Esteemed filmmaker Ridley Scott spoke to attendees at this year’s Hero Complex Film Festival in Los Angeles about a variety of subjects – most importantly, his upcoming 3D Alien prequels.

We previously reported that there would be two 3D prequels to Alien and that the focus of the films would be on “The Space Jockey” seen briefly in the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic.  Scott confirmed this early report and expressed astonishment that the character’s backstory had not yet been explored on film before now, since its appearance was so memorable.

Scott went on to reveal that Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) had written a screenplay for the first film and that pre-production had begun on both projects.  He added that both prequels would take place LONG before the events of Alien (he previously stated that it was set 30 years earlier, which may still be the case), so that they could encompass a good deal of history about “The Space Jockey” and its deadly encounter with the Aliens.

Will the history of “The Space Jockey” be similar to Mark Verheiden’s comics in the ’90s – which portrayed them as deadly warriors who were prepped to destroy humanity once they had defeated the Aliens? Or will the film treat them as something else entirely?  Scott was mum on the matter but did mention that once moviegoers learned about the creature’s encounter with the iconic acid-bleeding monsters, they would be intrigued to learn just why it (he?) was on the Alien planet in the first place.

The Space Jockey scene in Alien

Scott also dove into some more general details, mentioning how he had already done a good deal of underwater research for the films.  He rounded out the Alien prequels talk with the news that the films would indeed address some of the practicalities of outer space colonization, including the issues of terra forming, the nature of light speed, and humanity’s ability to actually leave Earth.

For more on Scott’s career-enlightening Q&A session at the HCFF, you should check out the full report over at Collider.

What do you think of these new Alien prequels so far?  Let us know in the comments section below.

The first Alien prequel will likely arrive in regular and 3D theaters in the U.S. by late 2011, with the second film following in 2012.

Source: Collider, Empire