‘Alien: Covenant‘ was originally meant to be a direct sequel to ‘Prometheus’ and follow up in the concepts introduced in that film. While some of those were still touched upon, the original idea for the film was very different then what we ended up with on screen. Director Ridley Scott has outspokenly changed his direction of the franchise to have a focus on Xenomorphs instead of The Engineers after fan outrage at his slower paced and high concept film.
The original idea for the movie pitched by writer Jon Spaihts had it going in that direction, but it was scrubbed when writer Damon Lindelof took over. In fact, it is Lindelof who was very open as what the original direction for the ‘Prometheus’ sequel would be. In an interview with Collider, Lindelof revealed:
“Ridley [Scott] was very interested in talking about, ‘What are the answers to the questions that Prometheus is posing that are not necessarily definitively spelled out in the body of Prometheus?’ I said to him, we should be prepared for people to feel frustrated if we’re going to be withholding, so we have to be very careful about what we’re saving for later because it’s not a foregone conclusion that there are going to be sequels, and so if there isn’t a sequel, just be comfortable with what we gave them in this movie.”
In fact, the original idea going forward wasn’t to be a focus on the Xenomorphs in future follow-ups:
“This movie has two children: One of these children grows up to be Alien, but the other child is going to grow up, and God knows what happens to them. And that’s what the sequel to Prometheus would be.”
Had the first film gone over well with audiences it could very well have spawned a separate franchise that would have gone hand in hand with the Alien one. That clearly wasn’t the case.
Scott himself weighed in on why Shaw and David had to be alive at the end of ‘Prometheus’ and how that would factor in going forward:
“I know where it’s going. I know that to keep [David] alive is essential and to keep [Elizabeth] alive is essential and to go where they came from, not where I came from, is essential.”
For what they would find when they met up with the Engineers? Scott always had a solid plan for that:
“Because [the Engineers] are such aggressive fuckers … and who wouldn’t describe them that way, considering their brilliance in making dreadful devices and weapons that would make our chemical warfare look ridiculous? So I always had it in there that the God-like creature that you will see actually is not so nice, and is certainly not God. As she says, ‘This is not what I thought it was going to be, and I think we should get the Hell out of here or there won’t be any place to go back to.’
That’s not necessarily planted in the ground at the tail end of the third act, but I knew that’s kind of where we should go, because if we’ve opened up this door — which I hope we have because I certainly would like to do another one – I’d love to explore where the hell [Dr. Shaw] goes next and what does she do when she gets there because if it is paradise, paradise can not be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous.”
If you’ve seen ‘Alien: Covenant’ it is quite clear that the film drastically verged off course from this plan. Likely these changes were all from fan and critic backlash to ‘Prometheus’ where the entire film was wrapped up in a neat little bow so that it wouldn’t have to be explored again.
What do you think this major change of direction of the series could mean for the future of the ‘Alien’ franchise under Scott’s guiding hand? Will the ideas or technology of The Engineers ever be explored again or are we going full on Xenomorph and synthetic beings in the future? Share your thoughts below!
Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!