The new Alien movie came out this past weekend. It was good! I have a lot of notes (Too transitional! Too formulaic! Too little characterization!) but I very much enjoyed it and would like to study it again at home. But what did I love the most about it? It was so fucking gay. I’m very pleased to report this.
WARNING: there are spoilers ahead. There is no way around that. Read further if you have seen the movie or would like to have it spoiled.
Yes, the Alien series has always been a feminist declaration of power to speak to violence toward women, motherhood, and general girl power which naturally bends it toward queer canon. Remember Ripley and Call? They’ve always been a lesbian fantasy. Alien: Covenant was seemingly the first film to turn directly to this thought in many ways.
First, it cast out queer actor Jussie Smollett in a lead role, to survive the majority of the film and have a shower sex scene involving suggested alien tail rape. Second, the film featured a squint-and-you’ll-miss-them very subtle gay scene representing a gay couple that barely had any screen time or recognition.
But that’s not where the movie really gets gay: it gets gay in robotics. The film’s leads—Michael Fassbender and Michael Fassbender, playing the roles of newly robotic robot Walter and enfant terrible David—have an extremely fucking gay relationship. The gay tension between the two selves was so delicious and crazy that the audience in my screening laughed as did I as David taught Walter how to play his flute, telling him that he’ll “finger” him. The two eventually kissed, taking the notion of the boyfriend twin and twisting it toward the science fictional self-fucking. It was the making of the sort of porn fantasy that people like myself crave: Michael Fassbender making out with Michael Fassbender. I can’t imagine anything more desirable considering Fassbender’s very public penis.
It’s not just the literal male loving either: David’s love of himself coupled with being an extremist villain falls into a long line of queer, campy villains. David was undeniably, forwardly gay for himself and is the most notably queer baddie since Javier Bardem in Skyfall. He is the Sissy Villain, evolved.
Michael Fassbender’s performance as David is so unique in this movie because of how over-the-top he gets along with the two types of gay he plays with himself. David kills an entire planet because he wants to play god. He wants to make his own children but is unable to because, well, he cannot reproduce like a “real” human can. He wants what everyone who looks and acts like him has but cannot because, well, he’s different. Pair this with David’s queeny need to constantly hone his look to be the fiercest possible—from dyeing his hair blond to growing out a bob to an uncomfortable caesar cut—with his artistic flair in multiple disciplines and deep throating alien baby eggs and you have a creation that is perhaps the queerest thing put onto national screens in a non-gay movie. He is the queerest, most nightmarish character ever written.
Even his counterpart Walter is similarly faggy in that he lives to platonically take care of his BFF woman friend that he’ll never have sex with but adore on an intellectual level. Walter never protests David’s come ons and even indulges a few wrestles. If David is the motivated, perfect, Fire Island A-team gay, Walter is the homey counter who just wants to watch Ina Garten and drink wine, unnoticed, on a Friday night. He is the more pedestrian gay (Me.) who always ends up getting overshadowed by their more flamboyant, evil counterparts like David. Walter is the Lawful Good to David’s Chaotic Evil.
Jeffrey Bloomer of Slate summed up the relationship between the distant twins best by recounting a fabulously faggy moment that made me literally gasp.
David, who develops into a Lecter-ish dandy villain sneering with delight as his evil plan is realized, shows touching vulnerability with Walter, the only other deranged android he’d ever want by his side. “No one will ever love you like I do,” he tells him, and offers him a future where they would be maverick kings reigning over the universe’s new order. If there was any doubt, in a moment I can only describe as exclusively gay, David leans into Walter for a kiss, a bit of Fassbender self-love that left my audience shrieking in delight.
Covenant might not be the monster mash we wanted (It was surprising and great but, hey, Prometheus is still better in so many ways.) but it did turn us on in a way we weren’t expecting: it was so fucking gay in a very mainstream way.
That, friends, is worth the price of admission.