'Alien: Covenant' Trailer Creates 'Prometheus' Canon Problem

The colony ship Covenant’s crew will have their honeymoon in space cut short by a very familiar-looking alien badass. But how does the newest glimpse of the Alien: Covenant Xenomorph connect to the iconic antagonist from the 1978 original film, Alien? In other words, how did the monster-thing from the end of Prometheus evolve into the more classic-looking monster in Alien: Covenant?

Because Alien: Covenant is both a sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to Alien, it’s in a tricky spot in terms of “fixing” the confusion from the 2012 film by helping it match up with the 1978 one. And other than making sure that all the spaceship tech looks appropriately retro, the weirdest continuity issue is with the Alien itself. On Tuesday, a new trailer for Alien: Covenant gave audiences a look at a Xenomorph that looks almost identical to the one from the original film. Basically, the legs are a little more spidery, but the chest and giant head look the same. The face-huggers in both Covenant trailers also look pretty similar to the ones from Alien and Aliens. But, does this all work? At the end of Prometheus, it’s implied that because the Trilobite squid monster (previously inside of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s belly) ate the Engineer, the result was a proto-Xenomorph which director Ridley Scott nicknamed “The Deacon.” The Deacon was written into Prometheus after a different concept, the Ultramorph, was dropped from the script.

Concept art for the unused Ultramorph

But, there’s some conflicting information as to what constitutes a Xenomorph. According to the online “Xenopedia,” the Deacon at the end of the Prometheus isn’t a “real” Xenomorph since it was the hybrid of an Engineer and a Trilobite, which, if true, means the Alien-looking alien at the end of the Alien prequel (Prometheus) isn’t the same “Alien,” but a different, lesser, “alien.” Everybody paying attention?

If the new Xenomorph in Alien: Covenant isn’t evolved from the Deacon at the end of Prometheus, then where the hell did it come from? Though Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) has yet to appear in any trailers for Covenant, numerous plot synopses have stated she and the android David (Michael Fassbender) will appear. So, this crashed Engineer spaceship that the crew of Covenant finds has to be the one Shaw pilots at the end of Prometheus. If the new Xenomorph from the end of the new trailer didn’t evolve from whatever they had with them on their ship, it seems that by design, Covenant will have to retcon Prometheus.

Still, the first Alien: Covenant trailer showed smaller Xenomorph-esque creatures attacking people, and though they’re only seen for a second, these critters look more like the Deacon than they do the traditional Xenomorphs. That would seem to suggest that the “regular” Xenomorphs from Alien did actually evolve from the Deacons, which at some point became another hybrid: the spidery-legged guy at the end of the new trailer. But, because there are probably two more films after Covenant before all the continuity is reconciled with the original Alien, fans should expect at least a couple more missing links in the Alien evolutionary chain over the next several years.