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Did Ridley Scott Just Ruin The Mystery Of ‘Prometheus’ & Kill Its Sequel?

Did Ridley Scott Just Ruin The Mystery Of 'Prometheus' & Kill Its Sequel?

From: Abrams, J.J.
Sent: Tuesday June 05, 2012 4:06 PM
To: Lindelof, Damon
Subject: DUDE!

Umm, did you read this fucking piece? You might wanna tell your boy to keep a lid on shit.
– JJ

We realize that this interview is a little old — but we’re just catching up to it — and at any rate, it seems everyone wants to keep talking about “Prometheus,” most of all Ridley Scott. Before we continue we should say there will be spoilers in case you haven’t seen the film yet, so no whining if you read past this point and the movie is ruined for you.

So, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on, “Prometheus” either explained too much or didn’t explain enough, but either way, the film introduced some grand ideas about creation, religion and where humanity fits in the scope of the vast universe of the film. There have been two big question marks about the film: what’s the deal with the strange opening sequence in which an Engineer drinks a mystery cup of tea (or whatever) and subsequently disintegrates? And secondly, what did humanity do to cause our creators to want to destroy to us? While this has led to many interesting theories and debates, Ridley Scott has gone ahead and ruined them for you, and as a result, taken some of the shine off “Prometheus” in the process.

So first, let’s get to that opening scene. “…[the] sequence at the beginning of the film that is fundamentally creation. It’s a donation, in the sense that the weight and the construction of the DNA of those aliens is way beyond what we can possibly imagine,” Scott said. Adding that the planet isn’t necessarily Earth, he says, “No, it doesn’t have to be. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself. If you parallel that idea with other sacrificial elements in history – which are clearly illustrated with the Mayans and the Incas – he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, et cetera.”

With that bit now nice and explained, let’s get to the bigger question — what did we do to make God/our creators angry? Well, if you theorized that it was because we crucified Jesus, you win! Confirming that at one point the script explicitly spelled this out, Scott says that was the direction they were taking with the story — at least at first. “We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose,” he admits. “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, ‘Let’s send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.’ Guess what? They crucified him.”  

So in short: Jesus was an Engineer, we fucked it up by killing him, our creators got mad and then hatched a really, really long and elaborate plan to kill us off. So in a weird way, “The Passion Of The Christ” could also be viewed as part of the “Alien” universe…. if you really think about it…. Or, after that, the Engineers simply abandoned humanity, we evolved, and they got pissed all over again when we came knocking on their door. But it pretty much fits in line with what Lindelof said during press rounds for the film: “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.”

While Lindelof has inspired anger in many quarters for being too oblique, we give him credit for at least erring on the side of contemplative mystery rather than spelling things out. Because what happens when it’s all put down in black and white? It loses much of its power. The best films allow the questions to remain open, with the filmmakers allowing the audience to bring their own interpretations to it — but Scott has ensured that won’t happen by spelling it out. And Scott acknowledges the door was intentionally left open for a followup that would continue in this spiritual vein. But note, the Engineers aren’t Gods. At least not directly.

“Well, 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’, ” he explains. He adds: “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.” 

So what are they? “In a funny kind of way, if you look at the Engineers, they’re tall and elegant … they are dark angels. If you look at [John Milton’s] ‘Paradise Lost,’ the guys who have the best time in the story are the dark angels, not God,” he adds. So boil it all down, and humanity was the offspring of some dark/rogue angels? That would seem to be the gist of it, and we guess that’s where a “Prometheus 2”  would go if/when that should ever happen.

But can there really be a sequel at this point? The big mystery at the end of “Prometheus” is, “Why?” Lindelof has already teased that, “Now ‘Prometheus’ is ready to go off in its own direction on its own entirely different tangent that is not going to be reliant on the things we’ve seen a thousand times before.” And that’s fine, although it seems to us that the core driving force of the discovery of the “dark angels” makes it all kind of moot. Perhaps they were banished themselves for attempting to create life? And maybe humanity is a reminder of their folly? Again, a good theory, but do we want it explained away in another movie? Probably not.

“Prometheus: Guess What, Jesus Was An Alien!” is in theaters now and bonus: here’s a pic of an Elderly Engineer from that opening scene that was deleted from the film (via Prometheus Forum). Update: Almost 10 Engineers appeared in that opening sequence.

