What kind of colonization mission assembles a crew of just fourteen people? That question has been simmering away in the back of my mind over the last week, since the Luke Scott-directed Alien: Covenant prologue, 'The Last Supper', hit the internet.
Fox is keeping the hype train for #AlienCovenant going with the drop of a new trailer which hints at the project that has been keeping the android David busy since Prometheus — while suggesting, potentially, that this small-scale colonization mission is actually something far more sinister.
Check out the new Covenant trailer below, but only if you're as hungry for this movie as a xenomorph for human blood, because this one looks really quite spoiler-heavy. If you prefer to go in completely unspoiled, you're rolling the dice by hitting play.
Among all that new footage, two shots stand out as being critical to expanding the lore of the Alien universe — first, the shot of an alien spore being crushed underfoot and releasing a virus, and second, the mysterious, hooded figure firing a gun or flare into the air.
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Let's start with him, or her. Logically, you'd assume that this was either Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) or David (Michael Fassbender), who at the close of Prometheus was nothing but a decapitated, fully-functioning head being carried under Shaw's arm. I think it's highly likely that Shaw is long dead, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that David has been using her body as a vessel to give birth to new life.
That unforgettable (we've all tried) birthing scene in Prometheus leaves no doubt that a human host can incubate and birth an alien life form after being infected orally or via other bodily fluids, and David, who's curious and without loyalty, would have no qualms about using Shaw as a host — to what end, though, is unclear. Presumably she survived at least long enough to plant the wheat whose presence on the planet is so surprising to the crew of the Covenant.
That troublesome spore, meanwhile, which seems guaranteed to wipe out a solid half of the Covenant's crew, could tie in with a theory about why the Xenomorphs were created by the Engineers. In Prometheus, the crew discover a holographic recording of the Engineers fleeing some unseen horror, arguably an attack against their own kind by an alien spore, of which the Engineer who awakens from cryosleep when the crew invades is the sole survivor.
What if the Engineers created the Xenomorphs with a very specific purpose — to stop the spread of a life-threatening virus across the universe by killing everything it could possibly infect, wiping out all life forms? Disease always needs a vessel for survival, so when there are no longer any hosts (humans, for instance) capable of carrying an infection, the infection itself no longer carries a threat. That could explain the pile of Engineer bodies seen in the Covenant trailer.
What's less clear is whether the Engineers planned to take samples from the life forms they would then wipe out in order to repopulate afterward, or whether their own survival was the sole priority. If that theory is rooted in any kind of truth, it would give a distinctly Halo-esque sheen to the lore of the Alien universe.
I'm not sure how that would tie in with David's activity prior to the events of Covenant, or what the true nature of the Covenant mission is if not colonization (a crew of fourteen people being nowhere near big enough to colonize a new planet) — but I'd speculate that somebody on board this ship, probably pilot Tenneesee (Danny McBride), has been sent by Weyland Corp to recover some kind of alien data, or to perhaps establish the weaponization potential of that powerful infection. Effectively, it's a suicide mission masquerading as something more hopeful.
Expect answers when Alien: Covenant blasts off on May 19 — but not too many answers, or there won't be any sequels.
Were the Xenomorphs created to stop the spread of an alien virus, and what's David been doing since Prometheus?