Ridley Scott Talks ‘Prometheus’ Philosophy, Space Jockey, & ‘Alien’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:28 pm,

ridley scott prometheus space jockeys Ridley Scott Talks Prometheus Philosophy, Space Jockey, & Alien

Back in June 2010, filmmaker Ridley Scott revealed that his (then) dual 3D Alien prequel movies would in part explore the history of the Space Jockey – ie. the giant skeletal creature whose punctured remains were discovered by the crew of the Nostromo in Scott’s original 1979 sci-fi/horror classic.

Co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof (the upcoming Star Trek sequel) thereafter retooled the project as a single “standalone” film, titled Prometheus; however, rumors and unconfirmed reports stating that the mysterious Jockey’s backstory would still be explored have continued to circulate ever since.

Filmophilia has published an interview it originally conducted with Scott back in July 2011 – one in which the director not only confirms the appearance of the Jockey, but also delves deeper into the philosophy of both Prometheus and Alien, while also revealing whether or not the iconic Alien xenomorph also will show up in his new sci-fi project.

On the topic of whether or not the Space Jockeys are the “Alien Gods” alluded to in Fox’s official Prometheus synopsis, Scott said the following:

“Yeah, so there you have that. I was always amazed that, I mean, I’ve only done two science-fictions ['Alien' and 'Blade Runner'], but I was always amazed that no one asked who the hell the Space Jockey was. He wasn’t even called the Space Jockey. During the film they started to call it the Space Jockey. I don’t know who started that one off. I always thought it was amazing that no one ever asked who he was, and why was he there? What was all that about? I sat thinking about this for a while and thought, well, there’s a story! And the other four ['Alien' films] missed it! So, here it is.

“… I think one of the reasons why I’ve never gone back to science-fiction, even though I’ve often noodled around, thought about it, looked for story, looked for material, is that there’s a nice purity to the original ‘Alien’. It’s fairly pure. And ['Prometheus'] does actually raise all kinds of other questions, because if someone could, a being, could be as monstrously clever to create something like we experienced in the very first one [ie. the 'Alien' xenomorph] – I always figured it’s a weapon, and I always figured that [the ship in the first 'Alien'] was a carrier of weapons. Therefore, who is that, inside that [Space Jockey] suit? That wasn’t a skeleton, that was a suit. And if you open up the suit, what do you get inside it? And why were they going, where were they going?”

space jockey in ridley scotts alien Ridley Scott Talks Prometheus Philosophy, Space Jockey, & Alien

The Space Jockey in 'Alien'

With regards to how Prometheus differs from Alien, in terms of both tone and philosophical background.

“The original ‘Alien’ was a pretty savage engine. I’ve always said it was a C-movie done in an A-way. Because it was the Old Dark House, you know. Seven people in the Old Dark House, and they’re all going to die. (He laughs) And they’re gonna die horribly and that in itself is a tricky exercise, because you can do it well, you can do it badly. But somehow that worked. It turned out pretty well.

“… Things have changed so dramatically [since then] that you can start looking at the idea that all our history can be completely wrong and misguided. Because at some point someone has to put a statement down and have their own thesis, have their own theories. That was then later accepted or later is gradually dissolved and re-drawn or reworked. So now you’ve got the whole changed attitude with NASA, the church and I think even [Stephen] Hawking. Over the last thirty years have gone from “It’s highly unlikely that there’s anyone else in our galaxy, any other force, being in our galaxy,” to now, where they’re conceding that there are probably thousands of different lifeforms in this galaxy. And I think Hawking actually said, “Let’s hope they don’t visit.” And I think the church has conceded as well that it would not be against the word of God if we conceded that there are other lifeforms in this galaxy.

“So, if you take that out, then the door is open. To me, it’s entirely logical. It’s entirely ridiculous to believe that we are the only ones here. That’s why my first thought is that for us to be sitting here right now is actually mathematically impossible without a lot of assistance. Who assisted? Who made the right decisions? Who was pushing and pulling to adjust us? That’s a fair question [that is partially explored in 'Prometheus'].”

Ridley Scott directs Noomi Rapace on the set of 'Prometheus'

Lastly, Scott had the following to say about whether or not the “original” xenomorph from Alien appears in Prometheus:

“Absolutely not. They squeezed it dry. He (the xenomorph) did very well. (He laughs) He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!”

Suffice it to say: Prometheus continues to look and sound like yet another visually-gorgeous, yet also fascinating and cerebral bit of sci-fi cinema, based on Scott’s comments and the recently-released imagery from the film - the production design of which Scott has confirmed was indeed partially supervised by original Alien conceptual artist H.R. Giger. Now, all we need is for the official Prometheus teaser trailer to be fully unveiled…


Prometheus is scheduled to arrive in (2D and 3D) theaters around the U.S. on June 8th, 2012.