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This movie only proves that Ridley Scott's best days are way behind him. If he couldn't read the lousty script and see it for what it was, it is time for him to walk away before he tarnishes his legacy.

C. Dawkins

Would yous quit whining? If you don't like Jesus being an engineer, watch another film.


The movie was terrible, it had nothing to do with the alien movies except for the last 10 seconds. It seemed they only threw that in so they could tie it into the previous movies that were made. It would have been a good movie on its own if they explained more of the ideas behind their reasons for any of what happened. The beginning makes no since why the engineers were mad makes no since what happened to them makes no since the scenes they deleted makes more since than most of the movie. If they had made this a stand Alone movie and spent more time researching their own fiction it could have been a phenomenal story, but we are supposed to believe its an alien prequel. If they make a Prometheus 2 their wouldn't be an alien in it because they didn't show up until after the chick left for the origin planet. I'm not sure who was responsible for this but they failed not the a toes in it they did well and the effects were great. However, whoever was in charge of making the story line track messed this movie and all the ones before it up completely.


" he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, et cetera.""

This is not mayan or inca, but meshica (aztec). A young was chosen as the the living god, Tezcatlipoca, to live on earth and would live as god for a year. He when everywhere playing his flute to be worshiped and hear people problems. He was considered an special messenguer.

In meosamerican beliefs, people could not talk directly to gods who live in the spriritual world, only shaman could or men that had became spirits (dead). So for some ceremonies (other were sacrifices of the common kind) , people were sacrificed as messengers, so it has to be voluntary.

Andrew Mayer

All I have to say is, with the economy in the bad shape it's in, there are so many more intelligent people that are out of work and the fact that this idiot is employed is a really depressing irony.


Those engineers are Voldemort!


"There have been two big question marks about the film: what's the deal with the strange opening sequence in which an Engineer drinks a mystery cup of tea (or whatever) and subsequently disintegrates?"
The intro sequence was obviously an alien on earth starting life on earth by sacrificing himself.
"And secondly, what did humanity do to cause our creators to want to destroy to us? "
The android clearly said the Aliens created earth in order to build a civilization and then destroy it and take it over.

This movie was a racist, tasteless, pointless, aweful piece of sh*t, but that does not excuse the author of this article from being a total moron.

I only saw the movie once. Complain about the real issues. B*tching about your clueless misunderstandings isn't good reading material.

Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas. This is the what you get when you take away all the unrecognized nameless amazing producers and staff away from Attention Hogs like these, and let them have a go at a movie on their own. Tasteless, Pointless, Witless, and on some occasions, incredibly sexist.


I'm not sure Jesus as an Engineer is the path this story will take (if Scott makes a sequel), its too much of a touchy subject to involve a figure such as Jesus in what is essentially a sci-fi movie(s) … A theory (not my own) I have come across and one which I like is that the Engineers we see in Prometheus are a splinter group, separate from their own. Their race went through the Galaxy capably spreading life in a sort of Happy-go-Lucky manner, however the engineers (in Prometheus) disagreed with this mentality aware of its implications (wonderfully demonstrated by humans) and set out to destroy all the life that had been created … Well, this is the only explanation so far which best explains the confusion in the film, however it is a little abstract and simple, I'm sure and I hope Scott has something far deeper, interesting and innovative to explore which we will soon get a taste of, he has said himself there is room for another 2 films in the story before we reach Alien (1979) … In a nutshell my own interpretation of Prometheus is – God should always be impossible to imitate, once your creation becomes as intelligent as you, you are no longer a God!


Did you really just say that the best movies don't answer their questions? Do you really believe that? Although some movies that can be beneficial to leave some things open to interpretation, I have to say, most movies DO need to spell most things out. In a movie like this, why am I watching this? It brought me no pleasure to not have anything answered. It actually just made me concentrate much more on all the incredibly stupid decisions the characters made…


I liked the movie Prometheus a lot but there were some plot holes. In the original Alien when the crew explores the alien spacecraft they find the remains of a large alien creature whose ribs appear to have been exploded outward from the inside. But in Prometheus that alien, the "Engineer" didn't stay on that ship, he left and went after Shaw and died on Vickers lifeboat. The "Engineers" created us and then created the Aliens to destroy us? The movies leaves us asking, "Why?" It just seemed like there were too many aliens in this movie. The snake like creature that attacks and kills Millburn, and the little black worms, and the octopus looking thing that was inside of Shaw, and then finally you see the alien that we all recognize from the original movie. Someone said they got the sense that Vickers was actually a man and that's why she had the medical equipment that was only for men, but I thought that was for her father Weyland? Also because of something Weyland said to her about David being the son he had always wanted or something like that. I didn't get that at all from the movie. I'll have to see it again and see what other things I can pick up.

