Where should a Prometheus sequel go next?

Feature Ryan Lambie 14 Jun 2012 - 07:40

With Prometheus leaving so many questions, we provide a list of some of the riddles – and script problems – we’d like to see resolved in a possible sequel…

This article contains spoilers.

Prometheus. The film that left Noomi Rapace at the mercy of a claw crane arcade machine, and put cinemagoers off griddled octopus for a week. Love it or loathe it (and Ridley Scott’s movie really does appear to have polarised opinion), there’s little doubt that, so far, Prometheus hasn’t done too badly for an R-rated movie.

With its box-office takings currently hovering around the $140 million mark and rising, a sequel is by no means assured at the time of writing, but assuming the numbers don’t fall too sharply over the next few weeks, it’s possible that Prometheus will earn enough to entice Fox into making a follow-up.

Prometheus concluded with a stapled-up Elizabeth Shaw flying off in an Engineer ship with little more than a magic flute and Michael Fassbender’s head in a bag. Has she gone off on a mission of peacemaking with her makers, or with revenge in mind? 

Prometheus’ credits rolled with a legion unanswered questions – more, perhaps, than any other Hollywood film of the past decade. This leaves Damon Lindelof with left plenty of avenues left to explore in a sequel, certainly, but it also gave Prometheus an unsatisfying air for some viewers. And to make matters worse, the sometimes illogical plot leaps and character decisions merely added to the confusion.

What was the point of the exploding, decapitated space jockey head, for example? How did a character who’d earlier established himself as a navigator (complete with floating GPS orbs) become so easily lost in LV-223’s temple? Why did his otherwise cowardly colleague suddenly decide to pet an obviously dangerous-looking alien snake?

Such facetious questions aside, there are plenty of things that we’d like to see a  Prometheus sequel address. And here are some of them…

David


Inarguably the most compelling character in the film, David was the engine that moved Prometheus’ strange plot forward. While his human colleagues stumbled about in the dark, petting snakes, getting lost and becoming overwhelmed by space goo, David quietly got on with his own private agenda.

If we’re reading the movie’s events correctly, it’s David who’s indirectly responsible for the dolphin-like alien (dubbed the Deacon by Prometheus’ designers) seen at its conclusion. David snuck the canister containing alien DNA back to the ship. David, apparently at the behest of Peter Weyland, then fed some of it to Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green), presumably to find out whether the substance would have a rejuvenating or destructive effect on the human body.

Charlie in turn fathered the squid creature which later emerged from Elizabeth Shaw’s belly, which in turn grew to a huge size and inseminated a rampaging space jockey. From that space jockey’s lifeless corpse arose a new entity, a kind of alternate Giger alien with a familiar elongated head.

Whether he intended to or not, David has created a new, probably deadly creature. Is David secretly looking for interesting ways of destroying the human race? In the scene where he comes face to face with a revived space jockey, he says something in the alien’s mother tongue. 

What did he say? Was it something provocative enough to prompt the creature to kill everyone he saw? Damon Lindelof has said in interviews that Ridley Scott knows what the English translation for David’s line was, but didn’t want the subtitled line to appear on the screen.

David’s true motives – if he isn’t merely driven by naïve curiosity or the orders of his maker – will surely have to be made clear in the sequel.

The Deacon


With this new alien threat providing the concluding shot of Prometheus – and looking disturbingly akin to the final scene of Alien Vs Predator, as others have pointed out – what possible effect can it have in the sequel? It is, after all, now trapped on LV-223, which is completely devoid of human life. That is, unless Vickers is actually still alive, or another group of neurotic astronauts turn up for the creature to feed on.

There’s a clue in the name Deacon, too, perhaps. The word is derived from Greek (tying in with the film’s mythical title) and can mean ‘messenger’ or ‘servant’. Is this monster a forerunner to something even more grotesque and horrifying? Something closer to Giger’s alien, perhaps? 

With Shaw soaring off to another planet entirely, it’s difficult to see how the Deacon can catch up with her – unless, in true Alien franchise style, there’s already some other hideous creature onboard her escape craft. Perhaps David, crafty to the end, secreted something nasty on it earlier in the film as a back-up plan… 

TheSpace Jockeys


For a film that once promised to answer the questions surrounding the mysterious space jockey glimpsed in 1979’s Alien, Prometheus is frustratingly enigmatic. If anything, we left the cinema knowing little more about these gigantic beings than we did when we watched the first trailer. Even the possibility that the space jockeys created life on Earth isn’t a foregone conclusion; nowhere did the movie clearly state that the planet seen at the start of the film was actually our own.

What the film does appear to imply, though, is that there is more than one class of space jockey; the ones seen in Prometheus appear to be some kind of soldier or warrior class, with the true creators presumably lurking on the planet Shaw rushes off to visit at the end. There are further hints of this in the Art Of Prometheus book, where concept visuals show an alternate take on the film’s opening sequence.

Here, a second, very different kind of space jockey is shown handing a cup of black goo to the muscular, pale form of space jockey we’re familiar with. Is this second form of space jockey a more benevolent form of alien, or as cold and violent as the former breed appears to be? 

Humans


With the rest of the Prometheus crew apparently dead, Prometheus 2 will presumably begin with Shaw flying around with only David’s head for company. Even if David can repair himself, that only leaves us with two earthly protagonists to follow through the sequel. Will its writers find a way to introduce other characters for us to root for? If so, will they be human or alien?

Some have suggested that Prometheus 2 will flash back in time to show a young Peter Weyland, which would certainly explain why a 40-something Guy Pearce was brought in to play such a decrepit character; surely, he wasn’t hired solely for the purpose of that TED viral video, was he? Or did the young Peter Weyland enjoy a greater role in the original cut of the film, since Ridley Scott has admitted that at least 20 minutes were taken out of the theatrical version?

Whatever form the Prometheus sequel takes, we’re hoping it’ll be populated with some more interesting and sympathetic characters next time around. How many of you were secretly glad, for example, when the whooping, sulking Charlie finally kicked the bucket? Quite a few, we suspect.

The Script


If there were only one thing we could put on our wish list for a Prometheus sequel, it would be this: a more coherent script. Even the film’s biggest fans would surely admit that, for all the love and effort that went into the production design and cinematography, the sense of scale and occasion was savagely undercut, time and again, by obvious dialogue, illogical character choices, and ideas that were introduced and left hanging.

The gigantic, glowering space face is a prime example of Prometheus’ habit of showing us something and then swiftly discarding it. A striking image which appeared all over Prometheus’ advertising, the space face provides a dramatic backdrop in one or two key scenes, but is never seen or mentioned again. It looks magnificent, but serves no dramatic function.

Compare and contrast this piece of set design with the space jockey in 1979’s Alien. It’s a striking piece of sculpture that could theoretically been left out of the film for budgetary reasons, but it nevertheless served a purpose: something horrible had burst from this huge being’s chest – something we’d meet face-to-face later in the film. It posed secondary questions which would long remain tantalisingly unanswered, but this huge dead creature also served a clear purpose: it foreshadowed what would happen later in the film.

Prometheus, on the other hand, was less lean and focused. Such story elements as the giant space face, the exploding severed head, the magic flute, the pink alien snake creature and the mutating mural were all paraded across the screen and then forgotten. While it’s possible that Prometheus’ makers fully intend to return to these in a sequel, it’s a little alarming to see so many ideas left dangling with no obvious connection to the first film’s wider story.

What a sequel surely needs, then, is a story as well as themes. Characters who, David aside, properly affect the narrative instead of being carried along by it – that have more of a purpose than to simply stand around and talk until it’s their turn to die.

In its best moments, Prometheus is atmospheric and technically well-crafted, and its attempts to drag big themes and a genuine sense of cosmic awe into blockbuster cinema are admirable. But if a sequel does get a green light from Fox, there are many things that need to be addressed before a truly compelling sequel can be made – not least in the script department.

Prometheus is a flawed yet intriguing puzzle box of a film. Let’s hope Prometheus 2, if it ever happens, provides some satisfying answers.

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I think it should feature a Predator.;)

You know Rhodes, thats exactly what I was thinking while reading the article. Even the original Predator movies has an alien in them before the sequels ventured off into Alien V Predator.

The movie was great, if we want more sci-fi, so called sci-fi fans need to stow the cynicism and be advocates. I thought the movie was exactly what it needed to be. And it gave the Alien / Predator universe a much needed third group of aliens. A group that was based upon solid sci-fi ideas that had been used before but have never been in a movie like this. I have no doubt that the sequel will not be what I would make but I'd pay for my ticket today. Despite the financial ups and downs of the movie industry I want way more sci-fi than gets made currently. 

