The Wizeguy: Head Canon

Ridley Scott wants to make a better Alien prequel. In conversation with the LA Times, Scott stated that he is still keen on the idea of the origins of the derelict ship on LV-426. 

“What I always thought when I was making the first one [was] why would a creature like this be made and why was it travelling in what I always thought was a kind of war-craft, which was carrying a cargo of these eggs. What was the purpose of the vehicle and what was the purpose of the eggs? That’s the thing to question – who, why, and for what purpose is the next idea, I think.”

I’ve been thinking about the value of answering something versus leaving it a mystery. My thoughts are that it’s really hard to judge the value of the mystery. I think the answers need to have as many new questions. It needs to imply a larger universe instead of closing it off. It has always been my view that any film that requires extra materials like a novelization or production notes or whatever to make sense is not doing a very good job with its narrative. Between the novels, comics, AvP franchise and all that, the canon is entirely thrown out the window. Clearly Scott feels the story is his to write regardless of earlier story elements, including from his own films. 

I think part of the problem is that at first, Alien: Covenant wasn’t supposed to be a direct sequel to Alien at all. My understanding is there would be a couple Easter Eggs to suggest the films exist in the same universe, but they weren’t directly related in a specific cause-and-effect sort of manner.

In that case, the Space Jockey could have been an Engineer from much further in the past who had somehow screwed up and crashed with his cargo of alien eggs. The facility that the people from Prometheus encounter could have been a relatively newer installation with more sophisticated technology. But this doesn’t work when it’s revealed the Xenomorphs as we know them require interaction with human DNA and they were largely created by a human-built android only a generation or two before the Alien film. 

The derelict ship in Alien looks ancient, hundreds or thousands of years old. But that doesn’t line up with the events of Alien: Covenant. So one assumes Engineers are either close enough to humans genetically for them to independently create something very similar to the Xenomorphs in Alien/s, or that the Engineers had been kidnapping and using humans for experimentation this whole time. Or…time travel could be involved which Pro: allows for some canon-fixing regarding AvP but Con: It could be uninspired and lazy. 

My head cannon hangup is that anyway the story goes removes what I saw as a key theme in Alien. That basically there are these beings and forces in the universe that have no connection to humanity, that are utterly unknowable, completely inhuman, you know: alien. Making the story all about how the Xenomorphs are somehow directly related to humans—either created as weapons to destroy them or as a side effect of the whole program focused on Kill All Humans—makes the story ultimately all about humans, which seems contradictory to me. 

For what it’s worth (not much), my understanding was that the Xenomorphs were a naturally occurring species on some distant planet. The Space Jockey was a member of a separate (now extinct) alien civilization that tried to capture a Xenomorph egg for study. But on his way back home, some accident occurred and he was infected with a chest-burster. Perhaps there were other crew members on that ship that we just didn’t see on screen, but basically they all became victims of the Xenomorph life cycle with a queen developing just long enough to lay that clutch of eggs before dying herself. Basically, what happened on the alien craft is exactly how things would have turned out for the Nostromo if Ripley hadn’t blown it up. 

Sir Ridley has given me lots of entertainment over the years. Some highs and lows but for the most part good, entertaining and some downright terrific films.  I love knowing at his age and after all these years with multiple films, he is still obsessed with this story! Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. Also, he keeps creating, making films for how long? OVER FIVE DECADES. I grew up with his films. He wants to go down this path again, hey I’ll ride with him; I will always take a chance with a creative someone who keeps taking chances. Give me the gonzo pretension of Alien: Covenant and Michael Fassbender as an android mad scientist on a Gothic horror prop planet playing flute with himself. As much as I dislike some of the decisions in that film, it’s so bonkers that the Walt Disney company should produce another.

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