‘Prometheus’ – ‘Alien’ Connection Explained

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 11th, 2012 at 8:17 am,

Prometheus Statue 570x262 Prometheus   Alien Connection Explained

We recently participated in a London-based press junket for Prometheus – where Ridley Scott was surprisingly forthcoming about the shared threads between the film and Alien as well as where the director might take the spin-off storyline in the future. Also, keep in mind that our write-up is only one way of interpreting the rich Prometheus mythos and Alien connections – so, if you disagree, respectfully discuss your theories in the comment section below with your fellow moviegoers.

 [MAJOR PROMETHEUS SPOILERS BELOW!!!]


 

Prometheus - Alien Connection Explained

Ultimately, Prometheus does not provide as many direct connections to Alien as some fans might have expected – based on the footage found in the trailers. However, the film lays the groundwork for the subsequent events that would later befall warrant officer Ellen Ripley, as well as the Nostromo crew. Not every “Point A” introduced in Prometheus actually leads directly to a “Point B” in Scott’s 1979 Alien film – but there are plenty of ideas and story beats that set the stage – even if they still have to evolve further (off-screen) following the events depicted in Prometheus. As David (Michael Fassbender) points out in the Prometheus trailers: “Big things have small beginnings.”

It’s a fitting point – especially since Scott had no idea that, back in 1979, his sci-fi horror film would cause so much speculation (not to mention launch one of the most recognizable sci-fi brands in Hollywood):

Ridley Scott: The very simple question was “Who the hell was in that ship? Who is sitting in that seat?” and “Why that cargo?” and “Where was he going?” no one asked the question, so I thought “Duh.” It’s a “duh,” isn’t it? [Everyone Laughs] They’re all bright guys… Jim and David and the French guy, and I thought “Wow, duh.” And I just kind of say and thought about it for a while and I was busy, so I didn’t really do anything about it and then when they finally put it to bed in Alien vs. Predator I thought “You know what? This is a good idea here.”

The more I talked about it, I thought “God damn….” I was going to call it “Alien – Paradise,” because I thought that had a spooky connotation to the idea, because it concocts our notion and idea of paradise and “what is that?” And paradise to us suggests religion and religion says “God” and then God, who created us, and that’s certainly… you’ve got a scientist who believes in God and there’s lots of scientists who believe flatly in God and even though they may be in quantum physics, they say “I get to a wall and some times wonder “who the hell thought of this one?” and I can’t get through the wall. When I get through the wall more is revealed and I still see another wall, so who is making this shit up?”

The question of God and “who created us” is central to the connections between Prometheus and Alien – since the entire plot revolves around a pair of archaeologists, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her partner Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), whose quest to find their creators takes them (along with the Prometheus crew) to the distant moon LV-223. The expedition is funded by a near-death Peter Weyland, founder of the Weyland Corporation, the company that serves as the predecessor to the alien-obsessed Weyland-Yutani megacorp in the original Alien movies. Contrary to prior speculation, LV-223 is not the same moon as the one visited by the Nostromo in Alien (known as LV-426) – since, in addition to different names, the planets feature differentiated atmospheric compositions. As a result, none of the events depicted in the Prometheus trailer (such as an encounter with a “Space Jockey”) are directly connected.

prometheus space jockey alien Prometheus   Alien Connection Explained

While the Space Jockey served as a minor, albeit mysterious, point of speculation for Alien fans, the race takes center stage in Prometheus – and is introduced by Shaw and Holloway as “The Engineers” (since the pair believe the alien race is responsible for the engineering of mankind). However, upon arriving at LV-223 it is quickly revealed that Shaw and Holloway were only partly right – as The Engineers/Space Jockeys didn’t just plant humanity on Earth – they’re also a genetic match for human beings (meaning they are earlier and more advanced versions of us). Some moviegoers will no doubt remember the Space Jockeys as elephant-like looking creatures but, as has been series canon for over thirty years, Prometheus confirms that the iconic-look of the character is actually representative of the Engineer spacesuits (which feature a lengthy mouth-breathing tube and protective rib-like supports on the chest) – not the life form itself. As a result, the Space Jockey shown in Alien has undergone a fossilized fusing of both body and spacesuit (resulting in the impression it was elephant-like).

