By Drew Taylor | The Playlist December 19, 2011 at 1:15PM
There's been some confusion as to whether or not Ridley Scott's hotly anticipated return to sci-fi, "Prometheus" (out June 8th, 2012, galaxy-wide), is a prequel or a reboot or somehow connected to his earlier, influential "Alien." Various cast and crew members have said conflicting things, and the absolute secrecy surrounding the project certainly hasn't helped to clear anything up (although when we spoke to Charlize Theron a few weeks ago, she did let a little something slip). In a recent interview with Filmophilia, Ridley Scott both downplays the film's connection to "Alien" before, in the same interview, backtracking and saying there's a concrete link. Sir Ridley is going loco!
When the site asks Ridley if there is a direct link between "Prometheus" and "Alien" he said, "Not at all." The site asks again, making super-sure. "No," Scott said. But a question later he is elaborating, "I mean you could actually say by the end of the third act you start to realize there's a DNA of the very first 'Alien,' but none of the subsequent 'Aliens.' To tell you what that is is a pity and I'm not going to tell you, because it's actually pretty good, pretty organic to the process and to the original. But we go back, we don't go forward."
Um, so there is a connection? And what's more, Scott elaborates (spoiler-sensitive readers beware, we're not sure how much he's giving away here) on one of the more mysterious aspects of his original: the "Space Jockey" seen in the chamber with all the eggs, a kind of giant, fossilized elephantine creature in a chair. "I always thought it was amazing that no one ever asked who he was and why was he there?" Scott said. Later in the interview, he talks about the Space Jockey some more. "I always figured it's a weapon and I always figured that [the ship in the first 'Alien'] was a carrier of weapons," Scott said. "Therefore, who is that, inside that 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?"
Gee, this sounds like a pretty big connection to the first "Alien." Another connection: the involvement of famed Swiss illustrator H.R. Giger who brought the appropriate level of skeletal ghoulishness to the original film (the bulk of the design work on "Prometheus" was done by J.J. Abrams favorite Neville Page). "He's doing a little bit of work for me," Scott said. In later "Alien" movies, Giger wasn't even credited with designs, although all of the subsequent films have clearly riffed off (or ripped off) those initial creatures. "He's been doing some big murals, which we'll see in almost one of the first chambers we encounter when we land where we're going to go." The cryptic nature of the project is starting to some produce some truly awkward sentences.
While everything we've seen so far, including the title and the tagline on the new poster, "The search for our beginning could lead to our end," suggest some cosmic overtones, and Scott suggest himself that he's invested himself in the "ancient aliens" theory of extraterrestrial interference in our evolution, in particular the work of Erich von Daniken and his book "Chariots of the Gods." (You can see him on any basic cable UFO special.) "Things have changed so dramatically that you can start looking at the idea that all our history can be completely wrong and misguided," Scott explained. "To me, it's entirely logical. 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." Oh-kay then.
In other tidbitty news, Scott describes Noomi Rapace, the lead in "Prometheus," as being "even more volatile and passionate" than Sigourney Weaver's groundbreaking Ripley character. As a final question, though, Filmophilia decided to ask, straight up, about the "Alien" monster being in this new movie (considering that Scott flip-flopped in the same interview, this is understandable, for clarification more than anything else). "No, absolutely not. They squeezed it dry. He [the original alien creature] did very well. 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!"
Scott is referring to the alien's appearance in The Great Movie Ride attraction at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios. And, as an aside, Scott would have been even more horrified if Disney had gone through with their original plans, which was to configure an entire attraction around the "Alien" franchise. This concept, called "Nostromo," would go on to become the "ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter" in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, a ride partially imagined by George Lucas, that sadly shut down in 2003 amidst protest that the ride was far too intense for Disney.
Update: There's a trailer for a trailer for "Prometheus," with a couple of brief, official glimpses at what we're going to see when the full clip is unveiled at Apple's site on Thursday. Yes, this is the point we've reached as a civilization, apparently. Trailers for trailers.