by Stefan Abrutat
That’s right. Ridley Scott, the guy who pretty much single-handedly formed the tenets of modern sci-fi movie-making (Alien, Blade Runner) has returned to the genre: he’s currently in Iceland finishing off Prometheus, the flick that most have dubbed the “Alien prequel”, despite his tentative objections.
Scott claims it’s not a direct prequel, rather it expands on an idea that wasn’t addressed in the first or any succeeding Alien movies. He’s being incredibly coy about what this idea is, which tells me he’s going to answer the biggest question raised by the Alien franchise: how do big, dumb murderous insects manage to build spaceships before they’ve invented guns?
Well, that might be the big one, but there’s plenty of others, such as:
1) What’s the evolutionary advantage of having a little toothy mouth on an extendable stalk inside another, more significantly fanged maw? Even giant Queen Alien’s mouth-stalk isn’t long enough to bite Ripley’s face through the loader’s protective cage in Aliens, so I don’t think it’d be much use for snaring passing wildlife, like a frog’s tongue.
Mind you, I suppose it could come in handy when all the silverware’s in the dishwasher, as long as they’re not sitting down to soup. Which brings me to:
2) What the hell do they eat? For creatures that excrete so much slime and nest-building goop and still manage to grow like ‘shrooms in shit, I’ve yet to see one chowing down on anything that might fuel such a bounty of biochemical endeavors.
3) Why do Predators consider dopey unarmed aliens to be such a wonderful prey, when anytime those aliens bump into appropriately gun-savvy humans, they get stomped?
I’m sure Scott’s woven colorful solutions into Prometheus to address these untenable queries, even though, given enough motivation I’m sure I could come up with another dozen.
It’s long been held there’s two distinct kinds of aliens: the insectoid workers, warriors, and queens, and the other kind we’ve only briefly glimpsed. Talk in geekdom suggests these more passive aliens build the ships. Indeed, they seem to be part of the ships in some symbiotic capacity, if the famed Space-Jockey alien, briefly seen at the crash site in the original Alien is anything to go by.
It is thought these are far more intelligent than the aliens we know and love. Theories suggest these intelligent aliens bio-engineered the insectoids (or xenomorphs as they’ve become known) as bio-weapons to fight against incursions by the Predators.
There’s another theory that suggests the Space-Jockeys were similarly bio-engineered as pilots etc by a third, vastly superior race we have yet to meet. This, to me, is by far the most interesting one (as long as they don’t turn out to be an experiment by the Predators, that is), but I imagine the idea of having three different kinds of aliens (two of which are new) cavorting about the screen would soon get nixed by the studios, who infamously have little faith in the average movie-goer’s ability to follow plot without being spoon-fed the components over a figurative plastic bib.
All of this speculation is, of course, built on a mythology that’s pretty much been made up as the numerous filmmakers went along. I can only imagine what a pain in the backside it must be to try to reverse engineer these fractured offshoots together into a cohesive prequel.
Which is probably why Scott’s so loath to describe it so. Good for him. Ignore the nonsense of anything after Aliens and give us something meaty to get our comparatively tiny teeth into.
Something more meaty than soup, anyway.