With Prometheus, Ridley Scott established a bold ambition for his trilogy of prequels to the original Alien, extending that world far beyond the Xenomorphs that had previously been the central characters of the franchise. But with Alien: Covenant, Scott walked that all back a bit, listening to fan complaints about Prometheus and making a sequel that felt more like, well, an Alien movie. In the process, Prometheus main character Elizabeth Shaw was relegated to an off-screen death in Covenant, which resulted in a whole new rash of complaints from fans.
Early on, as you’ve probably heard by now, Shaw was supposed to have a much more prominent role in Covenant. And speaking with HN Entertainment this week, creature designer/concept artist Carlos Huante spilled the beans on those original plans.
“In the first version of what was called Paradise/Prometheus 2, Shaw was alive,” Huante told the site. “They find her and she’s been hiding from David the whole time and she helps them escape. I told Ridley, my wife and mother-in-law, who are strong characters themselves, they loved the Shaw character and the actress (Noomi Rapace) more than any other characters in the film and they’re not science fiction people, but they liked the film because of Noomi. I think it was a studio call as to why she didn’t return. What a shame.”
He continued, “So in the first version of Covenant called Paradise, she was hiding in the catacombs from David under the city and the story was that on her trip to the homeworld she got lonely and she had David hanging outside the ship, she didn’t want anything to do with him. But she still had to talk to him. Eventually, she ends up bringing his body in and reattaching him as they become friends during this trip. He ends up having affection for her in a friendship way. So they end up going to the city and that’s when David looks at her and tells that story ‘Do you trust me, do you trust that I love you and everything I’m going to do from this point on is because of you and that’s all to protect you’…she looks at him and says ‘Okay, yes I do’ so then he turns around and kills all the Engineers on the planet. It’s his own twisted way of vengeance for her, he kills the planet. She is like ‘Hey, I wanted to talk to these people’ but too late the whole planet is polluted now and everyone on the planet dies.”
Other differences between early drafts and final draft? Well, Alien: Covenant was originally going to end with a big ole monster battle between the Xenomorph and Neomorphs!
“The first version of the Xenomorph did show up at the end and the Neomorphs and the Xenomorph have a fight,” Huante explained. “There was supposed to be a monster fight at the end of the film as they are chasing the crew to get to the ship. So as they’re running to another ship they’re being chased by the Neomorphs and then this Xenomorph shows up and it’s fighting and killing these other creatures because it hates them…it hates everything. The idea for the Xenomorph from the Prometheus era of the film series was that it was a creation of the Engineers, made to wipe off a planet of life and then to wipe itself off because it has such hostility towards anything living, even itself, and that it would wipe off a planet and wipe itself off and leave nothing there. Of course, all seems to have changed with Covenant.”
In the finished film, it ends up being David who creates the first Xenomorph.