20 things from Ridley Scott’s audio commentary:
Ridley says David wasn’t an A.I. that was an embryo and grew up—when we see him in the prologue, he’s freshly “born.”
Scott says that David’s choice to pour the tea immediately, with no reaction, shows that he’s political, and therefore dangerous. He’s biding his time and choosing his actions wisely.
Scott says the nail necklace represents the idea of the cabin on the lake that Katherine Waterston and James Franco’s character’s planned to build.
There’s no random choice in the crew members—they all had to earn their spots on the ship.
In the original script, Shaw’s transmission was a prayer. But Scott felt it was corny and instead changed it to the John Denver song because of its purity and focus on loneliness, despite not actually being a big John Denver fan himself.
Scott says this Planet 4, has two moons and is roughly the size of Earth.
Scott confirms the planet we saw in Prometheus was a military research outpost, which he based on what he learned about Anthrax Island where they developed anthrax during World War II.
The neomorph literally grows as he’s running after Amy Seimetz’s character.
Scott says on the commentary that Covenant is the middle chapter for this new series of Alien films: “There’s a platform for what we’re doing right now. It’ll be Prometheus, Covenant 1, and Covenant 2, then we’ll probably come in the back end of Alien 1, and that’s already kind of been worked out. Covenant 2’s already being written by John Logan.”
The big statues inside David’s stronghold are probably the six elders of the entire civilization: “The intellects, the artists, the wise men.”Scott says he thinks the Engineers have a lifespan of around 150 years.
The flashback that shows what happened to the dead Engineers wasn’t in the original script. Scott insisted they needed to show who killed all of them and why.
Scott has answers for all your David body hair questions: “Does the hair of an A.I. grow? If David’s a super A.I., they’ll want his hair to grow.
Scott says the entire film boils down to issues of A.I. and creator/creation: “The subtext of this whole story is the evolution of an A.I. will eventually demonstrate his superiority to their human intellect, and if we invent a perfect A.I. and the next thing you do is have that A.I. create or invent an equal A.I., from that moment we’re in trouble, unless we can control it.”
Scott says there were about 2 million Engineers in the plaza when David released the biological weapon.
The weapon can kill a planet entirely in months, flora and fauna, then the planet will take years to rebuild.
Visually Scott originally wanted Alien: Covenant to be like Black Hawk Down, but once they dug into it he felt Black Hawk didn’t look “cosmetic” enough for what he needed, so they found a middle ground between that look and Prometheus.
Scott defends Billy Crudup’s character’s decision to touch and look in the eggs noting that John Hurt’s character did it in the first Alien.
Scott says David’s love for Elizabeth is real.
There was debate over whether to keep the scene in which Daniels flips through David’s drawings, which Scott thinks gives us insight into how David’s mind works.
David sneaking the embryos onto the ship in his stomach was inspired by research Scott had done for a film called Cartel, where he learned that girls were swallowing drugs and carrying them across the border.
Shaw's transmission was a prayer - so it was made by Shaw, not David...
David's love for Elizabeth is real - another big surprise...
The next thing you do is have that A.I. create or invent an equal A.I. - so David will create an equal A.I. It means another robots/androids or the xenomorphs?
That A79 poster is sweet. Is that Ash in the back by the door watching?
2 million Engineers in the Plaza? I was thinking thousands.
Scott says that David’s choice to pour the tea immediately, with no reaction, shows that he’s political, and therefore dangerous. He’s biding his time and choosing his actions wisely. I took it as David figuratively doing a territorial pissing on PW looking at how the scene was filmed.
Other than that and as others have pointed out accurately- RS says a lot of things.
After the xenomorph got chomped to pieces by the crane and scattered over the plaza Scott also said that it would re-grow (or words to that effect). Plausibility does have its limits!
Billy Crudup’s character's decision in 2017 is stupid because of 1979's movie. Furthermore you listen to a deranged android who you call the Devil? That's the text book definition of stupid.
Even if the original transmission was a prayer that does not mean that Shaw made it...
And the whole idea that when we would create a "perfect" AI, it would also want to create a new AI and wipe us, unless we can't control? That is stupid. If it is more intelligent than us how do you do that? If you go for something like Transcendence why kill off the character who could act as a controller..
red0guy Good point about the notion of "perfection". There really is no such thing although we pursue it. Maybe David isn't as perfect as he thinks he is especially given his knowledge base. Maybe he didn't study Nietzsche enough?
