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Interview With Alan Dean Foster & Alien: Covenant Novel Discussion – AvPGalaxy Podcast #51

We have just uploaded the 51st episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast (right-click and save as to download)! Our latest episode sees myself joined by community guest star Shevvie to discuss Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of Alien: Covenant and then an interview with the author himself!

 Interview With Alan Dean Foster & Alien: Covenant Novel Discussion - AvPGalaxy Podcast #51

Shevvie and I discuss the various differences between the novelization and the film and how the over all experience of the book is compared to the film itself.

In my interview with Alan Dean Foster (which begins at just after the half hour mark) we discuss how he got involved in the book, whether some of the alternate sequence came from him or the script and a little about what to expect in the prequel, Alien: Covenant – Origins!

Alien: Covenant – The Official Movie Novelization is available purchase from Amazon (UK and US). You can also find my written review of the novelization in the Reviews section.

Keep checking back in for the next episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast where we’ll be chatting to Alien: Covenant concept artists and illustrators Dane Hallett and Matt Hatton!

What did you think of our latest episode? Be sure to let us know down below! You can also listen to any of our previous episodes in the Podcast section under the News tab on the main menu. We hope you enjoy!

Keep a close eye on Alien vs. Predator Galaxy for the latest on Alien: Covenant! You can follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get the latest on your social media walls. You can also join in with fellow Alien fans on our forums!



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Comments: 35
  1. SM
    The crew didn't know that.

    Perhaps.  Or maybe it was unimportant in terms of keeping things moving.  It's mindboggling to me that people get so hung up on 'WHY NO SPACE SUITS?!?!' as if they need to be told they checked the air and just opened the hatch without knowing.

    They actually check the atmosphere in Prometheus and people moan about that too.  Can't win.
  2. tleilaxu
    Having people go without space suits is totally f**king unnecessary. It's Alien, not hard sci-fi, and it's cumbersome and probably expensive and slightly dangerous too. Yes, they could've shown a short scene where somebody scans the atmosphere and says "looks safe to me", but honestly you could also just use your imagination for that.
  3. Highland
    You see the actors frustrations with the helmets a couple of times in Furious Gods.

    I can't remember if I watched that one or not. It's understandable though, Alien was a little different with it's atmosphere conditions on LV426. There's just no need to having them prancing about in helmets from a movie making perspective if we are on Planets with Earth like atmosphere's. I think from memory there are a few lines in the background of the dropship sequence that address the dangers, it's just not a whole scene or an obvious moment.
  4. Highland
    I listened to this on my drive home. Good episode, I found it interesting the he kept mentioning "the third prequel" almost like it was a done deal. The black goo part too, sounded like he knew more.

    The thing with the space suits ( and I never see anyone mention this) is that it would make for an incredibly frustrating time watching 20 minutes of people in suits ( for them to just inevitably remove them anyway). I think the simple answer is that Scott just wants clear dialog and character faces. He's making a movie after all not a space documentary. A few things do annoy me, but for the sake of the film, it is the right choice, even if it's a little daft.
  5. SM
    We can determine the atmosphere of a planet without landing on it now.  100 years in the future, while you're sitting in orbit over a planet with a live 3D representation of the weather systems - why couldn't you determine the atmospheric composition?
  6. Bluray
    Space Trukken - it seems like every planet that had been colonized or will be colonized has been properly vetted prior to the colonists arrival, hence "no space suit needed" which I accept as internal logic for the film's plot. However, this was a new planet not in their logs. So at least for the internal logic of the plot (actual science side, since I agree it's all debatable) it would be nice to have Walter provide a line of dialogue to close off that plot hole. Heck, just strap a mic onto Michael Fassbender during one of his press events and have him say " no known pathogens detected." Then just ADR this dialogue into the scene when the crew debates going into the planet. Lol. I know I'm obsessing over this a bit, but this film goes up a full point for me if this were included.
  7. Mr. Clemens
    Great interview. But Hicks... you need to be louder! I had to ride the volume the whole way through, which is why I never listen to podcasts (I only made this exception because of ADF).

