The officially-untitled Prometheus sequel - a followup to director Ridley Scott's 2012 sci-fi/horror film that (sorta) acts as a precursor to his classic Alien - has been slower to develop than originally anticipated. Scott, as it were, has been keeping busy in the meantime, having already shot two movies - last year's The Counselor and Exodus (the latter releases in December) - while the Prometheus 2 script comes together.
20th Century Fox has claimed a March 2016 release date for an as-yet unspecified Ridley Scott film, with the Prometheus sequel being the most likely candidate. However, there are other possibilities, including the film adaptation of Joe Haldeman's touchstone sci-fi allegory novel The Forever War - a project that Scott has been wanting to make for more than three decades, with a script having been in development for some 18 months now, reportedly.
Now Variety is reporting that Fox has begun talks with Scott for the latter to direct The Martian: a film adaptation of Andy Weir's e-book, with Matt Damon tentatively lined up to headline as "an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and must figure out how to stay alive long enough to get back home." The film recently lost its potential director in Drew Goddard, who had to bow due to his commitment to both directing Sony's Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six and overseeing Marvel Studios' Daredevil Netflix series.
However, even if Scott does commit to directing The Martian, it seems unlikely that he will make this project before he sets to work on Prometheus 2 - assuming he doesn't wind up just producing that film, which is a real possibility. The former is being produced by Simon Kinberg (who also backed the Damon-starring sci-fi flick Elysium), but it doesn't appear to have a script in shooting shape and prepared to go yet. By comparison, the Prometheus sequel screenplay is being actively revised right now, so it may be ready for Scott to direct from shortly after he finishes post-production on Exodus.
Martian - described as bearing a stronger resemblance to Apollo 13 and Castaway than last year's space survival box office hit Gravity - sounds as though it could make for a worthwhile addition to the "humanity vs. nature" sub-genre of cinema, should it be placed in the right director's hands. A separate report by Deadline confirms that Scott is "eying" the project, but also mentions that Paul Greengrass - who directed Damon in the second and third Bourne films as well as the Iraq war drama/thriller Green Zone - has circled the project recently as well.
That is to say: it sounds as though The Martian is attracting the cream of the crop of directors, and it should wind up landing one, sooner than later. Let us know if you want to see Scott take on the job, or if you'd rather he leave it to someone else, while he focuses on completing one of the other sci-fi projects already on his plate.
We'll keep you posted on developments concerning The Martian as we hear them.