As far as ideas left hanging. The only problem with loose ends is a lack of sequels. The answers are really never as interesting as the questions.

I just hope that in several years time we all can breathe a huge sigh of relief and collectively think to ourselves 'right...'

I'm no fan of Lindelof as I think he dangles carrots just for the sake of it and its nothing more than pseudo-intellectual sixth form bollocks. As I've mentioned before in terms of mankind''s ultimate question, its better not to answer it as that would prove to be just equally unsatisfying. Retain some mystery. 

We do need answers to the characters motives, agendas, and how these fit into the events we saw in Alien but I suspect we may well be debating these for an eternity to come yet...

While I whole heartedly agree with you re the lack of sci-fi on our screens, Im not sure thats reason enough in its self to overlook a movies shortcomings. Dont get me wrong, i enjoyed the heck out of Prometheus and you wont catch me in the 'lets knock it' camp, but i do feel a lot of the criticism is justified re some of the characters behaviour. Shaw running around after having her stomach stapled I can suffer, its a film after all, theres no time for her to be laying around for a month to get better, you just have to accept it. Stupid choices made by, supposedly, intelligent people?, not so good. All the talk of an extended cut on Blu, im not sure its going to sort it out, not unless the two lads that manage to get lost are shown smoking a ton of weed before leaving the ship.  

What about the fact that the actual ship 'Prometheus' is no more. What would the second film be called?!

It's nice to get excited about something 'meaty', if you'll pardon the expression. It's refreshing to read debates about this, rather than endless picking apart of a childs soap opera a' la "Who Is River Song?"

I think its one of the problems of hollywood in that they want to be seen as being clever by asking big questions but don't want to give definitive answers in case it offends some vocal minority.

You'll always find films by writers or directors with a confident view of the world as they see it are much better at providing coherent stories as opposed to those who are just in it as a career.

 Hi,

I have read somewhere (not sure where) that the possible sequel would be named "Paradise" wich, if I`m not mistaken was the first name for movie before the name "prometheus" was decided.

Straight to DVD

I
don’t think it’s the fear of being offensive so much. Hollywood writers providing
answers to big existential or philosophical questions just ends up being crap
generally.

I think the second film should feature a group of stereotyped Space Jockey Marines sent to investigate what's happened on their reseach planet. "Game over man, game over"

Why does no one ever seem to want to mention the elephant in the room (deliberate pun)?

Why did a perfectly good, creepy and very alien corpse complete with trunk (the space jockey) have to be turned ino a tall but completely recognisable big tall human being (the engineer)??

Completely ruined the links back to Alien for me and he may as well have just made a totally stand alone scifi movie.

Oh god no

We already know the ultimate answer is 42

Er..It was a joke Carlos mate.Hence smiley face at end of comment.The Predator only worked once,in the original.Which has just celebrated its 25th birthday apparently.Maybe Prometheus 2 should feature Terminators going forward in time to help the Engineers destroy humanity.. : ) : )

ridley scott has never directly came out and said this is a prequel, he's always stated it is a stand alone film. on the red carpet he even said 'if it were a prequel, it would be 2 or 3 more to reach the point in the first alien.' emphasis on 'were', fox will only allow a sequel if it turns back into the franchise. prepare for dross i reckon.

He said to Mark Kermode on BBC radio that after 2 sequels it would tie-in to Alien.
I think that pretty much makes it a prequel whether they happen or not, that's his intention. And they pretty much hammered the idea home with the end chest-buster which was completely superfluous and uneccessary to Prometheus, if it ever was intended to be a stand-alone film. 

Scott can't have it both ways which is probably the reason why Prometheus is such a cluster-fuck, it's two different films trying to be one.

You are right, its going to be called "paradise", and both Jon Spaits and Damon Lindelof have mentioned, aswell as ridley, there could very possibly be a sequel, and i think they knew that all along, with all the questions and the ending of course. Sir Ridleys comment has basically said, "hey, im gonna make two more films if i can, and all your questions will be answered and we will get to alien in the end..."

Personally i loved prometheus, what a masterpiece it was, ive seen it many times now, and still love it! the more you watch it i have to say, the slower it goes and more it makes sense! And ALIEN is my favourite movie EVER!! YEAH!!!

if only the films had followed the Dark Horse Comics set after Aliens, we wouldn't have to put up with any of this crap, and further more if the Alien vs Predator films had just been straight copies of the comics then we would of had great A vs P films as well, everything has been ruined, man

 But what was the question? :-)

Something else they need to address is why the bad guy from Big Trouble In Little China is parading as Weyland. I really didn't see that crossover coming...

