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Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus'

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Why would anyone make an Alien prequel without xenomorphs..?

Xenomorphs. Nowhere in sight in Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus', thank you very much.

If you're reading this, you've read everything else on the matter - that Ridley Scott has declared numerous times that while Prometheus occupies the same universe (Weyland-Yutani, etc), it is not intended to lead on to the Alien films that were made between 1979-1997 (argue amongst yourselves on the date-range!) and that the familiar Giger-designed, hydraulic-tongued beasties are not in it.

Where, then, is it leading, in a Hollywood environment that eschews 'one-offs' (even with this kind of pre-sold franchise appeal) and is determined to leave no major motion genre picture without an open door for a sequel?

A new creature/species from Giger in the post-'Man-in-a-suit' era?

The picture in 'Necronomicon' (1977) that Dan O'Bannon used to convince Ridley Scott that Giger should design the creature for 'Alien' (1979)The Swiss conceptual artist H.R. Giger, creator of the Xenomorph (see picture right, first appeared in the book Necronomicon in 1977) was brought back for Prometheus to design 'a few murals' - the artist's first contact with the Alien franchise since his participation in David Fincher's studio-mishandled Alien 3. Certainly Scott has expressed over the years in commentaries and interviews how much he enjoyed working with Giger, and certainly the PR department would have wanted as many of the 'old gang' back together as possible for marketing purposes - and the official Prometheus trailer (see below) mainlines Scott's original movie like a junkie that hasn't had a hit in three weeks.

The Blu-ray release of the Alien quadrilogy (the formidable extras of which expanded a little on the previous DVD Anthology release in the early 2000s) finds Scott talking about the problem that nearly all pre-CGI horror movies suffered from: the monster is always a guy in a rubber suit. To obviate this, Scott tried a number of bizarre approaches, including using three acrobats walking in concert to hide their combined 'humanity', before deciding that the Necronomicon creature could avoid the 'rubber-suit-effect' if filmed sparsely and creatively. Which Scott certainly did in the 1979 movie.

And now those days are gone. There's nothing from Giger's bizarre existing catalogue or continuous imagination that could not now be rendered on screen. So was Giger really involved in Prometheus as a marketing stunt, through Scott's sentimentality - or  just to do a 'few murals'..?

There's something horrible in Prometheus, and it seems odd that you'd have Giger involved and not either have him design or at least supervise it. At the very least, to be consistent with the 'Alien universe' in which Prometheus clearly exists, whatever creature or species is in there will surely have some of that 'Alien DNA' that Scott has been so coy in mentioning. Therefore...

Charlise Theron and Idris Elba at the helm of the 'Prometheus'It's a Star Trek-style franchise reboot

What, they were going to remake Alien and Aliens? As J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek, so I believe Ridley Scott is doing with Prometheus - taking the legend back to its origins and then going in a new direction for a new series of movies with a new type of creature that could have been envisioned but not effectively realised when the franchise began in the late 1970s. If Scott had had the current state of the art of CGI in 1978, he wouldn't have been fooling about with acrobats at Shepperton Studios. He didn't want a man in a suit in the first place, so why would he make another movie with an anthropomorphic creature, however popular? And would the crucial teen market (Scott is submitting both PG-13 and R-rated cuts of Prometheus to Fox) buy anything that conventional after the disaster of the videogame-fuelled AVP movies - and in an SF-film culture where the brakes are truly off in terms of imagination?

Living down the AVP movies and PR Piggy-backing on existing Alien franchise fans

Fox arguably have the task ahead of them that they least like - selling the public something brand new. And much as I believe the PR department for Prometheus have wrung their hands many times over Scott's assertion that the film is something new, I do wonder at the politics behind it...

The Predalien. God save us.If Scott had kept entirely silent about the presence of xenomorphs in Prometheus, then in effect you would have something very good to play (Ridley Scott is returning to the Alien franchise!!!) and something very bad (they're making another f***ing Xenomorph movie, and the last two really sucked).

Great a director as he has often shown himself to be, Prometheus is only getting made because Scott agreed to replace his own suggestion as director - Carl Erik Rinsch. The PR department really needed to side-step or otherwise straddle/obfuscate the lack of xenomorphs in this release - and that meant getting as many people together from the original Ridley Scott Alien movie as would be useful for marketing purposes.

The fact that the film takes place 30 years before Alien obviated the possibility of including any of the original characters from the 'pure' Alien franchise, leaving only Scott and Giger as recognisable legacy contributors (Alien originator the late Dan O'Bannon washed his hands of the franchise, telling me in 2007 that "I’d like to see [the Alien franchise] stop. A horror movie’s a fragile thing, and once you’ve gotten past the original, it isn’t scary anymore").

Therefore we have Fox's PR department putting out the 'fingers-crossed' Ridley Scott's Alien V2.0 road-show at the moment.

Listen to the 'screaming' sound in the much-vaunted Prometheus trailer below, and compare it to the screaming sound in the original Alien (1979) movie trailer underneath:

Original Alien (1979) movie trailer

It's amazing, really. Only guys my age (definitely a mere ancillary market for any film as big-budgeted as Prometheus) would even remember seeing the original trailer in cinemas.

That's not to mention the re-use of the 'hieroglyphic-style' titles for the first time in any supposedly Alien-related movie.

Also, no xenomorphs in Prometheus, everyone says, but still a xenomorph-style egg in the latest hyped photo release:

Prometheus art release and Giger's 1978 production art

Just keep telling yourself 'It's not a new movie...it's not a new movie...'

Prometheus hyped as 'Ridley Scott's Alien Movie'

Guys, IMO it's a brand new movie. It could even be a great movie (and if so would be Scott's first truly distinctive outing since Gladiator in 2000). I just wonder if Fox's PR machine would prefer us to think it's an Alien movie.

