While director Ridley Scott’s most recent film, “The Martian,” is hitting fandom in all the right places, his prior venture into space, “Prometheus,” has some of his most ardent fans divided right down the middle. Despite the fact that Scott repeatedly said before its release that “Prometheus” was not a direct prequel to “Alien,” fans couldn’t seem to shake their disappointment when the dots between the two films didn’t quite connect.
Contrary to popular opinion, this was no accident, and in a recent interview with at Loyola Marymount University (via THR), writer Damon Lindelof went into great detail, describing why the script turned out the way it did.
A draft of the script–which was called “Alien Zero” back then–was sent to Lindelof by Scott, and after looking it over, Lindelof had some opinions regarding the story. The big thing of note was that the previous writer, Jon Spaihts, had only been filling in bits of information around what we already knew without really bringing anything new to the table.
“…the language of ‘Alien Zero’ was very much an ‘Alien’ reboot, in my opinion. There were facehuggers, and xenomorphs, and eggs, in the language of that movie, by page 30. I had heard this thing was a prequel, and thereâ€™s a problem with prequels; thereâ€™s something I donâ€™t like about prequels, which is thereâ€™s an inevitability, that youâ€™re just connecting dots.
So this idea of the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, for example, is youâ€™re going to make three movies where you basically just tell me what I already know. At least embed a new idea in there that I didnâ€™t already know, or introduce a different thematic. Like, what if Obi-Wan Kenobi had stolen Anakinâ€™s girlfriend away from him. And that way, when I watch ‘Star Wars’ again, Iâ€™d realize, ‘Oh, thatâ€™s why Obi-Wan Kenobi is letting Darth Vader strike him down, â€˜cause he feels guilty. Thatâ€™s why Obi-Wan Kenobi is watching over Luke, the progeny of the guy that he screwed over.’ So you know, embed a new idea. And in Jon Spaihtsâ€™ script for Prometheus was this creation myth. The opening of ‘Prometheus’ as you see it was in Jonâ€™s script. Oh this is a movie about scientists who are searching for the existence of their creators, and so thereâ€™s this kind of religious spirit, a pseudo-spiritual thing told in scientific language. And then what was really interesting to me was there was a robot along for the ride, an android, named David in Jonâ€™s script, and I was like, ‘Oh this is cool. These idiot humans are basically going and looking for their creator.’ And anybody whoâ€™s ever watched a science fiction movie knows, all great sci-fi is: donâ€™t cross this line; there are questions that mankind should not answer, do not reanimate dead bodies. And itâ€™s like, ‘Well letâ€™s fâ€”ing do it anyway,’ and then it doesnâ€™t turn out well. And because itâ€™s an Alien movie, we know how itâ€™s going to end.
But that was an interesting idea, because the android was there, and heâ€™s there with his creators, and theyâ€™re seeking out their creators. And heâ€™s not impressed by his creators. The android, heâ€™s the smartest guy in the room, and I was like, ‘Iâ€™m going to take those ideas, and Iâ€™m going to say thatâ€™s what the movie is, and we donâ€™t even get to anything, any familiar Alien language, until the end of this movie and if there was a sequel to Prometheus, it would not be Alien â€” it would go off in its own direction. And therefore it would be exciting to watch because weâ€™re not just connecting dots.’
Many would argue that Lindelof’s philosophy led to the film being an unfulfilling one, but I can definitely see what he was trying to accomplish–though many would argue that he failed. There were many parts of the film that seemed like they should have connected, but they never quite did. I’ve gotten into numerous debates with friends, and many of them were insistent it was just due to poor writing, but I’ve always held the suspicion that it was intentional.
Either way, regardless of whether or not you hate “Prometheus,” the sequel, “Alien: Paradise Lost” is well underway. In fact, according to a recent report from Variety, Ridley Scott and co-writer John Logan are in the process of revising the script in preparation for their February shooting date.
What do you think about Damon Lindelof’s comments regarding the script for “Prometheus?” Does this change your opinion of the film at all? More importantly, does the revelation have you excited to see what “Alien: Paradise Lost” will bring? Let us know your thoughts down below!