The Architect who at the end spawns an "Alien" sort of creature should have died in the chair where the 1979 movie started... THe chair is left alone, with no Architect with his chest burted open, that is something that needs to be ADRESSED as well... it needs continuity and if this small but very important detail is left out then the whole thing just  makes no sense at all....

REALLY? the Alien bursting out of the Architect, the Deacon, the seats and space craft from the Architect... he should have stayed away 100% if he did not want a prequel then there would be non of these questions... But be knows fans wanted a prequel, now he knows HOW BADLY we want it and we want answers bad... Sorry but, even if Fox does not greant a prequel I think he owes US the fans to pick from his Millions made (from us ) pockets and give us a GREAT prequel with all ending questions.... Dont you agree?

THis is a Prequel weather Scott wants to admit it or not:  the Alien bursting out of the Architect, the Deacon, the seats and space craft from the Architect... he should have stayed away 100% if he did not want a prequel then there would be non of these questions... But be knows fans wanted a prequel, now he knows HOW BADLY we want it and we want answers bad... Sorry but, even if Fox does not greant a prequel I think he owes US the fans to pick from his Millions made (from us ) pockets and give us a GREAT prequel with all ending questions.... Dont you agree?

agreed. when one is asking questions that our philosophers and theologians ask, that do not have answers, how could a hollywood scriptwriter provide satisfying answers. the film is about us, not the answers, it's about the fact that we have these questions and need to chase after them. Thinking of the engineers, and about David--creators and creations, and then us, who in the film are both creators and creations, it lets us reflect on big themes. and people have done just that in many comment threads i have looked at, despite the movie having glaring flaws.

i've heard this heartfelt complaint elsewhere and it boggles me. your biggest concern about a story involving the aliens is that they have noses instead of trunks? you do realize our military pilots when in the upper atmosphere wear oxygen masks with thick tubes and goggles and if another species found a dead pilot, they might for a brief while also mistake that pilot for an elephant.

for the record, in the context of the story, we look like them, not they look like us--they created us in their image.

The story they chose is rich in ideas, hopes, fears, self examination. surely this is richer than whatever story they might have told about yet another foreign species of Bug-Eyed Monsters

i hadn't thought about the problem of only two human protagonists in a sequel. this makes me think the sequel will not follow those characters, but instead be another chapter in the weyland corp story.

I have to confess, when I saw the headline my first thought was 'away' followed by 'very quickly'. I was so disappointed with this movie, it was extremely badly written and lacked very little in the way of drama.

To me Prometheus came across like a pilot episode for a TV show. When the Deacon makes its appearance at the end all that was missing was a voice over melodramatically intoning "Next Time on Prometheus!" Getting a TV writer like Damon Lindelof involved was an error on Ridley Scott's part and he should rectify his mistake for the sequel by hiring someone who can write for the big screen.

I don't think we're weaker versions. Our physical strength is relative to our planet's gravity. If we were raised on the moon, we'd be really weak.

Oh god no.

I was a bit disappointed too. With the original Alien, I was always fascinated by the space jockey because I could never quite work out what I was looking at. The fact that it turned out to look basically like a human, wearing a spacesuit, was a missed opportunity.

I agree, he did want his cake and to eat it as well. With regards to the final shot, it felt to me like something that Fox would have forced upon the production. It smelt like something only Hollywood executives would think was a good idea...

As has been mentioned before on this very site, Prometheus was set on a different planet to Alien. It is annoying that they didn't address it in Prometheus, I agree...but it wasn't an inconsistency as such...

They did address it, the planet name is seen to be LV223, Alien and Aliens is LV426.

This is obviously a different engineer as its set on a different planet…

Totally agree with you there. Good film but I'm left wanting answers!

I agree. Thats the first inconsistency my 12 year old noticed.

Do you read Virginia Woolf? She was reknowned for her modernist triumphs but actually is a headache to read. Sci-Fi should be engaging, modern, forward thinking, AND FUN. Or at least not confusing. I agree it is an unforgetable experience and certainly memorable, but not because its so good, but because its so vague and we are trying to figure out for ourselves whats missing.

Could finally make proper use of Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron!

Paradise was the original title. Ridley Scott talks sequel DoG article. P something? or another ambigious Greek mythology character. God of War? Nemesis -Revenge?

