May 3 2012 3:00pm

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.”

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.

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 He is known as the Ripley of his small basketball team.

1. dav
I agree with almost everything and I like the idea of the Space Jockey race still being alive in this film. There's no way you can include the Space Jockey ship and it not connect in some way to Alien. I'm getting excited for the directions it could end up going, but am still somewhat cautious that it could not ruin, but alter my perceptions of the other films in the timeline. It won't change how I feel about them individually, but it could have a negative effect on how I preceive the entire mythology.
Rich Bennett
2. Neuralnet
cool to watch the two trailers together. you can really see that the two ships are identical (2:06 in new trailer, 0:52 in Alien trailer)

lots of great questions in this post. really makes you wonder how much the computer/Ash knew when the Nostromo found the alien planet (and was that even an accident or was it on purpose).
3. FuckingSpock
I agree with Neuralnet. Those 2 shots are proof positive.

To speak to Ryan's guesses on the meaning of the name "Prometheus", I think space travel is the fire and the xenomorphs are Zeus's punishment.
4. JoeNotCharles
My prediction is that this is not an Alien prequel, but essentially a remake. Or a prequel/sequel to an alternate version of Alien.

I figure that Scott originally intended to make a prequel, but some part of the story he wanted to tell contradicted the existing Alien movies, and rather than try and shoehorn them together he decided to embrace the differences. (The sucess of the recent Star Trek movie would certainly help this concept.)

That would explain why this is so clearly an Alien movie, and yet he claims it "isn't really".
Mordicai Knode
5. mordicai
I feel like the "aliens" are probably blobs of nothing, seeking out genetic material to define themselves, like the Invid of Robotech, evolving to suit their new homeworld...ours.
Angus McIntyre
6. angusm
It would be ironic if the reason that the critters in the "Alien" series were able to have a lifecycle that involved human hosts was because of prior exposure to the crew of "Prometheus". The aliens encountered by Ripley and friends might turn out to be bio-weapons that were 'tailored' specifically to use humans as hosts (and food): a little easier to believe than the idea of a xenomorph that can adapt to any species that it encounters, wherever it comes from in the galaxy and whatever its biochemical makeup.
Ryan Britt
7. ryancbritt
I like the idea of the xenomorphs being Zeus's punishment. Nice.
I've been thinking that too, this is maybe an alternate dimension of what happened in Alien.
8. Earl Rogers
Empire magazine confirmed that the "Space Jockey" outfit is indeed a suit in their recent article about their set visit. Apparently, they got to see what "he" really looks like.
9. Boo Radley
All of this is incredibly old news, the Teaser for Promethues mirrors the Alien trailer almost exactly in imagery and length, as well as the fact that it contains an image of a xenomorph. All of the released trailers have had the scream. Ridley has gone on to state in later interviews that he doesn't consider this a prequel as the story of this movie doesn't lead directly into Alien and has it's own story to tell, however he has also stated that it does take place BEFORE Alien and in the same universe. So.. not a reboot or an alternate dimensional fringey timey whimey thing.
10. Rangel
I believe it's a prequel to Alien.

In the trailer it's shown that some scripts left by ancient gods led them to this planet. In AVP 1, the Predators are portrayed as gods to the ancient civilizations.

So, following the trailer's logic, and keeping the Aliens series closed, it's possible that the Predators (ancient gods) had developed the Xenomorphs using Human DNA combined with the Critters found in this planet.

Then, somewhen between AVP 2 and Prometheus, the Xenomorphs went extinct, and this mission is in fact a "sacrifice goat", led by Weyland-Yutani, to resurrect the Xenomorph species.
11. Duncan Long
It appears to me that one possiblel plot line would be that on earth acheologists find evidence that an alien group seeded Earth with life (or culture), leaving behind the clues that would allow mankind to find their creators once space travel became possible for human beings. The explorers from Earth leave thinking they'll be welcomed by their makers, but instead discover that the whole thing is a trap.

The aliens, rather than waiting with open arms, have created an "early warning system" that tells the aliens when human beings have reached the point where they might become dangerous competitors in the universe -- and therefore need to wiped out.

To keep the human explorers from returning to Earth to warn mankind of a coming invasion, the aliens have left behind biological traps designed to kill the visitors from Earth.

Yes, I'm just guessing. But this pretty much fits all the scenes in the trailer.
12. Ripley Connor
The trailers are ridiculously similar. I wish the music was different at least. I am excited because my Dad's college buddy plays David the android. My dad are terminators. My mom is part alien and part human, so I'll be looking at Prometheus very closely!
13. Stin
there is a long going quarrel between the fantastic H.R. Giger and Ridley Scott that is the reason why this has happened! Giger is the father of all Alien creatures and as long as he is kept out of the production, I refuse to compare the two movies!
14. scorpionking0102
Looks definately like a prequel based on how the creatures inqubate in their host and the look. of course they evolve over time into the Alien present. Look at the last Alien vs Predator movie with the dead Predator lying out on the bow of their ship. Please don't tell me there won't be another sequel to that last movie with a "hybrid" of the two. Also their ship looks similar to the one in Alien. We will find that this is how Alien all started. Like the last "Star Wars" movie going back to the beginning.

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