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Alien Covenant

The essential guide to Alien: Covenant

Our favourite monster is back!

Discover how Alien: Covenant fits into Ridley Scott's universe

It's the latest terrifying chapter in one of cinema's most iconic – not to mention confusing – franchises. Thankfully, we're here to get you up to speed on the whole chest-bursting shebang...

Rent Alien: Covenant on Virgin Movies. Cert 15. Also available in HD

In 1979, director Ridley Scott made a movie that was not only one of the most frightening ever made, but also spawned a whole new science-fiction franchise: Alien. Three sequels and two spin-offs followed, none directed by Scott himself. Three decades later, and determined to bring big scares back to audiences, he decided to revitalise the series he had created, with Prometheus. (In the cinema, everyone can hear you scream!)

And now, with Scott’s next heart-stopping blockbuster Alien: Covenant on Virgin Movies, it's time to get reaquainted with one of film's most memorable monsters. The film follows a group of interplanetary colonists, played by an eclectic cast including Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them), Danny McBride (This Is The End) and Billy Crudup (Almost Famous). En route to a remote planet, they fall foul of the galaxy’s most terrifying beast. What are the chances, huh? If you're scratching your head and wondering how this horrifying tale fits in to the ever-growing Alien universe, we have the answers…

Your essential guide to the movie

What about Prometheus? How does that fit in? 

It's the only film in the series without “Alien” in the title, or an Alien in it. That film explains the origins of the weird spaceship the crew of the Nostromo discovered in Alien. The one with all the eggs on it. Covenant is a direct follow-up to Prometheus – which also introduced the very important character of David, the “synthetic” (aka android) played by Michael Fassbender.


Do I need to have seen all the other Alien movies before this?

Not really. It's designed to answer the question of where that nasty killing machine in the 1979 original came from, but you don’t need to have seen Alien, or any of its sequels, for Covenant to make sense. It would help, though, to watch Scott’s 2012 film Prometheus beforehand…


Wait a minute. Michael Fassbender plays a character named Walter in Alien: Covenant...

That’s right. Walter is another synthetic from the same production line as David, so he’s kind of like David’s younger brother, but upgraded. Which means Fassbender plays two roles in the film – named, by the way, after Alien producers David Giler and Walter Hill.


Fascinating. But if Prometheus is set before Alien and this is set after Prometheus, how does it all fit together? 

If you translate it into Star Wars terms, the original Alien is the A New Hope and 1986’s Aliens is The Empire Strikes Back. So Prometheus is The Phantom Menace and this is Attack Of The Clones. Which means in the not-too-distant future we can expect another Alien prequel from Sir Ridley – and that’ll be Revenge Of The Sith.


Um. Can you talk in years, please? 

Oh, OK. Prometheus takes place in 2093-94. Alien: Covenant is set ten years later. The events of Alien happen in 2122. So there are still 18 years or so left to fit in more stories...


Where’s Sigourney Weaver, then? She was awesome as Ripley…

She sure was, but Ripley isn’t involved in these films at all – she’s 12 years old when Alien: Covenant happens. This is all about getting the Alien created and evolved and ready for their fateful meeting on the desolate planet of LV-426.


But I’ve seen Aliens. Didn’t the Alien Queen just lay all those eggs? 

It’s complicated. Aliens was written by James Cameron, while Scott (who considers the Alien series his baby), has his own ideas – which of course we don’t want to give away here. Still, it is fair to ask: where did the egg come from that hatched the Queen?


Ha! Which came first: the Alien or the egg? 


Alien was pretty terrifying, but Aliens was more of an action movie. What’s this one like?

Oh, you’ll be glad to hear that Scott’s in full-on terror mode with this one. Prometheus had a few shocks – but this’ll scare you out of your space pants.


Got all that? Right, then you're ready to watch the trailer...

Rent Alien: Covenant on Virgin Movies. Cert 15. Also available in HD

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