I actually liked the ending, as it was at least a short term link to Alien, giving some satisfaction and a hint as to the point of the film and where its going. What annoyed everyone is how it knew that it would have a sequel to deal with all this.

agreed. i feel your pain! Sybok style

Maybe this could be a trilogy.
Movie 2 will show what happens when the Yutani yakuza uber-gang/conglomerate (and a rival to Weyland industries) intercepts Shaw's transmission. Figuring that it's a ruse to dissuade them from exploring the planet, they launch a squadron of cybernetically enchanced hi-tech goons to LV-223 to see what Weyland was up to (and why he and his daughter are both not around any more). Much spectacular slaughter ensues once they get there. Clues to Shaw's location are found, and the surviving Yutani teams head off in pursuit, leading to...
Movie 3, where Shaw reaches the Engineer homeworld, & shortly afterwards the Yutani fleet does also. The stage is set for an audience with the elder Engineers, and humanity gets to deliver a "pitch" to explain why we should exist and what role we'll play in the universe. Shaw presents a peaceful, wonderment-filled speech about exploring and learning together. A hot Yutani cyber-babe effectively propositions the Engineers along the lines of "join us and we'll rule the galaxy together as parents and children".
The outcome could be that the Engineers go for option 1, and Weyland-Yutani is born as an instrument of peace and reconciliation. Or.... option 2, where the Engineers pretty much state that they'll give humanity a head start before coming back for revent, and Weyland-Yutani is the forced merger of Earth's two biggest commercial concerns, united to face a really horrific threat (which could then tie in with the Company's fetish for alien weaponry as consistently exhibited in the original Alien films).
(Apologies, acknowledgements etc. for inspiration goes to the movies Sunshine, 2010, Starship Troopers, Star Wars, Moon 44, Space Battleship Yamato etc.)

Plot ambiguity is not what infuriated me with this movie. It was the mostly awful acting, terrible characters, and one of the worst movie scores I can remember. It didnt allow for tension, merely shoving a grand idea of creation down our throats. I say grand, but I infact found the creation idea lazy. Its been done over and over. Even the moment Shaw finds the DNA link is rushed. I wont buy a rushed, lazy idea.
Tension was lacking at every moment. How do you build tension? Crank it up. Would it not be more believeable for the crew to land and take some time to find the engineers building (pyramid from avp rip off).
Did we need Charleze character. Did she matter in any way? No. She was portrayed as an evil company type yet didnt interfere with anything to my recolection. While we're on characters, what aboutthe flight crew committing suicide at the end to stop the ship. What did stopping the ship mean to them. It seemed at no point did anyone explain the gravity of the situation and that these engineers are pissed. Is it then believable for afew co pilots to throw away their lives because their awful captain feels like he will.
On the captain, his bravado, laughing at the two lost crew members over the comm is just ridiculous. Flying half way across the galaxy to find alien life deserves a little bit of caution and respect, not a captain who ignores the peril of his crew. I found this attitude took even more away from what was meant to bemankinds biggest ever discoveries

Outstanding film, with a few facts thrown in for some realistic undertones, solves the mystery of how the xenomorphs were created...sort of, and to boot gives a brand new?? species for the AVP universe, awesome ridley scott just Awesome cant wait to see what happens next and more importantly how it ties in with the rest. But seriously thouugh do you reckon the engineers engineered the Predators?....some food for thought...

Prometheus made Alien redundant. In 1979 we were introduced to two creatures that were truly "alien" to what humans are familiar with. We met these two amazing, but terrifying creatures that defied all logic and convention (thanks, Giger), for 40 years, we pondered over these two cinema menaces, our curiosity piqued, our fascination, stoked.

Then when Prometheus was released, we learned that these two impossibly Alien creatures are not really that alien at all, in fact, both of them are direct descendants of humans, in a round about way. The SJ's were the progenitor of man, instead of them being "otherworldly" beings that grew with their equally alien ships, they turned out be tall WWE rejects, painted white. Suffering from hair loss. Then we learned that the dreaded "perfect creature, it's structural perfection matched only by it's hostility" turned out to be the offspring of a shitty religious zealot, quasi scientist.

Let's hope any more Prometheus films ends up in the bin.

This film is a bomb.

Not according to Giger, the guy who created it.

\A five year old could do better than Lidndlehoff, using a crayola.

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