12:56pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Alien: Covenant' Teaser — The Callbacks You May Have Missed
In space, no one can fail to hear you make thinly veiled allusions to oncoming extraterrestrial disaster. Or, at least, that seems to be the impression left by "Prologue: Last Supper," the new four-minute sneak peek of Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant.
Released months ahead of Covenant, "Last Supper" takes full advantage of audiences' familiarity with the larger Alien franchise to repeatedly tease potential trouble ahead in the most obvious of places. In the end, nothing goes wrong — the bad stuff is presumably being left for the full movie to deliver — but there's no way to get around the fact that the short definitely wants you to know that all kinds of things might be about to happen, just in case. Like what, you ask? Well, like this…
Look Into the Light
The video opens with Walter (Michael Fassbender) giving Daniels (Katherine Waterson) medical instructions ahead of the crew heading into cryogenic stasis. This is a two-fer in terms of shout-outs to the original 1979 Alien: Fassbender's android assistant being a reference to Ian Holm's Ash in that movie — not to mention his own David in 2012's Prometheus — who turned out to be a traitorous presence ready to betray his human crewmates for an ulterior purpose, while the original Alien opened with the team coming out of stasis. Either way, the implication is clear: History might be about to repeat itself … in reverse, considering that this is a prequel.
I'm Just Burning Up
Why is James Franco's Captain Branson sick? That doesn't seem like something that will ultimately turn out to be meaningless in the grand scheme of things — especially when you consider that someone that looks very like Franco apparently gets an alien spore in his ear in the movie's first trailer. Has Branson been infected already? After all, when Logan Marshall-Green's character was exposed to a similar (the same?) dark liquid in Prometheus, he got sick as well…
I Heard About These Crazy Bugs Outside This Colonial Post
This is likely just an Easter Egg of a line rather than a specific piece of foreshadowing, but it's worth remembering that 1986's Aliens had the Colonial Marines use the term "bug hunt" in reference to dealing with the xenomorphs. (It might also be an oblique reference to the dark liquid from Prometheus being a genetic accelerant, an idea put forward in a 2014 comic book spinoff; perhaps exposure to such things can cause "crazy bugs" that are far too big for anyone's good to be flying around.)
Went Down the Wrong Pipe
A happy scene of shipmates having a good time, only to be interrupted by one of them suddenly coughing out of nowhere? Well, it's not as if that's a particularly iconic scene from the franchise or anything…
Of all the shout-outs to earlier moments in the series, this is the most blatant, and arguably the funniest, given the casualness of Walter's solution to the problem. Danny McBride's character Tennessee even reiterates Yaphet Kotto's line from the original, "The food's not that bad." Maybe someone should have hit Hurt on the back in the first movie.
I Couldn't Think of a Better Bunch of Jerks to Get Marooned on a Distant Planet With
While the plot to Covenant remains a mystery, this line from Daniels' toast to the crew does sound disturbingly like a potential synopsis of what's about to happen to everyone surrounding her, with the exception of that whole "be terrorized and eventually murdered by a seemingly invincible alien" thing. Even if the details end up drifting from this exact idea, it's almost impossible that the crew won't end up marooned somewhere — even in deep space — having to watch each other die one-by-one. If only she'd thought to add, "Nah, on the other hand, I totally want us all to have really great vacations together where the most dangerous thing is the possibility of getting bad sunburns."
Alien: Covenant floats into theaters May 19.