Production is well underway on Ridley Scott's follow up to Prometheus and proper Alien prequel, Alien: Covenant. Given the way that Scott likes to work, and the nature of the movie, we know very little about specific details regarding the plot and characters in this sci-fi thriller. We do know that Danny McBride is in it, and he just revealed who he is playing.
McBride is currently out promoting his new HBO show Vice Principals, and in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he finally gave some details about Alien: Covenant. In the interview, McBride revealed that he is playing the pilot of of the Covenant spacecraft. Here is what he had to say.
"I'm the pilot of the spaceship Covenant, which is a colonization ship, searching for a planet where we might start life anew. I run the ship."
McBride is typically known as a comedic actor, so his casting in the movie was a bit surprising for many at first, but him being the pilot makes a decent amount of sense. He will probably get a chance to be a bit snarky, and play to his strengths in that kind of role. Not only did McBride discuss his role specifically, but he also revealed that there are a lot of practical effects being used for Alien: Covenant.
"I didn't know if it would be all green screen, but most of the stuff is practical effects: when you're running from an alien it's really a dude in an alien suit coming after you! The sets are incredible and you're in them: We go through some inclement weather at one point on the spaceship and this whole gigantic set is on a gimbal, shaking up and down. You don't have to use your imagination."
The concept of using a lot practical effects for Alien: Covenant is very reminiscent of what Scott did originally on Alien, and should come as very welcome news for fans of the franchise. The painstaking attention to detail and physicality used on the Xenomorphs and the sets in the original Alien movies are what helps make them still hold up so well even today.Prometheus only loosely tied itself to the Alien franchise, and didn't use a ton of practical effects, with most of the creatures being heavily CGI. Especially the kind of, sort of Xenomorph creature that is revealed at the end of that movie.
Prometheus was relatively well received and made good enough money, but was a bit of a disappointment considering the heavy expectations that were placed upon it, given that it was Ridley Scott's return to the Alien franchise. Scott is looking to make Covenant a much more direct prequel, and reportedly has more movies planned in the series. Because most of the crew didn't make it out of Prometheus alive, the only returning characters for this next entry will be Michael Fassbender as David and Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth. The only unfortunate part of Scott's plans for some fans is that it has put Neill Blomkamp's Aliens sequel on hold, at least for now. Alien: Covenant is set for release on August 4, 2017.