Dr. Wahoo Capybara

I think the bottom line here is that if you give Ridley Scott a good script and let him go to work he will produce a Blade Runner, Duelists, or Alien. If you give him a mediocre script or a bad script…well…you are going to get something that looks like it could have been directed by Tony Scott. In other words it will be visually interesting and otherwise pretty much a mess…and as we get to this point I would like to say it appears at this stage in his career Ridley either can no longer recognize a good script or just is not being handed any.

Prometheus and his Robin Hood film are a lot alike in that they look great, have a solid cast and are wonderfully helmed by Scott but the whole affair is swamped by some truly terrible writing.

That is not to say they are not entertaining films, they are but over his career Mr. Scott's work can not rise to greatness unless he has a great story and a solid script.

His last great film was Black Hawk Down and that was because he had a truly great story and good script to apply his visual style to. If you look at Scott's work he always delivers on his end and every one of his films is worth a watch at least once for this fact but if the script fails him you are left with something that dazzles the eye but disappoints in many other ways.

Connie Wilson

Rather than go all critical on Ridley Scott, I thought the film made a very valid point about how man is always seeking to kill other men. Given the fact that "the engineers'" DNA was identical to man's (i.e., they were our progenitors and precursors), when they find the ONE LAST LIVING engineer and awaken him, what occurs? Why, he goes ballistic on their asses and tries to kill them. Is this not typical of mankind on Earth since time immemorial? I liked the movie a lot.


I'm surprised I haven't read anyone say how the plot for Prometheus (engineers, beings whom created us and oversaw our development being considered Gods) is almost identical to 2001, only 2001 provided close to zero information explaining its images. I like Prometheus so much more, the more I think about it. I can't wait to see it a third time.


ok………..(snarf) (nerd glasses on) actually my friends, ( snarf) who cares about ( snarf) prometheus ( snarf) and thats that.(snarf) oh, what is better then?(snarf) well, World of Warcraft of course (snarf) ><
ok im done. actually great movie and i dont care if the mythos is wacked up a little but i hope they make some sequels.
oh and p.s.:
Im catholic so please dont use Jesus in a sci-fi movie.It just doesnt feel right


i liked the movie. but Jesus an engineer? one, Jesus is too important to be used as part of the plot of a movie. two, Jesus was love and life, these engineers were basically death and hate. even if they used Jesus as part of the story, it does not add up. since the engineers were hostile and hateful.


"So in short: Jesus was an Engineer, we fucked it up by killing him, our creators got mad and then hatched a really, really long and elaborate plan to kill us off. "

Uh…no. The idea is that the black ooze – their biological weapon – seems to have been engineered around the time of Jesus (hence the carbon dated suit from 2000 years ago), probably to take us out. But they couldn't control it, and their weapon backfired on the engineers. They had at that point already left us the coordinates to find them, and we happened to build the technology to reach them 2100 years later.

I'm no huge fan or defender of the movie but that much seems clear to me.


Tom, I can see why you might think that but I assure you I'm not taking it personally. I'm just tired of seeing a whole bunch of movies getting bashed on websites and forums that are supposed to be for critical movies fan but not actually have any critical observation or analysis on them. You don't think that articles titled 'Did Ridley Scott just ruin the mystery…" is somewhat sensationalist? The samething happened when Watchmen came out. Fans and pundits were expecting 'another' action hero movies but when they got something that was thought provoking (which anyone who'd ready the comics would know) that panned it as boring. I'm just saying that passionate about constructive discourse and there seems to be distinct absence of that surrounding this film.


Matt, it sounds like you're taking people's dislike for Prometheus kind of personally. I'm glad you liked it, but a lot of us found it pompous and inconsistent in the all-important "making sense" department.


this still doesn't answer the question about the weak characters and shit acting :P

Great Scott!

