Recently, I ran across a video showing rare footage of HR Giger painting a prop of Brett in a cocoon. The description of the video made it sound gruesome in terms of the cocoon being more hideous. Turns out it was the same cocoon from HR Giger’s Alien book.
With my HBOMax about to expire and Alien soon to be taken off their list, I decided to watch (or listen actually) to Alien the Directors cut one more time tonight. While I love the movie overall, I’ve been both mystified and ambivalent towards the cocoon/egg scene that’s included in the Director’s Cut. It’s a scene that I’ve examined for years and in recent times have started to hate it more and more but for my own reasons.
If there’s a movie that has the most controversial deleted scene in the history of cinema, it’s possibly Alien with the cocoon lair. What makes the scene controversial is that it resolves a major missing piece in the puzzle of the alien biology that only hardcore fans have cared about. At the same time, without it, James Cameron was able to produce a follow up movie that expanded upon the creature’s life cycle by introducing the concept of a hive queen. Nevertheless, in having two distinct situations, the canon of the alien has split into at least two camps.
Right now, most of the Alien series has been gathered over on HBO and up for a bit in preparation for Alien: Covenant. I had been re-watching the original Alien movie and tonight I finally got to see Alien: Covenant in it’s entirety. Ridley Scott have you gone senile?
Just saw the Alien: Covenant trailer and thus far I’m already disappointed. Not going to lie nor hold back how I feel. Obviously, this isn’t the whole movie but with trailers these days, you hardly have room to second guess what comes next.
Last night I decided to re-watch Prometheus. I enjoy having a decent movie in the background while doing something once in a while. Prometheus is a great background movie because the movie is good and there’s some great scenes that I enjoy watching. So how does it stack up versus my initial few times watching?
One question I’m hoping that will be answered is if we’ll see more insight into the aliens in the upcoming Prometheus 2 sequel. I’ve already provided my say into this manner in my own script (which I won’t talk about here) but for future writers (in case I don’t get the job…which I doubt regardless), I’m hoping that they’ll at least delve into more of the aliens background.
Of course, we have a pretty decent understanding behind the lifecycle. We’ve seen tidbits here and there that explain how they evolve. What isn’t certain is where they come from or their composition. Thus far, we can only assume that the engineers possibly had manufactured them or figured out a way to manipulate them. The two murals in the ampule room allude to the aliens, possibly even being tamed as well as their lifecycle. But everything else still is a mystery.
Something I thought about is the connection between the black substance, eggs and the aliens’ ability to reproduce. Many fans tend to favor James Cameron’s interpretation of events, but we can’t ignore Dan O’Bannon and Ridley Scott’s original vision. And while Cameron’s interpretation might make more sense, the eerie mechanism that the original script wanted makes the aliens even more fearsome. Despite even that and what we see in the Director’s Cut, we still have no clue as to the specifics of how the alien eggs are produced in the context of the Ridley Scott version.
The problem with the Ridley Scott version in the director’s cut is that much of the scene is left to your imagination. The idea of being cocooned and evolving into an egg is quite horrorific, which is why Scott probably didn’t go into any depth at the time. With the Prometheus movie, new possibilities for explaining the egg hatchery scene manifest. Up until now, we simply have assumed that the hatchery was created through the slime of the creature. But those details themselves lead me to have more questions. For instance, when Dallas is hunting the alien in the shaft and uncovers the goo by accidentally laying his hand on it, why doesn’t he react (outside of disgust)? Shouldn’t the chemicals from the alien’s slime cause some sort of biological repercussions on Dallas?
I’ve read some theories on how the alien’s tube-like structure on its back have something to do with the construction of the nest. Main thing for me is that we’re all left guessing but it’s something that has never been discussed in the movies. I recall one comic showing the aliens building the nest, but I give very little credit to the comics as the writing tended to be close to repulsive.
