When director Ridley Scott proceeded to make a new sci fi film, it started off as a prequel to the seminal hit Alien. Later, writer Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Scott claimed that the script evolved into something much more ambitious and fascinating, and that the movie will be a completely new story and will only have 'the DNA of Alien'.
Fast forward a few months, and tiny details began to trickle out. The story was titled Prometheus, and Scott said that the film will expand upon an unexplored element of the original Alien – the SPACE JOCKEY – aka the remains of the gigantic guy that Ripley and co find on the Derelict space ship on planet LV-426. This guy:
The Space Jockeys were an indigenous race on the planet, human-like but much bigger in size. The one found in Alien had its chest ripped apart – a Xenomorph had burst through it.
A few weeks ago a viral video emerged that featured Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland, of the villainous Weyland-Yutani Corp of the Alien films. Weyland is shown at a TED conference boasting about how his firm could dole out ground breaking technology in the next few years that would bridge the gap between science fiction and reality. The TED video (directed by Scott’s son Luke) is set much before the events of Alien; and in its sequel, the W-Y Corp sends Ripley back to Planet LV-426 to retrieve a sample of the alien Xenomorphs, so it could harvest them as biological weapons.
So are the Space Jockey and the Weyland-Yutani Corp the only 'DNA connections' between Alien and Prometheus? Nope.
A couple of days back we received the full length trailer of Prometheus.
Without a doubt, the trailer is much more spectacular than most of the recent Hollywood films, but it is a trailer that should've ideally come with a 'spoiler' tag. Because it nearly gives away the entire plot, and it also confirms that Prometheus is but a prequel to Alien.
Allow me to hold you by the pinkie finger and take you through the trailer.
0:19 A waterfall on a unknown planet, a huge object, possibly an alien ship is seen departing.
A human is shown – he is infected with some alien material that has corrupted the veins on his body.
0:41 RIPLEY 2.0 (Noomi Rapace) and SCIENTIST MAN (Logan Marshall) have found some drawings in a cave.
We're shown a conference room where they give a futuristic PowerPoint presentation about some artifacts - "These were ancient civilisations. They were separated by centuries and yet the same drawings were found in every one of them"
0:50 RIPLEY 2.0 and Scientist Man decide to travel to the Planet LV-426 (the same one that we saw in Alien and Aliens) in the ship 'Prometheus'. According to her, "Those aliens want us to come and find them. It’s an invitation"
1:04 The 'invitation' is from the folks in this LV-426 mountain - a massive structure that has text carvings we didn’t see in the first two Alien films. Which is exactly where Ripley 2.0 and her crew (CORPORATE SCUMBAG Charlize Theron, PILOT Idris Elba, ANDROID Michael Fassbender etc) go.
1:11 Inside the mountain we see Ripley 2.0 standing in a farm of alien eggs, just like in the first Alien. But these seem to be metallic urn-like ‘weaponised’ eggs, and not the feral natural ones of the first two films. These urn-egg shells contain the same weird text carvings – further proof that they were ‘engineered’ by someone.
1:17 Eerie secretions on walls, a clear nod to Alien and Aliens.
1:34 One of the eggs is opened and we see Android Fassbender peering at the contents – a strange gooey living creature.
1:35 The same sentient goo is also found on the ceiling.
1:36 One of the crew members touches the goo with his fingers, he probably becomes the first of the infected members.
1:37 There's a life-sized dummy of the Xenomorph from the Alien movies carved on a wall.
1:39 The crew members find The Derelict, aka the ship that Ripley and co find in the original Alien – the one which contained the Space Jockey and the wild eggs with the face-huggers.
1:42 The Derelict is seen taking off from planet LV-426.
A panic stricken Idris Elba says "They’re leaving"
Ripley 2.0: "To go where?"
1:44 “Earth,” replies Elba, as Fassbender is shown discovering something fantastic, with a mildly evil expression on his face.
1:48: Ripley 2.0 exclaims "We were so wrong" - David’s helmet cam POV shows the crew running away from something. Traveling to LV-246 was a mistake.
1:50 Charlize Theron shouts "Take us back home"
Ripley 2.0 screams “We need to stop it, or there won’t be any home to go back to” with shots of the ground opening up, presumably a hatch opening for the Alien ship (Derelict) to take off.
1:55 Ripley 2.0 is seen in Ripley’s underwear, completely freaking out, as someone off camera painfully screams "Cut it off, cut it off".
