In space, no one can hear you scream, but at SXSW in a packed theatre, the screams were most definitely heard as an audience of “Alien” fans saw their first glimpse at new footage from the upcoming “Alien: Covenant” as introduced by “Alien” director Ridley Scott in his first ever SXSW appearance.
The energy in the Paramount Theatre was electric. These were all fans of the 1979 film and its shocking horror and strong female lead. While the fans were guaranteed to see the classic film in its full chest bursting glory on the big screen, the “Alien: Covenant” footage was only rumored and not necessarily a guarantee. But that’s half the fun of a festival. You never know what you’re going to get, but SXSW did not disappoint. Scott and “Covenant” film stars Michael Fassbender (David/Walter), Katherine Waterston (Daniels) and Danny McBride (Tennesee) not only gave fans an extended Q&A about the new film, but they also showed about 20 minutes of “Covenant” footage, an infomercial about the new AI, Walter (Fassbender), and an extended “Covenant” trailer.
The Q&A revealed everything from what’s coming up in the franchise to fun info about the actors. Danny McBride, typically known for his comedic outings, joked that this role was the first role his mother ever considered an “actual” film. Waterston and Fassbender joked about how his manhood and part German heritage prepared him for the part of the AI. The real info came from Scott though, when he revealed he had no desire to stop making “Alien” movies as long as the fans will still have them, with at least 4 more “Alien” films planned after “Covenant.”
“Covenant” takes place after “Prometheus” and prior to the original “Alien” film. In this film, the colony ship Covenant finds an uncharted world whose sole inhabitant is David, the survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition, of course, things get dark and deadly for the crew of the Covenant from here…spoilers ahead…
The new footage from “Covenant” reveals many familiar tones from the original “Alien”, much to the delight of fans. You have the creepy AI (Fassbender) who is up to something nefarious for the humans. Then you have the strong kickass female protagonist (Waterston). Of course, there’s the rest of the crew that will find their unfortunate demises through either dumb mistakes or sacrifice. Finally, there’s the alien lifeforms and in the new footage, Scott doesn’t hold back — introducing a few new terms to the Alien mythos such as “back-burster.”
The primary footage from the clip shows the landing vessel prepping to return to the main ship, when a sick crew mate gets dragged aboard. Of course, fans know that this sick crew mate should be kept as far away from as possible, but the characters don’t know this and a fellow crew member makes mistake after mistake, finding she can’t save her comrade and is now facing a fast-moving back burster alien. This nervous crew member tries to blow up the alien but also blows herself and the landing vessel up before the rest of the crew can make it aboard. Now, stranded on the planet, the other crew mates find another sick crew member who starts throwing up before that too turns deadly…Cut to another scene and we see Fassbender’s AI showing the pods to the ship’s captain, promising it’s perfectly safe to get up close and examine the pod (cue audience yelling, “nooooo, run!”). Of course, what fun would it be if someone listened to their gut and ran off from the creepy emotionless Fassbender who can’t help but go into villain monologue about how he is grooming and cultivating the pods, but they’re missing a key element…aka humans to feed on. Cue more screaming and a cut to black.
With all the familiar elements and iconic character set ups, “Covenant” looks pretty promising. Of course, only time will tell how this film stacks up in the “Alien” film landscape. “Alien: Covenant” is out in theaters on May 19, 2017.
You can watch a trailer for “Alien: Covenant” below:
Gallery: Cast and creator of “Alien: Covenant” at SXSW