#AlienCovenant drags the existential angst of Prometheus back into the blood-soaked B-movie territory of the original Alien. It acts as the connective tissue between the two, finally revealing the origin of the Xenomorphs and unveiling the overarching antagonist of the prequel saga. While it never quite bridges the gap, the ending of Alien: Covenant suggests a particularly grizzly answer to one of the major mysteries from the original movie: who was the Space Jockey, and what happened to his ship?
Warning: this post contains spoilers for Alien: Covenant.
The Derelict ship that Dallas, Lambert, and Kane explore in Alien remains a bone of contention and source of debate. Many believed that Prometheus would investigate the immediate origins of the ship and the fossilized Space Jockey. Instead, it broadened the scope of the franchise and set the stage for further sequels and prequels. In fact, director Ridley Scott has teased anything from one to six more Alien films following Covenant.
This meandering trajectory might disappoint a few who were hoping for concrete answers, but the ending to Alien: Covenant may have provided the first tangible clues as to the dark origin of the Space Jockey.
Alien's Derelict Ship: "That Colossal Wreck"
The original derelict from Alien is packed full of grotesque Ovomorphs (eggs) that give birth to the Facehuggers we all know and love. Alien: Covenant traced the origins of these alien eggs back to David's little shop of horrors, and the unwilling autopsy of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace). His experiments with human biological matter and the primordial black goo of Prometheus result in the birth of a repulsive killing machine: the Xenomorph.
Alien: Covenant ends as David has commandeered the Covenant and its 2,000 slumbering colonists, leaving him with an interstellar laboratory brimming with organisms that he can meddle with freely. Enough to fill the cargo holds of an Engineer ship, at any rate. The question remains however, how and why they end up there?
David's Creations: "Look On My Works, Ye Mighty"
Alien: Covenant revealed that David is the genesis of a new alien species, but he's also the exodus of one. The spectacular scene in which he rains genocide down on the Engineer's planet was robbed of its impact by an unnecessary early release and a lack of clarity as to why David did it in the first place. Could it merely be a symptom of his inevitable breakdown, or a foreshadowing of his ultimate goal? Prometheus teased a similar genocide with the Engineer's destructive course charting for Earth, only for David to turn the galactic tables on the species.
However, David has shown no loyalty to mankind. His chief desire is autonomy and creation, with humans continuing to disappoint him, despite being indispensable to his work. Alien: Covenant brought David face-to-face with his "brother" Walter, the next generation of android that had been made more user-friendly at the cost of his creativity.
David is willing to sacrifice anyone and anything in the evolution of a perfect species. He's undeniably obsessed with the importance of creation, especially because it was the emphasis behind his own genesis. This shows the stark difference between how humans create, and how David creates. This opposition and foreshadowing suggests that David intends for the next course in the Xenomorphic food chain to be planet Earth.
"My Name Is Ozymandias, King Of Kings"
As David and Walter stand together at the fake grave for Elizabeth Shaw, David quotes the Shelley poem 'Ozymandias', an ironic verse that evokes hubris, groundless arrogance, and downfall. This particular choice of poem suggests that whatever his eventual aim is, David is destined to fail.
Perhaps Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and Tennessee (Danny McBride) escape their cryo-sleep unscathed, waking up to find the Covenant transformed into David's fortress of horror. One of those two could even be the source of the distress signal detected in the original Alien. Taking this theory one step fruther, one of these characters could even be within the suit of the Space Jockey, having wrested control of the Derelict from the maniacal David but sacrificing themselves in the process.
However, an increasingly popular fan theory suggests a different origin for the Space Jockey, putting David himself inside the elephantine suit. The imagery behind Alien has always grafted the biological with the technological, so this would be a fitting downfall for David, "King of Kings". If true, there are a few more questions fans need answered. Could David have perfected the Xenomorph strain using those helpless colonists, to the point that they could impregnate even androids? If so, what happened to that Robomorph hybrid?
The Xenomorphs have seemed pointedly averse to chowing down on androids in the franchise thus far, and what's more likely is that David's eggs will be confiscated from him by a branch of surviving Engineers. They're capable of interplanetary travel themselves, and certain aesthetic differences between the Engineers of Prometheus and those of Covenant suggest that they have their own fair share of evolutionary variation.
However, what seems almost certain is that the eggs aboard the Derelict can be traced back to Alien: Covenant and the innocent colonists sleeping on board.
Alien: Covenant is now in theaters.