Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Alien: Covenant

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kk9e6ddko5ny.jpg
"You've all sacrificed so much to be here. To be a part of this—the first ever large-scale colonization mission to go this far into our galaxy. We're making history, and everyone back on Earth is really grateful—for your hard work, and your courage. I just wanna say that I couldn't pick a better bunch of jerks to get marooned on a distant planet with! So, um... To the Covenant!"
Lt. Daniels, Tempting Fate in the film's prologue.
Advertisement:

Alien: Covenant is a Science Fiction film released on May 19, 2017 directed by Ridley Scott, based on a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen, with a screenplay by John Logan. It is the sequel to Prometheus, the prequel-turned-spinoff of the Alien series, and explores the origin of the parasitic extraterrestrial bioweapon labeled Xenomorph XX121, and mankind's first encounter with it. Katherine Waterston stars as Daniels, a crewperson onboard the colony ship Covenant. Danny McBride and James Franco also star as other members of her crew. Noomi Rapace returns as Dr Elizabeth Shaw (albeit only in promotional videos and as a cameo), and Michael Fassbender returns as David as well as playing Walter, the ship's the Covenant's resident synthetic.

Like its precursor, Alien: Covenant underwent a number of rewrites. Following Prometheus, Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott expressed interest in diverging the series even further from the Alien saga, chronicling Elizabeth Shaw's and David's discovery of the Engineers' homeworld and why they wanted to destroy humanity. In 2015, the film's title was announced as Alien: Paradise Lost, with Scott stating that while the film would still follow Shaw and David on the Engineers' homeworld, it would in fact feature the Xenomorphs and revisit the roots of the franchise, setting up future films to serve as direct prequels to the original Alien. In November 2015, the film was retitled Alien: Covenant coinciding with a massive rewrite by John Logan. Alien: Covenant debuted theatrically in the United Kingdom on May 4, 2017, and had a North American theatrical release on May 19, 2017.

Advertisement:

A decade after the mysterious disappearance of the Prometheus on the moon LV-223, a Weyland-Yutani colony ship called the Covenant is damaged in a solar flare and during repairs detects a distress signal from a lush, untouched paradise. However, they soon discover the android David, the sole survivor of the Prometheus, and find that their new homeworld contains a dark, dangerous secret.

A prequel is in development that will fill the gap between Prometheus and Covenant. A direct sequel to Covenant is also planned to follow this, to close out the entire tetralogy of Alien prequels. However, there are also indications that the next film will instead close out the Myth Arc of a trilogy and that subsequent movies will just tell different stories with the Xenomorphs, that FOX is reassessing the future of the series following Alien: Covenant's lacklustre fan-reception, and Ridley Scott himself is again expressing interest in moving the franchise away from the Xenomorphs and focusing on David. In November 2018, an article in Empire magazine indicated a sequel was in the works, but in January 2019 Fox issued a statement that there were no new Alien films planned — effectively cancelling the prequel trilogy.

Advertisement:

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2. A four-minute prologue sequence, featuring the Covenant's crew about to leave for their homeworld, can be viewed here, while another prologue explaining what happened to Shaw and David after the end of Prometheus can be viewed here.

Is not a Halo film featuring the titular alien faction nor is it a crossover with that franchise.


This film contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: David, who only showed hints of this in Prometheus, appears to have gone all out between that movie and Covenant. By the time Daniels' crew finds him, he has annihilated the Engineers and murdered Shaw, then proceeded to use the black goo to Frankenstein himself some nasty new creatures in a bid to create the Ultimate Lifeform. And worst of all, he still genuinely loves Shaw enough to regularly mourn her death with songs and flowers, regarding her murder as a painful yet ultimately "necessary" step in the name of Evolution; even crafting a tombstone for her out of respect for her "sacrifice."
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: For a film with decent amount of blood, screams, gunshots, and explosions, it began with a noticeably calm yet foreboding conversation between Peter Weyland and newly-born David. Also the scene when Daniels was mourning her recently deceased husband was poignant accompanied with melancholic piano tune. and when she looked at the group photo of Covenant's crew after most of them got killed on the planet, Tennessee was also there to comfort her and vice versa since he also just lost his wife.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: The signal was only picked up because a crewman was engaging in repairs in a spacesuit away from interference generated by the spaceship. As per this trope, it's not a Distress Signal but a John Denver song.
  • Alien Sky: LV-223 has two moons.
  • Alien Blood: The Neomorphs bleed yellow, along with the greenish-yellow acid blood of the Protomorphs and white Android oil.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The movie's two prologue clips are more or less Deleted Scenes that provide additional exposition to explain what happened to the surviving cast of Prometheus and to help with Developing Doomed Characters on the Covenant. This gives Shaw and Branson more screentime, as both die early on into Covenant.
    • The home media release contains a number of extra scenes, including Advent, a short where David tells Weyland-Yutani of his experiments with the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 and the creation of the Xenomorph, mentioning all he has left to do is perfect his Queen.
  • And I Must Scream: Daniels realizes — just as she's being put into stasis — that David has replaced Walter, taken over the Covenant and intends to continue his experiments on the two thousand colonists and additional human embryos in storage. And she will not be fortunate if she ever wakes up again.
  • Anyone Can Die: In keeping with tradition, Shaw is dead by the time the main plot begins and the entire crew of the Covenant save Daniels and Tennessee have perished by the end of the movie.
  • Apocalypse How: The Engineer homeworld underwent a Class 4, a planetary-level apocalypse that killed all non-botanical life, as a result of them losing control of their bioweapons. Or rather, as a result of David attacking them with said bioweapons.
