Ash – Ian Holm
38 Years in between
David – Michael Fassbender
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Ash – Ian Holm
38 Years in between
David – Michael Fassbender
Alien: Covenant (2017)
An investigation into the origins and meaning of the Weyland name.
Names of characters and corporations in fiction can often give us an indication of their natures: sometimes writers will give deep consideration to names, other times the meaning is just coincidental, a name is picked simply because it sounds appropriate. While there is little information on how the name was chosen, Weyland seems to be a fitting choice for both the man and his company.
The topic of today’s podcast is what we think will happen in Alien Awakening, I am joined by Courtney Coulson from Prometheus by Minute. We spend an hour discussing all the possibilities for Alien Awakening and go off on many tangents(so please be patient).
-WARNING SPOILERS- We have conversations about Westworld and Ex-Machina and the robots featured.
Here are some of your thoughts on what may happen in the next movie:
“As much as I would love to see a sequel to Alien Covenant, I worry that, because of the poorer performance at the box office compared to Prometheus, Covenant did not give the higher-ups confidence in making these Alien films. Mercifully, they will let Scott finish off David’s arc with one last, final film.
That being said, examining what we think will happen should there be a sequel is still worth exploring. David is the obvious focus of these stories – his creation, what he believes in, how he goes about it, and his motivations all drive the prequels and serve as a vessel for the ideas these movies wish to examine. David’s ultimate fate must be shown or hinted at in the next movie. The implications at the end of Covenant invite us to think he will develop many more Xenomorphs – truly, something worthy of the poster for Covenant itself.
David’s ultimate fate could be ironic: he dies at the hand of his creation he thought he had under his control, foolishly following in the steps of the one he hated, Peter Weyland. Thinking himself a God, untouchable, only to die to his creation. Perhaps similar to how the Queen cuts Bishop in half in Aliens.
It could also be (and the way I prefer) that David is ultimately victorious and knows it. He is defeated at the hands of the Engineers, or the humans sent after him. Defeated by outside forces, the victors torch the newly created species and assume all is won. However, David had contingency plans – eggs left in key places, an Engineer ship stocked full of them, headed to Earth after the defeat of David. The Engineers wipe out the true menace that is David and his aliens, and head to Earth to finish what they start again… but this time the ship and its’ pilot are infected and become the Space Jockey. David’s queen and his species live on. Something like that.
As long as the next Alien prequel contains the same level of philosophical, challenging concepts giving the entire series a deeper meaning that simply was not there before, I could be happy with most stories they come up with. Action on the same level of Covenant would be ideal; I would rather not see another movie similar to Aliens. That has been done and the pop culture around it is overwhelming in its’ strength and the fervour with which people enjoy it.
Ultimately, give me a conclusion worthy of David’s character because David is a movie villain we rarely see these days; one that has interesting motivations has the stuff to do in the film and wins in the end despite everyone’s attempts to stop them. I do not agree with David… but I do understand him. He is relate-able, and that is what makes him so terrifying, just as the sexual nature of the Xenomorph makes it so horrifying. It is familiar. There are Davids in the world today, serial killers and dangerous creators. The Alien franchise is all too real in these aspects.” – Mike Andrews
When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Prometheus had foreseen the flood and warned his son Deucalion(descendant of Prometheus) and his wife, Pyrrha(descendant of Epimetheus) to build and ark. During the flood they landed on Mount Parnassus, sacred to Apollo and the muses. When the flood subsided and they were on solid ground again Deucalion consulted an oracle of Themis about how to repopulate the Earth
Ridley said he had Michael Fassbender throw rocks to show time had passed while waiting for Oram to birth the Xenomorph. However I find it interesting that it of lined up with this myth. Deucalion was told to throw the bones of his mother behind his shoulder. Deucalion and Pyrrha interpreted “mother” to be Gaia, ancestral mother of all life, and the “bones” to be rocks. They threw the rocks behind their shoulders, which soon began to lose their hardness and change form. Their mass grew greater, and the beginnings of human form emerged.
The parts that were soft and moist became skin, the veins of the rock became people’s veins, and the hardest parts of the rocks became bones. The stones thrown by Pyrrha became women; those thrown by Deucalion became men.
