One of the most anticipated films of the year has now finally been unveiled to the moviegoing public, and boy is there a whole lot of discussion going on. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was met with a passionately mixed-to-positive reaction, with those on both sides of the fence ardently stating their case for why Prometheus is awesome and/or terrible. Interviews with many of the key creative people involved—including Scott and co-writer Damon Lindelof—began to hit the interwebs days before the films release, and I’m assuming a good many of you (like me) steered clear of any and all Prometheus related interviews for fear of spoiling the film before seeing it yourself. As such, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Those who saw the film were probably left with quite a few unanswered questions. It’s no secret that Scott really wants to make a follow-up to Prometheus in which some of those questions are further explored and answered, so we’ve rounded up what we know so far about said possible Prometheus sequel. Hit the jump for a recap. Obviously MASSIVE SPOILERS for Prometheus follow.
As most everyone knows by now, Prometheus was originally conceived as a two-part prequel to Scott’s Alien. As development moved along, Lindelof was brought in to take a look at the script and give some notes. He responded by suggesting they tone down the prequel aspects of the script and further develop the larger themes and ideas of the creation of humanity, the Engineers, etc.
Scott proclaimed as far back as last year’s Comic-Con that he was keen on making a sequel to Prometheus, and Lindelof recently told Heat Vision that the two had to decide what to include in Prometheus and what to save for a possible sequel:
“Ridley was very interested in talking about, ‘What are the answers to the questions that Prometheus is posing that are not necessarily definitively spelled out in the body of Prometheus?’ I said to him, we should be prepared for people to feel frustrated if we’re going to be withholding, so we have to be very careful about what we’re saving for later because it’s not a foregone conclusion that there are going to be sequels, and so if there isn’t a sequel, just be comfortable with what we gave them in this movie.”
“This movie has two children: One of these children grows up to be Alien, but the other child is going to grow up, and God knows what happens to them. And that’s what the sequel to Prometheus would be.”
Scott told Movies.com that he always knew that the film’s ending would organically set Prometheus up for a sequel:
“From the very beginning, I was working from a premise that lent itself to a sequel. I really don’t want to meet God in the first one. I want to leave it open to [Noomi Rapace’s character, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw] saying, ‘I don’t want to go back to where I came from. I want to go where they came from.’ “
The original title of the Alien prequel was Paradise before they settled on Prometheus, but Paradise has been bandied about as the possible title for the Prometheus follow-up. It’s now clear that the “Paradise” title would refer to the home planet of humanity’s makers (ie. heaven). As for what the home planet of the Engineers is like, Scott’s vision doesn’t sound like a happy trip for Rapace and Michael Fassbender’s characters:
“Because [the Engineers] are such aggressive fuckers … and who wouldn’t describe them that way, considering their brilliance in making dreadful devices and weapons that would make our chemical warfare look ridiculous? So I always had it in there that the God-like creature that you will see actually is not so nice, and is certainly not God. As she says, “This is not what I thought it was going to be, and I think we should get the Hell out of here or there won’t be any place to go back to.
That’s not necessarily planted in the ground at the tail end of the third act, but I knew that’s kind of where we should go, because if we’ve opened up this door — which I hope we have because I certainly would like to do another one – I’d love to explore where the hell [Dr. Shaw] goes next and what does she do when she gets there, because if it is paradise, paradise can not be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous.”
Scott reiterated his desire to travel to where the Engineers came from in a roundtable interview we attended:
“I know where it’s going. I know that to keep [David] alive is essential and to keep [Elizabeth] alive is essential and to go where they came from, not where I came from, is essential.”
One of the biggest questions left open at the end of Prometheus is why the Engineers made the decision to wipe out the human race, their creation. Josh Hororwitz at MTV asked Lindelof if he and Scott had worked out the answer to that question yet, and here’s Lindelof’s response:
“Golly, I’m all for ambiguity, but if we didn’t know the answer to THAT one, the audience would have every right to string us up. Yes. There is an answer. One that is hinted at within the goalposts of Prometheus. I’ll bet if I asked you to take a guess you wouldn’t be far off.”
The Prometheus crew calculates that the Engineers decided humanity was to be destroyed 2000 years ago, around the time of Jesus Christ. That specific date is not insignificant in relation to the Prometheus follow-up and answering the question of why our race was targeted for destruction, as Scott brought up the issue of religion during his interview with Steve:
“It’s interesting to do a sequel because this leaves the door so open to some huge questions. The real question to me is – the more mankind discovers in science the more clear and helpful everything becomes, yet we’re very bad at managing ourselves. And one of the biggest problems in the world is what we call religion, it causes more problems than anything in the goddamn universe. Think about what’s happening now, all based on the very simple idea that a Muslim can’t live alongside a Catholic, or a Catholic can’t live alongside a Protestant…”
In fact, the original script for Prometheus flat out explained why Earth was targeted for destruction, and the reasoning ties into Scott’s thoughts on religion. They ultimately felt the idea was lacking in subtlety and scrapped it, but Scott elaborated on the plot point to Movies.com and his comments may provide a hint as to where the follow-up could go:
“We definitely did [have that in the script], and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, ‘Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.’”
So where does this leave us? It’s clear that Scott really wants to make the sequel, and he and Lindelof have distinctly discussed the answers to many of the burning questions that could be elaborated on in a follow-up. That said, there’s no guarantee that Lindelof will be the one to write it, as reflected in his comments to Heat Vision:
“If Ridley wants me to be involved in something, that would be hard to say no to. At the same time, I do feel like the movie might benefit from a fresh voice or a fresh take or a fresh thought. Sometimes the baton should be passed, if that’s what the story demands. I had [Prometheus] for the period of time that I was running the race, and if that story continues, it could actually benefit going into someone else’s able hand. Although, I feel like some of the iceberg below the water for any potential future movies in that storyline has already been constructed based on conversations that Ridley and I had about it.”
As for Scott’s involvement, he’s a bit of a collector when it comes to future projects. He’s gearing up to direct The Counselor, and he also really wants to make the Blade Runner sequel that he’s developing right now with screenwriter Hampton Fancher. Prometheus scored the 10th highest opening weekend for an R-rated movie, and if it holds up next weekend Fox will most likely be pushing Scott to make Prometheus 2 his next film after The Counselor. We’re currently in the wait-and-see stage, but I’d love to see the story continue with Rapace and Fassbender’s characters.
From what we’ve gathered here, the follow-up will most definitely center on Elizabeth and David traveling to where the Engineers came from. We’ll most likely see Elizabeth try to answer the question of why humanity’s maker felt Earth deserved destruction, but Scott makes it clear that the Engineers are not nice people and this “Paradise” is not all rainbows and happiness. The director seems high on tackling issues of religion and that may or may not play a role in the explanation for humanity’s fate, but it’s a bit too early to start waxing poetic on what the themes of this possible sequel might be.
Lindelof is currently rewriting World War Z and he just signed a development deal with Warner Bros. Television to start developing his next TV series, so his involvement in the follow-up is up in the air. Compounded with Scott’s busy schedule and Fassbender and Rapace’s in-demand status, the logistics of moving forward on the follow-up could prove tricky. That said, I’m pulling for Prometheus: Paradise to come together sooner rather than later if only to see a space road trip movie with Elizabeth and a slightly decapitated David front and center.