    But again, great interview!  :)
  8. Space Trukkin
    The whole business of pathogens bothered me in Covenant and Prometheus until I did some research. Whether alien micro-organisms would pose a threat to terrestrial life is still a topic of debate as they are hypothetical anyway. Assuming they do exist, many biologists don't believe they would cause us harm as they have evolved from a different tree of life. A greater concern that NASA has is the risk we pose in bringing bacteria from Earth to other planets - not necessarily because they believe that it could wipe out any life that exists there, but because the presence of terrestrial organisms could contaminate any research that is being conducted there and waste time and money. I don't believe a company like Weyland Yutani would give a damn about that and, if the threat of alien pathogens had been proven to be unfounded on the 100s of planets they had already visited, spacesuits would be seen as unnecessarily cumbersome if an atmosphere was deemed breathable. Also, W-Y just cares about $$$$ so why waste time in researching a planet properly?
  9. Corporal Hicks
    Just wanted to say- ADF's addition of Walter scanning the planet for pathogens corrects a major pet peeve of mine with the plot. If only we could petition Fox to get an actor to ADR 2 seconds of dialogue staying this into the Blu Ray release.

    There's actually a brief moment in an earlier script I've seen where Walter does do a breakdown of the atmosphere (such and such percent oxygen, such and such nitrogen) but nothing to do with pathogens or anything. I wouldn't be opposed to something like what you're suggesting but I imagine it'd be a silly cost for something seemingly so small.

    I'm glad everyone has been enjoying this one! Thanks for all the kind words and feedback.  :)
  10. XenoHunter99
    Top flight discussion and interview, Hicks. Kudos to Chevy as well. It was quite interesting to hear what ADF had to say. Very good! Cheers!  :)

    I think, want it or not, there is a very strong possibility your premonition is coming true. Shaw is gone, turned into a lab experiment, but David developed the Alien. Ridley says so (at least 'til he changes his mind). And if you follow that logic, the best way to perfect the Xeno is to add a bit of android to the mix. Because as others have pointed out, right now, David 8 is the real Alien, the real "survivor unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality," Evidently, David 8's structural perfection is also only matched by his hostility. Imagine that!. And once he has his ship full of highly modified death spores, who else would he trust to deliver them? At least that's the way it's gone so far.  :P
  11. ADC
    Great interview, I really enjoyed this podcast and I'm a fan of ADFs novelisations. His telling of Alien: Covenant did much to rescue the shortcomings of Ridley's film for me, too.
    And good questions put to him from Aaron. Well done once again, fella.
  12. Bluray
    Ah, my comment didn't go through before.

    Just wanted to say- ADF's addition of Walter scanning the planet for pathogens corrects a major pet peeve of mine with the plot. If only we could petition Fox to get an actor to ADR 2 seconds of dialogue staying this into the Blu Ray release.
  13. TheBATMAN
    Interesting what he said about the solar sails. I thought that while scene came about because of concepts NASA were looking into that Ridley Scott was told about during production of The Martian?
  14. Darkness
    Good interview. He kept his cards close to his chest regarding the origins novel. I don't think it'll feature anything about David's trip.

    Was the outtro from the Covenant soundtrack? Can you send me the whole thing if you have it in mp3?
  15. TWJones
    Maybe the Space Jockey and Derelict is really ancient but that doesn't mean eggs are too. What if those eggs were planted there few years b4 Alien 1. That would explain that why laser field over those eggs which Kane broke when he fell into, was still active & never ran out of power or malfunctioned or anything because it was recent not really active since ancient times. Maybe that Derelict and Space Jockey is special, so someone might come around searching for it and later decide to put all those eggs there.

    Things I learned while listening to the ADF podcast interview (interview starts at 33:30)...


    -ADF makes changes that he believes are for the better, for his novel adaptations. Which are then either approved or denied by the studio.

    -All of the suggested changes for his Alien 3 adaptation were denied by the studio and left ADF in the position that he no longer wanted to work on the series. Until patching things up with the studio during Covenant.

    -ADF made many suggested alterations for the Covenant adaptation which were mostly entirely approved by the studio.

    -ADF thought the Covenant script was very good, but was a little lose on it's science and a few other things.