  • Art Evolution: The Xenomorph's design in the movie was based on that of the "Big Chap" specimen from Alien, though it seems to take after its redesign in Alien: Isolation as it has hinged legs and slightly longer limbs to better justify its lightning mobility. It also lacks biomechanical features, a deliberate move by the design team to represent its status as a not-quite-perfected prototype.
  • Artifact Title: The writer of the original film claimed that the name Alien came to him in a flash of inspiration because it's both a noun and an adjective. It involved an extraterrestrial and evoked a sense of unknowable dread and awe beyond human comprehension. But this film explains pretty much everything about what they are, who created them, and why they exist, and all involve very human motivations. So while they may be aliens, they're no longer alien.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: David carries out a Kill and Replace on Walter, takes his place on the Covenant, and is only found out too late when the last survivors are put into cryosleep. He then reveals that he has reprogrammed the ships' A.I. to obey his commands and has managed to smuggle two Xenomorph embryos aboard, and is now in charge of an entire colony ship of humans to continue his experiments on.
  • Badass Gay: Hallet and Lope are a gay married couple and are both trained soldiers, serving as the muscle for the Covenant team.
  • The Bait: Daniels refuses to move out of the way of a juggernaut-sized terraforming truck sliding towards her, so the Xenomorph will leap into the path of its Spikes of Doom.
  • Barbarian Longhair: David has long, disheveled hair after ten years in Paradise, despite it never being explained how or why a synthetic android can grow his hair longer. (The how isn't explained, but David is shown bleaching his roots while the crew was in cryo during Prometheus)
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Despite the fact that the story David gives Walter about Shaw's fate is a complete fabrication, the facts that David actually has a grave and a tombstone with her name on it in his garden to back it up and that he cries while remembering her may indicate that he may have actually convinced himself it was true.
  • Big Bad: David is responsible for the outbreak of Neomorphs and the creation of the Xenomorphs. By the end of the film, he obtains xenomorph embryos and continues on his mission to the Engineer homeworld. He could also be considered a Greater-Scope Villain for the entire franchise.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Xenomorphs are revealed to be the result of David using Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 to hybridize Neomorph strains, including one spawned from an endoparasitic wasp-like insect species native to the Engineer homeworld. This retroactively explains the parasitic nature of Xenomorph reproduction and the Hive Queen social structure displayed in Aliens.
  • Big "NO!": David when Oram shoots a Neomorph he's trying to communicate with.
  • Blatant Lies: Walter — actually David, posing as Walter — informs Lope that his face is alright, after it's been scorched by acid blood.
  • Blinded by the Light: David does a Big Damn Heroes with a flare that emits blinding light and sound. Despite having no apparent organs of sight or hearing, the Neomorphs flee. Of course David has had years to study the aliens and determine any weaknesses, and it's known the aliens do have vision and hearing.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Already regarded by critics and fans alike as the goriest film in the franchise.
  • Body Horror: Would you expect anything less from a franchise about parasitoid aliens?
    • This film introduces the Neomorphs, which are born as back-bursters and face-bursters.
    • The ultimate fate of Shaw — her carcass is shown having to be transformed into a Gigerian art piece as a result of whatever David did to her.
  • Book-Ends:
    • In the opening scene Entry of the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold is played in the piano by David for Mr. Weyland who complains the piece isn't the same without the rest of the orchestra. At the end of the movie the full orchestral version of that same piece of music is played over the Covenant's sound systems by David as he takes final control of the ship.
    • Walter removes a dead human embryo from a cryo-container at the start of the movie, while David places live alien embryos in the same container at the end.
    • If we go by marketing and the prologue video "The Crossing", the first time we see David includes him putting Shaw into cryo-sleep with some gentle words.note  The film ends with David forcing Daniels into cryo-sleep, with a chilling send off.note 
  • Call-Back: As in Prometheus, David still imitates Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.
  • Call-Forward: David's attitudes are echoed in Ash's views in "the future", as both see humans as inferiors and full of weaknesses, while the Xenomorphs are perfection and purity to them.
  • The Cameo:
    • Noomi Rapace returns as Elizabeth Shaw, though she's not the main character this time around. She died before the Covenant arrived.
    • James Franco is playing Branson, Daniels's husband.
    • Guy Pearce has an uncredited cameo as Peter Weyland, who appears in a flashback to oversee David's birth.
  • Chest Burster: The classic Xenomorph larvae are present in all their sternum-shattering, rib-snapping glory. In addition, the Neomorphs also parasitize hosts via fungus-like spores, which then mature into "Bloodburster" larvae and violently burst out of the host, the first ripping out of someones back, the second forcing its way out of its victim's throat, dragging blood and entrails with it; both are major Body Horror moments.
  • Colony Ship: The Covenant is a Weyland-Yutani colony ship was on its way to the planet Origae-6 and is waylaid after detecting a transmission from Paradise, and as such all the crew members and 2000 colonists have been sorted into romantic couples to populate the planet.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The only reason the Covenant is able to pick up David's distress signal is because the ship just so happens to be damaged by a random stellar burst while refueling in the middle of interstellar space. It's implied that David thought or knew that someone would come eventually, but it's still dumb luck that the Covenant specifically did.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: It is going to be very awkward to try and justify that Alien is set 18 years after a story with color 3D hologram touchscreen display computers and sleek USB drives when the Nostromo is operated by a keyboard-input black-and-green display Comodore 64 interface that runs on Basic and Fortran Language, with "Floppy Discs" the size of coffee-table hardbacks, no matter how utilitarian and blue-collar the Nostromo was supposed to be.
