Ridley Scott’s long anticipated Alien prequel Prometheus recently exploded onto our cinema screens and has already won plaudits for its mind-altering meld of breathtaking visuals, wonderfully rendered alien landscapes and awesomely conceived action sequences, and not least for Michael Fassbender’s eerily spectacular turn as Weyland Industries android David. In other areas, however- such as the depth of its characters and the quality and pacing of its screenplay- Prometheus has polarised the opinions of legions of fans both old and new to the Alien franchise.
For months internet forums have been bursting at the seams with fan-boys analysing every potential connection to Ridley Scott’s seminal mind-trip Alien, trying to get a handle on just how much of a prequel Prometheus actually was and, finally, proposing how exactly the Jon Spaihts/ Damon Lindelof script would join the dots to Alien’s sprawling xenomorph infested universe.
Now, in the aftermath of the Prometheus release and in view of the wide-open ending which practically screams “sequel!”, talk is already turning to the prospective Prometheus follow-up which, as Lindelof recently stated, would show events that would “tangentalise even further away from the original Alien movie…”
Which begs the question- what do we really want from a Prometheus sequel?
1. More of The Engineers
Prometheus opened a window onto the world of our creators, providing us with a thought-provoking glimpse into their role as the Engineers of life in the universe, and offering insights into their biomechanical and often abstract use of technology (let’s try to forget the pied piper of Hamelin moment!). I loved the Engineers, especially how they looked- Alien’s ‘space-jockey’ was brought to life beautifully on the big screen in all its genetically enhanced marble skinned glory- and I really look forward to seeing more of them in the sequel.
Though remnants of their cosmic handiwork abounds in Prometheus- caves, carvings, ships, murals – they appear in person only fleetingly… We see our first Engineer in the opening sequence, which attributes the Däniken-esque origins of mankind on Earth to the sacrifice of one of their number. Then, with the exception of their appearance in several holographic replays hinting at a catastrophe on the moon of LV-223 some 2000 years ago, we are introduced to another- the sole surviving occupant of a cryochamber who is rudely awakened from twenty centuries of stony sleep and asked (we think!) to reveal the secrets of eternal life to Peter Weyland. No subtitles are offered to explain the Engineer’s violent reaction, making it as terrifying as it is baffling.
If the sequel does show the Engineer home-world, and the ‘staggering civilisation’ of the space-jockey that Ridley hinted at in interviews before the release of Prometheus, it will be interesting to understand the general disposition and moral alignment of their species… we should remember that around the time of Alien Scott stated that they were probably a benevolent race. Perhaps the individuals on LV-223 were some kind of breakaway military faction?
And of course the other question on everyone’s mind when it comes to the Engineers: are there any Engineer women?! It’s possible that during the long ages past a calamity befell their species which is why see only male Engineers. Certainly as a race they appear to be undeniably ancient: discounting theories of time travel, eons have passed between the time we see our first Engineer during the Cambrian explosion on Earth, and the time we see our second Engineer on LV-223 millions of years later.
It’s my honest opinion that, depending on how they are rendered in the sequel, the Engineer could become an iconic character in the annals of sci-fi history, and I look forward to finding out more about them!