What "his knowledge base" consists of is as vague as his notion of perfection. He seems not to understand the Shelley poem as he thinks himself as Ozymandias, so I would let Nietzsche for more advanced readers.
If I remember correctly, Ridley also said something about when Shaw and David arrived on planet 4 that there was some kind of a welcoming process going on as the whole city of Engineers was gathering at the plaza, waving at the Juggernaut.
some interesting things here... off course sometimes RS commentaries do contradict things that are shown, but we have to go with it being what he is thinking Post Shooting, and so they are his ideas for future.
Few conflicts though.... one being Planet 4, RS may say it had TWO moons and was the size of Earth. This Image and there was another more clear i cant find that indicate 7 Moons... yet it also says a Diameter of 2350KM which is like 5.4X Smaller than Earth and thus could not sustain 7 Moons.
However i guess this read out from the Computer we can pass by and go more with what RS was saying.
The Source i had a few years back regarding the Prometheus 2 sequel by Green/Paglen claimed Paradise was about 2.5-3X size of Earth and it had 3 Moons
Regarding the other comments i will get back to them as there are some interesting ones... The Engineers Life-span for one... the 150 years is actually much less than how the Original idea was regarding when Jon Spaights introduced the Engineers in Alien: Engineers.
Thus a 150 year Life Span, and looking at the various sizes puts these Planet 4 Engineers as actually being much more closer to Mankind than those we saw in Prometheus.
As far as the Dr Shaw Prayer, we really cant read much into that, but if we was then we have to ask at what point and why would Dr Shaw had been making a Prayer... the only Logical reason would be while she was operating or attempting to... the Ships control Panel.
Why would she be praying? It could be to get this ship to leave and get away from Planet 4, it could be to prevent Davids Actions, or it could even be from as she was attempting to depart LV-223
The Fact it was changed to John Denver Take me home, means she was humming to this to help calm her nerves... and the choice of song must thus mean Dr Shaw was attempting to either leave Planet 4 or leave LV-223 when this recording was made.
As for David he would have chosen this recording to then send on loop to Lure in any Human Ships.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
'The flashback that shows what happened to the dead Engineers wasn’t in the original script. Scott insisted they needed to show who killed all of them and why.'
So, the "I had learned of their ways" is the explanation? Sorry David, please do elaborate on this one, if you would be so kind?
"As for David he would have chosen this recording to then send on loop to Lure in any Human Ships."
I think you nailed it with comment that above BigDave.
In the Alien: Covenant novelization, Dr. Shaw does make it down to the surface because she has a room in the temple with her things (if I remember correctly). Odds are if Dr. Shaw made it to the temple then she didn't last long. David most likely hit fast forward to the end of her life to have his way with her body.
"The weapon can kill a planet entirely in months, flora and fauna, then the planet will take years to rebuild."
Good item above Ati. Could Paradise quickly evolve into a desolate planet if the weapon kills both "flora and fauna"?
Very insightful stuff, you can tell a lot of thought went behind Covenant. Slowly we're seeing why the Alien is the way it is, " I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."
David's goal is clearly to create a new race of beings devoid of mortal flaws (like his creators and their creators) that will transcend and survive the test of time, thus leaving his mark in the universe as a creator.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
"Furthermore you listen to a deranged android who you call the Devil? That's the text book definition of stupid."
They didn't know he was deranged. Till that moment with the Neomorph he gave no signs of ill-will, saved them from the creatures previously, and provided them sanctuary. It was obvious to Oram that David knew more than he was letting on and suspected something which is why he demanded answers from him to which he obliged. Oram felt in complete control of the situation with his faith restored, thanks to Daniels, and took David for nothing more than a quirky tool, like he does Walter. These people come from a society dependent on their tools and he couldn't comprehend how "broken" David was. Oram also had no idea what an Ovomorph would do as they have never encountered anything like this before and was manipulated by David into looking in to which I don't blame because the egg is mesmerizing. Just like it fooled Kane, it fooled Oram.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
Thank you for the comments!
'RS says a lot of things.'
Ridley Scott has become our new unreliable narrator.
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