The good ship Prometheus015

As Ridley Scott makes long-awaited return to sci-fi with Prometheus, we discover 10 facts about the mysterious Alien 'prequel'...

1. It's mostly not a prequel, mostly...
Prometheus was originally envisioned as a prequel to the Alien saga, with original director Ridley Scott returning to the mega-successful series he helped to create. The film would have focused on the origins of the Xenomorphs (the acid-dripping antagonists) and the Space Jockey (the mysterious extra-terrestrial pilot of the derelict spaceship discovered by the crew of the Nostromo). 

2. Paradise lost, Prometheus unbound...
The film was originally called ‘Paradise’ but Scott renamed it ‘Prometheus’ because he felt the title better fitted the overall theme. "It's the story of creation; the gods and the man who stood against them,” said Scott. If you don’t know your Greek mythology then Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind – a gift that, for better and worse, changed the human race forever.

3. Ship happens...
Prometheus not only reflects the film’s themes but it’s also the name of the spacecraft that takes our intrepid crew to potentially meet their maker. The ship is the length of two football fields, takes its all-terrain inspiration from the Harrier Jump Jet, has a bridge with a wraparound glass window and comes complete with escape pods lined with orange leatherette that resembles, according to production designer Arthur Max, “Chuck Berry’s Cadillac.”

4. Predator killed the Aliens star...
Aliens director James Cameron was at one point attached to the prequel, but when 20th Century Fox approached him with the script for AVP: Alien vs. Predator, the Avatar director quit believing the much-lamented crossover would "kill the validity of the franchise" - he wasn't wrong.

nullWhere no man had gone before (Copyright: 20th Century Fox)

5. We have lift off...
Following the awful Alien Vs Predator and the even more abominable sequel, AVPR: Alien vs. Predator - Requiem, the Prometheus project remained dormant until 2009 when Ridley Scott again showed interest. A first-draft script was sent to Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof with the intention of developing a story set in the same universe as the Alien films but not directly connected to Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) adventures. As Scott says, Prometheus shares "strands of Alien's DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative.”

6. We don't need no stinking aliens...
Prometheus may be set in the same universe as Alien but don’t expect to see any of the ugly killing machines. Scott decided against featuring Xenomorphs as her felt that "the sequels squeezed them dry... and no way am I going back there." Instead, look out for an equally (if not more) dangerous Alien ancestor.

nullRidley Scott and Noomi Rapace (Copyright: 20th Century Fox) 

7. This thing's bigger than all of us...
The plot was inspired by Erich von Däniken's theories about ancient astronauts and suggestion that life on Earth was created by aliens in his book Chariots Of The Gods. "NASA and the Vatican agree that it’s almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way,” said Scott. “That’s what we’re looking at, at some of Erich von Däniken’s ideas of how we humans came about."

8. Giger counter...
H.R. Giger, the man whose incredible original designs led to the creation of the original Xenomorphs, was called upon to help shape the film’s aesthetic and also assist in reverse-engineering the Alien forebears.

nullMichael Fassbender (Copyright: 20th Century Fox)

9. He prefers the terms 'Artificial Human'...
Actor Michael Fassbender follows in the alphabetical footsteps of Ash (Alien), Bishop (Aliens and Alien 3) and Call (Alien: Resurrection) by playing an android called David. When researching for the role, Fassbender avoided watching the Synthetics from the previous Alien films and instead based his character on the Replicants in Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner. He was also inspired by the "funny walk " of Olympic diver Greg Louganis and the performances of David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth and Peter O'Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia.

10. This in only the beginning...
According to writer Damon Lindelof, a sequel is already in the works. With Ridley Scott having already revealed that Prometheus leaves some questions unanswered, Lindelof said: "If we're lucky, there'll be a second part. It does leave you with some niceopen questions. If we’re fortunate enough to do a sequel, it will tangentialize even further away from the original Alien.”

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