Furthermore, during Shaw and Holloway’s investigation of the moon, they discover the LV-223 ruins were actually used by The Engineers as a satellite storage facility for an especially dangerous bio-weapon of mass destruction (a weapon they didn’t want to have anywhere near their home planet). When removed from its sealed housing (vase-like containers), the slimy black liquid breaks-down DNA in organic matter – outright killing those infected, or in some cases, creating dangerous and horrific mutations (such as a batch of maggot-like worms that mutate into vicious 40-inch long snake-creatures in a matter of hours). While the details of the event are unclear, at some point (which the team pinpoints to be around 2,000 years earlier), The Engineers’ facility on LV-223 was overrun by an outbreak of the mutagen – and the local population was wiped out. That is, except for one remaining Engineer who remained safely preserved in a form of cryo-sleep.

Unsurprisingly, a similar fate befalls the Prometheus crew – after Holloway becomes unknowingly infected by the mysterious substance. Inebriated and unaware of his infection, Holloway and Shaw celebrate their discoveries by having sex – which hours later (following Holloway’s untimely death), results in an unexpected pregnancy (Shaw is revealed to be incapable of having children). The embryo is quickly determined to be non-human and, while everyone else deals with another infected crew member, Shaw undergoes a gruesome procedure (at the hands of an automated surgery machine) to have the creature cut out of her. Once removed, the fetus is revealed to be a tentacled organism that flails around and attempts to escape before Shaw “sterilizes” the creature until it’s no longer moving.

prometheus rating noomi rapace Prometheus   Alien Connection Explained

Shaw then inadvertently runs into David, who is tending to a recently unfrozen Peter Weyland - who reveals the true nature of the expedition: with only days left to live the billionaire literally wants to meet his makers (and hopes for some way to avert death from old age). However, when the team heads to The Engineer ship and awakens the survivor, he refuses to play into their desires for answers, quickly dispatching nearly everyone in the party, and resumes his prior mission directive (to pilot the weaponized ship to Earth – in an effort to eradicate The Engineers’ human creation). Why The Engineers would choose to create and then destroy humanity is never fully revealed – although it can be intuited, when compared to a line that David delivers – “Who doesn’t want to kill their father?” – that The Engineers (despite superior technology) might have been fearful that humanity would one day seek their creators out in an effort to destroy them. Faced with the threat of planetary annihilation, the Prometheus flight crew pilots the ship into the escaping Engineer ship – sending it crashing to the ground – sparing only Shaw and David.

With the threat neutralized, Shaw attempts to pilot the ship’s lifeboat but is horrified to discover that her fetus has grown into a person-sized beast. Just as she retreats, the surviving Engineer arrives (in an attempt to finish-off Shaw) and is snatched by the mutated creature’s tentacles. As Shaw runs off, the creature forces one of its tentacles down the Engineer’s throat and wraps its body around his struggling body – before the alien pair collapse and fall silent. In a pre-credits scene, the lifeless body of The Engineer is shown flailing around – as an adolescent alien queen-like life form erupts from his chest, splitting his body in two. While neither the fetus nor the chestburster/xenomorph creature are fully-formed versions of the species depicted in the original film, given nearly 30 years worth of time between Prometheus (2093) and Alien (roughly 2122) – coupled with the xenomorph‘s highly adaptable physiology (as well as rapid development)  - it’s possible that it’d only take a few generations of facehugger-xenomorph queen cycling to streamline both creatures’ development into their “modern” forms.

Michael Fassbender Interview Prometheus X Men First Class 2 12 Years a Slave Prometheus   Alien Connection Explained

It’s a set up that is further clarified when David tells Shaw that they can still escape the planet, since the Engineer’s crashed ship is only one of many, meaning that the Queen’s progeny could have easily encountered other surviving Engineers who were still preserved inside their ships on the moon – or might have come into contact with Engineers who later visited LV-223 (to investigate the Prometheus event or collect more of the weaponized mutagen). One of these unfortunate travelers could then become the Alien “Space Jockey” – who dies in his pilot chair (and crashes on LV-426) after a xenomorph bursts from his chest (and presumably lays the facehugger eggs that Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) encounters in Alien.