One theory I had that connects Prometheus, the black substance, the urns and the eggs together involves a cut scene from Alien. In the original Alien, Brett was supposed to be stabbed by the alien’s tail. The shot used ended up becoming what fans have called “Lambert’s rape scene”, although everyone who has read interviews realize that the scene was really Brett’s legs being shot. The thing is that the Alien’s tail acted like a stinger. In the Alan Dean Foster novelization of Aliens, Gormon was originally stung by an alien in the APC escape scene. Considering that Alan Dean Foster wrote the novels for both Alien and Aliens movies, he probably had some of the better insight as to the mechanics for these movies before they hit the cutting board (and thus having more credibility with me compared to the crappy comic books).
So this stinger possibly could act as a mechanism for impregnating victims or perhaps “injecting the DNA/black substance” so that the victims eventually would grow a facehugger type of creature within them. Consider how Holloway used his, uh, “stinger” in Shaw, impregnating her after he was infected by the black substance and the trilobyte/”Cuddles” creature ended up evolving from Shaw. Also, consider Holloway’s genetic decomposing and his features. His body essentially was breaking up but appearing “rocky” or maybe moving towards something that resembled an egg-like form.
When we look back at Brett and how he was morphing into an egg, you have to really wonder how biologically things worked. We never really see how the alien turns one into an egg and it’s such a curious issue. But the black substance offers a very plausible scenario.
Well, you probably are wondering why someone like me is so obsessed. It’s just one of these questions in a piece of work that I love and have been fascinated with for so many years that never has been properly answered. The answers that have been shown more or less were unsatisfactory and hacky at best. So seeing Ridley Scott himself respond to this question would make my life feel more complete.
As I continue to work on my outline for Prometheus 2, one question hit me today: why did Ridley Scott re-release the controversial egg scene in theaters (i.e. the Director’s Cut)? I ask this because the film was continuously re-released on DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. I felt that all the re-releases were satisfying enough for hardcore fans. But back when Alien’s Director Cut was shown to the theaters, despite it being limited release (from what I remember), it was a really odd thing to do considering the movie is over three decades old.
But since Prometheus came out, I thought perhaps Scott did it to generate some excitement ahead of time for what people had assumed would become the prequel to Alien. Yet re-releasing the Director’s Cut to theaters on a global scale was such an odd move.
In seeing what happened in Prometheus, we can see some connections with Alien but no direct links. So outside of generating some enthusiasm back for the series, I’m wondering if showing Alien to the world, especially with the egg scene, Ridley Scott attempted to hint at something bigger? While Ridley Scott did acknowledge his respect for the introduction of the Queen Alien in James Cameron’s Aliens, I feel that Ridley Scott might have disagreed about the general direction of the Alien series in general and wanted to show the world what really was going on.
More importantly though, I feel that by showing the Director’s Cut on a global scale, Ridley Scott was intentionally preparing us for the story he wanted to tell in Prometheus. I feel that the Alien franchise in general has gone in the wrong direction, especially the way Dan O’Bannon originally envisioned the lifecycle of the Alien. Cameron’s Aliens entailed his fixation on technology, family and war so the alien lifecycle itself was a consequence but not the primary focus. Ridley Scott, as the original director for the series, seemed to want to put his foot down and tell people (especially those who argue for canon vs non-canon) about the actual lifecycle of the alien.
This is important because Prometheus partly delves into the questions on the origins of life as well as topics like genetic engineering. These are far more compelling subjects compared to inane hack jobs Hollywood have been putting out all these years. By showing the egg scene to a global audience, Ridley Scott essentially re-opened the path for the alien lifecycle and these heavier topics that aren’t just some unjustified goofy scare mechanism some fanboy put together in 20 minutes.
Of course, we still lack answers and want to figure out the connection between Prometheus, the engineers, humans, Alien and LV-426. But this was his way of telling people that his vision is canon and return control back where it belongs.
