Meet Walter: Creepy Android Comes to Life in 'Alien: Covenant' Short

Meet Walter" spotlights a synthetic human under construction; the video is part of an advertising campaign for the upcoming movie "Alien: Covenant."
Meet Walter" spotlights a synthetic human under construction; the video is part of an advertising campaign for the upcoming movie "Alien: Covenant." (Image credit: Mark Rogers/Twentieth Century Fox)

A new "commercial" shows a synthetic human under construction in the lab before he wakes up and introduces himself as "Walter."

The unsettling video, which features the tagline "Created to serve," was released March 10 as part of the promotion campaign for the film "Alien: Covenant," which carries on the "Alien" franchise and premiers in theaters May 19. The commercial features processors made by real-life semiconductor company AMD, although the synthetic is said to be created by a fictional corporation called Weyland-Yutani.

"In AMD, we have a partner at the forefront of developing and implementing artificially intelligent technologies, showcasing where the future of AI may well be heading," director Ridley Scott said in a statement.

The video shows the synthetic's torso lying on a lab table, with technicians systematically attaching the head, putting fluids into the body and putting a protective cover on the android. After some time has passed, the cover is removed, revealing the completed "Walter" — played by Michael Fassbender — as he receives last-minute checks before starting work.

"Androids display synthesized emotion, superficially register self-awareness and, most importantly of all, have the ability to reason, conceptualize and offer opinion," reads the entry on synthetics on the Alien Anthology Wiki. However, they do not have human-like consciousness, the entry added.

The new video points to, a website that shows the capabilities of the synthetic — or "artificial person," as these beings prefer to call themselves. The site promises "emotional intelligence" (being able to sense others' emotions, although the synthetic does not have emotions itself), biosocial compatibility that is customized to the synthetic's companions, biometric self-regulation and advanced cognitive processing.

The Alien franchise's first film, "Alien," was released in 1979, portraying Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) fighting against an extraterrestrial being called the "Alien," or "Xenomorph." Scott has referred to "Prometheus" (2012) as a "one-off" movie in the franchise. "Alien: Covenant" will be the first of a trilogy prequel.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: