying or space and she really doesn’t look happy about any of this. She also is very quiet during this clip, not joining in on any of the ribald banter.
We also saw a much longer scene that was bloody, tense, and terrifying. Seimetz’s pilot character was left with the shuttle when she gets a call from two crew members who were out scouting the planet. One of them is “sick” and they’re coming back asking for medical aid. The second you see the sick crew member, anyone even remotely familiar with this franchise knows what happened.
Seimetz helps Ejogo carry the infected man to the medical bay of the shuttle while he writhes and screams. There is something under his skin and a spray of blood catches Seimetz in the face. She runs out and locks the door behind her, quarantining Ejogo with the infected man, while Ejogo yells for her to let him out.
The neomorph doesn’t burst out of a chest this time, but exits violently out the man’s back, taking his spine with him. There is a lot of blood and, even knowing it’s coming, it’s scary. The neomorph is pale and, save some a single long spike on each shoulder, looks a lot like the original xenomorphs.
The neomorph attacks Ejogo, who tries to defend herself with what’s in the med bay. Meanwhile, an armed Seimatz unlocks the door (yes, like any good horror movie, you will be yelling at her not to do this) and goes in to attack it. She slips on the pool of blood left from the man’s spine exiting his body and she hits the floor on her back with a very painful thud.
Ejogo’s character is a loss and Seimatz is outmatched, so she tries for the door again, slamming it shut on her own leg as she tries to get out. She limps for the cargo bay as the neomorph slams against the glass, breaking it to escape.
Seimatz is panting, scared, and jumping at everything. The neomorph is running around in the darks nooks of the cargo bay. Seimatz screams and tries to shoot it, but it doesn’t really work.
The scene then moves outside the shuttle, where another team, this one with Daniels in it, is returning. They’ve got a sick teammate, too. As they get to the shuttle, it violently explodes, possibly stranding them on the planet. There’s also interference making contact with the Covenant difficult.
Even as they stare at the wreckage left by the explosion, a neomorph bursts out of their team member’s back and runs off in the grass. Everyone is in various states of shock and horror, except for one. The camera pans up to show us Michael Fassbender, who just cocks his heads curiously.
I think Fassbender is playing David from Prometheus in this scene and not the new android, Walter. Rumor has it that the Covenant crew will find David on the planet, and this backs that up. Plus, we didn’t see him on the shuttle when they were piloting it down. But the fact that he’s got a fully working body again throws that off a bit.
I can’t stress enough how good the scene inside the shuttle was. It uses the fact that audiences know what’s coming to up the tension and make you wish the characters had the same knowledge we do. Seimatz and Ejogo’s terror is all over their faces and body movement and Seimatz’s yelling and screaming sent chills down my spine. The radio cutting in and out, plus the added emotional weight of her partner knowing something very bad is going down, adds to it. And I spent the whole hunt in the cargo bay hoping she’d be able to kill the thing and get away.
While this is clearly connected to Prometheus, it’s clear that they’re going back to all the things that made the first Alien so good. This scene was meant to prove this, from the design of the neomorphs to the running around an industrial-looking ship trying to survive. It’s satisfying, but I do hope there’s something more to it than just trying to make Alien again. It’s still a fun ride, even so.