Bleeding Cool has posted a succinct, but plot-packed, synopsis of Ridley Scott’s new directorial project, Prometheus. But by releasing an even more succinct official synopsis, Fox reminds us of the caveat that, of course, this may not be the movie’s real storyline. If you feel like reading both, I think you’ll agree that the “official” summary doesn’t really contradict the “leaked” summary, and considering what both Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof said earlier this week, it doesn’t actually seem “way off.” The Xenomorph is, of course, in the details.
Our very own Stephen Lloyd Wilson’s write-up pertaining to Lindelof’s interview honed in on the idea that prequels can be, by their very nature, less than thrilling, and how the best ones create new stories and characters that inform and contextualize the events of earlier (timeline-wise, future) installments. X-Men: First Class definitely does this, even in its clunkiest parts. Based on what the internet has excavated, then Scott and Lindelof seem to feel the same way. If true, then at least we know they are actively trying not to go down the Episodes I-III gutter.
That’s how I read it, anyway. The plot seems like the best possible For Your Entertainment interpretation of the ancient astronaut “theory” first put forth by “scholar” Erich van Daniken, and currently being exploited by the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” propaganda vehicle. I will admit that I love-to-hate the show, and others of its ilk, mainly because of this fucking guy. History is generally fascinating to me, and I’m open to this kind of thinking for my own creative endeavors - because it’s fiction. But, in reality it’s depressing and vaguely racist when you conclude that the “theory” ultimately means that mankind, specifically ancient non-whites, could never have achieved the amazing things it did (and is still) without some extraterrestrial assistance. Egyptians and Meso-Americans were just stupid apes, after all. The believers take the concepts of divine intervention and evolution and smashes them together like
Michael Bay a toddler smashes their toys. It’s similar to a Jack Kirby comic book, but less colorful and dynamic and interesting and logical. It’s fun, but it ain’t science.*
Scott himself may or may not be open to this so-called alternative explanation of the origins of humanity, saying, NASA and the Vatican agree that [it] is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way.” (Emphasis mine.) That’s just stone-cold B.S. in regards to NASA scientists, Mr. Scott, but I agree it is excellent grist for the story mill, and that is what’s important here. Whatever the filmmaker’s real beliefs, the ancient astronauts (possibly represented by the “space jockey” from Alien, as seen above) are only one part of the Bleeding Cool synopsis, and not the best part. That honor belongs to the apparently meaningful inclusion of two fan-favorite groups from the original series: the nefarious Weyland-Yutani corporation and the Xenomorphs, Aliens’ aliens. As per the synopsis, both would tie directly into the film’s title, as well as the titular ship’s name. If you don’t want to read the spoiler laden plot details, just think for a moment about the pieces I’ve already mentioned here. They fit together beautifully for what could be a grand, thoughtful, and mythological sci-fi adventure.
When news of this project first broke, as a (probably derivative) Alien prequel with Ridley Scott only listed as a producer, and changing every other day — from being in-continuity to being original, to somehow being both — for months it was hard to get engaged. But now, on top of Ridley Scott returning to direct science fiction, and Damon Lindelof writing (I don’t care what “Lost” Haters think), Prometheus also might have a compelling story about the origins of life on Earth converging dramatically with H.R. Giger’s horrors to expand the narrative possibilities of the franchise’s universe. Truth or not, Fox should just run with it, as it is at least something for fans to wrap their minds around. And, if they’re afraid the real movie isn’t nearly as interesting, then there’s still time to fix that, too.
This stuff is important, y’all.
* In fairness, I’m really no better than Erich van Daniken at the moment (but really, this fucking guy).
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show/podcast We’re Not Fanboys, and tweets sometimes about both those things on the Twitter @RobOfWar. Alien is one of his favorite films of all time, and thinks Aliens is also pretty radass, so please excuse him if he can’t contain his excite for the possibility of another good entry in the series. This too shall pass.