It seems enough time has passed to discuss Ridley Scott’s Alien quasi-prequel Prometheus without sending fans and critics into a frenzy. There’s no question the film left more questions unanswered than the most loyal Alien fans had hoped, but Ridley Scott hasn’t apologized for telling the story he chose to.
Scott is apparently so committed to Prometheus remaining as is that he outright refused to assemble a ‘Director’s Cut,’ despite Fox’s request. Although not everyone had issues with the story Prometheus told, a few new details from the original script hint at what direction the film was originally going to take.
We’ve previously posed our own opinions on how a few simple changes to Prometheus would have made the film a true Alien prequel, and delivered on the promises that its marketing arguably made. Though the connection between Alien and Prometheus is apparent on a broader level, the upcoming Blu-ray being advertised with the tagline that ‘Questions Will Be Answered‘ suggests that even those behind the film are conceding that too many elements were left unclear.
During a press event for the Blu-ray and DVD release of Prometheus (hat tip to BleedingCool for coverage), the question of a possible Prometheus: Director’s Cut was posed to Charles De Lauzirika, who headed up the production of the release’s ‘making of’ segments. De Lauzirika replied that Fox had requested Scott create an extended cut incorporating the more than 30 minutes of deleted scenes back into the film, which the director refused. His reasoning: he had made the film he wanted to, and all cut content was left out for a reason.
The deleted or extended scenes we’ve gotten our hands on have helped flesh out characters and themes, so Scott’s refusal is sure to aggravate some fans. But if Scott had freedom to make Prometheus as he saw fit, then perhaps his most devoted fans should be the ones resisting a Director’s Cut, as the pressure appears to be coming from Fox directly (think of all the ‘definitive edition’ sales!).
Prometheus may have been conceived as a direct prequel, but Scott maintains that “there’s no real link” tying the character(s) from one to the other, although the upcoming sequel could be burdened with that responsibility. The DVD and Blu-ray may offer a clearer picture of how the original script of Prometheus would have made the link evident.
In an interview with Empire, original screenwriter Jon Spaihts explained what portions of his script had been cut, and which were modified when Damon Lindelof (Lost) joined production. One of the film’s most memorable sequences was apparently what earned Spaihts the job in the first place: the medpod scene.
“One of the things I realised was that we hadn’t seen anyone survive a classic Alien chest bursting. And I was really intrigued by the notion that a character might be infected by the parasite and know that it was coming, know they had a timeframe of a few hours, and that we would have set up previously a nearly omnipotent medical device, designed to extend life for explorers in foreign places. Our heroine would have a short time to get to the machine and extract the thing inside her. It was a very gory sequence and it plays out very much like the sequence in the film. The main difference is in choreography. At the end of the sequence as I first conceived it, the heroine manages to get the creature extracted from her and it is expelled from the pod and she’s sealed inside, whereas in the final film it goes the other way [...] She sees the thing growing in the cabin outside and even killing people. So by the time she emerges from the pod eight hours later, the thing is abroad in the ship and big enough to be a huge danger.”
A total lack of Xenomorphs in what is ostensibly an Alien movie was a nagging issue among fans, but oddly enough, Spaihts claims “a lot of that push came from the studio very high up” in an effort to make something fresh, not “one more franchise film.” It’s not every day that a studio urges filmmakers to not repeat the formula or characters from a successful franchise, so perhaps it’s worth re-examining the film in the light of Scott’s commitment to what was cut and kept, and Fox’s wish to make something unbound from canon.
What do you fans of Prometheus think? Did Fox do the right thing by honoring Ridley Scott’s vision? Even without a Director’s Cut, the Blu-ray and DVD come with five hours of behind-the-scenes insights and interviews. That’s more than enough time for Scott and company to explain the ambiguity.
Prometheus is available on Blu-ray and DVD as of today, October 9, 2012.
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