Newscast 1: PROMTHEUS 2 becomes ALIEN: COVENANT

This week saw the interesting reveal that the second movie in the PROMETHEUS saga will be titled ALIEN: COVENANT.

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This isn’t the first change of title for the movie. PROMETHEUS 2 was renamed ALIEN: PARADISE LOST earlier this year, before finding the (likely final) film title COVENANT.

What’s in a title? In this case, quite a lot. The decision to include the “ALIEN” preamble signals an important change in direction for the series. At the time of PROMETHEUS’ release, Ridley Scott was eager to distance his new sci-fi series from ALIEN (famously going so far as to suggest that the titular xenomorph had lost its impact as a science fiction icon).

Alongside the name change, 20th Century Fox has also released a summary of the upcoming film…

“Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS – and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world – whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.”

This is interesting news: note the absence of Noomi Rappace’s Dr Shaw from the plot summary. Whilst we probably can’t read too much into this, because it seems that the project is still at an early stage, the focus on Fassbender’s David is immediately obvious. Fassbender certainly brought a chilling aspect to his android character; a worthy successor to the line of synthetic humans that includes Ash, Bishop and Call (hoping you all got that reference…?).

I’m expecting ALIEN: COVENANT to draw the PROMETHEUS story arc closer to the ALIEN series, which is a good thing. My major disappointment with PROMETHEUS was the lack of aliens: the “Deacon” at the end felt, to me, of closer ancestry to the much-maligned Newborn of ALIEN: RESURRECTION than Gieger’s spawn. However, there has been online discussion about how COVENANT will fit into the wider chronology of the ALIEN timeline. Of particular concern is the suggestion that Scott may be moving towards the alien as a newly-created organism… We’ll have to see how this pans out, but my speculative view is that it would be a Very Bad Idea…

Late this we also saw an alleged description of concepts from the CONVENANT screenplay… Not quite sure whether I believe the descriptions, but it makes for interesting reading ion any event!

Newscast 2: Ridley Scott reveals opening scene from BLADE RUNNER 2

More news from the Ridley Scott camp this week, and again on a classic science fiction series. This week we were treated to Scott’s vision of the opening scene of BLADE RUNNER 2.

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In an interview with Slash Film, Scott said:

We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film. We always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ – what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling – you can see for 20 miles. No fences, just plowed, dry dirt. Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up. It’s a bit like Grapes of Wrath, there’s dust, and the tree is still standing. By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilizing this ground. You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage. And now a spinner [a flying car] comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks, the doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in the cottage, opens the door, sits down, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder – a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison’s side. The cottage actually [creaks]; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else – you’ll have to go see the movie.”

Instantly, this blurb reveals a lot about the futurist dystopia that is BLADE RUNNER. We’re transported beyond the confines of wet, dark LA of 2019: we get to see the wider world. Sci-fi films often have to confine their stories to a narrow setting, and as a result we don’t get to see the wider worlds in which these stories are set. This opening immediately removes us from the typical, familiar BLADE RUNNER we know, and as such it’s an opening that immediately sparks my interest (even if I am getting some serious INTERSTELLAR vibes!).

BLADE RUNNER 2 will star Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and is due for release in 2017.

Newscast 3: THE HORUS HERESY – BATTLE FOR CALTH released

Games Workshop (and their publishing company Black Library) have accrued a pretty massive, complex and deep mythology in the Warhammer 40,00 world of the Horus Heresy. This week marked the release of a new boardgame set within the Horus Heresy…

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Just in time for Christmas, BATTLE FOR CALTH allows you to take control of an army of Ultramine loyalists or Word Bearer traitors, and join in mighty battle. It looks pretty good, and a nice entry-level product for those interested in GW games but afraid to take a major leap into the universe.

Plus: lots of shiny toys. That’s always nice.

Newscast 4: New STAR WARS TV spot hits Youtube

Rumour has it, if you stitch together all of the STAR WARS trailers that will be released before the film, you’ll end up with the whole movie. Or something like that.

This TV spot has been warmly-received as “Finn the Hero”…

Yes, I know that we’ve seen plenty of these teasers, but they do looking amazing…

Newscast 5: THE LAZARUS WAR – REDEMPTION is out now

THE LAZARUS WAR series continues at full speed! Hitting real-space, fresh from Q-space translation, is the next instalment in the series…

THE LAZARUS WAR: REDEMPTION

THE LAZARUS WAR: REDEMPTION

New characters, new setting but the same action! Pick up your copy of REDEMPTION today at the bargain price of just £1.99!

Meanwhile, progress continues on the edits for ORIGINS…