Following the example set by Prometheus by breaking out of the traditional claustrophobic spaceship setting, Alien: Covenant brings a familiar terror to a new environment. The true horror that lies in the dense undergrowth of the forest transforms this normally idyllic domain into a haunting wilderness. But where exactly was Alien: Covenant filmed?
You wouldn't be remiss for mistaking the location of Alien: Covenant for that of its prequel, Prometheus. The 2012 film was primarily filmed in Iceland and Scotland, both of which are quite geographically similar to where Alien: Covenant was filmed: New Zealand.
The Land Of The Long Black Spaceship
While the indoor scenes were shot at Fox Studios outside of Sydney, Australia, and post-production eventually moved to the U.K., Alien: Covenant was filmed in the very Southwest of New Zealand's South Island.
Ridley Scott was eerily enchanted by the breathtaking scenery of Fiordland National Park (Te Wāhipounamu), selecting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed area of Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) as the perfect stomping ground for the Engineers.
The uncharted planet is shown to be plagued by constant downpour in Alien: Covenant — much like Milford Sound. It's one of the wettest places in the world, and experiences so much rainfall that large areas of the forest are known to completely break away from the soil underfoot in terrifying tree avalanches.
For the mountain-side scenes, the #AlienCovenant production team journeyed up the nearby Mitre Peak (Rahotu), which stands at 5,540 feet — no wonder it took the ship's crew hours to traverse up the mossy incline. The entire area is a veritable tourist hotspot, which is hardly surprising considering its impressive landscape. The renowned Lady Bowen Falls can also be seen as the team approach the glassy surface of the lake.
Spaceships, Spores And— Seals?!
So is Milford Sound really as dangerous as it's made out to be in Alien: Covenant? Well, there's certainly no Neomorphs lurking in the bushes, but there are some other carnivorous creatures to be found — though the area's seal population is much more interested in preying on the tasty penguins that also share their waters than humans.
Aside from seals, Milford Sound is often visited by bottlenose dolphins and even whales. The forest is home to a number of native birds, including the endangered kiwi.
As for that spore-releasing fungi? Well, the South Island of New Zealand is indeed home to puffball mushrooms, certain varieties of which are known to release visible clouds of spores when agitated. The spores might agitate your lungs, but they're definitely not going to implant alien spawn in your body. They're also not found in Fiordland, but on the opposite East coast.
What Other Movies Were Filmed There?
Thought that scenery looked familiar? That's because Milford Sound has been the filming location of choice for a number of blockbuster films. Unsurprisingly, the Fiordland area featured in a few scenes across Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The picturesque waters were perfectly suited to the area around Rivendell and the Anduin River. Jackson also took advantage of the location's ghostly qualities for the Black Marshes.
Milford Sound was briefly inhabited by some prehistoric predators for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Wolverine's adamantium blades briefly tore through the greenery in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, the forest took on a far far less ominous in the family friendly classic, Willow.
What did you think of the scenery in Alien: Covenant?