As I try to get back into writing the script for Prometheus 2, I find myself struggling to connect what I’m doing back to the original movie. There were numerous questions left in the movie that many people want answered. I covered some speculation in a previous blog, but I think one of the biggest unanswered questions that I didn’t spend enough time on, which probably is a critical element to a Prometheus 2 script is delving into the Ampule Room and what it represents
First, let’s enumerate the important aspects of the Ampule Room:
- Urns containing the black substance that reacted once the door was opened and the crew entered
- Giant human-like head that possibly could be connected to the engineers as a deity (with the only hint by a brief reference from Milburn just prior to the hammerpede assault)
- Murals on the ceiling that depicted a possible engineer subjugating a dog/bird-like creature (domination of life?) that react once the door was opened and the crew entered
- Hammerpedes (or worms just prior to their transformation)
- David speaking aloud about the black substance yet the crew not noticing until they were searching for Milburn and Fifield
- The possible Alien Queen mural that Holloway spotted which detects the lifecycle of the alien
- The head of the decapitated engineer
- A room that is configured in appearance similar to the cargo hold of the ship found on LV-426
- An emerald urn-like object that Holloway discovers sitting on what could be a ceremonial mound
What’s going on in these elements? How do they relate to each other? Is there also a relationship to Alien/LV-426?
It seems that people have spent the most time in discussing the black substance. There are both symbolic and literal (scientific) theories on what it represents. So I want to avoid talking about it, especially since I discussed the ideas in a previous blog post.
Now, one of the more interesting elements that I have not explored much is the giant human-like head. The only time we get an explicit hint in the movie is when Milburn wonders aloud if the head was a god figure for the engineers. I feel that it’s the exact question the audience must be wondering when they first see it. Considering that many movie posters show that head along with the title of “Prometheus”, you can even say that we naturally will connect that figure to the Greek god of Prometheus. After all, why create a room like this with all these urns and construct such a huge figure with just the head?
I read some interesting exposition on the symbolic relevance of the head and how the chamber itself is made in conjunction to Satan’s resting place. As many themes in the film involve God, the origin of life and religion, it wouldn’t surprise me to see how this can be connected to Satan.
Unfortunately, I think if we made too overt of a connect to God, then there would be a lot of uprisings and controversy. This idea is similar to how Ridley did not want to directly link the engineers to Jesus, but just laid out a subtle possibility in his universe.
Yet the head can serve in a similar vein of talking about the arrogance of species in erecting their own images of themselves. One discussion linked the head as the original engineer of the species that perhaps gave himself a god-like status by engendering the statue. I want to transition to ceiling mural with the engineer and the odd creature because I do think there’s a possible connection.
The full image of the mural shows an engineer with a bizarre creature:
The creature though foreign to us might simply represent a random alien on another planet or something that the engineers themselves had manufactured. What it actually is for this purpose is irrelevant (people have suggested that it represents the eagle that tore at Prometheus’ crimes, but I want to avoid that discussion here). But the important thing to me is the posture of the creature in relation to the engineer depicted. I believe that the engineer is shown domineering the creature, once again showing the prowess of the engineers over life. As I mentioned about the head, the engineers (or perhaps the head itself) exist to dominate life. Or perhaps the head/god creature is shown for that purpose and the room is essentially a tribute to this engineer, almost like a temple.
Now, one of the curious aspects of the mural itself is that it reacts and changes. We do not see the complete transformation except that it seems to be erasing itself. Shaw infers that the crew themselves are creating the reaction (which might be true considering that the ampules also react to their presence). One interpretation I have is that the mural is the original story of Prometheus except that Prometheus this time managed to conquer the eagle. The crews appearance disrupts the story thus causing the change and it’s something we need to keep watching to find out.
The hammerpedes/worms are a truly bizarre interjection in the room. The main question for me is why things started to change when the crew entered yet remained dormant with these creatures present? Despite the connection to Satan’s tomb that the Ampule Room has, this element is not easily explainable. Some people have connected the hammerpedes to snakes/cobras which in turn are linked to the Garden of Eden. Obviously, their upgraded form is violent but the fact that they are “upgradable” at all yet cannot inherently affect the urns shows a disconnect. The only possible explanation is that humans possess a key in their DNA that allow the urns to react but the substance itself has the ability to convert any being with a true life pulse.
