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Acheron Bound and Down: The obvious and disappointing plot of Alien: Covenant

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Acheron Bound and Down: The obvious and disappointing plot of Alien: Covenant

The wheels have slowly been turning for some time to make it easier to guess the plotline of the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus. That film ended with characters driving an “engineer” (I still shudder at how Scott bastardized Giger’s original space jockey to shoehorn a dumb ancient aliens theory into the franchise – not to mention decrease the special effects budget) ship back to their homeworld. Reports said that the sequel would be called Paradise (then Alien: Paradise Lost), with the homeworld being a place that felt like a paradise but had terrible secrets (like Jesus was an alien, if you didn’t get the most obvious nonverbal plot point of Prometheus).

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Or maybe it was Prince Charles. Same difference.

Well, I guess Scott kept that “paradise” part, with the limited synopsis of Alien: Covenant stating that the film takes place on a world that the crew of Covenant (a colinization ship) originally thinks is suitable to live on but later finds a dark secret. Of course, speculation immediately built that the planet would actually be the titular Acheron (LV-426) featured in Alien and Aliens, with the derelict being the ship that Shaw crashes (because women are terrible drivers… I kid I kid!).

This will likely be the case, which I’ll get to the evidence of shortly, but it’s a shame. In Alien Dallas stated that the derelict “looks fossilized.” Since the Alien franchise operates on a clear timeline with stated dates we know that if the derelict is the ship we see Shaw pilot in Prometheus there’s no way it could be traditionally fossilized. By definition, a fossilized object is at least 10,000 years old. We’ll put aside the relativistic effects of near light speed travel (as it doesn’t appear to affect the timelines in-story in these movies) for now and work with the canonical fact that only twenty-nine years pass between the events of Prometheus and Alien. Even by Creationist standards that would be some damn-fast fossilizing. Good thing for Mr. Scott Dallas’s line was “looks fossilized.” A scientific observation by Ash or a computerized device would make that statement much harder to write around thirty-five years later.

But it’s going to be that ship, fossilized or not. How do we know? Danny Mcbride inadvertently spilled the beans in a recent interview about his character:

“I’m the pilot of the spaceship Covenant, which is a colonization ship, searching for a planet where we might start life anew.”

“You see, Danny, the engineers are like god and they sent Jesus to Earth. This is all a biblical retelling, so I guess that would make your character . . .”

“Samson?”

“What? Why Samson?”

“He brought the house down.”

“Danny . . .”

“You hired a comedian, Guvnah.”

“This is serious stuff, Danny, I actually believe we came from ancient aliens. We’re walking around the truth here, this might be real!”

“Shit, Ridley, I need to get some of what you’re smoking!”

Okay, so enough kidding around. Here’s the plot reveal: The black goo is the genesis device from Star Trek II and it will be detonated on an already-crashed ship this time. That’s how you fossilize a ship, eliminate all the humans and aliens, and have it all look dusty and dead by the time the Nostromo shows up nineteen years later (Covenant takes place ten years after Prometheus). The transmission was a warning to stay away, one the company (which we now know is sponsoring the mission of the spaceship Covenant as well) had been looking for in that star system since the Prometheus blew up.

I’m reminded of my favorite line from the Simpsons.

Prove me wrong a year from now, Ridley, prove me wrong! But c’mon, Edna, the more information we get about this film the more we know this series has no future! Rumors are swirling now that Scott is no longer planning multiple sequels but will make Covenant the direct antecedent of Alien. That’s awfully hard to do if the planet isn’t Acheron. Awfully hard to do if the goo doesn’t destroy everything on the planet. Awfully hard to swallow for fans of the original film.

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