Other theories

Everyone's lying

..There are xenomorphs in Prometheus, and they're terrifying and the best we've ever seen. Even if Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. are not suiting up for an Alien movie for the first time since Aliens (1986).

God-damn you all to hell!

We are the xenomorphs. Or were, way back when. We evolved from the same DNA. It's all our fault. They're our brothers. Etc etc.

God damn you, xenomorphs...

This, inspired by a quote from Damon Lindeloff , exec producer of Prometheus:

"It covers a vast expanse of time, past, present and future. It doesn't take place on Earth in any real significant way. The way we're exploring the future is away from Earth and [asking] what are people like now? What have they gone through and what are they thinking of? Space exploration in the future is going to evolve into this idea that it's not just about going out there and finding planets to build colonies. It also has this inherent idea that the further we go out, the more we learn about ourselves. The characters in this movie are preoccupied by the idea: what are our origins?"

[My emphasis]

One of the Prometheus posters led me in that direction too...

Prometheus poster


Related:

Review: Alien Blu-ray 'Anthology' transfer - by Alien's art director
Damon Lindelof talks Prometheus at Comic-Con
Prometheus: Alien prequel or not?
Alien prequel details revealed - 'Forced gay sex'?
EXCLUSIVE: Alien prequel WILL be 3D
H.R. Giger on board for Ridley Scott's Alien prequel
Space misfits: Nostromo crew back-stories revealed
Meryl Streep's lost place in the Alien franchise?
The worst casualty of the Aliens Blu-ray transfer


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Comments 

 
#1 Wow... Jewcifer 2012-03-08 17:40
Wow. Okay. You (author) obviously didn't pay attention to either the Alien movies nor the trailer very well. This is a prequel. It's apparent by so many factors shown clear as day in the trailer. Stop writing Articles.
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#2 RE: Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus' Martin Anderson 2012-03-08 17:48
Quoting Jewcifer:
Wow. Okay. You (author) obviously didn't pay attention to either the Alien movies nor the trailer very well. This is a prequel. It's apparent by so many factors shown clear as day in the trailer. Stop writing Articles.


Hmmm. Well, I interviewed Alien's creator Dan O'Bannon several times, the film's art director Roger Christian several times, along with chatting with 'Alien' concept artists Ron Cobb and Chris Foss in articles on the web (plus Syd Mead, regarding 'Aliens'). I own pretty much every copy available of all the 'Alien' movies, and I went to see the original 7 times in 1979.

But never mind that - I didn't even say 'Prometheus' isn't a prequel in this article - I just argued that it may be setting a film series off in a radically different direction whilst levering existing fandom: xenomorph-lovers who apparently (according to Ridley Scott) will get no xenomorphs in this movie.
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#3 I think you missed the point... John 2012-03-08 17:58
Ridley Scott has said that this takes place in the same universe as the Alien films, albeit 30 years earlier, but it's not directly connected to the plot of "Alien." So it's not a prequel in that sense.
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#4 RE: Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus' Martin Anderson 2012-03-08 18:05
Quoting John:
Ridley Scott has said that this takes place in the same universe as the Alien films, albeit 30 years earlier, but it's not directly connected to the plot of "Alien." So it's not a prequel in that sense.


Why the egg in the recent release? The imitation of the 1979 trailer? The constant semi-subliminal imagery relating to 'Alien', where the extraordinary design of Giger's xenomorph was the meat of the movie - and which creature has now joined the 'Frankenstein' monster and Dracula as a truly legendary screen terror.

It's a prequel, for sure - Guy Pearce's character name alone places it in the same universe. And it has every right to veer off into new territory as 'Star Trek' did (though 'Star Trek' had a serious franchise problem to resolve by doing so).

But you can't invoke the spirit of 'Alien' in as pedantic a way as Fox's PR department is currently doing when there are no xenomorphs.

Unless, as I say, they're all just lying about that.
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#5 RE: Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus' Guy Grrr 2012-03-08 20:41
I think time dilation plays a pretty important part of the narrative. Back in the fall, there was an interview with either Lindelof or Scott (*sorry, I don't remember which) in which it was stated that there are no worm holes or time travel in Prometheus, but rather "time displacement" - and then cryptically, the important bit was mentioned, something like " the events in Prometheus do not lead directly to ALIEN, in fact, the events of ALIEN may have never happened..."

Seems like there may indeed be some kind of Abrams-Trek re-boot trickery happening here.

As for no 'Xeno's' - Presumably, there will be some kind of monster in this movie. The leaked trailer from a few months back had a couple quick shots of something serpent-like slithering and jumping out of a body; I'd guess that it wasn't included in the actual trailer so as not to tip Ridley's hand. Some leaked plot synopsis' also mention a creature that sounds a lot like the facehugger, but more like an eel than a spider - which lines up pretty directly with the serpent shots that were removed from the trailer.

If what was cut from the trailer was actually proof of some sort of early proto-facehugger, I'm very curious as to what the resultant spawn will be when it inevitably impregnates either a human or a spacejockey.
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#6 RE: Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus' Pete B 2012-03-14 04:21
Space research vessel. Sent to planet. Ship has rovers that trundle across dusty landscape. Finds giant tomb. There's an alien face, very large. Chamber reveals hologram. Oh, no! Life was planted on earth by aliens! Aliens created the human race! During a fracas, an astronaut is plucked up by a giant storm that seems almost as if someone is controlling it.

Wait a minute! That's "Mission To Mars", the Disney movie from 15 years ago...
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#7 RE: Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus' Blingshyne 2013-03-13 11:19
it was a prequel and there sure as hell was a xenomorph and early stage face hugger type creatures...
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