At this point, fans are likely growing weary of the endless speculation surrounding Prometheus and its connection to the Alien franchise.
Despite the fact that several cast members have confirmed the film is indeed linked to the original 1979 classic in some manner, director Ridley Scott initially tried to downplay their relationship to one another.
Scott instead discussed the plot in the broadest of strokes, explaining that Prometheus was an original story that dealt with “the story of creation, the gods and the man who stood against them.” Since then, various insiders close to the production have leaked several major plot points which indicate that the film might have more in common with its predecessors than Scott would have us believe.
Screenwriter Damon Lindelof recently appeared on The Kevin Pollack Chat Show and offered some insight into how exactly Scott is approaching Prometheus. Essentially, he confirms what many fans have been theorizing for quite some time – that the film takes place before the events of the original Alien, but that it has no overt ties to any of its characters or situations (thanks to /Film for finding and transcribing the audio):
“It started as an Alien prequel. That is what everybody wanted it to be … But there is a real issue which is — what is the state of the Alien franchise at this point in our lives? There has been Alien vs. Predator and all these things, and its been completely and totally diluted. I’ve always felt that really good prequels should be original movies. And the sequels to those prequels should not be the movie which already exists because, with all due respect to anyone who makes a prequel, but why would you ruin the greatest twist in the history of cinema, “Luke, I am your father”, by showing me three movies which basically spoil that surprise?”
We’ve heard repeatedly that the Space Jockeys and alien xenomorphs will be making an appearance in the film and the assumption was that Scott was likely utilizing key pieces of the franchise’s iconography and crafting a new tale around them. Lindelof’s emphasis on not building directly towards events that have already been depicted seems to contradict reports that a great deal of Prometheus centers around the dead Space Jockey from Alien‘s first act – and that the doomed spacecraft the crew of the Nostromo discovers on LV-426 has been painstakingly recreated for the shoot.
Nevertheless, Lindelof hits the nail on the head when it comes to the fundamental shortcoming of most prequels and asserts that Prometheus does not exist simply to connect all the dots of the mythology. His hope is that the end result will feel like a unique and singular experience:
“Show me something else which I can’t guess the possible outcome of. There is no suspense in inevitability. So a true prequel should essentially precede the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters , have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world. That was my fundamental feeling about what this movie wanted to be.”
He goes on to explain how important it was for him and Scott to free themselves from all the baggage the franchise has accumulated over the past three decades – even when it meant jettisoning certain cornerstones of the series:
“I also do feel that this movie is the movie I would want to see as a fanboy, take place in that Alien universe, which precedes the events of the original Alien, but is not necessarily burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters, and all that stuff that I love… but its sorta like, we’ve seen it before, can we do something different this time? And thats the movie that Ridley wanted to make. And when you’re working with an auteur, you basically just shut your mouth and listen and try to transcribe and channel the vision of that person, and get out of the way.”
Before fans get up in arms about that particular quote, it doesn’t sound like Prometheus will brazenly contradict established aspects of the mythology (specifically, the alien’s life cycle) – instead, it seems more likely that they’re simply attempting to put a new spin on the same old formula.
You can’t fault Scott for trying to maintain the element of surprise, but at this point I think we can safely put to rest any debate over how Prometheus relates to the other Alien films. The idea of this legendary director returning to this franchise (and to the sci-fi genre) after such a prolonged absence is incredibly exciting and it should be interesting to see how effectively he can toy with an audience’s expectations.
Be sure to check out /Film for the full transcript, which details how Lindelof came to be involved with the project and what his working relationship with Scott is like.
Prometheus opens in theaters on June 8th, 2012.