Apr 24 2012 11:00am

Will Prometheus Create a Shared Universe Between Alien and Blade Runner?

In addition to the official trailers, the marketing for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus has given us two “viral” videos in the form of faux-statements from Weyland Industries. Any fan of the original Alien series knows that Weyland-Yutani Industries was responsible for the Nostromo and the subsequent terraforming of the planet where the xenomorphs were first encountered by Ripley and friends. In the less-than-stellar Alien vs. Predator, the founder of Weyland Industries was revealed to be Charles Bishop Weyland, who’s appearance was later (in the timeline, but earlier in the films) used as the basis for the robot “Bishop” who we met in Aliens.

Now, Weyland Industries is back in the news so to speak, but what do these new statements from Weyland tell us about the plot of Prometheus? Just what kind of fictional universe is being created here? Is it all leading to something even bigger than just one, single movie?

Both the Peter Weyland TED talk and the commercial for the David 8 robot direct the viewer over to WeylandIndustries.com. When you go there, you’ll see links that let you watch both of the existing videos, but the page also seems to preview other material that is “classified,” meaning there isn’t a link yet. These categories are “Discover New Worlds” and “Careers.” My guess is both of these features on the website will end up being their own viral videos in the coming weeks.

But what does all of it mean? Well, other than it being a bunch of fun to look through all the made-up promotional material for Weyland Industries, I think something else might be going on. I think it’s possible Ridley Scott is merging the mythology of Alien with Blade Runner. Insane? Maybe, but consider the following:

First, both the viral videos focus on cybernetic life and the idea that robots are becoming sentient and “indistinguishable” from humans. This specific focus is a little different from the Weyland-Yutani we know of from Alien and Aliens. There, you get the notion that they are more interested in terra forming, mining space resources, and developing weapons. But, we’re splitting hairs, because it’s possible one innovation caused the next, and Weyland Industries have their fingers in various space pies.

The point is, David 8 (Michael Fassbender) seems like he would be very useful for off-world work, which is what we’re told the Replicants were used for in Blade Runner. Indeed, Roy Batty’s last words to Deckard are “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate.”

I highly doubt Prometheus will specifically depict the C-beams, or the Tanhaser Gate any more than Doctor Who will ever show us The Time War or “The Nightmare Child.” These are just cool sounding things that get rattled off in awesome sci-fi speak. Famously, Rutger Hauer improved some of these lines anyway. But what’s interesting is the idea of Replicants out there in space, seeing things people wouldn’t believe. Now, with Prometheus, David is set to likely see things people wouldn’t believe. So could Prometheus and the robots we see in Alien and Aliens actually be Replicants from Blade Runner?

“No!” says the astute fan-person, because of all sorts of reasons. How dare I suggest something so ignorant!

Blade Runner is set in 2019, while Alien is set in 2122. Well, that might work actually, because maybe the Replicants are only being used off-world by Ripley’s time; thus Ash and Bishop would never be allowed on Earth, and perhaps even share the limited lifespan of the Replicants.

But maybe not, because the corporation in Blade Runner is the Tyrell Corporation NOT Weyland Industries. However, this could be explained away with a corporate merger or hostile takeover, with the latter being more likely.

Okay, but then I get into trouble again because the new TED talk from Peter Weyland is set in 2023, and robots seem pretty new, so Blade Runner being set in 2019 doesn’t work at all at that point at all, right? (Further, who do I think I am!)

Blade Runner is based on a book by Philip K. Dick; why would Ridley Scott think he had a right to mess with the continuity of any of that? I guess my belief is the Blade Runner of the screen is more Ridley Scott than Philip K. Dick, so why wouldn’t he? Also, it seems very likely that the themes Scott explored with the Replicants in Blade Runner will exist somewhere in Prometheus. Both viral videos treat cybernetic life as a big deal. And again, robots working off-world is at the core of what the Replicants are pissed off about in Blade Runner. AND Prometheus screenwriter Lindeloff is talking about robots constantly! But I suppose none of that proves Prometheus and the Alien series are set the same universe as Blade Runner. Unless….

...there is a Blade Runner reboot coming. The rumors have been floating around for ages, and Ridley Scott has always made noises that he would be involved if anything like that were to happen. And if it did happen, then the continuity of Prometheus could certainly build up to a new version of Blade Runner. Also, if both Prometheus and my imagined Blade Runner reboot take place far enough before Alien and Aliens, then there’s no real continuity problems, other than the technology sucking more in the older films than in the newer ones. (And that’s a problem sci-fi prequels will always have.)

If this all came to pass, the original Blade Runner would be rendered an alternate universe. But when you consider that Weyland-Yutani is referenced in an episode of Angel, then maybe there are more alternate universes out there than we think.

Okay people. Get your flamethrowers out and tell me you’re not at least a little bit excited by this theory, even if it’s crazy.

Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He wonders why they don’t just freeze him.

