Fans of Alison Bechdel are more than familiar with her graphic novel-turned-hit play, Fun Home. Older fans likely remember her first comic, Dykes to Watch Out For and its creation of the infamous “Bechdel test.” Readers might recall the initial strip that spawned the now famous test and that the first movie they said passed it was Alien. Now, we’ll have to wait and see if the same will go for the latest film in the sci-fi/horror franchise, Alien: Covenant.
For those requiring a refresher, there are three simple rules to the Bechdel test. They are that a film contains at least two female characters, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. The test has gone on to become an important part of pop culture in how we approach and judge movies in the modern day. Keeping with the spirit of the original strip, the Alien franchise has admirably lived up to the rule with the exception of what is easily the worst film in the series (coincidence? We think not).
All of the films in the Alien franchise (except for Alien 3, which is generally best forgotten) pass the test, including Prometheus. Now we have our fingers crossed to see if Covenant will be able to do it again.
So far, things are looking good for the women of Alien: Covenant. With a cast that includes Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) in a main role in addition to Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience) and the return of Noomi Rapace (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus), chances are good that these women will eventually speak to each other. The latest shots of Waterston recall echoes of Ellen Ripley as she brandishes a hi-tech assault rifle and has clearly been in the middle of an intense battle. From the looks of things, Covenant seems to be much more action and horror oriented than its predecessor, and could be a return to form for the series.
The Alien franchise has consistently been one of the most ground-breaking and progressive series in the history of sci-fi and horror and it’s looking as though the latest entry will be no different. Alien has also managed to extended this progressiveness to its video games. The well-received 2014 game Alien: Isolation actually manages to pass the Bechdel test, too, and we hope that the latest movie might spawn another game that can score one for gender equality.
Since the release of Isolation, there have been very few Alien video games aside from a licensed casino game that sits next to other titles based on movies and TV shows like Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones. The game is much more involved than you’d expect a casual slot to be and boasts bonus rounds where you hunt down the actual aliens, culminating in a final face-off against the queen herself. It would be fantastic to see the latest film spawn a new game to go with it, but at this point we’ll be happy just to have another movie that gives women the credit they deserve.
We have our fingers crossed and our hopes high for the new movie. In the meantime it might be time to go back and re-watch the one that started it all.
Alien: Covenant will be in theaters May 19.