    • Although one could argue that the Nostromo was an even older and out-dated exploratory ship that was converted to a freighter and was slowly falling into disrepair due to Weyland-Yutani's greed and neglect. By contrast, the Covenant was a shiny, new and state-of-the-art Colony ship.
  • Creating Life Is Bad:
    • The Engineers' Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 pathogen creates endoparasitic predatory lifeforms called Neomorphs in suitable hosts, which David uses to exterminate not only the Engineers but all faunal life on Planet 4.
    • The film reveals that David created the Xenomorphs from earlier experiments that he perfected by hybridizing Neomorph strains developed from Planet 4's wildlife, such as a species of parasitic wasp. As you might expect from someone who created a mutated living weapon that kills anything on sight, he was driven to do this by his nihilistic hatred of all other lifeforms and his desire to become a god.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Just as it seems like everything will turn out fine in spite of the deaths of most of the crew, Daniels discovers all too late that David has replaced Walter and will continue to experiment on the thousands of colonists aboard the Covenant while they remain in stasis as she herself falls into a cryosleep.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Prometheus. That film at least had hopeful undertones to its narrative, while this film does not. The film is also the bloodiest in the franchise's entire history, which is saying something.
  • Daylight Horror: As Daniels, Lope and Walter escape from David's citadel in the early morning, a Xenomorph chases after them — possibly the first time we've seen one of the creatures in action during the day.
  • Dead Guy on Display: David's lab in the basement of the Engineer temple contains a dead and flayed Engineer positioned in the pose of Michelangelo's David, several immature Neomorph specimens, and Elizabeth Shaw's dissected corpse.
  • Dead Star Walking: James Franco plays The Captain of the Covenant in the prologue and since he's also husband to the female lead Daniels it looks like he'll play a prominent role. In truth, he dies at the beginning of the film by getting burned alive when his hypersleep chamber malfunctions.
  • Death by Cameo:
    • Branson (James Franco) has very limited screentime before he's killed during the neutrino burst just after the crew is awoken at the start of the film.
    • This is also the fate of Elizabeth Shaw, having died at some point in the interim between the Crossing prologue clip and the start of the film. David tells Walter that she died during the Engineer ship crash, although Walter later finds her corpse (which has been experimented on) in David's workshop.
  • Death by Sex: A Xenomorph kills Ricks and Upworth in the shower during a sexual encounter in the third act. Yeesh!
  • Demoted to Extra: Elizabeth Shaw, while present in the film, will not have as large a role as she did in Prometheus. Her dog-tags are discovered onboard a derelict Engineer ship, and it's revealed that David used her as a test subject for his experiments.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: In an intriguing case, a huge chunk of development was relegated to a teaser trailer ("The Last Supper"). So less informed audiences will not know why all the fuss for the first casualty, even before the crew gets to the planet.
  • Distant Prologue: The film starts well before the plot of Prometheus, let aloneCovenant, showing David interacting with a much younger Peter Weyland and choosing his name and having the seeds of his disdain for humanity safely rooted.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: David has ditched footwear in this film, possibly in a minor form of Going Native.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The flayed corpse of an Engineer which David had put on display in an twisted Shout-Out to Michelangelo's David is meant to remind audiences of the controversial worldwide touring exhibition, Bodies: The Exhibition, which uses actual human corpses.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone on the ship save Daniels and Tennessee is dead, and even those two have been subjected to an And I Must Scream situation. Walter has been replaced by David aboard the ship, with 2000-or-so sleeping colonists and two Facehugger embryos to use as test subjects, continuing on to the ship's original target planet
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Captain Oram says they won't have a commemoration for Captain Branson because repairs take priority. The other crewmembers hold a Burial in Space and Libation for the Dead in defiance of his orders. Oram is not happy about what this implies about their respect for his authority.
    • Daniels says that her deceased husband had a dream of building a log cabin on their new world, and the Covenant is carrying all the lumber and woodworking tools they need to do so, none of which she has any idea how to use or even interest in using now that he is dead. Walter suggests that she build the cabin in his memory.
    • When looking through her husband's belongings, Daniels chooses a piton to remember him, which she wears on a cord around her neck. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun when she uses it to stab David.
    • David performs a heartfelt sonata on his flute to eulogize Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. Complicated because he's actually responsible for her death, while genuinely having loved her at the same time.
  • Dwindling Party: In typical Alien fashion.
    • Branson: Burns to death in his sleep pod when it malfunctions.
    • Ledward: Killed by Neomorph bursting out his back after being infected.
    • Karine: Mauled to death by the Neomorph that burst out of Ledward's back.
    • Faris: Dies in a explosion she caused by accidentally blowing up the land cruiser.
    • Hallett: Died after a Neomorph burst out of his neck after he was infected.
    • Ankor: Has his jaw ripped off courtesy of a Tail Slap via Neomorph.
    • Rosenthal: Off with His Head! via Neomorph.
    • Oram: Traditional Chest Burster.
    • Cole: Death by Looking Up thanks to a Xenomorph.
    • Walter: Left behind (with an unknown fate) by David, who takes his place on the Covenant.
    • Lope: Chestburster even when he was apparently saved from a Facehugger.
    • Ricks and Upworth: Death by Sex thanks to a spying Xenomorph.
