Why are these people on this ship anyway?
Alien: Covenant is a movie about a ship, named the USCSS Covenant, sent to colonize a remote planet and begin a new society because, judging from every movie in this series, things are bleak as hell on Earth. The vessel carries about 2,000 humans looking to explore the universe, and a bunch of embryos to help kickstart a kinder, gentler world. Think Earth 2.
We meet the crew -- which includes Waterson, Billy Crudup as the spiritually minded Oram, and Danny McBride as the hillbilly pilot Tennessee -- after a neutrino burst causes a fire to break out, killing the ship's captain, who is for some reason played by James Franco. (There's also a robot named Walter played by Michael Fassbender, but I'll get to him later.)
While the humans on the ship sleep, the crew, now without a captain, receives a scrambled message of a John Denver song from a nearby planet, which suggests the presence of human life -- or a race of aliens who love folk music. Should they investigate a mysterious new planet that could be ripe for colonization? Or stay the course? Unsurprisingly, they choose the unknown, because this is not going to be a movie about a super-chill space commune run by a regrettably mustache-less Billy Crudup.