On March 10, 2017, 20th Century Fox in collaboration with agencies 3AM, AMD and 48 Communications has dropped their “Meet Walter” campaign, on the threshold of Alien: Covenant expected movie release later in May this year. Directed by Luke Scott, the short’s idea takes its roots in Alien, Prometheus and Covenant movies, produced by Luke’s father, Ridley. If you ever wondered how android people are made, then it is high time you watched the short.

The film features a new-generation, advanced synthetic companion, played by Michael Fassbender, which is “created to serve” and help achieve a better human experience, as official “Meet Walter” website says. The short shows a pair of technicians from film’s fictional organization Weyland-Yutani carefully making a living android in a 100 years’ time world. Displaying the possible impacts and advances of AI technologies, technicians are thoroughly growing Walter from a 3D-printed exo-skeleton, polymer muscular system, electrochemical internal organs and a skin membrane. The most important piece that powers Walter’s intelligence is the neural chip, created by AMD.

The Making Of Walter

According to Chris Eyerman, creative director at 3AM, one of the underlying ideas for dropping the short film, with some advertisement incorporated in it, was the intention to expand the Alien universe and introduce a new synthetic to it. “The inception of this idea was about introducing a new synthetic in the Alien universe, and what would that look like, and how do we make that real, and how do we find a great technology partner that can add some credibility and authenticity to it?” asked Eyerman.

The creators of “Meet Walter” had a clear goal to show the incredible future potential of AI, and Michael Fassbender’s acting and how he brings the envisioned idea to life aligns perfectly with Ridley’s Scott expectations. Another huge part in making the whole thing a gripping reality is the partnership with AMD, one of the world’s leading technology companies. “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. Bringing AMD into our longstanding collaboration with 20th Century Fox on the Alien films is inspiring and exciting,” – said Scott.

This partnership was all sorts of perfect: for more than 45 years, AMD was pushing high-performance computing and visualization technologies forward, being number one innovative solution for many big corporations and scientific research facilities. Their most recent developments include Ryzen SenseMI processor and Radeon Instinct – a suite of soft- and hardware, aimed at the optimization of machine learning and deep learning applications. “We need a real technology partner. We need somebody who is in the space to lend real world credibility. I think that’s why the partnership worked so well, is because they (AMD) were actually doing it,” – said Alison Temple, a managing partner at 3AM.

 

Advancing Upon The Precedent

Alien: Covenant is originally a sequel to Prometheus, which was released in 2012. As the plot goes, the crew of the colony ship Covenant, with Walter onboard, finds something that seems to be an unknown paradise. However later is becomes evident that what was first seen as wonderland, is actually a dangerous world, occupied by David, a survivor android of Prometheus expedition, and hideous creatures that start to stalk the arrivals.

As seen in the Alien franchise, Walter is a more advanced version of David, more robotic and auto mechanical. David’s desire for acknowledgment and praise from humans as well as his all-encompassing arrogance was “cured” in the new synthetic version. “We had David in the last film, and here is the latest version,” – explained Alison Temple. “This is the evolution of Weyland-Yutani, it shows how they made Walter different, less emotional, and added a series of things to ‘reduce risk’ of harm.”

3AM together with AMD and the filmmakers made a huge work on creating the profound image of Walter – thinking of the chip design, how it will be integrated into the android, his makeup and costume and many other important details that would tremendously attract the viewer and help establish some sort of bond between him and the character. “From the movie-going perspective, conversations are always a big goal of ours, but also getting people to emotionally connect to these characters before you go into the theater and see the film. Introducing this character in a very unexpected, non-traditional way and having people hopefully connect and go, ‘Wow, that was really, cool’,” – said Chris Eyerman.

 

The “Meet Walter” campaign also includes a promotional poster and a special feature on the official website, allowing users to reserve their own Walter – once reserved, a process of unique customization begins, with regular email updates and the synthetic itself evolving overtime to meet the specific preferences and personality traits of the owner.

 

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