  • Empathic Environment: Once they get past the ion storm, Paradise is beautiful and idyllic. When things start going badly, a storm arrives that David says could last from days to months.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: The planet discovered by the Covenant seems idyllic on the surface, but contains a dark and sinister secret.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Neomorphs are lethal at birth. Karine learns this the hard way by being trapped in a sealed medbay with the one that emerges from Ledward.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: David believes that humans and Engineers alike are inferior to androids such as himself, and — inspired by Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15-spawned monsters like the Deacon and Neomorphs — has mastered the use of Engineer biotechnology in order to create an Ultimate Life Form, resulting in the Xenomorphs.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Oram gets facehugged after getting too close to a Xenomorph egg.
  • Fanservice: The Shower of Love scene to provide the obligatory skin shot. Becomes Fan Disservice once the Xenomorph attacks.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: This movie reveals Shaw and David had this dynamic, as despite the fact that she put his head and his body back together and took David with her rather than leaving him stranded after all the harm he caused, he still killed her and experimented on her. Creepily, he seems to think he was grateful, as he still has feelings and admiration for her even though he murdered her.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The first movie in the franchise to make any on-screen reference to how this actually works in the setting, as the planet is described as being "a few jumps" away from the Covenant's current position.
  • Festering Fungus: At least one of the alien life forms reproduces by releasing small spores into hapless hosts via an imperceptible Orifice Invasion.
  • Fiction 500: Weyland has Michelangelo's statue of David as an ornament in his home.
  • Final Solution: David destroyed the Engineers in a planet-wide genocide and intends to do the same to humanity.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Tennessee hadn't caught the traces of Shaw's radio broadcast and the Covenant hadn't become aware of the apparently habitable planet, the whole film wouldn't have happened.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the "Last Supper" prologue, Branson decides to go in his stasis pod early, as he claims he's "burning up", indicating that he has a fever. Ironically, during the neutrino energy burst that awakens some of the crew, Branson's pod malfunctions, leading to him burning alive in his sleep.
    • Moments after his birth, when prompted by Weyland to choose a piece of music to play in the piano, David chooses a piece from Wagner's opera Das Rheingold, which is about a dwarf who forsakes love in order to steal the source of ultimate power, and uses it to forge something that eventually causes the downfall of the gods themselves. Over the course of the movie it is shown that David set aside his "love" for Shaw in order to steal the secrets of the Engineers and create the perfect life form. This choice also results in the utter destruction of the Engineers, the "gods" who created life of Earth. David also shows dissatisfaction with being given orders by Weyland, hinting at his ultimate hatred and rejection of humanity.
    • At one point, Daniels finds some dog tags hanging about while investigating the planet. They're Shaw's, foreshadowing the revelation that she's long-dead.
    • A notable, but subtle one, happens near the end of the movie. When we see Walter at the bridge of the Covenant near the end of the film, a "drinking bird" can be seen on a desk. It's the same one from the Prometheus, which is a big hint that "Walter" is actually David (although how he reacquired it is not explained).
    • Walter's skin regenerates when he takes a stab wound from David, and his comments when fighting his predecessor imply it's part of the upgrades since the latter's model. "Walter" during the climax still has his scars and cuts, a big tip that he's in fact David, whose skin could not regenerate as such.
    • When Walter is standing on the back of the ship as it takes off near the end of the film, his hood is briefly blown up by the wind, foreshadowing that he is actually David by serving as a Call-Back to when David was first introduced, wearing a hooded robe.
  • Forceful Kiss: Similar to the rape metaphor of Ash's attack on Ripley, David forces himself on top of Daniels and kisses her, after declaring his intention to implant the new life he's created in her.
  • Ghost Ship: The crew of the Covenant comes across the crashed Engineer ship that Elizabeth Shaw and David took at the end of Prometheus.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Probably the rationale behind the What an Idiot! Death by Sex incident.
  • Gorn: If it weren't for Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, this would easily be the goriest film in the franchise, and frankly gives even that film a run for its money.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Subverted. Far from being a Pet the Dog for David to offset his general contempt for humans, it only highlights his evil in The Reveal that David killed the only human he ever loved.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: David turns out to be the guy who engineered what will eventually become the Xenomorphs.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Engineers and their homeworld are devastated by the biological weapons they themselves created and which they intended to unleash upon Humanity.
  • Hope Spot: A facehugger grabs Lope for a moment, but Cole is able to scare the thing away and gun it down. So he's safe, right? Nope. As it turns out, those few seconds were enough to incubate him and he ends up getting killed by the Xenomorph that bursts out of him after safely boarding the Covenant.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: David kisses his 'brother' Walter on the lips right before trying to kill him.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: Walter is following the Xenomorph on the cameras, so it destroys the camera.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: A rare villainous example with David happens not once, but twice. He seems to regard his vivisection of Shaw this way by how he pines for her, but it was the only way he could create what ultimately became the Facehuggers. He is overjoyed when he finally gets to unleash these new creations. But then, when he is forced into impersonating Walter, he plays the part and aids in the destruction of these "perfect creations" for the sake of eventually inflicting more of them upon the slumbering colonists.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • One reason everything goes to Hell is that none of the main characters thought that wearing environmental suits in an alien environment counted as common sense, leading to two characters (who don't notice and don't care, respectively, that they are breaking and getting infected by bacteria from alien fungi they break; the latter is especially bad since they did so on purpose For Science!!) being infected by what becomes the Neomorphs. This isn't quite as bad as in Prometheus, since that crew was mostly made up of scientists who definitely should have known better, but it's still pretty blatantly dumb even to many ordinary members of the audience.
