Why PROMETHEUS Could NOT Be the ALIEN Prequel You Wanted

You can read my review of Prometheus here. This post is not a review, but a response to one criticism I’ve been seeing about the movie.

Vague spoilers, sort of, here.

I know that a lot of people have been disappointed and/or confused about how Prometheus does or does not fit into the Alien franchise universe. And the movie very, very easily could have led straight into the Alien movie’s beginning.

I’m not going to get into the details, but if you have seen it and you didn’t pay close attention to some of the early details (like the numbered designation of the planet, compared to the planet in the first Alien — LV 426 in Alien and LV 223 in Prometheus) AND you are a big fan of Ridley Scott’s original movie, you probably were expecting events to play out in one way . . . and then, suddenly, you realize that it didn’t end up how you were expecting.

Because here’s what you were expecting: space jockey guy was going to crash his ship and a chest burster was going to kill him, leaving him in the chair until Sigourney and her friends came to find him in Alien.

And, indeed, all of that COULD have happened. The movie feels like it intended to set that up, and then there was a rewrite.

So instead of giving us a movie that drives itself directly into the beginning of Alien, we’re given a movie that explains what the guy in the chair probably was. And gives a bit more background to where the Xenomorph aliens came from. Sort of.

So why was it not a prequel? One word for that answer:


Something like thirty years pass between Prometheus and Alien. That’s simply not enough time for the alien in the chair in Alien to petrify the way he did. There is no way to tell the story of that space jockey got there in a movie set in our future.

Instead, we get what could have been the next best thing. Something that explains enough that you can fill in the blanks for how the space jockey got into that chair and then got himself dead while giving viewers a brand new story.

The funny thing to me is that absolutely nothing is revealed about the space jockey that couldn’t have been figured out from watching Alien. Yes, there are some specific details added, but nothing that wasn’t already easily deduced from that first movie.

~ Ben





4 responses to “Why PROMETHEUS Could NOT Be the ALIEN Prequel You Wanted”

  1. William Avatar

    I dislike horror movies, and suspense movies are a single watch flick for me. I have never understood why they generally put horror and science fiction in the same search categories. Aliens may be the only good crossover between science fiction and horror.

    I have watched all the Alien / Aluens movies once, but none of them made me really want more. When they were done I was just thankful. They were worth one viewing, but not more than one. I don’t plan to see this movie until I can get it from Red Box. It just isn’t worth that much money to me.

    1. Ben Avatar

      It’s worth a Redbox rental, for sure. I’ll say this, though: this is not an Alien movie. It’s part of the franchise, and there are nods to it, but if you watch it just to see a sci-fi movie and not an Alien movie, you’ll enjoy it much, much more — whether you love or hate the franchise. It may not make you LOVE Prometheus, but I think it will make you like it more.

  2. John Avatar

    I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and it certainly got me interested in watching the other movies in the franchise (one of which I’ve still never seen) again, but there was one criticism of it that I read last night that really resonated with me:

    “Prometheus is about a scientific expedition conducted by no scientists. Nearly every character in Prometheus discovered something they had no reason NOT to convey to the others, and then they didn’t. An archaeologist believed there was nothing to learn from ancient ruins unless there was an ancient dude still alive there to speak with.”

    But I do like your take on the whole prequel-but-not-a-prequel thing, and I did not notice that the planet numbers were different. I assumed for the entire film that it was taking place on the same world as the one the original Alien began at, and afterwards explained it in my mind as the fact that there was more than one facility, more than one ship, and it’s a big planet… never occurred to me that it’d be an entirely different place.

    1. Ben Avatar

      Something I just thought of: One interesting thing is that this movie does not invalidate anything from the franchise. It would seem that the space jockeys create the aliens in one facility, then the predators found the aliens and used them for their own means, in both cases causing terrible destruction. In the present, the Predators dealt with the aliens with humans, and in the future humans were dealing with the aliens.

      In each situation, a race tried to use the xenomorphs and paid for it. Space jockeys created xenomorphs (and SPOILER!!! . . . humans?) and the space jockeys (at least the ones involved in the project) paid. Predators use xenomorphs as their ultimate hunt and the predators (at least the ones involved in that hunting station) paid. Humans tried to study and replicate the xenomorphs and the humans (at least the ones unlucky enough to be sent) paid. I like this thread of Frankenstein science.

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