Mild possible spoilers for the Alien franchise beyond this point! You've been warned.
Like all modern movies formed from the building blocks of previous franchises, the timeline for Alien is just a little bit wonky. Sure, the first four movies started out in chronological order (even if there were a few decades or centuries of time between when some of them took place), but when it was revealed that Prometheus was actually a prequel, everything changed — and if director Ridley Scott has his way, the timeline might be about to get a lot weirder.
Speaking with Fandango, Scott revealed that he has a very specific plan for what he wants to do with the franchise next if the upcoming film Alien: Covenant proves to be successful. "There will be another one before we, kind of literally and logically, clockwise, back into the rear back head of Alien,” he said. “It will go Prometheus, Awakening, Covenant... fairly integral where this colonization ship is on the way....”
In an exceedingly odd role reversal for any actor in a science fiction franchise, Covenant star Katherine Waterston then interrupted Scott to tell him that he was giving away too much information, saying, "Yes there will be more after this. I think that was the question."
"If this is successful, and then the next one, and then there will definitely be three more," Scott concluded.
Obviously the big news from this is that the next Alien movie already has a title: Awakening. But hang on a minute — is it going to take place between Prometheus and Covenant?
Now, it's easy to assume that Ridley Scott misspoke and meant to put Awakening after Covenant. The bulk of Prometheus took place in 2093, and based on what costume designer Janty Yates told Collider back in 2015, Alien: Covenant supposedly takes place ten years later, which would be 2103. Alien takes place in 2122, so surely if Scott wanted to "literally" sync up to the beginning of the franchise, he’d keep going forward into that nineteen year time window rather than backward, right?
Then again, maybe he meant what he said. It's not unprecedented for Alien films to occur right on top of each other, after all; Aliens and Alien3 took place back-to-back during the same year, 2179 (and so did the video game Alien: Colonial Marines, which I’m sorry I had to remind you about just now), so a film that took place between two already existing ones wouldn't be completely outside the realm of possibility.
Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past Ridley Scott to pull a Fast and Furious and start jumping back and forth along the timeline — especially since technically he said there’ll be “another one” before the franchise goes full circle. That would mean that Mystery Alien film #2 would be the one that syncs up, not Awakening, right? Unless he's planning to do a brand new trilogy that takes place during a different time period altogether. Is that what he's planning?
Okay, confused yet? Because I'm about to put yet another wrinkle into your brain: what if the fact that the android names aren't alphabetical anymore is a clue?
In previous Alien installments, the name of the synthetic character in each film starts with the next letter of the alphabet. First we had Ian Holm as Ash in Alien: then there was Lance Henriksen as Bishop in Aliens and Alien3; then Winona Ryder as Call in Alien: Resurrection, and finally Michael Fassbender as David in Prometheus. But the android that Fassbender's playing in Covenant is called Walter, which, I hate to break it to you, is not a name that starts with "E." Is this some kind of hint that the timeline's about to get real confusing, or maybe that Covenant doesn't take place when we think it does?
Who knows? Guess we'll find out for ourselves when Alien: Covenant hits theaters on May 19. In the meantime, let us know your Alien theories in the comments below!
Images: 20th Century Fox
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