However, it’s also entirely possible that the films are, as hinted at earlier, only loosely connected and the impregnation of Shaw is merely a detour in the mutagen’s journey to its final xenomorph form (instead of an entirely unique mutation) – especially considering a massive carving, depicting a xenomorph-like creature, is plastered on the mutagen storage room wall. This would indicate that xenomorphs pre-date the Prometheus event and, regardless of the host, the mutagen carries certain properties which, after infecting a subsequent series of organisms, will produce new hybrid creatures who (over time) evolve closer and closer to their current xenomorph/facehugger forms.

Assuming this theory, it’s sill unclear whether The Engineers developed the mutagen or harnessed it from an existing (and ancient) xenomorph population – meaning, in addition to the possibility that more xenomorph-producing mutagen stockpiles could exist elsewhere, there might also be naturally occurring native colonies of the creatures somewhere in space. If this is the case, then it’s even easier (albeit less connected) to explain the set up for Alien as well as the death of the original “Space Jockey”: the Alien LV-426 event (and 2122 encounter with the xenomorph/facehugger creatures) could have been the product of an entirely separate outbreak of the mutagen – which might have even occurred long before the events of Prometheus (given the fossilization of the Alien “Space Jockey”). Scott even touched on this version of events at the London junket.

Next: Ridley Scott on Prometheus-Alien Connection and the future of the franchise.

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    • The beginning of the movie was the start of mankind.
      The engineer had to destroy himself to create life.
      Within the water the DNA from him with help of the mutagen rapidly created chromosomes.
      When evolution took place it created humans.
      The reason why the spaceship looks different maybe is because it was thousands of years before the prometheus expedition and through time the Engineers advanced in technology.
      Like stated above when David mentions “Doesn’t everyone want their father dead.”
      That could mean the Engineers turned on their creators, and at one point when visiting the various races of humans, thought one day their creation will turn on them. Before leaving though an outbreak broke loose, ending their expedition.
      Also when Dr Holloway and David are chatting at one point David mentions “Why do you think your people made me” and Holloway responds “We made you because we could” which could be a direct reference to why the Engineers made humans.
      I got more theories but I’ll read more comments to describe more quotes within the movie.

  2. The planet in Prometheus lv223 is were the engineer’s were creating there bio weapons(the black goo)lv223 had several ships with pre determined destination’s the ship that crashed in Prometheus was destined for earth this is seen when they activate the control panel were the engineer is in cryogenic state each ship has a engineer with a predetermined planet to land on this is seen at beginning of Prometheus where a engineer has landed on a planet and drinks the black goo this is what happened on lv 423 (Ripley’s planet) well this my theory hope it helps love the page good work

    • The planet you mention, is actually the earth…not any other planet.

    • That literally made no sense whatsoever.

    • The ship that we see disappearing into the clouds at the beginning of prometheus can be a ship of another species that visited that planet and possibly persuaded and promised those engineers that that goo would grant them what they are also looking for to enhance them in some way; which only lead the engineers to destruction when consuming that goo and their water was infected and infected those who drank it; therefore, the engineers came up with a plan to find a cure (the vases are their experimental equipment in search for a cure for the goo) or alternatively escape their own planet if the goo over powers them. Earth was the planet they wanted to colonize , but couldn’t because the other engineers who had to wake up the healthy preserved pilots were killed by the goo before they woke them up.

      So the surviving preserved engineer who was woken up by the android remembered his mission to fly his ship to their chosen planet ( earth) immediately when he is woken up, to save their species..

      • i think you wrong couse at the eng she want go to their own planet.
        so its wasnt their planet. maybe its was aweapon test go wrong.

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  4. The Alien movie is supposed to be around 2122 in the future and Prometheus is 2093 is the prequel.

    You can see that the technology in the Nostromo is that of 1979 eg the computer screen are CRT and the computer system is ancient and the buttons on the ship and everything else is 1979 including the actors clothes.

