It’s not an Alien prequel in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely part of the same universe according to director Ridley Scott, who promises to expand on the dark and oppressive world of his 1979 sci-fi thriller with 2012’s Prometheus.
What we do know for certain is that the skittering Xenomorphs won’t feature, the Ancient Greek Prometheus myth is of a man who stole fire from the gods and was punished for it, and the film will explore humanity’s origins amid the stars.
1. Who is the Space Jockey and where was he going?
It’s the most obvious, screeching loose end from Alien; the story of the petrified alien pilot of the downed ship that Ripley and the luckless crew of the Nostromo investigate demands to be explored. Who is he, what is he, and why did he have a cargo hold filled to the brim with mysterious eggs?
2. How much does The Company know?
As far as Ripley was concerned, too much. The Company sent the Nostromo off to die with its belly full of Xenomorphs, which they could then weaponise and presumably flog to the highest bidder. But when and where did the Company – named as Weyland-Yutani in Aliens, but there’s no reason to expect Ridley Scott to stick by that – first learn of that, and is that first encounter what we’ll see depicted in Prometheus?
3. Where babies come from?
Ridley Scott said at the Cine Europe expo, “NASA and the Vatican agree that is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way. That’s what we’re looking at.” It harkens back to the cited HP Lovecraft influence in Alien, that mankind’s origins and development have been guided by some extraterrestrial power.
4. Did someone engineer the Xenomorphs?
Frequently described as biomechanoids, it’s never been explored on screen whether the Xenomorphs origins are biological or mechanical. If the Company saw their potential as a weapon, perhaps others – say, our dead Space Jockey for example – did too and designed the sleek, black killing machines as a biological weapon to seed planets with, and watch them die in the grip of this deadly, rapidly expanding alien plague.
5. Who is Prometheus?
Will the titular Prometheus turn out to be us, humanity, and something that we do or have done earns us a cosmic slap on the wrist? Or is Prometheus whoever created the Xenomorphs? Or, going right back to mankind’s origins, is the Prometheus figure the being or beings who created mankind itself? Or is it all three and more? There’s clearly a simple concept and myth at the heart of Prometheus, but how that plays out promises to be much more complex.
Look out for more on Prometheus in future issues of SciFiNow