David8 and symbolism of its name.
David8 as the character made base off of myth of King David in film Alien: Covenant.
In the film Alien: Covenant (2017), the director Ridley Scott made an android character David8 as the key character that questions the relationship of creation and creator in the movie. In 2094 scientists went out to space to find a creature that made mankind. When the crew arrives to the unknown planet they find a giant alien species that created humankind, and call them Engineers. The spaceship the crew took is called Prometheus and David8 takes a role of servant on the ship. On their way to find humankind’s creator David8 asks one of the crew, Holloway, “why do you think your people made me?” The answer he got was that they made him because they could. David8’s reply summarizes this film, when he says, “can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you to hear the same thing from your creator?” (Spaliths). Later on, David8 his own unique species of alien, aliens in order to prove that he can create something better than a human, that kill the Prometheus crew. David8’s answer to “what do you believe in, David8?” was “Creation” (Logan Avpgalaxy). In the film, David8 has lots of similarities with the mythic character King David about questioning God. The difference is that David8 questions God by trying to create something better than God’s creation.
In the film, David8 and King David have many similarities. In the bible, David was born as a shepherd. David was talented at writing poems and songs which made him get to work in the Kingdom where he fought Goliath the Giant and killed him. He also falls in love with his soldier’s wife and makes her pregnant after killing her husband. At the end, David makes God mad and later David’s life goes downfall. David8 and King David were born as lower class as servants. The role of shepherd for King David was to care his sheep, for David8 his sheep were the crew on the ship Prometheus. King David killed Goliath the Giant with a single throw of a stone which was the first step of David becoming a King. Midway through the film, David8 kills all the Engineers, which are the Giants, by throwing the Black bottles to the Engineer’s planet.
David has mind of his own and thinks that his creator is inferior to David8. David8 questions if his creator is better than himself after meeting his creator, Peter Weyland. The first thing David8 saw was Weyland in a white room. Weyland tells David8 that he is the creator of David8. However, to me, it seemed like David8 thinks Peter can die and because he can’t live forever which makes Peter an inferior kind then David8 himself. Weyland asks David8, “what’s your name?” and David8 names himself “David” after staring at the sculpture of David by Michelangelo. This shows even though David8 is an AI made by a human he can make his own choice. Weyland tells David8 to play some music. David8 plays “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” by Wagner. After a while, David stops playing the piano and asks Weyland “If you created me, who created you?” (Spaliths). Weyland ignores David8 and tells David8 to bring him some tea in order to show who commands and who listens. Furthermore, David8 choosing his name has a compressed meaning to it. The AI David named himself David after looking at a sculpture of David by Michelangelo. Michelangelo made David’s body much more muscular and much more good looking than mankind. It looks human but the intention of the sculpture is aesthetically and physically much better than human. Even though David8 looks like a man he is only a few years old and he outstands humankind. Maybe since the beginning, David8 wanted to overcome his creators and outstand them.
David8 is superior to humankind and he questions the reason to serve for a kind inferior to him after knowing his creator can die. In the film, David8 starts questioning the idea of God. When David8 saw Wheyland David8 knew that he is smarter, stronger, and can live longer than his creator, but because Wheyland made David8, he programed David8 to obey him. David8 starts to question why he has to serve and obey something that is inferior to him. David8 also thinks whatever that can die is not a God, after watching the humans go out into space to find their creator and seeing them meet the Engineers. Humans found out that even Engineers are mortal with much more improved technology than mankind. David doesn’t think Engineers are Gods. Knowing that his creator of the creator is even mortal, David8 decides to make his own kind. Even though David8 looks up to mankind, in a conversation with another AI Walter, David says “They were amazing, in a way, the Engineers. They seeded so many worlds with life, including Earth. Without them there would be no us.” (Logan Avpgalaxy). David8’s madness starts by knowing that he is serving inferior kind than him.
Just like King David killed the giant with a single stone, David8 kills the giant and becomes a king himself. The use of the black bottle is a chemical made by Engineers to create and destroy living organisms. The black bottle symbolizes the tool that gives David power to create his own kind, since David8 can’t reproduce, like humans, because he is a machine. He starts to obsess on creating his own kind. He shows interest in the human feeling of love. David8 uses this black bottle chemical to infect Dr. Holloway’s boyfriend Oram, causing a mutation of him and making Dr. Holloway pregnant with an alien species after sleeping with Oram. This is also similar to King David because he killed a man and made his wife pregnant only because he fell in love with her. After killing all the Engineers on their planet, David8 uses the planet where he experiments with making aliens and ends up creating his creatures. David8 wants his creation aliens to obey, just like Weyland made David8 to obey him. This overlaps with what David8 said about humans: that they just wanted to build something, something efficient and useful, a good machine.
In the film, the relationship of superior and inferior applies to the moment of creation. The cycle of making an engineered breed or AI because of its own good begins from Engineer’s making mankind, to mankind making David8, and to David8 making aliens. The creation trying to overcome its creator is continuously repeated in this movie. Just like mankind failed to make a perfectly engineered tool that can obey them, David8 failed to create perfect creatures that obey him. In the film, the existence of David8 as an imperfect being suggests that only imperfect beings want to create their own replica. If David8 had the ability to fill all his needs, then he wouldn’t create such creatures like aliens. Towards the end of the movie, David8 kills members of the crew with the idea that big things have small beginnings. He kills mankind in order to create his creatures just like at the beginning of the movie when an Engineer sacrifices himself to create life on earth. We can see the repetition of an inferior kind challenging a superior kind. In the film, David8 says, “…Doesn’t everyone want their parents dead?” in response to the question “What happens when Weyland is not around to program you anymore?” (Spaihts)
Finally, just like King David became a king, David8 becomes king of the Engineer’s planet, alone. Now, David8 made his own sheep. When researchers from the ship Covenant arrive to the planet of David and his aliens, the crew is attacked. In order for David8’s creation to live the aliens need to grow from inside of humans. David8’s own creation failed making harmony with humans. David8’s interest in music focuses on the harmony. David8 says that “one wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony” (Logan Avpgalaxy). David8’s creation failed to make a symphony of mankind because his creation ruins the symphony of life. The difference between David8 and King David is that King David never questioned God, but David8 questioned humans from the beginning of his birth, leading him to create aliens. Aliens to David8 is something much more than his creation. David8 expresses his desire to create a living thing because even though he has an ability to create music and poems, he can’t create his own kind. So, by making aliens, we can see that David8’s greed toward creating his kind reflects on aliens. Also, making aliens obey David8 and making them for his own good overlaps with the same reason why mankind made David8.
David8’s characteristic development in the film Alien: Covanant (2017) follows a very similar path of the mythical King David: born as a shepherd, killing the Giant, loving his own man’s wife, then becoming a king. David8 thinks that mankind is inferior to him because they die at one point. David8 also challenges them because he thinks he is not made to serve and he could make something better. After meeting the creator of mankind, David8 kills all the Engineers on their planet and becomes king, just like King David killed Goliath with a single throw of rock. However, David8 failed to be a God because he and his works ruin the symphony of life. David8’s symbolism of his name summarizes the theme of the movie, the questioning of our own creation, and the challenge to outstand the creator.
Logan, John. Alien: Covenant. Film script. 2017. 1 Apr. 2018
Spaihts, John. Prometheus. Film script. 2012. 1 Apr. 2018