Twentieth Century Fox has confirmed that its upcoming sequel to 2012’s Alien prequel Prometheus has been renamed following a slip of the tongue from director Ridley Scott in an interview at the AFI Film Festival. Previously titled Alien: Paradise Lost, the film now bears the title Alien: Covenant.
In reference to his schedule, Scott made fleeting reference to Alien: Covenant by its new title and noted that his new film The Martian distracted him from shooting it earlier. “I’ve got no plan. I go from pillar to post randomly,” Scott said.
“I was going to be doing what will be called Alien: Covenant, which starts shooting next February, and we were struggling then with the screenplay there and then there was a phone call, somebody saying, ‘Listen, we’ve got this thing which is completely written called Martian, and I said, ‘Huh.’ And I sped read it in an hour and by mid-afternoon, I talked to Fox and said, ‘I need to talk to Drew [Goddard]…'” (Goddard being the screenwriter for The Martian).
Fox confirmed the title change, issuing a plot synopsis for the film and revealing a release date: October 6, 2017. “Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS — and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction,” the synopsis reads. “Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.”
It’s worth noting the absence of Noomi Rapace and her character Elizabeth Shaw from any of these discussions. Shaw was the protagonist of Prometheus and the ending of the first film seems to set up a scenario in which she and David would still be together during the events of its sequel. Also of interest is Fox’s decision to ditch the Prometheus brand and switch to Alien.
Scott was infamously noncommittal before Prometheus’ release about just how connected to the Alien universe it was, so perhaps this naming decision indicates that Alien: Covenant will be much more directly connected to the Alien series than its predecessor was. Another possibility is that Fox may have felt that the Prometheus name may have been muddied by its mixed reception.