Prometheus, a prequel, or not a prequel? That is the question.
It’s a query many have made about the new Ridley Scott space opera. The trailer looks and feels like a chronological cousin to his 1979 classic sci-fi horror epic Alien but the director denies it is a prequel.
Here’s what we know. When Scott sat down to write Prometheus (with screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, who calls it “an Alien/Blade Runner mash-up”) he had a prequel in mind featuring Xenomorphs, the acid-tongued space baddies who gave the first movie its name, and the giant dead alien nicknamed Space Jockey. But then he veered off into something larger; mankind’s origin story.
“Out of the creative process emerged a new, grand mythology,” he said. “The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA … but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, far-reaching and provocative.”
Still, Prometheus, which is set in the same universe as Alien, seems to provide the backstory which points forward to the original film.
Firstly, Prometheus is set in 2085, 37 years before the Weyland-Yutani Corporation (which also appears in Prometheus, simply as The Weyland Corporation) sent the commercial towing spaceship Nostromo on its fateful trip from Thedus to Earth in Alien.
Next, while the Xenomorphs may not appear in the acid-spitting form we’re used to — “The sequels squeezed him dry,” Scott says, “no way am I going back there” — they aren’t completely absent. Artist H.R. Giger, who created the beasts in the first film, was brought back to “reverse-engineer the design of the Aliens in the film” to create a Xenomorph forbearer.
Also, Michael Fassbender plays David 8, a synthetic human automaton ancestor of Alien’s Ash.
Further evidence came in a trailer that shows star Noomi Rapace standing in front of two unworn Space Jockey suits, suits which will soon be donned, perhaps, by the hapless space jockey seen in Alien.
Finally Scott promises a scene to equal the horror of Alien’s “chest-burster” mindblower, in which an alien parasite exploded out of John Hurt’s torso. It’s an iconic moment that no prequel could be without, right?
“There is a scene that could be called the equivalent of that in this film,” Scott admits.
Even though the prequel debate rages on, the one thing nobody is questioning is how exciting it is to have Ridley Scott back in the sci-fi genre after a 33-year gap.