The idea that man is the ultimate monster has long been the core theme of movies that explore the conflict between man and beast.
In the case of the Alien series, though, and perhaps the reason they can't really be considered classic "monster movies," the primary theme until now has been survival. We're supposed to consider the Xenomorph, with its unstoppable survival instinct, to be the ultimate enemy, and unlike, say, King Kong, there's never been a suggestion that we should feel sorry for this hyper-advanced alien lifeform — we only feel sorry for the people who encounter it.
But perhaps man, not nature, really is the ultimate monster of the Alien universe after all. If you read on, you will be confronted with a fate more terrifying than death by Xenomorph — you'll be swimming in a sea of gooey black #AlienCovenant spoilers. Don't say you weren't warned.
Ridley Scott used America's favorite hipster film fest, #SXSW, to host an opening night screening of Alien this weekend, and while there he decided to treat the audience to three extended sequences from Alien: Covenant. From that footage, we learned that the Prometheus sequel is more or less purely a horror movie (closer to Alien than Aliens), and that the horrors facing Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and the crew of the Covenant here are greater even than Ripley's trauma in Alien.
But more importantly, one sequence involving Fassbender's original android, David, reveals an enormous spoiler which ultimately mutates the DNA of this franchise into something completely different. Instead of being a story of survival with a few hints about the creation of alien life gestating in the background, it's now a story of man bringing about his own doom. Why?
Because that scene from Covenant just revealed that the Xenomorphs were not created by the Engineers. They were created by David. Oh, shit.
The scene in question finds Oram (Billy Crudup, the ship's new captain) being taken on a tour of David's lair, a workshop of thoroughly ungodly experimentation. David, who now has limbs again, has been genetically modifying the DNA of the alien from Prometheus in order to create a superior lifeform. A chamber inside the lair contains four eggs which bear a striking similarity to the egg from which the facehugger is unleashed in Alien.
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All he needs now is a host to birth the creatures — which is where the captain steps in. If this planet is a supposed paradise, Oram just wandered squarely into hell.
The repercussions of the discovery that the alien is not the result of natural selection or genetic evolution, but is in fact the product of what happens when advanced technology turns on its maker, are clear — the Alien saga is now a cautionary tale about A.I. That's major. It also raises as many questions as it answers, particularly whether the original alien in Prometheus was a similar aberration.
Ridley Scott wants to make six more Alien movies (perhaps a touch ambitious), so there's plenty of time to play with the larger consequences of the Xenomorph's genetic engineering.
Check out the Alien: Covenant trailer below for a further reminder that nobody with even half a brain cell would ever go into space.
If man created the monster, is there any hope for the future of humanity in Alien?