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[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Alien: Covenant]
If Ridley Scott is to be believed, there are two more movies between Prometheus and the events of the original Alien — and some 28 years of movie chronology to fill, getting between those two points.
It’s unclear if the next film will take place between Prometheus and Covenant (as Scott has suggested) or after Covenant. Either way, these two films pose a challenge, because the audience (in theory) knows where the next two movies will end up. So where does the Alien franchise go next? Here are some questions that need to be answered between now and Alien.
Whatever Happened To David? As Covenant demonstrates, David — the creepy android with ulterior motives introduced in 2012’s Prometheus — is at the center of the creation of the Xenomorphs, as well as seemingly declaring war on the Engineers responsible for the black liquid that, to some degree, is responsible for the entire mythology in its entirety. But David, obviously, is absent from the original series of Alien — it being created before the character debuted — which begs the question: what happens to take David out of the picture before Ripley came along? Or is he there, behind the scenes in ways to be revealed?
Whither The Engineers? The Engineers were the lure of Prometheus, originally — an explanation of just who the giant corpse in the original movie was. Of course, the events of Prometheus and Covenant have only complicated matters. Is the Engineer corpse on LV-426 in the original movie a survivor of David’s attempts to commit genocide against the entire Engineer race as seen in Covenant, or does he come from some yet-to-be-revealed location and time — in which case, does the implication that he birthed a Xenomorph suggest that David continues his attack on the Engineer race, or something else? How important are the Engineers to the overall story of the prequels?
How Does Peter Weyland Fit Into Everything? Both Prometheus and Covenant feature appearances by Peter Weyland, seemingly priming David for his as-yet-unclear mission. Although Weyland appeared to die at the hands of an Engineer in Prometheus, how much will he play into the remaining movies — and what connection, if any, is there to the plans of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in the original series?
Is There Some Larger Plan to the Xenomorphs? Weyland appeared to have some weighty questions he was struggling with, judging by his appearances so far — questions about the origins of mankind and, perhaps, expanding his (and others, maybe) lifespan. Given David’s experiments with the Xenomorphs in Covenant, and knowing what the audience knows about the Xenomorphs from earlier movies, could it be possible that David is continuing his “father”‘s work by seeing the aliens as an upgrade to humanity and a way for life to live longer? Is there more to the monsters that have, until now, merely seemed like unstoppable killing machines than was first suspected — and if so, what?
What About the Black Liquid? The black liquid that changed everything in Prometheus remains unexplained, for the most part. Could it have been the answer to Peter Weyland’s dreams, and contained a magical secret of life? Did it serve some greater purpose? And, again, is it important that it was never seen again in the earlier movies that, nonetheless, took place later? (Surely it should have been present at the crash site on LV-426…?)
If the new prequel series intends to lead directly into the first Alien movie, there’s a lot of work to be done in making sure that all the pieces are in place — and some are off the table altogether. It’ll be interesting to see just how the next installments handle it.
For more from Alien: Covenant, take a look at this handy primer for how Covenant ties into the larger mythology and our wide-ranging Q&A with screenwriter Dante Harper on all things David, Walter and the Engineers.
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