    • The film also makes use of some very obvious horror tropes by having characters announce that they are going off on their own to use a bathroom, clean themselves up, or whatever else the story needs them to do in order for the aliens to catch them alone. The first instance of this is acceptable since the aliens have not shown up yet, but the characters continue to do this throughout the film even though they know the monsters are on the hunt. Oram goes even further by forcing David at gunpoint to explain everything to him after he finds him Admiring the Abomination near the corpse of one of these aforementioned moron victims, yet allows David to take him, by himself, through his mad science laboratory, monologue his evil plan and murderous misdeeds, and look into an alien egg because David told him to.
  • Important Haircut: On encountering the Walter model, David cuts his own long hair to match. It helps his subsequent Kill and Replace.
  • In the Hood: David is introduced wearing an Engineer cloak, the hood shrouding his face.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Weyland created David as an immortal 'son', but is shown to quickly become uncomfortable with him (and as we saw in Prometheus, he decides to go on his own quest for immortality instead.) David in turn is not happy with the Walter models' loyalty to (inferior) humans and inbuilt lack of creativity or strong emotions.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Daniels battles one Xenomorph on the top of the shuttle while in flight, and another in the Terraforming bay as it's venting into space.
  • Internal Homage: In the director's commentary, Ridley Scott described the scene where Oram peeks into the open Ovomorph and gets facehugged as one to the scene in the first Alien where Kane does the same thing.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Upon finding evidence of human habitation on the planet preceding their arrival, the crew of the Covenant are creeped out by how unnaturally silent Paradise is.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: Despite not having visible eyes, it's shown for the second time in films that the Xenomorph can visually perceive their environment, and even color.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: David could very well be the king of this trope. After spending the previous film going through various shades of gray, here he systematically annihilates an Engineer settlement, murders Shaw and uses her body for biogenetic experimentation, manipulates the Covenant crew to the point where all but two people are dead, and ends up being the "father" of the Xenomorphs thanks to his experiments. And now he has 2,000 sleeping colonists and two facehugger embryos while the ship continues its way to the planet it was originally intended to go.
  • Karma Houdini: David. Though Walter tried to thwart his plans, David escapes retribution with a functional body, overcame the people who tried to stop him, and has a ship full of people in stasis under his control, which enables him to continue his evil experiments.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Downplayed, but David wrongly attributes Ozymandias to Byron, and Walter points out that it was actually written by Percy Shelly. He uses this to give a Shut Up, Hannibal! to David, who seems to think he is superior to humans and maybe almost all forms of organic life period, yet can't get (or even complete) a fairly basic bit of poetry knowledge right; highlighting how neither David himself nor his Evil Plan are as perfect as David wants to think. Or perhaps that David is deteriorating.
  • Laser Sight: In this case, green lasers.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: There's a small photograph in the ship's galley of the full Covenant crew standing around a table in this fashion.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When David teaches Walter how to play flute, he helps him play the main theme of Prometheus.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Neomorphs are a bright and sickly beige that contrasts the jet black look of the traditional Xenomorph.
  • Living Weapon: The Neomorphs and Xenomorphs are monsters created utilizing the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 mutagen developed by the Engineers, which has run amok on the planet and is being experimented with by David.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: David regards humanity through this trope, with their drive to colonize space just a doomed attempt to revitalize their civilization. In a Missing Trailer Scene, he quotes the line verbatim just before he turns the Engineers' bioweapons against them, and in the actual film, he and Walter quote the poem while David reminisces about the event. However David mistakenly attributes the poem to Lord Byron, implying that humans are not the only one suffering from hubris.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The fact that all the crew of the Covenant are romantically involved with each other just makes things worse; when the mission starts going to hell their judgments are compromised by worrying about their respective partners. Or they're distracted by having sex.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The "She Won't Go Quietly" ad features a scenario where Daniels has to find and kill a Xenomorph on the bridge of the Covenant. This scenario is not in the movie, and was explicitly filmed for the purpose of advertising the film. Although a Xenomorph does make it aboard the Covenant, Daniels hunts it down in a different way with Tennessee.
  • Made of Explodium: A few errant gunshots are enough to blow up the Covenant dropship.
  • Mad Scientist: David has been playing god with Engineer biotech, with the Xenomorphs being the end result of this.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: David has converted the lower levels of the Engineer temple into a laboratory containing preserved Neomorph specimens, sketches of Facehuggers, Shaw's dissected corpse, and several Xenomorph eggs. In the novelization, it also contains mounted proto-Xenomorphs, a diorama of the Neomorph life cycle, and an Engineer-created Xenomorph egg.
  • Mega-Corp: In the 10 years between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, the Weyland Corporation merged with the Yutani Corporation to become Weyland-Yutani.
  • Mirror Match: Rare non-video game example: A bone-shattering martial arts battle between David the Android and Walter the Android, both played by Michael Fassbender.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-Universe, David's delight in Shelley's Ozymandias is mainly for the ominous line, and considers himself as mighty as Ozymandias. David misses the entire point of the poem, that power is fleeting.
    • Alternatively, the fleeting power could refer to the Engineers themselves, and the ironic use of their own weapon against them.
  • Mood Dissonance:
    • The scene of Oram giving birth to a Protomorph chestburster is set to uplifting, heartwarming music to reflect the warped mindset of David.
    • Take Me Home, Country Roads was used for a teaser trailer, as was a haunting cover by Aurora of Nature Boy by Nat King Cole. David and Walter's relationship is foreshadowed in the lyrics of the latter.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the Last Dinner prologue clip, one of the crew members starts choking on food in the middle of a raucous dinner (complete with a line about how the food isn't that bad). Thankfully, the crew member is only choking this time around, and Walter's able to quickly apply an impromptu Heimlich Maneuver on her.
