A couple of months ago Ridley Scott gave a curious quote to a German website about the future of the Prometheus / Alien franchise. After being translated to German and back to English, the quote was a bit confusing, but basically indicated that Scott had plans for at least two Prometheus sequels. Prone as he sometimes is to excess and abrupt changes of mind, Scott has revealed that the upcoming Alien: Covenant is actually the first in a new trilogy that will eventually tie Prometheus to the original Alien film.

One Prometheus sequel seemed interesting enough, but three seems a bit much — will it really take six hours to get the prequel narrative caught up to Ellen Ripley and the Nostromo crew? According to Scott, the answer is yes. During a press junket in Sydney, Scott said (via THR) that the new trilogy will offer an origin story, asking “very basic questions posed in Alien: why the alien, who might have made it and where did it come from?” This echoes Scott’s recent statements about his intent with the franchise, which have some fans a bit concerned.

As with most horror films and franchises, what makes the killers / monsters / antagonists so terrifying is the mystery of their motives and origins. Explaining where they come from and why they do what they do robs them of their efficacy and typically kills franchises.

Perhaps Scott has something more thoughtful and elegant up his sleeve — you have to imagine so when he reveals a three-film plan, and the outline for Alien: Covenant, which he describes as an “evolution” of Prometheus, is certainly intriguing, to say the least.

The new film will center on the crew of a colony ship called Covenant, who stumble upon what appears to be a previously undiscovered paradise, but they soon find that this new place is not at all what it seems — it’s a dangerous world where the only inhabitant is David, Michael Fassbender’s synthetic human, last seen surviving (with his decapitated head in tow) as he escaped the events of Prometheus with Noomi Rapace’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.

Fassbender has been confirmed to return, while Scott says we can expect to see Rapace reprise her role as Shaw “briefly” in Covenant.

Scott was inspired to explore this origin narrative in part by his frustration with the previous Alien sequels, none of which answered questions about the Xenomorphs, where they came from and who created them. The director says he’s also been inspired by the revival of Star Wars, adding, “Star Wars will be a juggernaut. Why do you think I’m doing sequels?”

The plan is for Scott to shoot all three Prometheus sequels / Alien prequels in Australia, though it’s unclear if he will break between films to work on other projects. Alien: Covenant is expected to arrive in 2017.