I did mention how David was the only person who originally noticed the black substance leaking. Everyone else was preoccupied with the engineer’s decapitated head or the alien mural. My guess is that from a plot point of view Ridley did not want the crew to be forewarned about the substance early on since it would affect Fifield. Still it’s strange that no one observed this event at all.
I already discussed most of the alien mural and how it depicted the lifecycle of the alien. One thing I did read while researching the murals is the possibility that this alien was bound rather than Prometheus in a bizarre role reversal. When you look closely at the alien, it appears that the arms of the creature are bound. Again, we have to ask whether or not the engineers managed to either manufacture these creatures and/or dominate them. Also, something to think about is why this mural did not change from Holloway’s proximity.
Next, we have the decapitated engineer’s head. Although it’s obvious what the head is, it isn’t as obvious as to what it represents. My concern in bringing this up is that we have two symbols in the form of heads in the room. Only David makes a remark in the room about the giant head being human-like. But this could just be a subtle foreshadowing that connects the decapitated head to the engineer’s head and what it could look like once the helmet is removed. Beyond that, I don’t have any other interpretations at this time as to why the head symbol is involved.
After that, I want to talk a bit about the configuration of the room being similar to the egg silo in Alien. When you remove things like the murals, giant head, etc., the room practically is the same as the egg chamber in Alien. In addition, David, towards the end of the film, reveals that there are more ships on the planet, which allows Shaw and David to escape. These elements make me suspect that the ship’s cargo hold eventually leads to what becomes the egg silos, perhaps even the one from LV-426. If there is a connection to the Alien movie down the road, it’s the potential for the population of the egg silo.
One idea I’ve been toying with is how the genetics for the hammerpede might intermingle with say an engineer or human, which results in the alien egg and facehugger. The aliens themselves, in Scott’s original vision, represent the age old question, “What came first, the alien or the egg?” I feel that at least with regards to the alien creatures themselves as we see them, the intermixing of the black substance, hammerpedes, humans/engineers eventually result in the alien species. I don’t really want to be re-introduced to the hammerpedes, but it would make some sense on that level if we wanted to connect them, the triolobytes and the ampules back to the original series.
The last little bit in the room to discuss is the emerald object. We do not receive a very clear visual of what that emerald object is. The only thing we can see is that it’s oblong and has something inside possibly. The crystal also isn’t fully manifested and seems half covered with only the underside being exposed.
The only two things we can conjecture about this is the shape and a similar object stored inside the ampule that David removes. The ampule that David removes contains a slender vase-like container, almost bottle shaped with the black liquid. While the appearance of this object isn’t exactly the same as the bottle found inside of the ampule, one has to question if there is a connection.
The thing about this object is that it’s larger, greener and more avoid than the bottle. The shape being ovoid is closer to that of an egg. Naturally, one must link this to both the eggs and the ampule container. Perhaps, this thing is an evolved version of the object inside of the ampule. Perhaps, this thing may evolve into an alien egg. Why else is it placed ceremoniously in front of the alien mural in something could possibly be an altar?
Also, Holloway mutters that the room itself is just a tomb. But beyond the head of the engineer, what other bodies are inside of the room to make him utter such a firm statement? Or is his remark just about the entire ship? For me, the room could just be a foreshadowing of what’s to come with everything setup to eventually act as an entombment for trespassers or the engineers’ enemies should they decide to invade a place like earth.
Again to me all these elements represent things that need to answered and is something I wanted to ask out loud. My last question is a small segue but goes into something I missed earlier that does not have any direct relevance to the Ampule Room. It’s how Fifield, upon dying, does not spew acid. Of course, he’s burned to death, but I imagine that his blood could possibly drip from the injuries of the bullets the security guards’ weapons. I find this to be a critical point because we do see the hammerpede as the only creature with acid for blood that was affected by the black substance. However, Fifield does not exhibit the same condition. I doubt that Ridley Scott is such a sloppy director to leave such a critical element out of the film.