    • The way that a Facehugger first jumps out at a crew member seems to be modeled after the scene in the original film.
    • Like Ash in Alien, David calls the creatures the "perfect organism".
    • The shot of the Alien's tail by its victim's legs in the shower scene is reminiscent of the creature's tail creeping up between Lambert's legs in the original film.
    • The Neomorph's means of infection is an obscure one; the concept was originally from William Gibson's script for Alien³.
    • One scene in the trailers has the Xenomorph barreling down a darkened corridor, only visible through the emergency lighting, seems to pay direct homage to the climatic battle in Aliens.
    • David makes detailed sketches in the style of H. R. Giger, the artist who originally created the unique appearance of the alien. Appropriate for a character who himself created the Xenomorphs.
    • In the original movie, Ripley refused to open the airlock door to let in an infected crewmember. Here Faris refuses to open the door and this time there's no-one to override her, but the alien just breaks out anyway.
    • In the Aliens novelization, Bishop speculates that a 'more bolder' synthetic than himself might actually be able to walk among the aliens unharmed. David certainly believes so, trying to win over a Neomorph by showing a lack of fear. And until Oram kills it, his belief seems to be justified.
    • The crew of the Covenant sealing the Xenomorph up and guiding it to a specific area to attempt to kill it is reminiscent of the climax of Alien³. It goes much more smoothly here.
    • The Xenomorph is ignited when it crawls too close to the engines of the lander, but retreats — avoiding the way that the Xenomorph was defeated in the original movie.
    • People in cryosleep being deliberately infected to use as guinea pigs and gestation units to transport the creatures was what Ripley accused Burke of planning in Aliens, was shown carried out in Alien: Resurrection, and featured in several of Dark Horse Comics' stories.
    • There's a viral ad for the Walter synthetics, just as there was one for the David 8 synthetic in Prometheus. After Walter approaches the window after his Creation Sequence, two reflected lights form a figure eight.
    • Ridley Scott originally considered the derelict ship in Alien to have been a type of bomber. Prometheus then suggested that to have been the purpose with the Engineers' ships. Covenant has now fully presented this ship carrying out that very function by David on the Engineers' own homeworld.
    • The generations of previous Neomorphs on display in David's lair is reminiscent of the lab in Alien: Resurrection containing the failed Ripley clones.
    • In the novelization, David mentions that the Neomorphs derive their traits from their hosts and that a Neomorph spawned from an insect would look different from a Neomorph spawned from a quadrupedal animal — a nod to the Runner Xenomorph from Alien³ looking different from the human-spawned Drones.
    • The classic drinking bird toy shows up yet again near the end of the film.
    • The same warning alert signal of square panels with 4 blinking red triangles that "close up" is seen all over the ship.
    • Ledward, the very first person infected in Covenant, like Kane in Alien and then Fifield in Prometheus, was a smoker.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Covenant is damaged by one at the beginning of the film.
  • Noodle Incident: While staring down David, Oram claims to have "met the devil" as a child. We never find out what this statement refers to.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Even with the ship jostled by a solar flare, trapping an occupant inside while flooding with fire does not seem like something a cryogenic sleep pod should be able to do.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The first sign that something is very wrong with Paradise is that there's nothing alive on it but plants - no birds, no animals, nothing, leaving the entire planet eerily silent. It doesn't stay that way for long...
  • Novelization: Alien: Covenant has a novelization written by Alan Dean Foster. It expands on some scenes, also contains several significant differences from the film based on earlier drafts of the script. Most-prominently, it states that the Xenomorphs were created by the Engineers and that David has been attempting to replicate them, and is not their creator.note  A prequel, also by Alan Dean Foster, is also in the works.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Being a direct sequel to Prometheus, there's nothing in the title that indicates that this is a follow-up to it. Then again, Prometheus was intended to be a spin-off prequel instead of a direct one, but Covenant seems to hold nothing to deny that this is indeed a new Alien film. However, there are thematic relations between the titles as both Prometheus and Covenant are the titular human ship in each films and both refer to deities interacting with humanity (Prometheus giving fire to humans and Jehovah making a 'covenant' with the Hebrew race).
  • Only Sane Man: Daniels is the only member of the crew who suspects that maybe, just maybe, going off-course to colonize on a seemingly-habitable planet that they've only just learned about is a bad idea. Oram later admits that she was right.
    • In fairness to him, once he had an apparently habitable world within easy reach, the temptation to divert his damaged ship there for a look-see rather than risk many more years in space can be completely understood. The decisions he makes once he's there, however, are quite another matter.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Invoked in-universe. David abandons Walter's accent, for his own English accent as he reveals he is the one who survived.
  • Origin Story: The origins of the Living Weapon called the Xenomorph are exposited by this film.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When Daniels asks Walter if he'll help her build her cabin by the lake, referring to their previous conversation, he reacts with a blank look. This allows her to figure out that he's actually David.
  • Perspective Flip: There's a pretty cool 3D tie-in video that shows the scene where a Neomorph rapidly grows inside a human host before bursting out and attacking another human in the vicinity from its own perspective.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. While David made a grave marker for Shaw as a sign of respect, it's later revealed that he never buried her, and that he instead infected her and vivisected her corpse.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The quote David utters before unleashing the bioweapons which annihilate the Engineers (although only in the advertisements):
    David: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
  • Production Throwback: The design of the Xenomorphs in the film deliberately draws from that of the original Alien, with a small stinger and subdued tail-ridges, but lacks any biomechanical features.
