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Damon Lindelof explains why he scrubbed the Alien references from Prometheus

11.10.2015

Before Damon Lindelof arrived to rewrite PROMETHEUS, the first script by Jon Spaihts originally contained a lot of ALIEN references which wouldn't surive to the completed film; in fact, Damon Lindelof felt that Spaights' script functioned as more of an ALIEN reboot/prequel which is apparently why he decided to ditch most of those ideas in his rewrite.

Damon Lindelof spoke with THR during their Hollywood Masters interview series and revealed why he felt that he had to give PROMETHEUS its own direction.

The language of Alien Zero was very much an Alien reboot, in my opinion.  There were facehuggers, and xenomorphs, and eggs, in the language of that movie, by page 30. I had heard this thing was a prequel, and there’s a problem with prequels; there’s something I don’t like about prequels, which is there’s an inevitability, that you’re just connecting dots. 

Prequel's are a difficult beast to tame, but they can definitely be done effectively in the right hands, unfortunately, as Lindelof says, they can just as easily feel as though they're merely connecting the dots; Damon Lindelof used the Star Wars prequels as an example:

So this idea of the Star Wars prequels, for example, is you’re going to make three movies where you basically just tell me what I already know.  At least embed a new idea in there that I didn’t already know, or introduce a different thematic.  Like, what if Obi-Wan Kenobi had stolen Anakin’s girlfriend away from him.  And that way, when I watch Star Wars again, I’d realize, “Oh, that’s why Obi-Wan Kenobi is letting Darth Vader strike him down, ‘cause he feels guilty.  That’s why Obi-Wan Kenobi is watching over Luke, the progeny of the guy that he screwed over.” So you know, embed a new idea. 

Lindelof, who said that Jon Spaihts' draft contained "a lot of really great ideas", then took the core of the script and reshaped it so it could function without any of the ALIEN elements which we're already so familar with.

The opening of Prometheus as you see it was in Jon’s script. Oh this is a movie about scientists who are searching for the existence of their creators, and so there’s this kind of religious spirit, a pseudo-spiritual thing told in scientific language. And then what was really interesting to me was there was a robot along for the ride, an android, named David in Jon’s script, and I was like, “Oh this is cool. These idiot humans are basically going and looking for their creator.” And anybody who’s ever watched a science fiction movie knows, all great sci-fi is: don’t cross this line; there are questions that mankind should not answer, do not reanimate dead bodies. And it’s like, “Well let’s f—ing do it anyway,” and then it doesn’t turn out well.  And because it’s an Alien movie, we know how it’s going to end. 

But that was an interesting idea, because the android was there, and he’s there with his creators, and they’re seeking out their creators.  And he’s not impressed by his creators. The android, he’s the smartest guy in the room, and I was like, “I’m going to take those ideas, and I’m going to say that’s what the movie is, and we don’t even get to anything, any familiar Alien language, until the end of this movie and if there was a sequel to Prometheus, it would not be Alien — it would go off in its own direction. And therefore it would be exciting to watch because we’re not just connecting dots.

Unfortunately Damon Lindelof's contributions came under fire once PROMETHEUS was released, with many critics calling the story weak and targeting the character's lack of common sense. ALIEN: PARADISE LOST, the upcoming sequel to PROMETHEUS, will still be heading in its own direction thanks to Lindelof's rewrite, although recent comments from Ridley Scott seem to indicate that it will have more of a connection to ALIEN this time around, but that we're still several sequels away from tying in with ALIEN directly.

Would PROMETHEUS have been a better film had it embraced its ALIEN roots from the start?

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: Despite feeling a little let down by PROMETHEUS, I still enjoy the film enough to find myself looking forward to its sequel, I'll just have to make sure to keep my expectations in check this time around.
Source: THR

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7:30AM on 11/12/2015
Regardless on people's opinions I do agree that prequels are usually just joining the dots. I know its not a great example but Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning had nothing to offer, you knew the path of most of the characters and what was going to happen and therefore it loses the uncertainty that I like in some movies. I like to be unsure of how things are going to work out.
Regardless on people's opinions I do agree that prequels are usually just joining the dots. I know its not a great example but Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning had nothing to offer, you knew the path of most of the characters and what was going to happen and therefore it loses the uncertainty that I like in some movies. I like to be unsure of how things are going to work out.
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11:02PM on 11/11/2015
Why the hell is this guy still getting work? He's a shitty ass writer.
Why the hell is this guy still getting work? He's a shitty ass writer.
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10:58AM on 11/11/2015
Prometheus is a 100% worst than The Phantom Menace. All the characters are dumber than Jar Jar.

I bet this guy and Ridley thought they were clever for having that spaceship activated by a FUCKING FLUTE. It looked dumb when Green Ranger did it 20 years ago, why did they think it would look cool now?!

The 15 crew members only get briefed about why they're there after being on the ship for TWO YEARS.

They randomly pick a spot to land on a planet and by luck instantly find what they're
Prometheus is a 100% worst than The Phantom Menace. All the characters are dumber than Jar Jar.

I bet this guy and Ridley thought they were clever for having that spaceship activated by a FUCKING FLUTE. It looked dumb when Green Ranger did it 20 years ago, why did they think it would look cool now?!

The 15 crew members only get briefed about why they're there after being on the ship for TWO YEARS.

They randomly pick a spot to land on a planet and by luck instantly find what they're looking for. When they find a few dead bodies they conclude that EVERYBODY is dead... Guys, you've only explored 1 km of that planet's surface! As far as we know there could be entire cities nearby!

Laziest writing I've ever seen...
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8:42AM on 11/12/2015
Heeeey. Green Ranger was awesome.
Heeeey. Green Ranger was awesome.
9:44AM on 11/12/2015
You're right, sorry!
You're right, sorry!
9:53AM on 11/11/2015
Overall I didn't mind Prometheus. When I look at it as a whole, it's a good story and I'm looking forward to the sequel(s) to see how this narrative is further advanced. I'm kind of glad that it wasn't simply an Alien prequel, I felt they tried that with the Alien vs. Predator movies and totally screwed it up.
That being said, I have no delusions over the script. It is an incredibly flawed script and Lindelof clearly paid no attention to common sense with a lot of moments/scenes in the
Overall I didn't mind Prometheus. When I look at it as a whole, it's a good story and I'm looking forward to the sequel(s) to see how this narrative is further advanced. I'm kind of glad that it wasn't simply an Alien prequel, I felt they tried that with the Alien vs. Predator movies and totally screwed it up.
That being said, I have no delusions over the script. It is an incredibly flawed script and Lindelof clearly paid no attention to common sense with a lot of moments/scenes in the movie. The scene with the scientists getting lost in the temple b/c they're scared is still the dumbest part of that movie.
So Lindelof had a great idea for the movie, but that's usually all he ever has. The guy has some serious trouble with taking a great idea and expanding it to a great script/plot. Still has a lot of improvement to make in his abilities.
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8:54AM on 11/11/2015

What about LOST?

I know showing flashbacks isn't the same as making a prequel, but it's similar. Specially the season 1 finale that shows all the characters getting on the plane (isn't that "inevitability"?). Also, the show constantly asked the viewers to "connect dots". Each episode's flashback didn't directly follow the previous episode's. There were certain minor characters who came across different main characters.
I know showing flashbacks isn't the same as making a prequel, but it's similar. Specially the season 1 finale that shows all the characters getting on the plane (isn't that "inevitability"?). Also, the show constantly asked the viewers to "connect dots". Each episode's flashback didn't directly follow the previous episode's. There were certain minor characters who came across different main characters.
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7:32AM on 11/12/2015
I agree but I think with Lost its moments like with Sawyer for example. On face value for him to be a douche but by the time you get to his backstory it completely changes your opinion on the character and he actually turns out to be one of, if not the best character in the show.
I agree but I think with Lost its moments like with Sawyer for example. On face value for him to be a douche but by the time you get to his backstory it completely changes your opinion on the character and he actually turns out to be one of, if not the best character in the show.
8:42AM on 11/11/2015
I see what Lindelof is saying, but the "connecting the dots" is for the existing fanbase. The tangent approach where you do new stuff and don't truly connect to the earlier films (which are technically sequels to this) is to try and bring in new fresh fans. On this I think he failed. I actually liked Prometheus (and I am a huge fan of the Aliens franchise) but the film didn't do as well as expected and gets panned by many. New fans haven't quite latched onto it as much as they hoped. A few
I see what Lindelof is saying, but the "connecting the dots" is for the existing fanbase. The tangent approach where you do new stuff and don't truly connect to the earlier films (which are technically sequels to this) is to try and bring in new fresh fans. On this I think he failed. I actually liked Prometheus (and I am a huge fan of the Aliens franchise) but the film didn't do as well as expected and gets panned by many. New fans haven't quite latched onto it as much as they hoped. A few more breadcrumbs and connecting the dots puts it in the world that is familiar. Of course you don't want to just retell the same story over and over. Then you fall into a trap like the Terminator series.
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5:03AM on 11/11/2015

100% Wrong

Damon Lindelof is an idiot he's a friggin idiot. This guy is more obsessed with grandiose ideas and "cool scenes" than storytelling. Every problem with Prometheus is addressed and makes story telling sense in the original script. Lindelof also completely ignored the that the android is in the script to mirror the master and creator relationship as well being the favorite or chosen one over his human sister. Not because he is the smartest guy in the room. None of which he felt obligated to leave
Damon Lindelof is an idiot he's a friggin idiot. This guy is more obsessed with grandiose ideas and "cool scenes" than storytelling. Every problem with Prometheus is addressed and makes story telling sense in the original script. Lindelof also completely ignored the that the android is in the script to mirror the master and creator relationship as well being the favorite or chosen one over his human sister. Not because he is the smartest guy in the room. None of which he felt obligated to leave in the script because squid monsters, space zombies and abortion machines. Who is Lindelof blowing to keep getting work? Lindelof is why Star Trek: Into Darkness blows not J.J. Abrams.
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2:28AM on 11/11/2015

you know... the back and forth of Prometheus sucked ass

as did the extremely stupid characters.
but here's the rub, separating Prometheus from having a direct link to Alien was probably a smart idea, prequels are not always about connecting dots, sometimes they retread ideas we're extremely familiar with: facehuggers, eggs, Aliens, Queen Aliens... we've all seen all this shit before and YES its still interesting but face facts... its retreading all the same old information.....
what Prometheus did was create a new direction for its (surviving)
as did the extremely stupid characters.
but here's the rub, separating Prometheus from having a direct link to Alien was probably a smart idea, prequels are not always about connecting dots, sometimes they retread ideas we're extremely familiar with: facehuggers, eggs, Aliens, Queen Aliens... we've all seen all this shit before and YES its still interesting but face facts... its retreading all the same old information.....
what Prometheus did was create a new direction for its (surviving) characters and begin to build a bridge to Alien... but like any great bridge, the building process takes a long while to finish.
let the next Prometheus flick also end with some links to Alien, not a lot... just some... in part three we get even more linking and building... maybe in part four there will be the final ground works that finally bridge the gap between Prometheus and Alien?
I'm willing to wait for those Prometheus sequels not because they tie into Alien (they do) I'm along for the ride and i'm willing to wait to get there.
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2:15AM on 11/11/2015
I kind of agree on what he said about the Star Wars prequels, yet I find him still fail to deliver any of his so called 'new ideas' in the released Prometheus version. For one, we didn't clearly get the idea of why David is being such a dick and Lindelof seem keen on emphasizing how idiotic these human characters are by actually wrote them as bumbling idiots. Literally, none of the humans in the movie have actual common sense. Heck, Old Man Weyland's plan all along was to just go up to the
I kind of agree on what he said about the Star Wars prequels, yet I find him still fail to deliver any of his so called 'new ideas' in the released Prometheus version. For one, we didn't clearly get the idea of why David is being such a dick and Lindelof seem keen on emphasizing how idiotic these human characters are by actually wrote them as bumbling idiots. Literally, none of the humans in the movie have actual common sense. Heck, Old Man Weyland's plan all along was to just go up to the giant blue alien dude and ask it to make him immortal? Seriously?
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2:30AM on 11/11/2015
oh I more than agree about the Star Wars prequels.
oh I more than agree about the Star Wars prequels.
1:12AM on 11/11/2015
Cause Lindelof is a fucking hack.
Cause Lindelof is a fucking hack.
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10:53PM on 11/10/2015
That actually makes me appreciate the movie more than I had. I do think a few things could have been clarified for the audience sooner. But the idea being that these scientists were so blinded by hubris, whereas the "Alien" crew were a bunch of blue-collar contractors. David should've been the hero of the story though instead of Shaw. The movie lost points because we were asked to identify with people who really seemed to lack good judgment in some basic areas. Ripley didn't have that problem.
That actually makes me appreciate the movie more than I had. I do think a few things could have been clarified for the audience sooner. But the idea being that these scientists were so blinded by hubris, whereas the "Alien" crew were a bunch of blue-collar contractors. David should've been the hero of the story though instead of Shaw. The movie lost points because we were asked to identify with people who really seemed to lack good judgment in some basic areas. Ripley didn't have that problem. I still liked the movie, but the criticisms are many and justified.
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10:45PM on 11/10/2015
If the movie sucks, Lindelof will just blame the fans like he usually does.
If the movie sucks, Lindelof will just blame the fans like he usually does.
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10:21PM on 11/10/2015
Well, even that it's still Alien prequel so you can't run away from that.
Well, even that it's still Alien prequel so you can't run away from that.
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