Good news first — the Alien Covenant prologue which dropped last night is so good that my faith in this movie is currently at dangerously high levels. The "last supper in space" is a pretty clever way of introducing the entire, fifteen-strong crew of the colony ship Covenant, who plan to procreate and make beautiful babies when they reach their destination.
And if this was a series on HBO, they might actually get there.
But it's not. It's a movie by Ridley Scott, the sequel to a film in which literally everybody died, and a prequel to another movie in which being a human in space carries a roughly 6% chance of survival. In other words, don't get too attached to the beautiful faces on board the Covenant, because most of these people gon' be dead quicker than you say "I heart Sigourney Weaver."
Check out the 'Last Supper' prologue (which was actually directed by Ridley's son Luke) below, before we dissect the early clues hidden within to work out which members of the #AlienCovenant crew will die first, who'll go most brutally, and who will make it to the end only to be murdered by Michael Fassbender.
The first people we meet in the prologue are the android Walter (Fassbender), and Daniels (Katherine Waterston), a terraforming expert whom you'd hope possesses more skill than Fifield of #Prometheus, who managed to get lost inside the very same cave he'd previously made a 3D holographic map of. David the android was basically indestructible, so Walter probably has the similar luxury of knowing he won't die. He's also immune to irrational impulses, unlike his fellow crew members.
Daniels is noticeably less glamorous than the other women on the ship, and therefore will probably survive the longest. Also, she might be Ellen Ripley's mother, seeing as they have the same haircut. That said, she's being swabbed and claims to feel fine, which can only mean that she will soon succumb to a violent virus, or already has a bug which is impossible to detect, but which acts as a magnet for alien life forms. The prognosis? Decent shot at survival, strong chance of major body horror en route.
Next up we meet James Franco and Billy Crudup. Franco's character Branson is the ship's captain. He's "feeling kinda crazy, burning up," but doesn't deem it necessary to mention this to Walter or any other medic on board the Covenant. If the focus of this shot didn't already make it blindingly obvious that Crudup is pining for the captaincy of the ship, the fact that the existing captain is retiring early for the night clearly signposts an impending transfer of power.
When you're the ship's captain in science fiction, you either die or you're Patrick Stewart — and, short of a big prosthetic mask-related twist, neither of these men is Patrick Stewart. Branson will likely not survive the opening ten minutes with that mysterious fever, whereas the replacement captain will die a hero in time-honored fashion. He may get Captain Dallas'd, in fact, in the vain of the Alien clip above.
Ambition. It's a killer.
Here we have Faris (Amy Seimetz) and her husband Tennessee, the ship's pilot (Danny McBride). He outright states that the "big old sea of nothing" which is space "kinda spooks me out," suggesting he may be the one person on board this ship who's actually seen Alien, and she is drunk, as another crew member saltily observes.
Anybody who knows their sci-fi is aware that you have to really care about space to survive a journey through it, so Tennessee's omens are not good — and his death is doubly useful, because when the crew need to get off that alien-inhabited planet at light speed, they'll be without the one man they need the most. As for Faris, she's probably going to make a dubious decision while under the influence. She'll be dead before the hour mark.
Would you look at those eyes? The shade is palpable. Carmen Ejogo plays Crudup's wife, an apparently judgmental woman guaranteed to start a fight at some point during this movie. Hot-headed people in space are always among the first to go — you may recall the deliciously grizzly karmic fate of Fifield in Prometheus.
Ejogo will die before her husband, some time around the middle of Covenant, and she will not be mourned.
The immediate impression of our first look at Jussie Smollett and Callie Hernandez is that both are much too happy, the only appropriate punishment for which is to kill one and use that death to turn the other into a hardened badass, a classic Dead Lover's Revenger move.
- The Epic 'Alien: Covenant' Trailer: Easter Eggs And Theories
- 'The Last Supper' Is The Calm Before The Storm For 'Covenant'
- Quiz Time: How Well Do You Know Your Xenomorphs?
Seeing Hernandez almost choke to death before Walter saves the day (could "I've got your back" possibly be any creepier?) feels like a major double-bluff — hey, guys, she's fine! Until she's not. I'm calling a super-gruesome death for her, while her man survives to do some alien-slaying before sacrificing himself late on. What a champ.
Finally, this gay couple played by Nathaniel Dean and Demián Bichir exist in somewhat uncharted territory of their own — how many gays has sci-fi, a supposedly forward-thinking genre, really been bold enough to present on screen? Typically, you might expect the dubious "bury your gays" trope to rear its heteronormative head here, but it would be hard to accuse Covenant of that even if both guys do die, seeing as this is an Alien film and the body count will be stratospheric.
I'm going to bet that Tennessee's joke about "colonizing all over that table" plays out as some kind of visceral foreshadowing of one of these dudes being alien'd and having their remains spread across the table like jam. Just a hunch.
Check out the full-length Covenant trailer below. It's out May 19, just enough time for you to embark on an Alien marathon (no, you can't leave out Alien³) and familiarize yourself with the countless other tropes bound to repeat themselves here.
How many of the fifteen-strong Covenant crew will actually survive this utter bloodbath of a movie?