You wake up and sit down in front of the internet, which is spitting out movie news because that’s the stuff you like. Amidst the casting reports for Twilight 9 and exclusive trailer reviews of The Finalest Destination, a news blurb hits your radar.
What’s that? Someone’s doing a prequel to your favorite film of ALL TIME? Nope, not just another sequel (there were three) or a bi-franchise spin-off (there were two), but a full-bore “go back in time” prequel that, from what I’ve gathered, threatens to (get this) EXPLAIN THE SPACE JOCKEY. And since, yes, Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979) is my #1 all-time most ultra-favorite piece of motion picture entertainment … I found myself a little bit angry. And here’s why: not everything needs to be explained. As a matter of fact, some things (gasp!) beg to remain unexplained! And that giant, rotten interstellar corpse from Act I of ALIEN is one of those things.
It may have been an elaborate whim from the screenwriters, the art directors, or Ridley Scott himself, but that giant dead guy in the chair offered all sorts of clues and mysteries that Alien wasn’t all that interested in divulging. Maybe he was an outer space zookeeper who didn’t lock the cage on a decidedly nasty species, or perhaps a hunter who grabbed more prey than he could handle. It didn’t matter. The “space jockey” was just a dark, slick, cool way to indicate that A) the crew of the Nostromo wasn’t all that shocked by “aliens” in the first place, B) something shockingly violent happened within the ship … to a truly strange creature, and C) it happened a long time ago, which of course only adds to the eeriness of the whole sequence.
So what was once a very cool little detail is to now to be expounded upon, dissected, and “explained.” (Or maybe not. More on that in a minute.) One of (my) life’s great movie mysteries is about to be unearthed, and I’ll keep following the Prometheus stories as they happen. The production is apparently in deep, dark, hush-hush mode -- and now we’re hearing doubts that the connection to the original Alien will be all that tangible -- but we do know a few hard facts, and we do know one great piece of cinema history. First, the facts:
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Claimed Date of Release: June 8, 2012
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenwriters: Damon Lindelof & Jon Spaihts
Cast: Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Benedict Wong, Logan Marshall-Greeen
Plot: something to do with that giant dead guy from the beginning of the first Alien film. And a pretty good cast of actors. I’ll say that much. Also this: it will be hard to separate truth from gossip as this project moves forward, but I’ll do my best to keep our Alien-lovin’ readers abreast of all the newest information on the movie.
And lest you think I’m helplessly, unsalvagably cynical about this “Alien 0.5” project, here’s that little piece of cinematic historical trivia that keeps me from getting really upset about Prometheus:
Ridley Scott has directed precisely two science fiction films. One, of course, is Alien. The other is Blade Runner. That’s a pretty tough track record to bet against, space jockey or not.
382 Days until Prometheus hits theaters