The reason why I wanted to bring this point up is that again I feel that the hammerpede creatures somehow intermingle with the DNA of humans or whatever to create the acidic aliens. I think this is something that will eventually be addressed (or should be addressed) in the upcoming movie. I don’t think the black substance alone changes the blood of any species that touch it into acid, but that species who are infected by it are enhanced somehow. But I feel that acid for blood is not going to be one property.
Anyway, glad to have put these thoughts down. It’s going to help me organize the story I’m writing a lot better.
I still haven’t seen Prometheus but I’ve done a lot of reading and checking of clips to get a better understanding of one of my favorite movie verticals of all time. Many people have mentioned that the movie leaves viewers with more questions than it answers. As a result, there’s plenty of debates in terms of both the science and analytical readings of the movie. My blog here will attempt to address a little of both.
I think the biggest question in the movie seems to be what are the purpose of the engineers with their black goo. Much of the focus revolves around the mystery of the black goo and its functionality. The inconsistency of the black goo seems to confound people as people have a tendency to examine life with a linear mind set. But we have to look at a larger scale in understanding what that all serves.
The idea of using the engineers as a stepping stone to perhaps launch into Alien is one of Ridley Scott’s motivations behind the movie in revisiting the Alien universe. He simply asked the question, “Who is that guy in the chair?” However, both he and the main writer of the story need to provide an emotional motivation to get hardcore fans and others alike deeper into the movie. Hence, the linking of the engineers to a well established mythology (Prometheus) and the very essence of God itself.
Considering the growing debate of UFOs, encounters with aliens and even the appearance of aliens in the past 20 years or so, the appearance of these engineers coincide with the whole cultural phenomenon of extraterrestrial life. In the original script even, there is a rape scene (of sorts) of Elizabeth Shaw where she experiences what many UFO victims might describe as some sort of alien science experiment. Considering that she is sterile, this original scene as well as the trilobyte birth scene are keys to understanding a greater scope of what Scott and the writer are attempting to accomplish here.
That goal, imo, is attempting to ask or even answer some fundamental questions about our own existence: where did we come from? The subtle hints that Scott lays out in the film such as the fertilization of an assumed Earth by an engineer’s sacrifice at the beginning of the film, the genetic transformational powers provided through the black goo and the engendering of life where it once was not possible all allude to the engineers as a type of god-like species. In the original script, you can even see her own psychic debate with an engineer where she announces, “Not MY God.”
However, since the original script was thrashed in favor of what we see on screen, we need to take that route in order to still answer what the engineers’ purpose is in the movie. After all, if, indeed, an engineer at the beginning of the movie had sacrificed itself to create us, why would at the end of the movie another engineer attempt to supposedly destroy our species? This notion seems completely counter-intuitive, unless you accept Charlie Halloway’s overly simplified explanation that our Makers created us because, “they could” (I want to deny this explanation as the real one because Halloway’s character is the prototypical Alpha Male Jersey Shore Idiot type; so his reading of the situation has as much depth as an empty swimming pool).
Before getting into the Prometheus mythology, I want to delve more into the artifacts that the movie sets up. For instance, the engineer graveyard scene and hologram scene where the engineers are apparently running away from something. Naturally, the biggest question derived from that scene is “running away from what?”
Our only clues in answering that question given from the movie’s visual details are the trilobyte, the hammerpedes and the deacon alien at the end. With the exception of the deacon alien, the other two xenomorphs were not in the original script. I believe those were added to provide continuity with the Alien universe. The deacon itself, in fact, was probably modified visually to support the other alien movies, which eventually established the convention of the aliens assuming partly the DNA of their hosts.
But let’s attempt to take the three and isolate them as candidates in what the engineers were running away from. The trilobyte (aka Cuddles) is, imo, just an artifact to re-establish the convention of facehuggers in the movie. I do think there are other reasons for its existence, but I will delve into that aspect later.
The hammerpedes, I believe, were simply the results of accidentally intermingling with the black goo substance. If anything there is a resemblance to the tail aspects of the original facehugger in the strength and ability to coil around a victim. Also, the obvious deep throat reference. However, the movie does not provide additional clues to whether or not entering and remaining in a victim’s throat enact further impregnation. Just from a directional point of view, it seems that their real purpose is to scare people in the theater. But again, the question here is whether or not the engineers themselves are running away from this type of being and I think clearly the answer is no.
The deacon is perhaps the one thing that provides a possible answer. We see one mural where an alien-like creature is shown in a sort of odd pose. The pose possibly is something of worship by the engineers. However, if you examine the mural closely, you will see that there are other visual clues that might indicate that this is the result of the biological process from the facehuggers. In fact, someone posted a comparison of HR Giger’s painting of the temple scene that was supposed to be included in the original Alien movie. It seemed to be repurposed here.
More than likely the deacon/”adult” alien form is what the engineers are running from. If that is the case, the obvious follow up question is: why? Outside of the sheer terror that we know these aliens can possess, why would sophisticated engineers run from such a thing? Why not use a weapon or do something to destroy this creature? And why is it that Shaw is able to discover a decapitated head from an engineer? Why would a xenomorph do such a thing? Then how can we go from that aspect back to the fundamental question that Scott poses, which is how we came about?
Again, this is what makes the film interesting because of these questions that come to be. One internet writer analyzed the movie from a partly Biblical reading. He examined the film using some dates to create a few possible explanations. First, there is a connection to Christmas when the astronauts of Prometheus wake up. The year when they wake up runs close to the time Jesus Christ was persecuted. As a result, the writer suggests that the engineers provided a version of themselves (i.e. Jesus Christ) to us lowly, stupid, primitive humans in attempt to educate us to a higher being. Our brutal execution of Jesus Christ more than likely pissed the engineers off into writing us off.
Along those lines the writer talks about the dichotomy of creators (i.e. the engineers) and the destroyers (i.e. the xenomorph). Going back to the UFO/alien phenomenon/fascination in the past 20+ years, there is no question that there is a parallel as I established between the appearance of engineers and the UFO/aliens we establish in our culture. But let’s further examine the appearance of these engineers. Their physical nature is flawless with their muscles and more than likely their intelligence is equal. However, their size exceeds our own and they are pure white. These attributes can depict them as gods to the primitive human mind.
But those are details leading into establishing the xenomorph’s role as the destroyers or a satanic-like figure, at least from the writer’s point of view. I argue though that the xenomorph might not necessarily be THE destroyer. If not, then there’s definitely something more to them than the raw, biological violence that it manifests.
What I want to argue for is that the real destroyers possibly are the engineers themselves. Or perhaps not all of them. Or perhaps that their race is not unlike our own in that you have very complex groups vying against each other for control. Is it possible that the character Weyland is just another version of someone in their society? Someone who had a god-complex and wanted to go beyond their limits in sacrificing those around them for himself rather than sacrificing himself for those around him? It’s possible that the engineer who communicated with David saw parallel’s in Weyland’s selfishness, which destroyed his own people/group, hence why he grew angry. It defied the sanctity of some order/ritual/rite/convention of life that is well known and results in the decadence of civilization.
So here’s where I want to bring everything together into my own thesis. The engineers are not themselves just a species but a segment of a larger species. They have a purpose just like our own engineers and that purpose is to improve the universe. However, just like ourselves, their species may not necessarily nor always have the purist of intentions. You just need one egotistical nut who believes himself above all else or deigns to become above all else to disrupt everything. My guess is that they have their own Weyland/god-like character who wanted too much power and had manipulated the engineers into misappropriating the black goo.
The black goo itself is intelligent, just like how we are programming computers to become smarter about the world around us. It is not life itself but can be repurposed depending on the intent or genetic make up of the individual. The internet writer’s article makes this suggestion as we see the black goo having varying affects on everyone (except David). If you look at some of concept art for characters like Fifield or Halloway after being affected by the black goo, you will notice that they were supposed to morph into a more xenomorph-like creature. Of course, in the case of Fifield we get a zombie and Halloway’s eventual result remains a mystery after hottie Charlize Theron turns him molten.
Yet when you examine the end results of these transformations, you see how this black goo is attempting to convert people towards a certain type of mutation. You have the hammerpedes with their facehugger-like tail and the propensity to enter into people’s mouths, the trilobyte that clearly is an upgraded (at least a bigger, scarier) version of the facehugger, biomechanical-like appearance of Halloway’s face as his condition worsens, etc. It’s as if this black goo is making everyone towards this biological creature that will become the well known alien.
We have to return to the original Alien movie to better understand what this all means. It is Ash’s character who is able to objectively describe it: “You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility…A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”
The “perfect organism”. Is it possible then what the engineers are attempting to manufacture is this “perfect organism?” Has it always been this way? Let’s examine the original alien’s lifecycle (the non-James Cameron, director’s cut version): egg -> facehugger -> victim (Kane)-> chest burster -> xenomorph -> victim (intermediate stage/Brett) -> egg. This lifecycle precludes the notion of gender. Essentially, any living orgasm can fulfill the role of becoming the host for the next stage. There is no known restriction like gender for instance. I mean, we never once saw the equivalent of a female engineer as of yet.
So let’s go back towards the engineers. There’s always been this motive of using the aliens as a bioweapon and suggestions that the engineers on LV-426 were transporting the eggs for military purposes. In Prometheus, Janek’s concludes that the planet possibly was being used as a military bunker of sorts. Shaw sees the possibility of the canisters with the goo as heading back towards earth. When the engineer lifts off the ship, we can only assume that he is going to fulfill a potential mission of eliminating humans with the black goo.
Again though we have to ask about motivations in all of this. But first we need to summarize the possible things we’ve learned. The engineers are more than likely attempting to create the perfect life form via the goo. The ones that Shaw, etc. discover are evidently hostile (at least the one they awoken…then again he could be pissed in being abruptly awoken from a wet dream). There is a military purpose behind the black goo. They will head to earth. It’s possible someone from the engineer’s species has a godlike complex. There was a battle that might’ve occurred between the engineers on the ship and a xenomorph.
I think I’ve managed to establish a lot of “what’s” but not “why’s.” So the first thing I want to attempt to answer is why were the engineers running. If, indeed, the engineers were being chased by the xenomorph, then they should have every right to book. But let’s take that a step further and ask why would a xenomorph attack the engineers is the engineers had a hand in creating it? Wouldn’t you think that the engineers were capable of controlling their own creations? Or is the case of Frankenstein (again the Prometheus reference) letting his creation get out of control?
There’s no way of knowing exactly how the xenomorph could’ve gotten loose. But it is possible that you have some corporate greedy fucker like a Carter J Burke or Weyland who unleashes the creation to cause havoc. But if you have that greedy fucker, why not deal with him directly? Or were they able to identify him earlier on? Or why would that greedy fucker attempt to screw his own people?
My thoughts on this is that the said greedy fucker may not necessarily be a single person. It could also be a major disagreement between two sides. This is where the mythology of Prometheus comes into play. In the mythology, the Gods are the ones punishing Prometheus for giving mortals fire. Perhaps, likewise the engineers, who attempted to bequeath knowledge onto primitive man, were punished by their kind, especially after humans had failed to demonstrate any noble qualities in blindly crucifying a possible engineer/alien. So it’s possible that their species punished the engineers that made the bold attempt at enlightening us.
Additionally, it’s possible that some of these engineers made an attempt to defend us. There are, after all, stories of wars just above us between aliens over us. Isn’t that the whole notion of God vs Satan? The war of our souls?
That still leaves humans as a major problem for these species. Maybe our ignoble nature has motivated part of them to set course to destroy us. But will it be an obliteration or something else? We have established that the black goo genetically can alter things. So Shaw’s oblique, “There won’t be any home to go back to” might be hyperbolic. Just not the crappy world we know now.
We can only assume that the black goo will mutate humans and other organisms much like Fifield and Halloway. Or perverting our genes in the way that Shaw suddenly was able to conceive. If the end of the genetic transformation is the perfect species, then wouldn’t we be converted into some militaristic biomechanical weapon? That seems like a very plausible explanation for our eventual usage.