1:59 Inside the Derelict, an entirely infected person, aka SPACE JOCKEY is shown fiddling with some green navigational instrument.
2:02 Two crew members aboard the Prometheus burn some of the Alien goo with flamethrowers.
2:03 An infected, partially transformed crew member attacks another member by jumping on him.
2:03 SPACE JOCKEY has activated the navigation and proceeds to seat himself on the control chair – which is probably the steering wheel of the Derelict. It also looks exactly like a baby Xenomorph.
2:04 A face-hugger attacks Ripley 2.0 in a medical chamber – finally sealing the prequel deal.
2:07 Idris Elba is seen crashing their ship Prometheus with the alien Derelict ship. That’s right, the black guy always dies in Hollywood.
2:09 A partially infected Ripley 2.0 (after getting rid of the face-hugger) is seen struggling to get to some weapon or clothing.
2:10 The Derelict comes crashing down on the planet LV-246.
2:11 CORPORATE SCUMBAG Charlize Theron is seen entering the emergency escape pod in total panic.
2:13 SPACE JOCKEY has seated on the control chair, with some sort of traveling suit exoskeleton, ready to carry out the master plan.
2:15 Ripley 2.0 screams as she faces some threat.
2:16 This is the threat.
2:19 ANDROID Fassbender whispers 'Big things have small beginnings' – a line that will presumably be followed by Fassbender facing the camera and whispering 'Yes this is an Alien prequel'.
As per Greek mythology, Prometheus is the guy who stole fire from Zeus to give it to humans. As punishment, Zeus condemned Prometheus to an eternity of torture. An eagle swoops down on him and eats his liver, which grows back the next day only to be eaten again, and so forth every day. Soon after, Prometheus's brother Epimetheus married Pandora – because of which the woman opened a jar full of pure fucking evil. While one brother gave humans light, the other was responsible for humanity's destruction.
The trailer of Prometheus gives away the direct allegory of its name – both the Space Jockey and the humans dealt with urns of pure fucking evil. The space ship is Prometheus, which gave mankind a chance to see beyond the blackness of space. Its crew is the younger brother Epimetheus. Noomi Rapace who plays Ripley 2.0 is Pandora – who opens the urn containing the alien goo.
This brings me to why the trailer is more or less the entire film. We're shown that the 'invitation' from the alien civilization turns out to be a trap. We're shown that the life forms in the urns infect the humans and turn them into the Space Jockey aliens. We're shown that the aliens' master plan was to bait the universe’s species to come to LV-426, read the data of their ships and send The Derelict towards their planet to colonize it. In this case, they would do this by shipping millions of Xenomorph eggs on The Derelict and dropping them on the Earth, exterminating mankind in the process.
Coming to the mother of all spoilers, we're also shown that the humans foiled this plan by ramming their own ship into the Space Jockey’s ship, blowing up the Derelict in the process. As pictured above (2:07), Idris Elba is shown indulging in this noble sacrifice.
During the finale, the remaining humans on the planet would either die of hunger or lack of oxygen, or would be killed by (or turned into) the Xenomorphs on The Derelict. The ship wreck containing the eggs would lie there dormant, until Sigourney Weaver and her crew find it years later after receiving a bait signal from the planet.
Way to spoil the mystery, Mr Trailer Man. Also, with the heavily orchestral music, Prometheus is quite different from the original movie, and is in fact more Avatar than Alien, despite the trademark 'Bhaaawww' sound cue from the trailer of the 1979 film.
Of course, I could be wrong. The trailer could just be the first half of the movie. You could tell me that it didn't spoil anything that wasn't already known to fans of Alien and its sequels, and that those who aren’t familiar with the films wouldn't catch the plot. And I'd agree with you – raging fans of the franchise who have read the comics would know that the Space Jockeys used the sentient goo and eggs as bomb-like weapons to colonize planets. Moreover, 'mission goes horribly wrong' isn't exactly a spoiler for a sci fi film. It’s hard to blame Ridley Scott because a director has little control over what his film’s trailers look like – it’s the studios that sell the movie.
But I do hope that Prometheus would have much more than what was offered in the trailers. The greatest accomplishment of Alien was the fact that until halfway through the film, you have no idea what the creature is, and when it does show up it not only lives up to the suspense but also scares the liquid feces out of you. If Prometheus can manage even a fraction of that achievement, it'd be a triumph.