Prometheus & Alien Trailer Comparison: What Does it Mean?

Last week, the new Prometheus trailer hit, and it’s fantastic. It’s gripping, original, and most of all it makes you want to see the movie if only to find out what the hell is going on. At one point someone in the trailer says “they’re changing!” and then some one else says “changing into what?” Exactly. Who are they? And just what are they changing into?

More importantly, on an aesthetic level, the trailer’s second half is almost a direct homage to the theatrical Alien trailer. What does this mean?

Speculation and possible spoilers ahead.

When you watch the new Prometheus trailer and then immediately watch the Alien trailer afterwards, the quasi-denials from Ridley Scott and others that this isn’t really an Alien prequel start to look absurd. First, the screeching, almost siren-like music in both trailers is identical. Second, as with the previous trailer, the production design of the space suits and the suspended animation pods from Alien and from Prometheus are totally in sync with one another, making the trailers visual and auditory echoes of each other, if not outright copies.

We know Prometheus takes place in the same universe as Alien, and now with this new trailer we see things that look a lot like the eggs from the first film, and actual creepy little aliens, which might be proto versions of the face-huggers. At one point the Noomi Rapace character says “get it out of me!” does this mean there’s a xenomorph chest-bursting alien inside of her?

Adding to this is the definite depiction of the infamous “Space Jockey” ship from the first Alien. Naturally, this giant ship and with its giant extraterrestrial pilot were found dead in Alien, seemingly victims of the chest-bursting critters. But what if that’s not the whole story? Ridley Scott claimed last year that the Space Jockey was not a skeleton, but rather a suit. This is supported by the fact that in the new trailer we briefly see a humanoid figure walking toward the Space Jockey “suit.”

On the far left, there is totally a weird dude walking towards the Space Jockey.

On the far left, there is totally a weird dude walking towards the Space Jockey.

In the same interview, Scott also talks a lot about how the Space Jockey people may have been carrying a cache of weapons. In the old films the pursuit of the xenomorphs by the Weyland-Yutani corporaiton almost exclusively revolves around them being used as weapons. So could, Prometheus assert that humans actually ended up creating the xenomorphs in some weird way? Perhaps the space jockey alien is the more metaphoric “Prometheus” of the film, giving us the fire of the xenomorphs. Or perhaps the humans are stealing said “fire” from the space gods.

Do these legs belong to a space god alien who lives inside the space jockey suit?

Do these legs belong to a space god alien who lives inside the space jockey suit?

Either way, all of this seems to make Prometheus a full-on Alien prequel. Though I’m not sure quite how it all fits together with the “searching for our beginning” premise, my guess is the xenomorph aliens from the old movies will actually be revealed to be an artificially created hybrid between humans and the new little critters depicted in this movie. In short, just like in the classic film, the purported mission of Prometheus won’t be its real mission, instead it will be there to find the little critters and genetically splice them with humans to create a weapon: the xenomorphs. But these little critters will also be artificially created things by the Space Jockey race who is there making the little critters.(If they are space gods, maybe they make little critters all the time, and maybe they made us.) The humans will duke it out with them and it all of this will end in tragedy, with most of the crew dying. And then the answer to the question ‘”changing into what?” is one of these guys:

What does everyone think? Ultimately, I bet the movie will be great, because as the aesthetic of the new trailer attests, its going to look and sound wonderful. And aesthetic is no small part of what makes Alien such a classic. In fact, it might be half the reason why the movie is so great.


Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He is known as the Ripley of his small basketball team.

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