    But you can see in Prometheus year 2093 its got the high tech stuff touchscreen, holographic screen, auto surgery, DNA analysis etc. That is, the technology is current as of today’s tech. Including the Prometheus, the rovers and the mapping pups etc.

    The director didn’t make attempt to make the tech in Prometheus look older than in Alien.

    • I think it’s entirely plausible that it would be this way, that corporate ships ferrying VIP’s would be better kitted out and have better technology than run-of-the-mill space couriers would. The space truckers would be at the sharp end of funding and be expected to do their jobs with the minimum of home comforts to maximise profits for the company, including using outdated equipment to cut costs.

      Even today, look at a new Ferrari. Doesn’t have the same luxury as, say, a Scania truck used for carting cargo all over the country.

    • While there is a 25 year gap between Prometheus and Alien, it doesn’t mean that the ships were from the same time period. There is no reason to assume that the Nostromo isn’t 50, 75 or more years old by the time we see it in the movie and has been sent on numerous mining expeditions in the past.

      • the problem is not its connection with alien, the problem is its connection with Aliens how takes place 86 years … there is stuff in Prometheus that makes the actions of the colonial marines complete unnecessary

        • “who takes place ” sorry for that

    • That’s because the Nostromo was a cargo ship and while I agree he should’ve made a better attempt to make the Promethius’ technology a little more like that of the Nostromo’s It could be because this was a science vessell and not a cargo ship and the Wyland Yutani Corp. of the future doesn’t invest billions of dollars on a cargo ship. That’s just my thought

  5. Well there is so many Extra Terrestrials. We have the Annunaki which mean those from the heavens came down to Earth. We have the Reptilians who could of created the Alien creature in Alien. We have the Greys and clones of the Greys. I believe we are hybrids of ape and alien.

  6. The Annunaki could of created the Engineers. I don’t blame them for wanting to destroy us. Look at what we are doing. War, greed, murders,starvation,theft.This was not their intentions.At the same time it wasn’t their intentions for us to have knowledge, but thanks to Prometheus, we have just that.

  7. I thought it odd the medical chamber Shaw uses to remove the growth refused her first attempt when she chose “Abortion” as the procedure and was told that the chamber was fit only for men.

    Considering Vickers brought the machine for herself, you’d think Vickers would have brought a chamber compatible for her gender’s requirements.

  8. the apparatus was for her father not for her

  9. My theory is Irony: the Engineers inoculated Earth’s primordial ooze with their de-fragmented DNA. Over thousands of years the de-fragmented DNA eventually re-formed through evolution creating Homo sapiens. Humans then went in search of the Engineers. Our “robot” friend infected a human male with the black ooze which began to mutate him. He then inpregnated a human female furthering the mutation along. The female’s fetus developed into the precursor Alien species (similar to our evolution through the previous Homo genus’s). Therefore Aliens ironically were created from us. Beautiful isn’t it.

    • I like that analogy. Very creative and insightful. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if your theory is correct in the sequel to Promethius

    • In addition, there was a theme recurring throughout the film that is also found in the Biblical Genesis account. God made Man in his image, but not his equal. Man is a warlike, destructive species.

      The Engineers seeded Earth with a fusion of their own DNA to kick-start life, ultimately resulting in Man, made in their image. Ultimately, they see mankind as a violent, dangerous species and move to wipe humanity out.

      If you look at the outtakes from Prometheus, you’ll see that Peter Weyland presented his robot to the Engineer and said something like, “I too have created life in my own image, so I am your equal.” This is what infuriated the Engineer and he ripped the robot apart then went on a rampage. This gets back to Biblical notions of mankind thinking they are their Creator’s equal and the consequences of making that assertion.

    • Human DNA and Engineer DNA are a 100% match, implying that there’s no mutation (which you would have expected from evolution, and also the resulting creation of other species). Hence, it is more likely that the role of the sacrificial Engineer was to introduce the human species to Earth.

      As for your theory on the origins of alien, what about the worm-like creature found in the cave?

  10. “Prometheus” was (plot-wise) surprisingly deep for a Hollywood production. However, it left a lot to be desired as to the logic of the Engineers. On a review note, I would mention that we are introduced to a species so advanced that they can create various lifeforms and have mapped the galactic neighbourhood, while at the same time being portrayed as a “technologically adolescent” race. In other words, they can’t control their own technologies and don’t entirely know what they are doing.

    Another issue that bothers me is why the Engineer in the beginning needs to sacrifice himself when in all likelihood his race could simply harvest and then dump a DNA cocktail into a sea or river on Earth. But as a writer, I would have made more clear that the reasons are ritualistic or religious in nature and not purely necessary from a bioengineering point of view.

    To the future of Prometheus and the Engineers/Xenomorphs- Personally, I think one potentially attractive plot device is the psychology of duality in the relationship between creator (parent) and created (children).

    I can see a love-hate relationship between humanity and the Engineers- an awe and longing for the Engineers to be “proud” of humanity and a deep-cutting resentment and pain that they abandoned and are ambivalent toward humanity. This duality should be included in any future productions. In other words, the future encounters would curiosity coupled with a desire to outsmart and even almost destroy the Engineers for reasons of the love-hate relationship.

    The writers actually show this psychology in the first film in the relationship between Vickers and Weylan (I’m assuming Vickers is an illegitimate child desparately trying to make her father proud, but he never will be).

    Alien has been played out and I think even Segourney Weaver would admit that most plots have been visited. The xenomorph incident need not be Earth-related and could have been another project of the Engineers, since their culture is about bioengineering and biowarfare.

    The Engineers should be main protegonists with the xenomorphs or aliens showing up in the plotline now and then.

    Plotwise, there is much left be explored in this part of the “alien universe”.

  11. Did anyone address the fact that predators have been using aliens as a means to big game hunt? Like in alien vs predator and requiem with that big crossbreed that manages to replicate without the use of eggs.

  12. My comment is this movie was fine as it is. I have followed the whole series and found Prometheus to be greater in technology. and the Alien movies to follow subject to the information that was found and never used except the transportation of a facehugger to the Corporation. It would be expected that the creators’ technology to be far beyond ours. We evolved on a different except where explorers could find a way to bring one home. This is my opinion but think about it in each movie, including where Ripley was a hybrid and was herself to be studied. Prometheus ties it all together with the giant facehugger starting the cycle to continue in Alien. Even the planet they were on had begun to change in the atmosphere and the ground where winds and particulates in the sky were beginning the familiar unhospitable environment. A really wonderful work of art by Ridley Scott…

  13. I think the author of this article put more effort into making sense of the Promethius plot than did the screenwriter himself.

  14. I THINK THAT THE NOSTROMO IS MORE LIKE AN AGED RELIC KIND OF LIKE THE USA FLYONG THE B52 BOMBERS WELL INTO THE YEAR 2040 THEY WILL BE 100+ OLD AIRFRAMES SO THE DIFFRENCE BETWEEN THE SHIPS MAKES MORE SENCE WHEN USED WITH THIS TYPE OF THINKING

  15. In short, Prometheus planet is a military base with multiple ships and biotech on board, all have a planet to fly to on orders. Alien Movie #1 pilot got infected on rout, cashed on Alien Movie #1 planet years ago, produced a queen, queen laid eggs waiting for hurt. Prom planet local population was wiped out years ago as well, until Prometheus crew woke up and antagonized the last remaining, sleeping alien and sent him on his mission to attack earth. PS: Man-kind is a beautiful thing, don’t buy into this “population control” B.S., because you and your family will be the first to go, as the “Elites” stride over your bones, polluting as they go. Life’s good. -J-

  16. Starting to become a little obsessed with the plot and like others, as many questions raised as answered. Brilliant write-up though and here’s my thoughts/questions ;-)

    One thing which has been omitted from several related sites is the fact that when they arrived and carbon dated the beheaded ‘Engineer’, the quote was 2,000 years give or take – arriving back at the Biblical overtones and the dates for Prometheus, guess what was happening around about then? I’d read elsewhere about the demise of the suggested ‘Jesus’ figure and they were then off to Earth to sort us out?

    The black goo on LV223, reacts with atmosphere changes caused by the landing party, not the only thing in the Vase room that reacts either. It caused the worms to mutate into something capable of laying eggs further down the evolution? Caused a different change in Holloway having being spiked by David. Broke the Engineers DNA down on the opening sequence to kick start life on Earth. The reaction seems dependent on it’s hosts calma (hence the sweating Vases). And that big ship in the opening, who’s was that? The Engineer was already there with the goo so it wasn’t delivering anything or him?

    So Shaw and David head off where they suspect is the Engineers origin, with a cargo of goo, interesting to see what happens there in the sequel.

    Lastly, awesome film and just wont be put down!

    -C-

  17. Good post! We will be linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.

  18. Is the Promethus the ship they find at the beginning of Alien 2? You only get a sneak peak and it looks like the ship they find.

  19. The ship that we see disappearing into the clouds at the beginning of prometheus can be a ship of another species that visited that planet and possibly persuaded and promised those engineers that that goo would grant them what they are also looking for to enhance them in some way; which only lead the engineers to destruction when consuming that goo and their water was infected and infected those who drank it; therefore, the engineers came up with a plan to find a cure (the vases are their experimental equipment in search for a cure for the goo) or alternatively escape their own planet if the goo over powers them. Earth was the planet they wanted to colonize , but couldn’t because the other engineers who had to wake up the healthy preserved pilots were killed by the goo before they woke them up.

    So the surviving preserved engineer who was woken up by the android remembered his mission to fly his ship to their chosen planet ( earth) immediately when he is woken up, to save their species..

  20. I dont have a problem with the discrepancies in the Xenomorph’s appearances
    Its obvious the species form is based on its host
    The alien we saw in alien was “born” if you will of its human host
    We saw another varient born of the predator host
    And yet another born of the engineer host
    Each looked different because they were born of different hosts.

    Other aspects of the movie still leave me scratching my head such as the opening scene, disolving engineer etc etc

  21. just watching prometheus on german free TV. the movie look just like a remake to “make” some dollars out of an sucesfull old movie. No idea why all that discussion. Its just a medium quality remake, as so many others. I cant detect any new text quality content leading to a minimum of a surprising situation. Spoiler Info: just try watch prometheus 1st try to have more fun against the unique original, maybe it work. If you know Alien allready, just skip prometheus. Btw, the advertizing spots are cool atm :)

    About the graphics in promethues? realy cool, but 3d graphics is just a tool, cant evolve an old content to next stage. So less dollars , more artistic work next time pls.

    About the main actress: excelent, ill dream about her tonight :) but not about the film :(

  22. I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to the sequel. As far as the connection with “Alien”, there are many possibilities. However, during your speculations you should remember two movies “Predator 2″ and “Alien vs Predator”.

    I believe “Predator 2″ was set in the 80′s or 90′s, well before the events of “Prometheus” took place. At the end of this movie, the main character is witness to the Predators trophies and even receives one as reward for killing his pursuer. Among these trophies is an “Alien” skull.

    “Alien vs Predator” shows some history of all three species. The Predators have been hunting on earth for centuries. While humans were still in a relatively primitive state, the Predators taught them basic science and were worshipped as gods. The Predators brought the “Alien” species to earth which was used as a hunting ground. These events significantly predate the “Prometheus” event.

    All in all, I would say that this disproves the idea of the creature in “Prometheus” being the first or original “Alien”. I have been a huge fan of the “Alien” and “Predator” movies since the first movie released when I was a very young boy, and “Prometheus” was a great surprise for me (especially since I never saw any previews).

    To everyone involved in the making of these movies I say, ” Keep up the great work guys, thanks! “

    • AVP and Predator are not canon.

  23. I think it’s a great idea to do a Prometheus sequel for all the Alien movie lovers to let them understand how exactly Prometheus is linked to Alien & understand why there is a Engineer/Space Jockey ship on LV-426 on Alien, because on Prometheus they land on LV-223 (a different Moon/Planet) & see why the Xenomorphs look different to the Facehuggers on Alien, they could seem different because it has to lay in a Engineer/Space Jockey and then lay another inside a Human to get to the final Alien form

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