Ridley Scott loves his robots – so much so that Alien: Covenant will have two, in the shape of Michael Fassbender. The actor is currently promoting Assassin’s Creed, so it’s inevitable that questions about Scott’s second Alien prequel will crop up now and again – as they evidently did with Coming Soon. When asked about the difference between his robotic character in Prometheus (David), and his new, additional character in Alien: Covenant (Walter), Fassbender describes a much more evolved kind of android.
“I think Walter’s a real different kettle of fish. David was definitely a work-in-progress, somewhat of a prototype I suppose. The elements of him that were the human elements I think people found a little disturbing, so Walter’s more of a straightforward robot. Pretty logical, much more of a servant without the ego.”
We have seen this kind of evolution from Ridley Scott before. His Xenomorph odyssey began with Alien in 1979, and featured Ian Holm in the role of Ash. This robot had a deeply sinister air about him, and he eventually malfunctioned and became violent. Aliens in 1986, meanwhile, featured Lance Henriksen as the robot Bishop, who was much calmer and more attuned to the needs of his human charges. Lance Henriksen returned in Alien 3 as Bishop II, but it was Alien: Resurrection, in 1997, that took a giant leap with its robot, eventually revealing Winona Ryder’s character of Call to be a synthetic unit.
2012’s Prometheus introduced Michael Fassbender’s robotic character of David, whose presence was eerily similar to that of Alien’s Ash, so it certainly follows that the Walter we meet in Alien: Covenant will represent a technological progression. The film reportedly bridges the gap between Prometheus and the events of Alien, so presumably, these android evolutions are quite closely synchronized.
Whatever significance the characters of David and Walter hold for the story of Alien: Covenant when it is released on May 19th, 2017, it’s certainly the case that Michael Fassbender is surely the honorary chairperson of one of the most exclusive clubs in Hollywood – Ridley Scott’s robots.