It’s Official: ‘The Thing’ Prequel Is Coming

Published 6 years ago by

the thing22 Its Official: The Thing Prequel Is Coming

What has been rumor has been officially confirmed: Universal will indeed be adding a prequel chapter to John Carpenter’s 1982 psychological-horror classic, The Thing.

Many have questioned just what a prequel to The Thing would be about, and who would be in it. Now it looks as though some of those answers are starting to come to light.

Here’s a primer for those who haven’t had the privilege of seeingĀ  John Carpenter’s The Thing: It’s about a group of American scientists living on a remoteĀ  Antarctic station, who discover that a shape-shifting, body-snatching alien has infiltrated their camp and assumed the identities of some of the men, turning friend against friend in a bloody battle for survival.

Carpenter’s film was a re-imagining of the 1951 Howard Hawks film, The Thing From Another World, which was itself a re-imagining of the 1938 short story by John W. Campbell Jr., “Who Goes There?” The Carpenter version became a cult-classic due to its freaky premise, crazy-gory F/X, as well as one hell of a strong performance from Kurt Russell in the lead role of R.J. MacReady.

The prequel, which is being written by Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore, and helmed by former commercials director Matthijs Van Heijningen, is rumored to be set on a Norwegian camp in the Antarctic, and will chronicle how the Norwegian scientists first unearthed and then tried to eliminate the dreaded shape-shifting alien.

the thing kurt russell Its Official: The Thing Prequel Is Coming

If you’ve seen Carpenter’s version of The Thing, you already know that this proposed plot for the prequel directly echoes the opening of Carpenter’s film, in which a helicopter with two Norwegian scientists inside are chasing a dog across the snowy terrain, until the helicopter crashes just outside the American camp, setting into motion the chilling events of that film. And although Carpenter’s film featured scenes of Kurt Russell’s character exploring the decimated Norwegian camp (see the pic above), it was never fully explained what horrors took place there… until now, it seems.

Ever since whispers of The Thing prequel first hit the rumor mill, sources like Bloody Disgusting have reported that Heijningen is pushing for the brother of R.J. MacReady to be the lead character in the prequel. This would be a BAD move, IMHO. We know that MacReady visited the Norwegian camp in the original film–wouldn’t he have had some kind of indication that his brother had been there? Or are the filmmakers trying to find a way to squeeze Russell himself into the prequel (as some people are speculating)?

The safest bet for this prequel, IMO, would be for it to focus solely on the Norwegian scientists and their (ultimately failed) battle against the alien. But that’s just me. What do you think, how should they plot The Thing prequel?

Source: Variety

TAGS: The thing
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  1. Once again we are in remarkably dangerous waters with a creation like this.

    Will it at LEAST marry-up to what was EASILY one of the most pants-s****-causing films ever?

    I will ALWAYS remember the chest sinking down with the cardio paddles and the MAW that takes the dudes arms off at the elbows. Just classic. There’s got to be 25 or so different elements and that truly deserves a podcast review for sure.

    Keep us posted and PRETTY PUH-LEEZ let them cast that right and bring on an effects house that doesn’t sucketh.

  2. I’m hoping that this turns out to be a decent remake of the original film. Really, John Carpenter’s version wasn’t strictly a remake as it took the story in a bit of a different direction. This one sounds more like it’s a re-do of the original.

    I hope they do a decent job of it.


  3. MacReady’s brother is a very bad idea. Makes no sense. Doesn’t even seem a good idea – so what if his brother is in it? Unless they get Kurt to play his brother, I don’t see why the need.

    If this is CGI, then not for me. Love those effects and shock moments.
    Of course, we’ll know how the movies turns out, so will need some really good reasons to watch it.

    The isolation and the alien among them is a very good story and can be redone. Carpenter went back to the book and it worked. I’d love to see something that was tense and grim.
    Unfortunately I suspect it will be various ways to kill Norwegians with special effects. :(

  4. If the plot goes as posted, this is NOT a remake, but a prequel. We already know the backstory of the alien vessel, the alien itself, and how it must have decimated the Norweigan camp, so WTH is the point of this movie? They can’t possibly surprise us with anything, unless they invent something like “OH this one vessel was actually meant as an invasion vessel, and now that it failed, a hundred more are coming….” Ya, even though the vessel was under ice for 100,000 years, I can see them coming up with that idea.
    The only ideas that would possibly work, would be a SEQUEL, but even that would be lame, considering the first movie was MEANT to leave us hanging. It would do what the second Gone With the Wind did, to the first GWTW. Remove the great ending with a stupid new future, all set in stone.

  5. @charles darwin

    Sounds to me like a prequel of John Carpenter’s version but a remake of the original 1951 film.


  6. I am not a fan of tinkering with “The Thing” at all.

    BUT … if Universal plays its cards right, they have the most clever TRILOGY on their hands EVER.

    Let the prequel be about the original alien ON the spaceship, why it crashed and how it took down the norwegian crew, ending the film with the alien turning into the dog from the original intro.

    Then … skip the original movie (making it PART 2 of the trilogy) and do a full out invasion flick with The Thing as the basic premise.

    Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be a friggin’ cool idea. :-)

    It’s not my job to work out the details … but … I’m available. :-D

  7. Who Goes There was an excellent book and a fascinating concept about an life form that can consume matter and become other life forms, more or less the ‘perfect’ alien.

    While John Carpenter’s version was decent, it had its weak points. Mostly being too short, not enough character development, and instantaneous time shifting. Plus Blair’s computer model doesn’t accurately represent The Thing, which always irked me.

    In anycase, I think a remake using well-controlled CGI would do more good than harm. I will be so wrong, I know, but I’ma just sayin’

  8. Geez, what’s the point, it’s obvious what happens. The ending is already ruined. Geez… this is just getting out of hand now. Is Hollywood just too cheap to pony up for a new idea?

  9. Like Jeff Goldblum said in, The Lost World: Jurassic Park,

    “This is the worst idea in the long, sad history of bad ideas”

  10. Why’s it a bad idea if we know the ending? I knew what was going to happen in The Thing after reading the book, but that didn’t stop it from being a fun movie.

  11. No no no! If anything, they should make the sequel of what happened after the virus messed up the McCready camp!
    I have mentioned this in the previous The Thing post, the first link, that the the videogame has a great story! The gameplay is another thing different, but the story is good enough to make a film! In fact the game is a direct sequel to Carpenter’s The Thing.
    Doug C said it best, what is the point if you know what has already happened to the Norweigan Team? Then again, whats the point in re-watching The Thing on dvd is you already know what happens to McCready and crew?
    Ah, its Universal’s money to lose, not ours.

  12. This is pointless. Completely pointless. Just like the Predator remake. Pointless pointless pointless. The least they could do is make a sequel. I might watch that. At least then they might be able to take the story in some new direction. Do something interesting. With a prequel their hands are tied. I can’t imagine how this could be interesting.

  13. I agree that this sounds like a bad idea, but not simply because it’s a prequel. I’m sick of hearing that lame excuse that “Oh, we know how it ends, so it will suck.” We don’t only watch movies for the end. If that’s the case, why watch the movie? Just skip to the last chapter and see how it ends. There are plenty of movies where you know how it ends, but watching how it gets there still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Perfect example, United 93. I don’t think I’ve been that tense watching a movie for quite some time, but even though you know that in the end the plane goes down, you still find yourself cheering for those brave people on that plane. This is basically true for any “based on a true story” movie that sticks fairly close to the real story. We all know how WWII ends, yet there are countless good WWII movies out there. We all knew how the Star Wars prequels were going to end… oh wait, bad example… lol.

    Anyway, there are plenty of movies I wished would be made where you know how it ends because I’m interested in seeing how it got there. For example, the colony living on the moon that was being terraformed in Aliens. I would love to see a movie showing the outbreak and those people putting up their last stand before the battle is ultimately lost. We know they lose, but we also know they put up a fight. I would love to see their fight. But of course, the only person that can do that justice is James Cameron, anyone else and I probably won’t want to watch it…

  14. Remakes are becoming the norm. Hell, if it ain’t a remake, the project must be some freak of nature these days.

    Despite my level of constant grumbling, I guess we need to adapt and just look to see who does what with their little piece of a franchise. They’ll either screw it up and bore the crap out of us, or make us say, hey, nice job!

    In my opinion, Ronald D. Moore has the superb talent necessary to create a prequel of sorts.

    If given enough room at his own keyboard, he’ll bring it to us like no one else can.

    Again, IMHO, but I’ve been a bit biased these days with his present day project that’s on-air.

  15. I totally disagree that there’s not enough character development in The Thing. As far as trapped-ensemble-cast movies go it’s one of the best, and in that respect even better than Alien in my opinion. The constant sense of claustrophobia and paranoia is at least 50% down to the largely pretty naturalistic acting, which throws a few red herrings around (Richard Masur’s understated Clark the dog handler for one), and in particular Wilford Brimley’s Blair is a brilliant performance.

    Little details suggest some kind of back story too, like Doc Copper’s piercing (what on earth is a guy his age doing with a nose ring in 1982? Could he even be a slightly degenerate version of his neurosurgeon from The Terminal Man, whose “work” went so spectacularly tits-up nine years before, and, wracked with remorse, has sequestered himself off to Antarctica?); Palmer’s Hell’s Angel jacket; Nauls blatantly refusing to turn his music down for Bennings; Garry’s slowly disintegrating uptight ex-military bearing etc etc. Not one cartoon in the bunch, which makes the one-liners when they do come all the more effective: “I don’t know what the hell’s in there but it’s weird and pissed off,” and when Norris’s head scuttles out the door, Palmer’s classic “You gotta be ****ing kidding.”

    Personally I can well do without a sequel or a prequel. However, there’s undeniably a story to be told not just about the Norwegians, but the alien saucer as well. Was it being flown by an assimilated species or the Thing in its natural form? I haven’t read Campbell’s short story, so does it even have a natural form or was it originally some kind of Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers-type spore?

    Knowing the outcome of the Norwegian base is irrelevant. As John Carpenter said himself, there’s a sombre inevitablity about his own movie right from the very opening scenes of the helicopter taking potshots at the dog, as if some grim apocalypse has already taken place.

    If the entire world population could be infected 27000 hours from first contact with the organism, a sequel wouldn’t need additional creatures coming to earth for outbreaks of mass Thingism to occur. Blair writes in his notebook “It could have imitated a million life forms on a million planets. It could change into any one of them at any time.” Which could be a laugh. Just keep the CGI to a bare minimum. The severed head crawling around on tentacles in The Faculty doesn’t convince half as much as Norris in The Thing because your mind’s telling you one was physical and on-set, and the other…wasn’t. Animatronics with the odd CGI tweak could work, especially on larger manifestations of the creature. I always thought they missed a trick by not having some disgusting amalgamation of everyone who’d been absorbed as the final version, kind of like the T-1000 thrashing about at the end of Terminator 2. They did actually try a stop-motion Blair/dog combo which Carpenter, to his credit, rejected as the footage didn’t really match the look of the rest of the film. The only part of that sequence which survives is the tentacle grabbing MacReady’s detonator.

    The movie’s ambiguities and unanswered questions are part of the reason why it’s lasted. For example, is the reason MacReady’s breath mists in that end scene and Childs’s doesn’t because Childs is Thanged-up, or is it simply to do with the ongoing problems they had trying to reproduce subzero conditions on an LA soundstage in the middle of a heatwave? I actually prefer not knowing.

    The only question I really want answered is how did Ennio Morricone come to be involved? It’s kind of an anti-Howard Shore situation: the latter going from Cronenberg leanness to Lord Of The Rings epic, the former going from operatic spaghetti western to the sort of restrained, minimalistic atmospherics Carpenter normally handles himself.

    To me The Thing is the last truly great film Carpenter made. In a period of just eight years he tuned out that, Escape From New York, The Fog, Halloween, Elvis, Assault On Precinct 13 and Dark Star, which makes it all the more sad that he’s been largely treading water ever since. At best.

    So should there be a Thing 2 (THINGS, even) or a Thing Zero, whether he has anything to do with them or not? As far as I’m concerned no, but in the words of MacReady, “Why don’t we just wait here for a while. See what happens.”

  16. Perhaps what I’m thinking is there wasn’t enough time for the characters to develop. Each seemed to be rushed to their doom to me.

    Now, in the original book there were I believe a around 50 guys at the arctic base. It was one of the better moments in the book when MacReady decided they were going to find out “Who’s who”, ending up with a good 30-something people being Thinglings.

    As for the original book’s version of The Thing, it seemed he implicated it not having an original form.

  17. I see what you mean Aaron – not enough screen time for ‘em. Like Fenster in The Usual Suspects! Incidentally, I always had a problem with Blair’s computer model as well. The “Asteroids” animation had the intruder cells absorbing everything into one organism rather than splitting exponentially, which I presume was what you meant by it being inaccurate. Also, the projections that there’d be a 75% chance of one or more team members being infected, and the 27000 hours till we’re all scragged figure: great – what software were you using there, mate?!

    Thirty Things I would definitely like to see. Did they have some form of collective intelligence in the book then?

  18. Yeah, the 75% chance thing really should have been just Blair scribbling down some notes on a notepad, with him underlining, “75% chance”.

    … That or Blair has Microsoft’s software “ALIEN INFESTATION ’85! — Calculate Alien invasions in minutes! (Do not make illegal copies of this disc)”

    And no, there were no implications of a collective intelligence. That’s what made such a large number of guys (who just prior to this showed no indication of Thingness) such a great plot twist.

  19. Too true about Fenster!

    I always felt the Thing had very strong characters. True, they could have been developed that bit more, but that could have slowed the story too much.
    I think you certainly get enough to understand what and why they do things in the movie, and that is enough.

    The book sounds cool though, so will have to get it.