Ridley Scott is one greatest voices in science fiction cinema ever. Oh, he’s made many films in many different genres, but his career pillars remain 1979’s Alien and 1982’s Blade Runner. Both films expanded the language of sci-fi and have had a major impact on the genre’s modern aesthetic. He’s not lost it in the decades since either; last year’s The Martian showed that he’s still one of the best when it comes to space-based thrills.
Scott is now attempting to take things a step further, with 2017 seeing expansions of those two classics; he’s producing Blade Runner 2049 (Arrival‘s Denis Villeneuve is calling the shots) and directing the prequel Alien: Covenant. The latter, of course, isn’t his first foray into the early years of the Xenomorph – that was 2012’s Prometheus – but by all estimations Covenant will hew closer to the original Alien, especially as it’s set much closer to Ripley’s adventures than Weyland’s. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean Prometheus elements won’t play an essential part.
To celebrate his 79th birthday, Alien Anthology (the official Twitter account for the franchise) released a new image featuring Scott on the set of an Engineer ship – itself, seemingly from the set of Alien: Covenant. Check it out, below:
There have been plenty of behind-the-scenes images from Covenant making their way online, but this is certainly one of the most revealing; it would seem to confirm that the Engineers (or their technology) are going to play some part in the movie. This wouldn’t be all that surprising considering where Prometheus left off, with Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw and Michael Fassbender’s David (head not yet re-attached to his body) jetting off to find humanity’s creators’ home planet.
Covenant is set to help bridge the gap between Prometheus and Alien. We’ve yet to get an answer to how the crashed derelict found its way onto LV-426 in the first place (and thanks to Damon Lindelof’s question-baiting script, there are a lot of themes related to meeting “God” that Scott has yet to fully explore). There is a possibility that this nicely-shot photo of Scott is from the set of Prometheus, not Covenant, despite what the hashtag attached to it suggests. Either way though, the Engineers should appear in Covenant, in some form or another.
This set photo also raises the question of balance. While the prequel/sequel flirting with Prometheus will please some, there’s a large section of the Alien fanbase who were let down by the latter’s vagueness and are hoping Covenant is more in keeping with Alien‘s all-out horror (something the teaser poster definitely pointed towards). Scott needs to tread carefully here, for related reasons.