What matters is the journey, not the destination. In other words, if we know these answers, a movie can still be justified if it tells the story in a fascinating, riveting way. I would expect this to go without saying on an art-house-leaning blog… However, I will say that Prometheus itself could have stood a bit more depth to the storytelling … so, let's not hold our breath waiting, but it could still be fun to see?


If you told me that the species in Alien was bastard child a pale body builder getting hate-raped by a giant face-hugger octopus that grew inside of a human after a guy that was infected by black ooze blew his load into his infertile wife… I wouldn't have seen the movie.


It's pretty obvious that Damon was brought in to make a franchise. He's totally doing what he did with "Lost" with this film, aka giving us just enough to satiate our desires for far our heady bullshit about life,love,aliens, and everything else you think about when you get lit. I'm super into it.


You're not an idiot for wanting that, just hugely unadventurous. You've got four movies full of chest bursting action in various forms to get your fix. Not enough? Besides, if they'd have done that you'd have probably saying 'Simpsons did it'.


So I saw the film last night and I'm not even going to write what my thoughts are.

What I do want to write about is how staggered I am at the sheer volume of whingy ass, nay sayers who fancy themselves as movies critics without actually offering a single critical observation. Not just this site, the internet seems to be littered with people who wouldn't have been happy either way. "It revealed too much/It didn't reveal enough"- Blah, blah, blah.

The the thing that singularly makes all great movies great is taking the risk to do something different, from Nosferatu through to Martyrs and so on. People seem to want the same formula hashed up every time.

Regardless of people's subjective (and often misinformed/prejudiced) opinions, fair play to Ridley Scott for daring to take a familiar idea in a new direction.


Much like Lost, it's tempting to read into Prometheus. The writers of Lost said they had an answer, and look how that turned out. That said, I loved Prometheus and would definitely watch another. It was like a really tasty hot dog who's only crime was pretending it was filet mignon.


"I thought that the film gave a viewer plenty to work with." – If you like working with crayons, play-doh and a teacher who doesn't want you to think about anything.

I don't get this movie, not in the sense of not understanding the plot; no, what I don't get is why people are so intrigued… Although, I'm pretty sure if I look REAL close I'll see it.

Yep, it's a half-baked script with underwritten ideas only gaining any kind of merit because of avid internet/cinema foyer discussion… It's just like Blade Runner really(!) where the audience made it all "so much better" by coming up with loads of ideas after seeing the original underwhelming film all the while hoping to their God(s) that it would be "the most amazeballs thing evar."

The audience will keep making this film better. By pretending it was good to begin with.

It's not even entertaining. It's just dull.


Jim, John and Nolan, you guys are pretty much correct on that part. The movie did give us enough to work with and I do think that the headline to the this article was over sensationalized do once again to the conclusions an intellectual viewer could possibly come too.


what an utterly sensationalistic headline. c`mon guys, you're better than this.


Wahh wahhh. Newsflash: nothing in this post is news. Your record is skipping. Watch the movie, listen to the dialog. This is all pretty clear to me in a single viewing. Love the movie or hate it. Get over it.

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“Alien: Convenant” states David is found on LV226, but did he not leave with Shaw on the spacecraft (he stated he knew how to operate it)


Jesus is not an Engineer. He is one of the three forms of God.(Father, Son, Holy Ghost) with a capital G. It is written “let us make man in our image” Which more than likely involved God(spirit form, Jesus in ? mystery form and the angels present at the time….The gods of prometheus with a lower g are fallen angels who are engineers or architects who/alter/hybridize/manipulate/cross breed humans and other forms.They never create anything new. There works are more than likely souless… Man did not directly crucify Jesus as jesus stated that his father would have sent his angels to save him from the cross if it was his mission to do so. He came to save humanity…Which he did from a big picture eternal perspective..We will still die a physical death, but that is not the end of things..It is written,,For God gave his only begotten Son that whoever should believe in him, shall not perish but have eternal life. This has nothing to do with any church or religion. The kingdom is within, so stay away from the institutions of man…Because of our fallen nature which some say it may be original sin, joining the side/rebellion of the engineers hence being cut off from the creator(Capital G God) instead of facing eternal death he has made a sacrifice on our behalfs so we can be restored to him. and instead of AI, dowloading ourselves/conciousness into machines and bla bla bla we can live on in a new form called “christ” form….

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