How the Alien prequel turned into Prometheus

Screenwriter Damon Lindelof has been chatting about just how the film that was the Alien prequel has turned into next year’s Prometheus…


Currently being put together under the watchful eye of director Ridley Scott, Prometheus is shaping up to be a grown-up, intense science fiction movie, and one that no small amount of money is being spent on.

The early gestation of the project, as you probably know, was that this was to be the long-mooted prequel to Alien, with Scott returning to the franchise that he effectively launched. However, it was announced, deep into development, that this would be a standalone movie, albeit one in the Alien universe, and still set before the first film.

So, how did all of this happen? Well, Damon Lindelof, who worked on the script, has been chatting to Kevin Pollak on his chat show, and thrown some more light on the process.

“There is a real issue which is – what is the state of the Alien franchise at this point in our lives?” he said. “There has been Alien vs. Predator and all these things, and it’s been completely and totally diluted.

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“I’ve always felt that really good prequels should be original movies. And the sequels to those prequels should not be the movie which already exists because, with all due respect to anyone who makes a prequel, but why would you ruin the greatest twist in the history of cinema, ‘Luke, I am your father’, by showing me three movies which basically spoil that surprise. You can do movies which take place before Star Wars, but I don’t need to see the story of the Skywalker clan. Show me something else which I can’t guess the possible outcome of. There is no suspense in inevitability.

“A true prequel should essentially proceed the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters, have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world. That was my fundamental feeling about what this movie wanted to be.”

Lindelof was keen to get across that original screenwriter, Jon Spaihts, deserved a lot of credit for his work on the movie, before going on to add, “I also do feel that this movie is the movie I would want to see, as a fanboy, take place in that Alien universe, which precedes the events of the original Alien, but is not necessarily burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters.”

You can read a fuller transcript at Slashfilm (and it really is worth doing so), here. Or you can watch the interview itself here.