Review by C.J. Bunce
The early 2018 release Alien: Covenant is now streaming on Amazon Prime, Vudu, and other streaming services. It is the second act of a two-part story focusing in major part on the android* named David, the continuation of non-human humanoids we first encountered in the Ridley Scott’s original 1979 film Alien with Ash, and later Bishop, and others. Continuing David’s quest from Scott’s follow-up, 2012’s Prometheus (yes, this is that “sequel to a prequel” we discussed here at borg back in 2012), David has embarked on a search for the creation of mankind prompted by his creator, Peter Weyland, played by Guy Pearce. David’s cold, deliberate calm is disturbing–he is a robot, he is emotionless, despite improvements on earlier models that make him appear kind, even sincere. Yet, as we learned in Prometheus, David is little, if any, evolved more than the decision-making by HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Is David’s ruthlessness carried forward into Alien: Covenant? You’ll need to watch the movie to find out. There you’ll meet an upgraded version of David’s android design. Also played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender, the android Walter replaces David as assistant to the humans in Alien: Covenant as they embark on a mission to settle a colony in deep space, led by James Franco‘s Branson, Billy Crudup‘s Oram, and Katherine Waterston‘s Daniels. In a great dual performance by Fassbender, Walter encounters David as the story progresses. And that’s where David’s Drawings come into play.
Disturbing and grotesque. David, as part of his quest from Weyland, studies, researches, and documents lifeforms he encounters. Many of these are in the form of sketches, sketches that can be found on the screen in the film, and in the new bound portfolio volume called David’s Drawings, from production artists Dan Hallett and Matt Hatton (see our preview below). The artwork is meticulous, like something out of Gray’s Anatomy. So the drawings are both in-universe props, and a real-world document of the filmmakers. In more than 200 images, the boxed set (featuring a hardcover of drawings and a second volume including interviews with the artists) features the complete arc of his journey from David’s studies of flora and fauna, to his more sinister experiments on creatures, and the film’s most disturbing, surprise revelation.
Both the hardcover and the included companion book, Developing the Art of an Android, are for serious Alien franchise fans only. Is Alien: Covenant the end of the Alien franchise, or will Ridley Scott–or someone else–continue the prequel stories after Alien: Covenant? How far can Ridley Scott take his science fiction/horror story?
Take a look at some of the content in Alien: Covenant–David’s Drawings and Developing the Art of an Android:
For diehard Alien fans looking for an in-universe book of the film and the art that went into the film, Alien: Covenant–David’s Drawings and Developing the Art of an Android is available here now at Amazon.
* Alien androids might be considered cyborgs despite being referenced as androids in the Alien franchise, if you follow the definition that a cyborg need only include both biological and technological components. Hence, their entries in the borg Hall of Fame. Isn’t all that milky goo we see from Ash in Alien biological matter, or is it just some kind of fuel?