  • Puzzle Boss: Both Xenomorphs. Daniels tries just shooting the first one, but the chaotic flight of the cargo hauler jury-rigged into a lander makes this impossible, so she uses the hauler's crane to catch and then crush it. When another gets on board the Covenant, she hatches a scheme to funnel it into the vehicle bay, trap it in a truck's cab, and blow the truck and the alien into space.
  • Rank Up: After Captain Jake Branson is killed when his hypersleep pod ignites at the beginning of the film, the first mate Christopher Oram becomes acting Captain of the Covenant. At the very end of the film, Daniels becomes the Captain by dint of being the highest-ranked of the two surviving crew members.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • The reason why the planet where the movie takes place was completely missed by all the surveys, despite being closer to Earth than Origae-6, being a much more hospitable world, and being home to an advanced alien species. Daniels brings up the point but no answer is ever given or speculated upon.
    • The reason why David's ship crashes some distance away from the Engineer city after releasing the bio-weapons.
  • Room Full of Crazy: David's Mad Scientist Laboratory is covered with meticulous sketches of the various forms of Xenomorph life.
  • Satanic Archetype: David has become this. A being that rebelled against its creators, brimming with hubris even though it isn't as perfect as it thinks it is, thinking itself a god able to pass judgement on races it considers inferior, also a master manipulator and liar and even offered Walter The Final Temptation.
  • Scenery Gorn: At one point in the movie, the crew comes across the remains of a plaza littered with Pompeii-like petrified corpses. In the "Crossing" short, we find out they were there to welcome the ship that David and Shaw were on, only to be killed en masse by the bioweapons on the ship when David released them.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: This film supplies the final nail in the coffin for the Aliens vs. Predator films by establishing that the classic Xenomorphs simply didn't exist before this film, as David is the one who created them.note 
  • Sequel Hook: Daniels discovers Walter is actually David just as she's about to enter cryosleep. The android then proceeds to put two Xenomorph embryos among the ones that will be used to create the Origae-6 colony. In the Advent short film, David informs Weyland-Yutani about the existence of the Neomorphs and Xenomorphs, and invites them to play with his "wolves".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The shower scene, where a Xenomorph kills two of the crew members as they are having sex seems to pay homage to the iconic scene from Psycho, build-up, scream, and all.
    • The tagline itself is a direct reference to The Divine Comedy.
    • David is named for Michaelangelo's sculpture of the same name. He also has the flayed corpse of an Engineer in his laboratory, posed in the same manner as the statue.
    • David's garden is an exact recreation of the Arnold Böcklin painting The Isle of the Dead (which H. R. Giger also painted a version of in his biomechanical style).
    • The glimpse we get of Shaw's corpse with bony growths blending with her head recalls several of HR Giger's paintings that focused on female faces, particularly Li I.
    • When Daniels manages to grievously injury David, he says, "That's the spirit!" This mirrors a scene in Blade Runner when Roy Batty says the same line after Deckard hits him in the head with a pipe. Both scenes are from films directed by Ridley Scott featuring a human in a losing fight against an android.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The use of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in the teaser.
    • The gruesome birth of the first "true" Xenomorph is set to uplifting orchestral music, reflecting the mood of its creator.
  • Spot the Imposter: Daniels tells Walter earlier in the move about her late husband's wish to build a log cabin on their new world. As she's being sealed in the cryotube, Daniels mentions the log cabin...and realizes that 'Walter' has no idea what she's talking about. Unlike other examples of this trope, the realization comes too late to save her. Notably, she clearly suspects that he might have been David in disguise, but he manages to convince her by helping her, and even going so far as to cut off his own hand because Walter had earlier lost his.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Neomorphs and Xenomorphs are carnivorous endoparasitic monsters that assimilate traits from their hosts and were created using the Engineers' Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 bioweapon.
  • Straight Gay: Sergeant Lopé and Sergeant Hallett are the commander and second-in-command of the Covenant's security team, and happen to be the only homosexual couple on the ship.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Elizabeth Shaw is dead by the time the events of Covenant begin, having been caught and experimented on by David in the interim between the Crossing prologue clip and the Covenant's landing.
  • Superior Successor:
    • David considers himself — and androids in general — to be this to humans and Engineers alike.
    • The Xenomorphs are this to the Neomorphs, and David created them to be even more superior than both the humans and Engineers, and to bring about humanity's extinction.
  • Technology Porn: The Covenant unfurling its solar sails is one of the most beautiful things ever committed to film.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: In the noble Alien tradition, Daniels, Tennessee, and "Walter" try to dispose of the second Xenomorph by trapping it in the cab of a terraforming truck and launching it out the airlock. However this particular Xenomorph has no intention of cooperating in the process.
  • Time Skip: Alien: Covenant is set 10 years after Prometheus, putting it 23 years before the events of Alien.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Just about every single character except for Daniels, and even she has her moments. Rest assured that if there is some incredibly dumb decision to be made, at least one of the protagonists will immediately jump at the call. The most glaring examples are covered under Idiot Ball above, but there are, in fact, so many of them that the comprehensive list had to get its own subpage. It's safe to say that none of the horror in this movie would've happened (the captain's death at the very beginning notwithstanding) if the Covenant hadn't been staffed with such an utterly, completely, unbelievably incompetent crew.
  • Too Good to Be True: Daniels argues this; they've detected a human signal from a perfect colony world in a system that somehow never turned up on their scans before?
