Ridley Scott's Prometheus premiered back in 2012, and though it's been a few years, when talks of a Prometheus sequel commenced, almost everyone was on board with a revisit to the Alien universe. Details regarding the sequel, titled Alien: Covenant, have been scarce — but finally, we've been given a huge piece of information. Thanks to costume designer Janty Yates, we now know that Alien: Covenant will take place 10 years after Prometheus.
Why is this such a vital detail? Well, for a few reasons. If you remember correctly (or if you haven't seen it, spoilers ahead), at the end of Prometheus there are only two survivors left: Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (played by Noomi Rapace) and the android David (played by Michael Fassbender). We're already aware that Michael Fassbender will be in the sequel — and that makes sense, really — considering he's an android and can survive in deep space for, presumably, ever.
Knowing that Covenant is set 10 years in the future from Prometheus, we can speculate that Shaw will have died off by the time we catch up with David. That many years in deep space — without adequate supplies — only really points to one, glaringly obviously possibility: Shaw didn't make it out alive.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott has already confirmed that Rapace will have a small role in Covenant. It's fair to conclude that she won't be alive when the story picks up, and will more than likely be present in a series of flashbacks or perhaps holograms. Rapace's role as the quintessential space heroine (which Scott seems to have in every Alien film, most notably, Sigourney Weaver) will be replaced in some fashion by Inherent Vice star Katherine Waterston. Just recently, Waterston signed on to play the character, Daniels. And because we know that Prometheus and its sequels take place before the original Alien, it's even possible that Daniels will have some connection to Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley.
Regardless of those connections, this 10 year time jump might be the smartest move for Alien: Covenant. It allows for a kind of blank canvas, and fresh start. An opportunity to erase some of the polarizing stigmas that surrounded Prometheus — and still do. Plus, it's an opportunity to get closer to the original Alien films, because it's speeding up the origin story process by jumping ahead. Whether or not this is all in an effort to appease some of Scott's earlier fans, I don't know. But it's a move I'm applauding.
With Scott's recent success with The Martian, maybe Alien: Covenant will receive the kind of critical and commercial success I personally think Prometheus deserved. After viewers realize that this time jump could significantly improve the film's cohesion, maybe more will be convinced to reinstate their admiration for Alien.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy