With PROMETHEUS hitting Blu-ray and DVD this week, audiences will once again have a chance to revisit the film that divided oh-so-many upon its theatrical release back in June. And while the debate over the film's merits and logic will likely be never-ending, it will certainly be of interest to PROMETHEUS supporters and detractors alike what the original vision of the film looked like.
As you may recall, PROMETHEUS began life as a more straight-forward ALIEN prequel; THE DARKEST HOUR scribe Jon Spaihts was the original writer hired by 20th Century Fox and director Ridley Scott to script the film, but he was ultimately replaced by Damon Lindelof, which changed the face of the entire project soon after. But what would Spaihts' version have looked like if it had been adapted faithfully by Scott? The writer is now spilling some of those beans.
One major change, naturally, was the removal of the "xenomorph" - the alien creature we know and love so dearly - from the prequel. Spaihts says, "The creature did change in some pretty dramatic ways from draft to draft. But the most dramatic change was the removal of the xenomorph from the film. That was a shift that happened at the same time as I stepped off the film. A lot of that push came from the studio very high up; they were interested in doing something original and not one more franchise film. That really came to a head at the studio - the major push to focus on the new mythology of Prometheus and dial the Aliens as far back as we could came down from the studio."
In addition, it would appear as though the "David" character (played by Michael Fassbender) in Spaihts' version was more obviously an antagonist, as opposed to the vague threat he presented in the finished film: "Subsequently, David, fascinated by these creatures, begins delaying the mission and going off the reservation on his own, essentially because he thinks he really belongs with the Engineers. They're smart enough and sophisticated enough, great enough, to be his peers. He's harboring a deep-seated contempt for his human makers. So at one point Shaw goes to stop him and David ties her up and deliberately exposes her to a facehugger. He caresses an egg open and out comes a facehugger. David doesn't smell like a person - his breath isn't moist - so he can handle the thing like a kitten. It doesn't want him; it's not interested. But then he exposes it to her and it goes for her like a shot. He toys with her for a bit and then lets it take her. That, in my draft, was how Shaw was implanted with the parasite that she had to remove with the medpod sequence."
That medpod sequence, certainly one of PROMETHEUS' most memorably scenes, remained more or less intact from Spaihts' work, although there is a key difference: "One of the things I realised was that we hadn't seen anyone survive a classic Alien chest bursting. And I was really intrigued by the notion that a character might be infected by the parasite and know that it was coming, know they had a timeframe of a few hours, and that we would have set up previously a nearly omnipotent medical device, designed to extend life for explorers in foreign places. Our heroine would have a short time to get to the machine and extract the thing inside her. It was a very gory sequence and it plays out very much like the sequence in the film. The main difference is in choreography. At the end of the sequence as I first conceived it, the heroine manages to get the creature extracted from her and it is expelled from the pod and she's sealed inside, whereas in the final film it goes the other way."