    -ADF states that the movies are purposefully cryptic, and he respects that and allows fans to debate the details.

    -The next ADF Alien novel is completed and being edited. It takes place between Prometheus and Covenant.

    -When asked if ADF could tell us whether or not David and Shaw would be in this next novel between Prometheus and Covenant, titled Alien: Covenant: Origins, he declined and plainly said "I'm sorry. I can't comment. They'll come and get me."

    -It was ADF's idea to have Walter check the planet Covenant crew exits. Basically any changes you see in the book, were ADF's ideas of betterment. BUT, additional scenes in the novel that weren't in the movie (neomorph interacting with xenomorph) were cut scenes that existed in the original script.

    -While ADF won't talk about the alterations he made that were DENIED by the studio, he did discuss that he wanted to change the solar sail concept on the Covenant. He thought it was scientifically unsound.


    The format of these AVP Galaxy Podcast tool bars are not user friendly, there is no option for extending the toolbar (as far as I can tell) for allowing users to scroll through the play duration with ease. I hope they change this.

    Also, does ADF always sound this annoyed, or only when talking with Alien fans?

    Pardon my botch-job on that copy/paste from my reddit comment. ;p

    Kenneth, you could always listen on itunes, if you have an iphone. The toolbar etc. is much easier to use and you can fast forward and rewind easily.
  16. 2nd Chance Kiddo
    I find it a bit crazy that it takes ADF to fix some of the issues with the film that feel like fairly basic and obvious solutions that you'd hope would be picked up by professional screenwriters or in the final editing.

    I've just started reading the Covenant novelisation. I have a soft spot for them - finding a dog-eared copy of the Alien novelisation amongst my dad's many books was my intro to the series as a kid, and I read Alien 3 quite a while before I eventually saw it on TV or video. Always loved the cover of that, with the curled up baby alien queen.
  17. Corporal Hicks
    The format of these AVP Galaxy Podcast tool bars are not user friendly, there is no option for extending the toolbar (as far as I can tell) for allowing users to scroll through the play duration with ease. I hope they change this.

    I'll make sure to mention this to Darkness.

    Quote
    Also, does ADF always sound this annoyed, or only when talking with Alien fans?

    I never got that impression while chatting to him. Did anyone else pick up on this?

    They should have released the prequel novel before the movie was released. I really don't understand why they waited until fall to release that. The whole plot of a saboteur running around would have given Branson's death at the beginning so much more weight.

    I got sucked into the Independence Day 2 (opinions of the film aside) pre-release and I read the prequel before hand. It was largely character based and world-building without too much to much to do with the film's story so when I went into the film I actually had a better understanding of the characters and found I liked them more for that.

    I agree, I would have liked that chance with Covenant too. However, I feel they'll be some grumbling either way as I'm sure most of us were expecting Shaw's story rather than the crew.

    I'm glad to hear you're all mostly enjoying this one and thanks for the feedback so far.  :)
  18. Mr. Xenomorph
    Lots of praise on you guys. Love these podcasts.

    So great hearing ADF. Love the Covenant novel, because it fixed my main gripe with the film - it makes the characters more likable and relatable. Like in the film when they come across the wheat and Lope basically says "It's wheat. Believe me, I know." As opposed to the novel when he says "I know wheat. I'm from what was formerly known as Iowa." Okay, cool. That rounds out his character more and makes him more of a person rather than a throw away character.

    They should have released the prequel novel before the movie was released. I really don't understand why they waited until fall to release that. The whole plot of a saboteur running around would have given Branson's death at the beginning so much more weight.
  19. Kenneth
    Maybe the Space Jockey and Derelict is really ancient but that doesn't mean eggs are too. What if those eggs were planted there few years b4 Alien 1. That would explain that why laser field over those eggs which Kane broke when he fell into, was still active & never ran out of power or malfunctioned or anything because it was recent not really active since ancient times. Maybe that Derelict and Space Jockey is special, so someone might come around searching for it and later decide to put all those eggs there.

    Things I learned while listening to the ADF podcast interview (interview starts at 33:30)...


    -ADF makes changes that he believes are for the better, for his novel adaptations. Which are then either approved or denied by the studio.

    -All of the suggested changes for his Alien 3 adaptation were denied by the studio and left ADF in the position that he no longer wanted to work on the series. Until patching things up with the studio during Covenant.

    -ADF made many suggested alterations for the Covenant adaptation which were mostly entirely approved by the studio.

    -ADF thought the Covenant script was very good, but was a little lose on it's science and a few other things.

    -ADF states that the movies are purposefully cryptic, and he respects that and allows fans to debate the details.

    -The next ADF Alien novel is completed and being edited. It takes place between Prometheus and Covenant.

    -When asked if ADF could tell us whether or not David and Shaw would be in this next novel between Prometheus and Covenant, titled Alien: Covenant: Origins, he declined and plainly said "I'm sorry. I can't comment. They'll come and get me."

    -It was ADF's idea to have Walter check the planet Covenant crew exits. Basically any changes you see in the book, were ADF's ideas of betterment. BUT, additional scenes in the novel that weren't in the movie (neomorph interacting with xenomorph) were cut scenes that existed in the original script.

    -While ADF won't talk about the alterations he made that were DENIED by the studio, he did discuss that he wanted to change the solar sail concept on the Covenant. He thought it was scientifically unsound.


    The format of these AVP Galaxy Podcast tool bars are not user friendly, there is no option for extending the toolbar (as far as I can tell) for allowing users to scroll through the play duration with ease. I hope they change this.

    Also, does ADF always sound this annoyed, or only when talking with Alien fans?

    Pardon my botch-job on that copy/paste from my reddit comment. ;p
  20. Keyes
    Really enjoyed that interview podcast! I like that ADF is a fan, and speaks a lot of internal movie logic. I think he should be sent any future scripts to offer notes back for the films themselves, regardless if he's writing the novels!

    I have a theory about the accelerated Alien lifecycle in the film.

    Since we saw the rapid creative/destructive power of the Engineer's black goo in the flashback scene, it would make sense that the Xenomorph lifecycle David played a part in creating here directly factors in to that sped up process, because it has derived to close to that powerful source.

    Generationally the aliens seen in the other films evolved further down the line, and began to be less influenced by the initial materials of their creative makeup (i.e. the black goo); hence the slower maturation times as the creature adapts and evolves throughout the Ripley-led films set later.

    Well, that's how I look at it :)
  21. Kurai
    Great interview! I just got my copy of the novel today so I'm looking forward to tucking in to it. I love how enthusiastic A D Foster is for the series and I'd totally go nuts with excitement if he did get the opportunity to write an original novel, or better; a trilogy, not connected so overtly with the films.

    At this point if Ridley leaves the Derelict in Alien a mystery and simply follows David and his recreation, i would be content and happy with the prequel films.

    This! Please Sir Scott, you can't really be blind to how fans feel about this when even the novelization tries to make them ancient. David creating them bottle-necks the series. I would be fine if this weren't the case, but now everything relies on David, we can't have anything not tied to David or Lv426. If there are canonical Aliens that predate David then it's all fine.
  22. 426Buddy
    Great podcast! I really enjoyed the interview with ADF. I hope the fact that Fox had no objections to making David the re-creator of the Alien bodes well for the future of prequel series.

    For the film, I use my fannon to explain it. David thinks he really did create the xenomorph when in fact he's wrong and just doesn't know it. In the same way he's wrong about who the author of Ozymandias is. The idea he recreates the Alien with his own twists on the recipe fixes any qaulms I have with the film. The last bit with the Alien on the Covenant feels rushed but I don't think its nearly as bad as people make it out to be. I wish the scene of the creature tearing down the corridor was left in the film, it would have made the alien feel like more of a threat.

    At this point if Ridley leaves the Derelict in Alien a mystery and simply follows David and his recreation, i would be content and happy with the prequel films.
  23. HuDaFuK
    Actually listened to one of these on release for a change!

    I agree the novel is a better experience than the film. A lot of the little things it adds just improve the overall experience.

    Really enjoyed the interview. Lots of interesting things covered. And it's really interesting to hear some of the more notable fixes/changes came from Foster not the script. Great that he recognised a need for some of those tweaks.

    Also, HuDaFuK does love praise :P
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