1. chrisgiff
I was thinking this same thing not too long ago. I think it would be incredible. I don't mind him playing with the Blade Runner continutiy because the original movie is already different enough from Dick's story to begin with.

I'm down.

Bring it on.
2. Capper
I don't believe that Replicants from Blade Runner could be releated to the androids/robots from Aliens because the Replicants were physically indistinguishable from humans (that is why they had to use psych tests to discover them). As we have seen from the Alien movies, the androids/robots are clearly different. If you want to have the universes merge, then maybe the story could be that the androids/robots were developed because the Replicants didn't work out, but I don't believe that it makes sense to suggest that Replicants developed into the androids/robots of the Aliens series. Sorry, the assertion just doesn't seem plausible to me.
3. KJ
I think that there will likely be shared themes relating to whether androids are actually conscious sentient beings that should be treated as individuals equivalent to humans. There is also the possibility of the mirroring of relations/questions of androids with humans to that of humans with their possible alien creators in "Prometheus". I don't expect an explicit anything explicit such as Tyrell Corporation became part of Weyland Industries or that replicants are early models of the David androids. The corporate timeline on the WeylandIndustries site would be counter indicative of such direct ties between the universe of "Blade Runner" and that of "Prometheus". FTL travel and extra-solar colonization occurs much later in the "Prometheus" universe than in that of "Blade Runner". You could argue that the viral site may not really be official with respect to the movie though.
Walker White
4. Walker
Uh, this is not fanfic. It is a commercially produced movie. Which means that if you use IP that is not in the public domain, then you have to pay for it. No one in their right mind is going to make the Phillip K. Dick estate automatically privy to all future royalties from the Aliens franchise.

Homage, maybe. Merging, no.
Joe Vondracek
5. joev
And if it did happen, then the continuity of Prometheus could certainly build up to a new version of Blade Runner.
I certainly hope that you don't mean a remake of Blade Runner. I would hate to see that happen. As you noted above, one of the key elements of Blade Runner is Roy Batty's "death poem", which Rutger Hauer synthesized from a lengthier monologue in the script, adding the"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain" part. No one in the cast or crew heard those words until he spoke them during the filming of that scene.

In a remake, either another actor would be spouting those same lines, or they'd change it so that they weren't part of the film at all. Either possibility sickens me.
6. PrometheusFan

Do a little research people.

The two worlds are already shared.

The Fuel systems and type used both for the Cars in BLADE RUNNER and the Nostromo in ALIEN is made by the same company.

See link for the screenshots from each film that prove it.


Above and beyond this, Ridley Scott has ALREADY STATED in an interview that Fassbender's android David has more in common with the replicants in BLADERUNNER than he does with the future androids like Kane and Bishop fro ALIEN and ALIENS respectively, since he is such an early model.
7. Friday
Well, replicants were biological creations - deliberately made with limited lifespans.
This created psychological problems for them, leading to the need to 'retire' any who came to Earth seeking a connection with their humanity.
This was all the advent of the Tyrell Corporation in the early 21st century.

But by the endof Blade Runner, Tyrell was dead, and the company could have died with him. The whole Replicant program could have been written off as being too problematic. Weyland Corp could have followed on after this with a new concept - fully Synthetic people.

Technology. New tech supercedes old tech. Replicants give way to Robots. Such is the way of the world...
8. Nabla
I noticed a few interesting connections: in Blade Runner when chasing Deckard towards the end of the mevie, Batty howls like a wolf or dog. Similarly in Prometheus one of the characters howls in a similar way when he releases his probes. The other connection is, or course, the "mother" "father" statements from the androids when they address their creator (who happens to be an old CEO type as in Blade Runner).

These are just two intial things that struck me, and I suddenly started thinking of Blade Runner connections even more than Alien. I also thought the captain and Vickers little sexual tension scene was interesting, when the captain asked "are you a robot?", that short scene had a slight feel of Deckard and Rachael. Perhaps there are other connections anyone can make?
9. scratchresistor
This kinda seals it! The Prometheus steelbook bluray has a fictional memo from Peter Weyland: http://i.imgur.com/tEKt5.jpeg

"A mentor and long-departed competitor once told me that it was timeto put away childish things and abandon my "toys." He encouraged me to come work for him and together we would take over the world and become the new Gods. That's how he ran his corporation, like a God on top of a pyramid overlooking a city of angels. Of course, he chose to replicate the power of creation in an unoriginal way, by simply copying God. And look how that turned out for the poor bastard. Literally blew up in the old man's face. I always suggested he stick with simple robotics instead of those genetic abominations he enslaved and sold off-world, although his idea to implant them with false memories was, well..."amusing," is how I would put it politely. Fortunately, I chose a different trajectory, employing innovation and ingenuity when launching the weyland Robotics Division. Even our earliest synthetics displayed tremendous intelligence, intuition and compatibility despite their admittedly unconvincing exterior. But now, several..."

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment