You'd think at some point the residents of the "Alien" universe would learn to stop traveling to remote worlds where hungry Xenomorphs are waiting to eviscerate them. Oh well. Their loss is our gain, as franchise returns to theaters with "Alien: Covenant."
If you're not sure where this latest film falls on the increasingly complicated "Alien" timeline, fear not. We're breaking down everything you need to know about "Covenant, from how it connects to 2012's "Prometheus" to what to expect from this new crew of unfortunate souls/future chestburster incubators.
1. It's More of a Sequel to "Prometheus" Than You ThinkWhile it's not actually called "Prometheus 2," "Covenant" is a follow-up to that 2012 "Alien" prequel.
Set ten years after the events of that polarizing prequel, "Covenant" will reveal (sort of) what became of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the damaged android David (Michael Fassbender) after they left LV-223 in search of the Engineers who created humanity. The film will also feature Guy Pearce reprising his role as the late Peter Weyland (despite having suffered a violent death last time around).
2. You'll Meet Mostly New CharactersWhile it's a continuation of "Prometheus," "Covenant" looks to be focusing more on a new cast of characters. The film revolves mainly around the crew of the Covenant, who are responsible for ferrying a group of interstellar colonists to their new home. This crew is the latest in a long line of Weyland-Yutani teams to run afoul of the ruthless Xenomorphs (HR and legal must love these workman's comp claims).
Fassbender will be pulling double duty this time around, as he'll also be playing the Covenant's helpful (and kind of badass) android, Walter.
3. The Film Goes Back to Its RootsNot all "Alien" fans were thrilled with the direction in which "Prometheus" pulled the franchise, complaining about director Ridley Scott's emphasis on philosophy and fleshing out the origins of the Xenomorphs with complicated and convoluted mythology, rather than finding a worthwhile way of exploring those questions by way of the claustrophobic horror -- and character-driven stakes -- that made the first two "Alien'' films so memorable.
Luckily, early reviews suggest that "Covenant" is bringing the franchise back to its roots. Expect more emphasis on horror and bloodshed this time around, as the Covenant crew slowly come to grips with the deadly threat awaiting them when they detour to an undiscovered planet while en route to their new home.
4. There's Even More Mythology
Despite the "back to basics" mentality of this prequel, "Covenant" will still feature some of the philosophical elements of "Prometheus." The original title of the film was actually "Alien: Paradise Lost," which gives you some idea of where Ridley Scott is drawing inspiration from.
"Covenant" goes deeper into the world of the mysterious Engineers while expanding on what the black goo is that seems to have birthed both humanity and the Xenomorphs.
5. There's a New Xenomorph
It wouldn't be a proper "Alien" movie without at least one new variation on the Xenomorph. "Covenant" will introduce the Neomorph, a smaller, more feral version of the iconic monster. The Neomorphs are native to the seemingly idyllic world the Covenant crew discover in the film, created after the Engineers' black goo interacted with, well, you'll have to see for yourself.
Traditionalists needn't worry -- the film will also feature plenty of the classic "Big Chap" Xenomorph we know and love. But rather than a tall guy in a rubber suit, the Xenomorphs are now mostly computer-animated creations, making them quicker, deadlier, and more flashy than ever.
6. "Covenant" Starts a New TrilogyWe can only hope "Covenant" recaptures the appeal of the first two "Alien" movies, otherwise, it might be the last entry in the franchise. Scott intends "Covenant" to be the first part of a new trilogy of films that will progressively shed more light on David and his plans to continue a more deadly version of what the Engineers started.
The goal is to eventually link this trilogy to the events of the original "Alien." Scott already has developed screenplays for both sequels, with production on "Alien: Covenant 2" hoping to begin in 2018.
"Alien: Covenant" hits theaters May 19. Get your tickets here.