The Break
by The Break

The highly anticipated second entry of the Alien prequels – Alien: Covenant, is unleashed. Since 2012’s Prometheus, Michael Fassbender has become the prequel series’ mainstay. Following on from Prometheus, where the fates of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and David 8, the android played by Fassbender, were left ambiguous, Fassbender plays a new android Walter, as well as reprising David, in Covenant. The following is a spoiler-free (to Covenant) look into the two androids, their similarities and their differences.

Prometheus concerns the voyage of the titular starship in search of humanity’s origins. It has been established that it was the Engineers, a humanoid alien species with highly advanced technology and towering stature that spread the seeds of life on Earth eons ago. Towards the end of the film, Shaw and David (reduced to a head) are the only survivors from the crew’s encounters with the Engineers and various hostile alien life forms. They embark on a trip to discover the Engineers’ homeworld in search of more answers. Fast-forward ten years, colony ship Covenant is en route to a remote planet, Origae-6, with thousands of colonists and embryos onboard, in hopes of expanding humanity beyond earth. The voyage is monitored by Walter, an android resembling the earlier David. 

David is an advanced android developed by Weyland Industries, and shares a sort of father-son bond with CEO Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). He not only looks human, but also acts human, mimicking a wide range of human emotions and behaviours. This helps fellow crewmates feel more comfortable around him. Despite lacking actual human emotions, David has enough self-awareness to make him long for equal treatment with the human crew. However, he understands he can never fit in because he doesn't possess a "human soul". At the start of Prometheus when the human crew are in cryosleep, we see him watching Lawrence of Arabia with fascination, and he fashions his hairstyle in emulation of protagonist T.E. Lawrence. Peter Weyland’s obsession with immortality is what drives the events of Prometheus, and while David is programmed to be obedient to humans, he feels pity, and even resentment, towards his creators’ physical weaknesses. “Don't we all want our parents dead?” David utters at one point. Only through the death of the creator can the created be free. At least this is what David believes. The Engineer/human and human/android relations show interesting parallels. The physically superior Engineers created humans, while the physically feeble humans created sophisticated, basically immortal androids. How the created act with their creator and vice versa, in different scenarios, is what Prometheus, as a film, explores.

Meet David, an Early Synthetic by Weyland Corp


Walter, although looking exactly like his predecessor, is more advanced than David. As a newer model, he is made of more sophisticated machinery, has better self-repair functionality, and has better fighting skills should the need for defence arise. However, since David’s rich outward emotions tend to give unease to human colleagues (perhaps uncanny valley is at work here), Walter’s ability to emulate humans is toned down considerably, sacrificing his creativity in the process. As a result, although Walter is more efficient and durable, he is more robot-like than David.

In addition, while David speaks in an English accent, Walter does so with an American one, which is a nice touch to differentiate the two.

It is expected that Walter will meet with his “older brother” in Covenant. One is advanced in physicality and computing power while lacking in creativity, while the other is superior in intelligence yet outdated in other departments. How they reflect on their differences, and whether they eventually become allies or enemies, is left for the audience to discover.

Meet Walter, the Latest Synthetic by Weyland-Yutani