After David releases the pathogen their craft crash lands on a mountainside just like Deucalion’s Ark, and with the population destroyed it is David’s plan to repopulate this second Eden with his creations. Unfortunately without the consent of Elizabeth Shaw, his mother figure dissected and utilized with the accelerant.
The man who keeps the Alien Universe together answers some questions on canon and comics.
Image – Alien: The Weyland Yutani Report Hardcover – 1 Jul 2016 by S.D. Perry (Author)
Both Jason and I are constantly brimming with questions about Alien Canon, so Bradley Suedbeck kindly put us through to Scott to help quell any doubts we may have about the present state of it.
@jasonromeo Jason Leger: Hi Scott, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, its appreciated. I just have a basic inquiry in regards to the films “canon,” and or established timeline. I just wanted to know how things are established as canon, and how or why things are included or excluded from the timeline?
Scott Middlebrook: I made up my own version of what was and wasn’t canon when I created the timeline, whenever it was – 1999 I think? This included the films as the primary resource, with other stuff connected to the films like novelisations, or production info or shooting scripts, as a secondary resource where they didn’t conflict with the films.
@muthur9000 Clara Fei-Fei: In regards to the Weyland Yutani Report, I heard that 20th Century Fox didn’t acknowledge it officially as canon for 2 years. I don’t know how it is possible if you were involved with fact checking. What hoops does one need to go through to publish an alien reference like that?
SM: The Weyland-Yutani Report was written as a canon piece and intended to be as canonically accurate as possible at that point. Any discrepancies are due to the fact it was written in 2013, and neither S.D. Perry nor any of us who did any proof reading – as far as I’m aware – had any insight into what was going to happen with Covenant. Perry was approached by either 20th Century Fox or Insight.
JL: Does 20th Century Fox have specific guidelines for it to be considered canon or are some things never meant to be in the first place? For instance does is Dark Horse or Titan Books work with 20th Century Fox when producing new material?
SM : Fox works with its licensees about what they can and can’t do. I think it’s fairly well known, for example, that the timeframe for the Fire & Stone comics had to be changed to avoid conflicts with a Prometheus sequel. After working on Weyland Yutani Report and 20th Century Fox officially publicly including non-film references like Fire & Stone, River of Pain and the Alien: Isolation game; I updated my timeline to also include those events.
CF: Two discrepancies I have noticed now in the WYR, Elizabeth Shaw’s birth year which is different from the Alien: Covenant Novelisation and the information. If there is a resource of what her birthday is, why is there a mistake?
SM: Elizabeth’s birth date is different due to the fact Perry used my timeline, where I based it on Noomi Rapace’s actual age. Not sure where Alan Dean Foster sourced his date from(Alan Dean Foster later confirmed the date came down from 20th Century Fox). I read a draft of Origins back in May or something, but never saw a draft of the novelisation, so I’m not sure how the mistake happened. I’ve been considering the option of David being an unreliable narrator for the date discrepancy. It works as a decent fix as far as I’m concerned. It’s irritating but these kinds of errors are always going to happen. I completely missed a mistake in WYR that said Vriess died in Resurrection (which I think was later corrected).
CF: About David in regards to the Prometheus mission since it was revealed in A:C that he is indeed the first prototype and not a David 8 built within years of Weyland passing away. Did the company not know? Is that how they are going to play that information now?
SM: Same deal with the changes with David from Prometheus to Covenant. WYR used the film, virals, and Weyland Corporate timeline as a resource. Some of those things in the virals and corporate timeline may now be apocryphal.
CF : Could you tell me the official date of Weyland’s death? Or should I say faked death? Since it wasn’t on the original Weyland Industries Timeline.
SM : By the time of Covenant it seemed to be common knowledge – at least within the Company – that he’d travelled with the Prometheus and was lost when it disappeared. There’s no official version of events of what people knew on Earth after the Prometheus left. I’m not sure how much publicity was given to a mission travelling to a classified location.
JL: Any chance Aliens Defiance might be added as its or seems linked to isolation (although through cameo only)?
SM: Defiance was recently included in the main timeline. Ditto Dead Orbit and Life & Death. The Rage Wars and Bug Hunt will also be included when I get around to it – more than likely in the non-canon stuff (Bug Hunt was deliberately written that some stories fit and some don’t – I’m not sure which so am putting them in the ‘don’t’ category for the time being). So there will be more updates in the coming months.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, to follow Scott’s progress go to Alien Universe Timeline https://alientimeline.wordpress.com/
*As you know since Disney had acquired Fox the contents of this interview is subject to change, thank you.
In British Romantic literature, “Ozymandias” has been part of some controversy since its inception in 1818.
Believed to be a de casibus poem about the falls of despots, also about the inevitable fall of the most famous literary celebrity of the nineteenth century, the “illustrious” Lord Byron.
Even David had referred to his father as the illustrious Sir Peter Weyland whom he struggles to acquire approval and is constantly working in his shadow.
Shelly’s poem endows the megalomaniac Pharaoh Ozymandias with a “frown, / And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,” making him in the image of “Byron.”
David has of course been created in his father’s image, but doesn’t have the restrictions that held Weyland back like humanity, a soul, need for sleep or vulnerability to illness. Which stands to reason why David’s creation would also represent in himself, a survivor, unclouded by judgement or delusions of morality.
Poetically decapitating “Byron’s” head and placing it among a desert, Shelley prophesies the day when “the great Poet” who “awoke one morning and found himself famous” would no longer take “pride of place” in the Pantheon of poets.
David’s decapitation by the last engineer was a literal visualisation of mankind’s prophecised downfall, with Elizabeth Shaw a stranger from an antique land left to observe the destruction and wasteland of Paradise with David.
Dwarfed by the monolithic literary celebrity status of Lord Byron, Shelley appealed for vindication to Time. And in “Ozymandias” Time is the guillotine on which the literary monarch of the early nineteenth century finally loses his crown.
David has appealed to Weyland Yutani through the Advent Transmission, using his research to vindicate himself. And with this research it will bring an end to his Hellish reign, but will Weyland Yutani get to him in time?
The decapitated head of Ozymandias “uncannily anticipates the guillotined bodies of the French Revolution” – Young, Robert. 1991. Poems That Read Themselves.
The design of the Nostromo and Covenant crew patches are based on the buttons of 18th Century French Revolution uniforms, and the crew landing party costumes were also.
Shelley draws parallels between his work being like that of the Pharaoh’s sculptor and Byron being Ozymandias. In Time he couldn’t imagine the sculptor surpassing the Pharaoh’s fame, yet Time has vindicated Percy Shelley, who no longer plays second fiddle to Lord Byron.
And in time we know David’s creations will outlive and outlast anything that comes in contact with them, the only thing destroying them is razing the colonies established by Weyland Yutani to the ground.
The true identity of “Glirastes” the Pharaoh’s sculptor, is not quite “a household name” in the 21st century.
As much as everyone credits Ridley Scott for Alien, others such as Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett as well as Ron Cobb, Moebius, H.R.Giger and Carlo Rambaldi have given a great amount of contribution to the monolithic A L I E N.
And you may be familiar with the argument which relegated David Giler and Walter Hill to just producers and never being credited for their rewrites of the story.
I have heard it was in the contractual agreement that two characters in the prequels be named after David and Walter, at last the Byron Shelly argument has come to an end.
Dan O’Bannon may be the creator of Alien but David is now the creator of the Xenomorph, or is he? The Xenomorph design predates Alien, just as the Xenomorph mural predates David’s creation of it.
Optical perceptors stopped and identified Michelangelo’s statue of David, fashioned from Carrara marble. It-he could see the slight rises and indentations made by the cold chisel. A copy, perhaps, but one infused with real creativity. Not necessarily a contradiction. He walked over to it. “David,” he said. By Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Finished and installed summer, 1504. “We are David.” It-he held out a hand and made contact with the stone. It was cool, dry, unyielding. Not human, yet so very human. “Beautiful and cold.” “Perfect in every way,” Weyland concurred. “David,” he murmured. Voiced aloud in the beautiful, expensive, sterile room, he found the sound of his own name satisfying. It would do. He turned back to the watching Weyland. A meshing of neurons generated curiosity. “Why have you created me?” – Alien: Covenant Novelisation