The original script for Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel sheds some interesting light on both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. There’s been serious talk of an Alien reboot set before the original film for the better part of a decade, with Ridley Scott signing on for the project back in 2009 after years of teasing an exploration of the xenomorph’s origin. This has ultimately come to the screen with Prometheus and now Covenant, but the creation-minded series could have been very different had the original idea been used.
The kernel of the enterprise is a script by Passengers scribe Jon Spaihts titled Alien: Engineers. Commissioned around the same time Scott came on board, it would have taken the series in a more direct, series-faithful journey to the 1979 original. Like Spaihts’ Black Listed screenplay, however, a lot of changes were made between him handing in the draft and the movie entering theaters. Damon Lindelof, best known for Lost, took Engineers and injected some of J.J. Abrams’ mystery box ethos, leading to a more high-minded script with serious distance from the original Alien.
Based on what we’ve seen in Covenant, the events depicted in that draft are 100% non-canon, but there’s still immense worth in the screenplay. Indeed, the story behind Engineers provides an explanation for why Prometheus and Covenant are the philosophical genre movies they are, and may even provide clues for where the series could be heading.
What Happened In Alien: Engineers?
At its core, Engineers follows a similar plot to Prometheus, just with a more explicit Alien connection. A group of scientists (led by Jocelyn Watts and Professor Martin Holloway) find evidence of humanity’s creators on Earth, meet with Peter Weyland and travel off in search of their creators on a ship called the Magellan. Their destination is LV-426, the moon in the original Alien. There they detect several structures that are clearly the product of living beings and go to…