As if the original names of the film didn’t have enough religious iconography associated with them.
First it was Prometheus 2, then it became Alien: Paradise Lost, and now the latest entry in the Alien franchise has the final title of Alien: Covenant that was revealed today along with a brief synopsis. Although we’ve already picked apart the Paradise Lost title, there’s still plenty to discuss with Covenant that may give us insight into the film… so let’s get started.
You mentioned a synopsis. Could that help?
Indeed! Let’s take a look:
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS — and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
Like Prometheus, it seems the film is named after the ship most of the action will revolve around.
Before we get into Covenant, what do Prometheus and Paradise Lost mean?
Well, Prometheus refers to the Titan who created mankind and gifted them with the secret of fire he stole from Mount Olympus. As a punishment, Zeus chained him to a rock where Prometheus would have his liver eaten by an eagle every day for all eternity. The parallel to the film is pretty evident, with the Prometheus crew looking to meet humanity’s gods… and maybe steal a little of their fire in the process. Of course, their punishment has to do with decapitation, mutant zombie creatures, and an arbitrary Black Goo.
Alien: Paradise Lost refers to the Milton poem that features the civil war in heaven that led from the angel Lucifer turning in the ruler of hell named Satan.
Okay, what about the Covenant title?
The word “covenant” is used several times in the Bible, though mostly the Old Testiment. Typically, a covenant refers to an agreement that forms a bond between a group of humans and God. For example, the covenant between the Jewish people and God refers to their relationship and how they would both worship him and live by his laws (the ten commandments).
If we take this as a base, it’s easy to see how Alien: Covenant might refer to one of two possible covenants: the Human’s covenant with the Engineers or the rumored relationship between the Engineers with their creators. The previous title Paradise Lost refers to a civil war in heaven, which in this context would double for the Engineer’s homeworld.
Could the “uncharted paradise” the colony ship Covenant is heading for be the Engineer homeworld, which has been torn apart by a civil war similar to the one Milton described in his story? It’s very possible. In fact, we theorized they could find a planet where the Lucifer figure won and transformed the planet from a heaven into a hell, which would certainly the part of the synopsis that calls that uncharted paradise “a dark, dangerous world.” One of those dangers, we’re willing to bet, is a Xenomorph.
In a nutshell, the crew of the Covenant are going to expect to find heaven… but they’re really going to the other place. Welcome to a horror movie, guys!