Source: Filmophilia

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  1. Very mysterious… I can’t wait for this.

  2. HD trailer Ridley?

    • Trailer this week is what I hear.


      • thanks Vic

  3. Ditto, this and TDKR’s are my two must see’s for 2012

  4. the more i read about this movie the better i feel about it. it’s always refreshing to hear a director take a stance (the confirmation of no xenomorphs) that “leaves well enough alone”

  5. If this was Lucas’ baby, he’d have Xenomorphs all over the shop. Including kid’s lunchboxes. Scott knows when to leave well alone.

  6. Notice, he doesn’t say there won’t be any xenomorphs in the film, he says the original ones won’t be appearing. This is because the film is about the genesis of the xenomorphs and humans.

    • Yeah, that was my conclusion as well.

  7. An “Alien” movie without having “Alien” in the title and no Xenomorphs involved? Gutsy!

  8. This film is one of several I’m looking forward to in 2012 with TDKR being on top of my list of must see films, the original alien movie is my fav. and the sequel with the marines was pretty good as well.

  9. If there’s one thing Ridley Scott has proven at least twice — three times if you count Legend (and I do!) — is that he knows how to make EPIC genre films!! The man is a modern-day genius in my book and this film will be another thinking-man’s science fiction film that will bring back the words “Sense of wonder”…and I’m not talking about wondering why you paid for the ticket either!

    I truly respect this man’s talent and creativity! It’s very respectable and admirable that this film is not going to be another Alien 3 or 4 or AvP — and I applaud him for not taking that route!!

    Actually, I never wanted Alien 4 or the AvP films to be made at all! I always wanted another Ridley Scott Alien film that had the Space Jockeys in it…and this fits the bill!!

    Comes out on my birthday and I can’t imagine a better birthday gift — the return of REAL science fiction to the theaters!!! :-)

  10. What does Ridley mean when he says “for us to be sitting here right now is actually mathematically impossible without a lot of assistance”, I am very confused. Doesn’t he believe in evolution?

    I still wonder for what purpose did they created us, and what is about the 3 or 4 billion years of evolution.

    -Did they put some bacteria on earth and then they said “let’s come back in about 4 bilion years, because then there will be some ripe humanoids we can reap for our xenomorph-breed”? Man, when the space-jokeys are this old, they have to be realy advanced and god-like, compared to us.
    -Are we a unexpected by-product of their terra-forming efforts.
    -Did they genetically enhanced some placentals, so that we originate

    I realy curious, how this is solved in the movie.

    • I am realy curious, how this is solved in the movie

  11. This is interesting considering that the original Alien movie Xenomorphs look like an actually Humanoid. When Cameron took it over there appearance changed to more of an Insect hive.
    I hope that he elaborates more on the history and where they came from. I’m not sure if he can pull off the fear aspect though, considering that good scary movies is very hard to shoot nowadays because almost everything has been done.

  12. im guessing since theres a movie for alien and predator now theres a movie series for the spacejockeys….cool

  13. I just hope he doesn’t make the mistake of making the wardrobe, tech, etc., more advanced than the original, since this is a spinoff/prequel that takes place before the events of alien.

  14. Im really looking forward to seeing this, but I have seen the teaser trailers on facebook, and now have some reservations about the set design. Its not quite the same as the designs in Alien. The space jockeys cockpit just doesnt look quite the same. I prefer the look from the original. Of course, the original sets were destroyed thirty odd years ago and theyve had to rebuild them, as close as possible to the originals, but unfortunately they havent quite gotten it right. I dont like the holographic star-map either. I dont see the space jockey tech as being anything like our own. The fact that the space jockey now has humanoid legs is a bit of a cheat too….as he originally grew out of the chair, right? Oh well! They just dont make films like they did back in 1979, and the new film will be very 2011. Despite the misgivings I have, I just hope I enjoy Prometheus, as much as I enjoyed the first two films, and I hope everyone else does too.

    • @Sizza You have no idea what you’re talking about. The SJ didn’t grow out of the chair, he was sitting in it. Two it’s a suit so we have no idea what it looks like.

      The cockpit looks EXACTLY the same.

    • @Sizza Know what you are talking about before posting nonsense.

      • No he’s right. Look at screenshots of the original chamber with the fossilized Jockey, then compare them to the chamber in Prometheus. I noticed there are 3 coffin looking things on the platform in the Prometheus trailer, these are not in the chamber they find in Alien.

        • this is cause in alien we see the seat one level below from prometheus final level.if you look closely in alien you see some rails around the seat this is made for the movement in the upper level

  15. The spacejockey was a skeleton, not a suit!
    He calls it the space jockey, i thought the name was navigator.