“What happens when Weyland is not around to program you anymore?” archeologist Elizabeth Shaw asks the android David.
“I suppose I’ll be free,” answers David.
“You want that?”
The question gives the android pause. “Want? Not a concept I’m familiar with,” he answers. “That being said, doesn’t everyone want their parents dead?”
Conversations such as this one between Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and David (Michael Fassbender) recur throughout Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. For his first movie in the franchise since the original Alien, Scott had little interest in more xenomorphs or any of the deep-space thrills of his previous installment. Instead, Prometheus explored the relationship between God and humanity, using metaphors of the created fighting the creators or children killing parents.
In a way, writer Noah Hawley is continuing those themes for his Alien television series. The still-untitled show will take place approximately 30 years before 1979’s Alien, stars Sydney Chandler, Timothy Olyphant, Alex Lawther, and Essie Davis. Set on Earth, the series will focus on competitors to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, all of whom have their own plans for synthetic humans.
That might sound similar to Prometheus, which also took place a few decades before Alien and featured David, the most significant creation of the Weyland Corporation. However, Hawley assures viewers that he has very different plans.
Speaking on the KCRW show The Business, Hawley revealed that he will be setting aside the backstory that Scott created in Prometheus and the more action-heavy sequel Alien: Covenant. “For me, and for a lot of people, this ‘perfect life form’ — as it was described [by the untrustworthy robot Ash] in the first film — is the product of millions of years of evolution that created this creature that may have existed for a million years out there in space,” Hawley said of his take on the Xenomorphs. In Prometheus, Scott revealed the Xenomorphs to be a self-replicating bioweapon designed by the godlike engineers.
“The idea that, on some level, it was a bioweapon created half an hour ago, that’s just inherently less useful to me,” explained Hawley. “The thing with Alien is that it’s not just a great monster movie. It’s the story of humanity trapped between its primordial parasitic past and its AI future, and they’re both trying to kill us.”
Although viewers might still hold resent Prometheus for pursuing theological questions, and dumb scientist decisions, instead of alien horror, it’s possible Hawley’s approach may go too far in the other direction. Hawley has a history of making major departures from the source material. While his television series Fargo does contain connections to the original 1996 crime film, such as the bag of money that Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) buries in the snow before his demise, it mostly makes references to the Coen Bros’ larger oeuvre. Likewise, Hawley’s Legion does wink towards the X-Men comics that introduced David Hawler (portrayed by Dan Stevens), but it holds to no Marvel canon with its treatment of David’s father Charles Xavier or the villainous Shadow King.
That said, if Hawley’s comments in the interview are to be believed, then his show is not at all a matter of the show runner celebrating his maker’s death. He told The Business that he and Scott had been talking about his ideas, and that the famously cantankerous filmmaker agrees with his take.
Of course, that’s just the sort of thing that David would say…
The new Alien series will hit FX on Hulu in 2025.
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