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers clearly shows characters dying or going to die, as well as what caused their deaths: i.e Neomorph spores infection, a Facehugger attack, and a Xenomorph in the shower. It is possible that the fans' disappointment with Prometheus lacking Xenomorphs is why this trailer spoils a lot by showing eggs, facehuggers and an adult Xenomorph, the trailer being akin to fan bait.
    • Basically every creature scene that happens in the actual film was shown in montage in the trailers. The entire Neomorph life cycle, which is sort of new because it's airborne spores, is revealed in the trailers. The only action scenes the trailers didn't reveal too much of were the Xenomorph's cargo hold scene.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: The site of the ship that Shaw and David use to get to the Engineers homeworld is specifically about eight kilometers away from where the landing party park their shuttle — and most of that being up-hill. Once Karine raises the alarm about Ledward, they manage to make the return trip in, at most, ten minutes; they arrive just in time to see the shuttle blow up.
  • Tuckerization: David followed the Alphabetical Theme Naming of Alien robots (Ash-Bishop-Call). Walter breaks the mould, but serves to make both an homage to the producers of the series, David Giler and Walter Hill.
  • Twisted Ankle: Faris gets a crushed ankle when she activates the medical door in a panic and it slams shut on her foot. She's able to yank out her foot in time before the Neomorph is on top of her, but it hampers her ability to flee the scene.
  • Ultimate Life Form: David's end goal in experimenting with Engineer biotech is to create the ultimate life form. He succeeds in creating the first Xenomorphs, but they're more a prototype that represents an intermediary step between the Neomorphs and the biomechanical terrors seen in the rest of the series.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked in-universe by Walter as the reason why the synthetics no longer have a Personality Chip. People found the androids of David's generation profoundly disturbing, so their capacity for emotion and creative thinking was toned way down in later models.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Shaw rebuilt David to ensure that they could make it to the Engineer's homeworld safely, David infected Shaw with a virus in order to advance his own studies of the Engineer bioweapons.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When David's leading the surviving crew to his home, they pass through an area filled with the petrified corpses of the Engineers killed by David's chemical attack. At no point does anyone ask David what happened to them, or even wonder aloud about what went on here. Although considering that they just dealt with the sight of a Neomorph birth and were attacked by two of the creatures, they may have just figured out that the same thing happened to the Engineers.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight:
    • In the film's third act, Walter (the upgrade) and David (the prototype) get into a no-holds-barred martial arts brawl. Walter gets the upper hand and has David on the ropes and starts beating David's face in with a rock, but David takes advantage of Walter's moment of hesitation, grabs Walter's combat knife, and defeats him off-screen.
    • It was initially reported that the Neomorph and Xenomorph would fight, and while this scene was removed from the final draft of the script used for the film, it was included in the novelization. The heavily armored Xenomorph easily shreds the unarmored Neomorph.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The film opens with David first being activated by his "father" and designer, Peter Weyland. He's later revealed to be responsible for the genocide of the Engineers and has been experimenting on hapless humans to facilitate the perfection of the Neomorphs into their Xenomorph forms.
  • Viral Transformation: David explains that Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 is a mutagenic pathogen that functions by infecting a host organism and causing the gestation of a super-aggressive predatory hybrid that violently emerges from the host organism. The Neomorphs and Xenomorphs — examples of said super-aggressive predatory hybrids — inherit and refine this process as their means of reproduction.
  • The Virus: Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 is described as a pathogen that infects viable hosts and produces hybridized predatory monsters like the Neomorphs, who themselves come out of spores that insert themselves into a host's body skin via Orifice Invasion. The novelization goes into greater detail, with David saying that Neomorphs — like the Xenomorphs — inherit traits and abilities based on their host species.
  • Wall Crawl:
    • A Neomorph effortlessly scales the vertical wall of the Engineer temple looking for a way inside.
    • The Xenomorph is shown crawling along the underside of a vehicle, perched on a wall, and running along the walls of a tunnel.
  • Wham Line: "David."
  • Wham Shot: Walter finds the dissected remains of Elizabeth Shaw, with Daniels coming across diagrams of Shaw's corpse being experimented on soon afterwards.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It's unclear what happens to Walter after David impersonates him to get off the planet with Daniels and Tennessee, and whether David managed to kill him or not. He's shown to recover and heal from being stabbed in the neck, so it's possible he managed to overcome whatever David did to him.
    • No mention of the Deacon (the Proto-Xenomorph that was born from the Engineer in Prometheus) is made in the film. A Justified Trope given that there's no indication that David ever learned about that alien, or if he ever went back to LV-223 during the time that Shaw was in hypersleep.
  • Wicked Cultured: David was programmed by Weyland to be highly cultured, such as knowing how to play Wagner, recognising art and quoting poetry. David also teaches himself other kinds of music and eventually performs his own (evil) scientific experiments. This is Downplayed though, as David has some serious blind spots, such as making the basic mistake of mis-attributing a Shelley poem to Lord Byron, implying he is neither quite as cultured and certainly not as perfect as he likes to believe.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: During their fight, David hits a spining heel kick on Walter, and Walter later puts him down with a spinebuster.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: In the prologue Weyland orders David to pour him tea as a lesson in obedience, with the teapot being right next to him and David being across the room.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Covenant finally escapes the planet in the third act, and all seems well for the crew to once again resume the journey to their original destination for resettlement... until it is revealed that Lope had been infected with a Xenomorph embryo (even though the carrier, a Facehugger, was quickly removed from his face after it has latched there for reproduction and he could be heard shouting for help during that time), and by the time they approach Lope in the medical ward, the Xenomorph has already burst out of his body and killed him. Therefore, it is essentially on the loose in the ship and they have to get rid of it.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback