The development of Prometheus 2 has followed a very curious track. Before the first film even hit theaters, director Ridley Scott was already busy revealing what would happen in the subsequent sequel, speaking to the origin story of the Engineers. That initial idea, Scott said, would find Noomi Rapace’s Shaw and the disembodied head of Michael Fassbender’s David embarking on a road trip of sorts to find out where the Engineers came from and discovering even more horrors once they arrived at their home planet. However, now that the film has become a reality and carries a new title—Alien: Covenant—it appears the story has evolved and shifted pretty significantly away from that initial idea.
While early reports noted that Rapace would have a “small role” in Alien: Covenant, Scott has now confirmed to Baz Bamigboye (via The Playlist) that the actress won’t be returning at all, adding that they’re still in the process of casting the main roles. Who are these new characters? Well Alien: Covenant picks up 10 years after the events of Prometheus, with a new crew stumbling upon the remains of the Prometheus ship and the planet’s sole inhabitant, Fassbender’s David.
Will this new group venture to the Engineers’ homeworld? Will the film simply play out as a horror sequel, with a new cast of characters bumbling around the same setting as the first movie? It’s unclear at the moment, but we do know that Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) is in talks to star as one of the new crew members, so it’ll be curious to see the cast of characters that Scott assembles for the follow-up.
It is a bit of a shame that Rapace won’t be returning, though, as this likely means Alien: Covenant is less of a direct sequel than we were expecting. It would’ve been great to see the story of Shaw and David continue in the follow-up, but it appears Scott is taking the franchise in a new direction—one he intends to circle back around to the first Alien after two more Prometheus sequels.
Production is expected to begin later this year in Australia ahead of Alien: Covenant’s October 6, 2017 release date.