We at Bleeding Cool have been speaking to a lot of the talent behind Prometheus. Yesterday afternoon, Little Bleeder in the field Patrick Dane got to sit down with Damon Lindelof, and there was much discussion.
For now, here’s the portion of their chat that looks at this particular movie’s more ambiguous moments, and how these open questions would be addressed in any sequels. Take it away, Damon:
I think that one man’s loose ends are another man’s ambiguity, and I think that Ridley was very interested in ambiguity…
There were drafts that were more explicitly spelled out. I think Ridley’s instinct kept being to pull back, and I would say, “Ridley, I’m still eating shit a year after Lost is over for all the things we didnt directly spell out, Are you sure you want to do this?” And he said, “I would rather have people fighting about it and not know then spell it out.”
And I know it’s horribly obnoxious to say “You need to see the movie a couple of times in order to truly appreciate it”, but I do feel like it was designed that way and there are little things that seem like a throw-away on first viewing.
For example, when they do the carbon gating on the dead engineer and realise he has been dead for 2000 years then you wonder about when, 2000 years ago, the Engineers decided to wipe us out. What happened 2000 years ago? Is there any correlation with what happened on the earth 2000 years ago and this decision that was already in motion? Could a sequel start in that time period and contextualize what we did to piss these beings off?
I think it’s a very interesting question to leave dangling. Is it a loose end? Yeah, probably. But it’s probably what sends you to the pub after the movie and has you arguing with your friends as to what you think it might mean.
I can definitely tell you that if a lot of people go to see this movie and there is a critical sense of people wanting there to be another one, the second movie would clearly answer the question of “what did we do to deserve this?”
If there was a sequel to Prometheus it wouldn’t be Alien. Because it’s moving off in it’s own direction.
Incidentally, Ridley Scott appeared on Simon Mayo’s show with Mark Kermode yesterday and said that it would take “at least two” more films to get from the end of Prometheus to the beginning of Alien. A slightly nonsensical statement, really, because there’s no narrative you can spread across two films that couldn’t be related in one, but there you go, it’s Scott’s official line. Right now. Just like that thing about Prometheus not being an Alien prequel, while it utterly, completely is.
Now, in respect of these open questions, I’m not going to make a distinction between ambiguity and loose ends because I don’t know that they’re necessarily all that different, or that either is necessarily good, or bad. I do know, however, that Prometheus is going to be pretty hotly debated.
For a while.
I do wonder, however, what we’ll be saying about it five, ten or fifteen years from now?