‘Alien: Covenant’ Compared To 1979 Classic ‘Alien’: Sigourney Weaver Vs. Kathrine Waterston [Opinion]

Alien: Covenant stars Katherine Waterston as Daniels, but is there any way Waterston’s Daniels could stack up against Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley? Of course not. Is Katherine’s Daniels enough like Sigourney’s Ripley to ease the pain of her absence? Maybe so.

Alien: Covenant’s Katherine Waterston did well with her action scenes and comes closer than most could in matching Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. According to Buzz Feed, Waterston ranks as an adequate knock off of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley.

“Competent, capable with heavy machinery, crop-haired, and continually overruled by querulous men? Daniels bears all the marks of being Alien: Covenant’s knock off of Ellen Ripley, the action lead played by Sigourney Weaver in the first four Alien films and a landmark heroine against whom few have measured up.”

Could Katherine Waterston grow into the role of Daniels in a sequel to Alien: Covenant? Absolutely. Even Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley didn’t start out as the action hero, alien hybrid being she became. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley grew and changed over four movies.

Katherine Waterston’s Daniels does rise to the occasion powerfully in Alien: Covenant, though there is plenty of room for improvement. Mostly, Katherine Waterston just needs a lot more confidence.

Sigourney Weaver stood a stunning six feet tall and never did she look taller, stronger, or more confident than as Ripley in Alien: Resurrection. Katherine Waterston is five feet, 11 inches tall. That should be close enough, but Waterston somehow doesn’t carry the same force as Sigourney Weaver. Katherine Waterston doesn’t look as powerfully confident as Ripley, but perhaps Waterston will grow in confidence as Sigourney Weaver did.

Will Alien: Covenant get the opportunity for a sequel? Covenant’s ending begs for another sequel, and viewers probably want to know what happens to Katherine Waterston next as she portrays a sort of Ripley in training.

Sadly, Alien: Covenant, a sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to the Sigourney Weaver films, wasn’t exactly a blockbuster hit and received mixed reviews. While Rotten Tomatoes critics gave Covenant 70 percent fresh, the audience score was only 58 percent. That said, Covenant is a thrilling action movie.

What was the main turn off for Alien: Covenant? Aside from not starring Sigourney Weaver, Covenant isn’t that different than other Alien films, but after 38 years, the Alien franchise does get predictable. Plus, horror and science fiction fans are jaded, with an ever increasing tolerance for the gore and mayhem.

Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender as both David and Walter. Billy Crudup portrays Captain Oram. Both are as central to the plot as Katherine Waterston’s character Daniels. All three are impressive in their roles. Fassbender is masterful in his portrayal of the dual role.

Michael Fassbender gets so in character for each role, it’s hard to remember it is the same actor at times. On camera, one can tell at a glance whether Fassbender is David or Walter. Overall, the cast does amazingly well, considering the dialog they’ve been given. Character development is severely lacking according to Buzz Feed, for all but the central actors.

“[Alien with Sigourney Weaver] made you invest in their collection of mostly doomed characters, something Alien: Covenant and, in a less clear way, Prometheus never ask of the audience. Alien: Covenant characters are also mostly doomed, destined to get offed in vividly disgusting ways, but they’re treated, almost impatiently, as fodder.”

Aliens star Sigourney Weaver
Aliens star Sigourney Weaver [Image by Walter Weissman/Starmax/AP Images]

Alien: Covenant’s only real problem is the dialog. The writers seemed torn between making a science fiction movie worthy of the early franchise that starred Sigourney Weaver and pushing a rather dark agenda about the absence of God and the unworthiness of the human race, as Buzz Feed notes.

“It’s an Alien movie for our times, one in which mankind isn’t just under the thumb of an oppressive corporation but sowing the seeds of its own destruction on a more sweeping scale.”

The Alien: Covenant writers rumination over unworthiness destroys any chance for meaningful dialog between anyone other than Michael Fassbender and himself.

In Alien: Covenant, a prime example of the bizarre dialog comes forth early in the movie. Billy Crudup as Oram makes a grandstanding statement that people of faith, like him, are considered “irrational” and “lunatics” in the current society. This might sound interesting but there is no evidence this is true of the Alien: Covenant world, nor is it mentioned again.

This Alien: Covenant dialog line is presumably because of what happened in the Alien prequel Prometheus. It seems that aliens, murderous though they may be, are really creator gods, according to the Prometheus plot. The dialog reflects an understandably demoralized human race, as Buzz Feed explains.

“There are no benevolent gods in Alien: Covenant, and no answers coming — at least not from the Engineers, that enigmatic, highly advanced race shown to have been responsible for humanity’s development in Prometheus.”

Alien Covenant's Katherine Waterston by
Alien Covenant's Katherine Waterston [Image by Greg Allen/Invision/AP Images]

When Billy Crudup’s Oram is challenged by Katherine Waterston’s Daniels and even his wife Faris, Captain Oram admits he fears he won’t be trusted to make rational decisions because of his faith. Oram’s fear of being judged seems to always result in over compensation.

Alien in 1979 was devoid of such agenda driven dialog, thankfully. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley would have probably ripped these guys open faster than the aliens could if they’d wasted precious time on such nonsensical chatter. But dialog is hardly the main point of Alien films.

Those few weird conversations do not hurt Alien: Covenant, but the time taken by them strips Covenant of more natural character development. Fortunately, it’s Alien, so characters die before their point is fully made, which might be for the best.

The Alien franchise hasn’t featured Sigourney Weaver as Ripley since the 1997 film, Alien: Resurrection. Ripley’s absence in Prometheus in 2012 was nothing short of heartbreaking, and definitely a deal breaker for Sigourney Weaver fans. Noomi Rapace hardly stood a chance as Elizabeth Shaw.


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Alien: Covenant, 20 years after Sigourney Weaver’s last appearance as Ripley, also sees the end of Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw, so long live Katherine Waterston as Daniels.

[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello and Peter Kramer/AP Images]