UPDATE: A new Prometheus viral campaign has landed in which we get our first glimpse of Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland, you can see the video and play along with the campaign here. In the 3 minute long keynote speech, Weyland (a sort of Steve Jobs meets Prince Phillip) runs us through the history of technological development, teases Alien fans with a couple of lines about AI, and delivers the wonderful closing line “My name is Peter Weyland, and if you’d indulge me, I’d like to change the world“. Of course all of this is glorious buildup to the events of both Prometheus and Alien. We even get a lovely Weyland Industries logo at the end, a precurser to that well know Weyland Yutani logo from the Alien franchise. You can read about the links between Prometheus and Alien, as well as catching up on ALL the Weyland connections and timelines throughout the Alien franchise, below:
Even though Ridley Scott keeps telling us that there is very little to link his new Prometheus with his previous Alien (save for being ‘same universe’) the evidence continues to suggest otherwise. December’s trailer and January’s new stills showed us LV-462, the crashed alien spacecraft, and the infamous space jockey. Now Sir Riddles has let slip to a Hungarian website that Guy Pearce’s role in in Prometheus will be that of one Peter Weyland; a surname which should be all too familiar to fans of the Alien franchise. Here’s what Scott had to say:
“When the first Alien movie and Blade Runner were made.., I thought that in the near future the world would be owned by large companies. That’s why we have the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner and Weyland-Yutani in Alien. They sent the Nostromo spaceship. The Prometheus is owned by an entrepreneur called Peter Weyland, who is played by Guy Pearce. That’s the connection between the two films, and nothing more.”
For anyone who doesn’t know, Weyland-Yutani is the evil corporation that seems to own most of the universe in the Alien franchise, often referred to ominously as The Company. This inclusion of a new Weyland character does throw up some interesting continuity connundrums when viewed alongside the existing Alien movies, namely the reappearance of Bishop in Alien 3 and introduction of Charles Bishop Weyland in AVP, both played by Lance Henriksen. So where does Peter Weyland fit into all of this (especially taking into account that Prometheus will take place a long time after the events of AVP)? No doubt the likely answer is that Ridley Scott simply doesn’t give a flying fuck about fan-franchise continuity.
One thing’s for certain, as we’ve already seen, this is certainly not the only connection between the two movies as Scott would have us believe. Either Scott has aggressive senile dementia or he’s messing with us, hiding what is likely to be an even grater link between Prometheus and Alien. Whatever that is remains to be seen, and see we shall on June 8th. Until then, feel free to try and work out the Weyland/Bishop continuity for yourself, or, if you give a rat’s ass, wade through the timeline of the interlinked characters below:
The Bishop/Weyland movie timeline (or how British robots suck ass)
Aliens (1986): Dir James Cameron. let’s start at the beginning, and by the beginning I mean the year 2172. The android Bishop would first appear as an advanced model of the Ash android (Alien 1979 played by Ian Holm). Bishop is the executive officer aboard the military vessel Sulaco, destined for a rescue mission on LV-426. Bishop is essentially a strategic planner who’s primary function is to aid human survival by any means necessary, which he achieves to heroic levels when being torn in half by the Alien Queen. Of course as an android this is less of a fatal guts-spill and more of a spiny rainbow ball.
Alien3 (1992): Dir David Fincher. Bishop reappears during the finale of Alien3 billed as Bishop II who claims to be the designer of the Bishop range. After a bit of a skirmish with want away prisoner Morse and his monkey-wrench, Bishop II clearly bleeds from the head (a scene accentuated in the 2003 Assembly Cut whereby Bishop II’s entire ear is hanging off). Blood would indicate that Bishop II is human right? Well Alien lineage teaches us that androids are filled with a milky white goop (see Ash’s decapitation in Alien, Bishop’s torso and legs separation in Aliens, and Call’s weepy wounds in Alien Resurrection) rather than blood. So at this stage Bishop II is either A) a human with a very high pain threshold, or B) an advanced model of android that utilises human tissue (think Terminator). Rumour has it that in the original screenplay Bishop II was indeed a human, a fact backed up by the novelisation whereby Bishop II is a human called Michael Bishop. This ambiguity however left the door ajar for one Paul W S Anderson (cough, asshole, cough).
AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004): Dir Paul W S Anderson. Now it gets confusing. Henriksen plays Charles Bishop Weyland, a rather coarse attempt to bridge both the matter of where the Bishop android derived from and the origin of the infamous Weyland-Yutani company. So Charles Bishop Weyland both looks like the android Bishop and owns one half of the company that would go on to form the super conglomerate that would build said Bishop’s. Coincidence? So it’s pretty obvious what we’re being asked to derive from this, Charles Bishop Weyland is the inventor of the android technology and the inspiration for its appearance. Which is a very tender move by the future engineers who think of this homage to Mr Weyland some 168 years later, one of the many glorious timeline problems caused by this movie (I wonder if future Mac robots will look like, and be called, Steve Jobs?) . Which brings us back to the troubling appearance of Bishop II in Alien3 and adding a third variable to the conundrum that C) Bishop II, if human, is the spitting-image, direct descendent, of Charles Bishop Weyland, let’s say great great grandson, which would account for the blood. Hmmmm.
Prometheus (2012): Dir The Riddler. It’s been 33 years since Ridley Scott started this mind-fuck and he’s decided it’s time to make things a little more complicated. Scott is introducing space entrepreneur Peter Weyland who owns the vessel Premetheus. So clearly this is the man behind the Weyland arm of the Weyland-Yutani mega corporation that owns the likes of the Nostromo, the Sulaco, and generally the space time continuum. So where does this leave the Weyland family timeline? Safe to say that I doubt Ridley Scott has given this any thought as he simply doesn’t care about working his new movie into the likes of AVP, and nor should he. But if we wanted to hypothesise this new addition then it would have to go something like this: After the death of Charles Bishop Weyland (see AVP) the Weyland corp, under new management, shelved space travel plans, preferring to focus on package holidays. In the future, Peter Weyland, being an entrepreneur decides to reshape his struggling family vacation business into the universe’s largest conglomerate. But being a nostalgic gentleman he ensures that all Weyland-Yutani androids are made in his great grandfather’s image. How’s that? (total bollocks, I know)
In conclusion: To conclude my almost pointlessly deep investigation into the Bishop/Weyland characters in the Alien franchise I give you this final hypothetical timeline of events: Bishop is an android developed somewhere between the events of Alien and Aliens, let’s say in the year 2160’ish. He’s at the very least a third generation android, a technology likely developed by Peter Weyland sometime around 2100. At some point, just for kicks, the physical appearance of the android Bishop was based on the Weyland corporation’s founding father Charles Bishop Weyland (after two attempts with androids that looked and spoke like British people – future people don’t like British robots). Much like a new iPhone Bishop II essentially looks the same but is given a hardware upgrade to living tissue over an android exoskeleton. Done and done.