The beloved Alien franchise is coming back to theaters with Alien: Covenant, and the new film has one big question to answer — can it win fans back after 2012's Prometheus?
The much-maligned prequel didn't feel like a true Alien movie. With Alien: Covenant, however, fans are hoping that Ridley Scott will recapture what made the original 1979 film so fantastic. As the trailers, TV advertisements and billboards make clear, the Xenomorphs are back.
It would seem that we have a much more fleshed-out cast of characters this time around, and the tone looks straight out of the original Alien. But could this lead to a different problem?
How Can Covenant Balance A Classic Formula While Surprising Us?
While I am all for Ridley Scott going back and embracing the cold, dark, claustrophobic horror that made the original Alien such a classic, I don't want this to feel like a reboot or remake of the original film. As shown with many of the trailers and the "Last Supper" clip, there are scenes lifted straight out of the original film — and while that could work for some cool Easter Eggs and tributes in Covenant, it can't be the whole movie.
Each entry in the franchise — whether bad or good — adds new lore to the Xenomorph universe.As a fan of this series, I believe that Alien: Covenant can find the perfect balance of old and new by keeping the terror and claustrophobia of the original films while embracing the new grand scale that Scott established well in Prometheus.
While I extremely disliked Prometheus overall, I do think that Scott's use of visuals and sound were astonishing — and if used in a real Alien film could lead to a great horror movie. Very rarely are horror movies given such a budget to work with, so I hope Scott doesn't just stick to dark hallways throughout Covenant.
But We Don't Want Prometheus 2
Covenant shouldn't just be a retread of Alien and Aliens, but then there is the other extreme: not honoring the original movies at all.
Prometheus disappointed fans because it was more of an existential journey trying to discover the origins of humanity in the stars, making it feel more like a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than a prequel to Alien. While I see nothing wrong with exploring new themes and ideas, I don't want this franchise to experience an identity crisis. We can respect the old while embracing the new.
Good recent examples of such balance include Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Both films took bits and pieces from the original trilogy while still adding their own characters, story and lore to that universe — and fandom overwhelmingly accepted them into the canon.
Alien: Covenant should and does seem to be going that route in some cases. We may be getting a repeat of the famous chestbuster scene from the original film, but at the same time, we seem to be exploring new breeds in Xenomorphs with these creepy looking Neomorph creatures that are sprinkled in the advertisements for milliseconds.
Let's hope that this is the case throughout the entire movie — setting up new possibilities for the future while not alienating (no pun intended) fans of the originals.
Alien: Covenant hits theaters on May 19th.
Do you think Alien: Covenant should focus on basics or give us something wildly new? Make your voice heard in the comments below (even if no one can hear it in space)!