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The Alien: Covenant Trailer Looks Cool, But… Is There Really More Story to Tell?

Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, perhaps better described as Prometheus 2, promises to “go back into the back door of the first Alien movie.” Or, at least, that’s what Scott said in an interview earlier this year. The movie’s got a brand new trailer, which just dropped yesterday. Let’s give it a look, shall we?

This trailer’s got everything you want an Alien movie to have, such as: female characters reacting to life-threatening situations with pragmatism and heroics. Also, the alien threat still serves as a rape metaphor (there’s a pretty scary shower scene in this trailer), which has been a core part of this series since the beginning–and the male characters appear to be its first victims, which is also a running theme in the Alien franchise. Plus, we’ve got Michael Fassbender returning in a robotic role, as promised. So far, so good.

Overall, the trailer looks like a return to form. There are even some familiar shots and situations that harken back to the first Alien movie–which I intend as a high compliment, of course. I really don’t have any complaints here, except… I gotta ask: why?

I had the same question about the storyline behind the Alien: Isolation video game, which was a fun game to play but which also answered questions that I just didn’t have about the franchise, and created a storyline for Ellen Ripley’s daughter that seemed too coincidental. This movie, which is another prequel of sorts since it dovetails with Prometheus (which is also a prequel to Alien), also promises to answer more questions and raise more questions about the franchise, but like… do I even have questions? And, if I do, do I want those questions answered?

I have the same feelings of unease about the upcoming Blade Runner follow-up that Ridley Scott is producing, which promises to answer questions that I don’t think need answering. On the one hand, I want more Alien, but on the other hand, I could totally just rewatch Alien for the billionth time. Sometimes, sci-fi is more compelling when you don’t know the explanation behind everything.

So far, I’m not yet convinced by this trailer that Alien: Covenant is going to be bringing anything new to the table–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I’m not sure Alien needs anything new brought to the table, or, really, for the table to be there at all. I hope to be proven wrong, but so far, I’m just not sure about this, because I don’t feel like I know what this movie’s purpose will be. That doesn’t mean it won’t still end up being good, though.

What do you all think of the trailer? Too Alien? Not Alien enough? Not the right Alien stuff? You tell me.

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).