It’s possible that part of the flow of life as defined by the convention of these engineers is that the creation of simple life later would be used for military purposes. So the basic growth of primitive civilizations to later be upgraded using the black goo. Yet this reading seems to interpret the engineers as being quite callous. Again we have to look back towards the works of Mary Shelley and the mythology to find deeper meaning.
I think that again the real story is that the engineers are in a conflict with themselves. You have benevolent ones interested in the creation of life. Then there are those who are fascinated by the destruction of it and the violation of the principals of life. That is the very principle of how things work. Think about the world. To achieve true balance, everyone needs to sacrifice in order to make the world a better place. But when you get certain segments of society that refuse to give up their share, the rest of the world suffers.
Then look at the reasons why technology is created. We use technology to improve our lives. That’s what most engineers want and why we want to get into a profession like that. However, like anything, engineering can be perverted and misappropriated. You have engineers who are part of that segment of society that want to work for profit (not completely unreasonable) rather than the greater good and help to create things like nuclear bombs, spying tools, etc. There is no reason to believe that other intelligent beings cannot have similar motivations.
I think the engineer that Shaw encountered might be the only real mystery. On the one hand, I do believe that the engineer was genuinely angry at Weyland’s blasphemous request at prolonging his life. Hence why the engineer violently dispatched Weyland. I think that Weyland’s selfish revelation convinced the engineer that humans were impure and needed to be dealt with. Which is why he wanted to apparently return to his mission in destroying the earth. Of course, it’s hard to say whether or not the earth would be just destroyed or if the black goo would upgrade us into nefarious biological weapons. That message conflicts in some ways with the reading that the engineer is angry at our impurity. Upgrading us for weapons obviously in itself is not exactly your most noble act in the universe.
Yet the mural from the movie might attempt to answer some of this. In the mural, we see how what looks to be an engineer is subduing a bizarre creature. Up until now, we have never seen anything like the creature, which might be partly humanoid. Is it possible that the creature is a result of the black goo? And let’s talk about the notion of subjugation. Is the engineer controlling his own Frankenstein in this mural (so to speak)?
Isn’t another reason for engineering to control the environment? If that’s the case, then we can look at the possibility for the engineers using the black goo to control life itself. Life like ourselves. We might just be puppets in this universe. If we ever were empowered to finally realize that the higher being guiding many of our lives is just an alien, then it might be dangerous for that alien species as it’s well established people do not want to be slaves. We’ve always said that knowledge == freedom. Our own awareness in this universe would empower us to move beyond the limitations and many manipulations. And it’s always possible that these aliens have their own kind on earth pulling the strings. But at that point, I think I might be taking my readings too far at least with regards to the main script.
The only thing I’ve left remaining (for myself at least) is how we link this all the way back to Alien. I think down the road we will see some sort of links back to the Alien movie in a direct sense. For one, the planet/moon that Shaw and her crew enter is LV-226, not LV-426. And the ending to the engineer, despite being in a similar environment to the one seen on LV-426, is not the same at all. If it were, he would’ve been in the chair with the chestburster hole. Instead, we’re just giving small clues as to what might be to come.
I think that the next movie (which supposedly is entitled “Paradise”) delves into the possibilities of the engineer’s home world. If anything, I believe Scott has revealed that he wanted to move away from the pure Alien universe and expand it so we start looking more at these other beings and their motivations. Still you have to wonder how you get from an LV-226 to an LV-426. There certainly are parallels between the ships. But the main difference is the fact that the cargo ship on LV-426 contained alien eggs rather than the canisters. So your immediate conclusion is a direct link from the canisters back to the eggs.
Now, die hard canon alien fans have debated for years on what is canon, most notably the director’s cut of Alien, with the scene where Brett and Dallas are discovered by Ripley mutating into eggs. While future films pretty much have favored the James Cameron interpretation of where eggs come from (a queen), I feel that Scott will stick to his and Dan O’Bannon’s original vision. We’ve already seen that the black goo has some sort of genetic mutating powers and that visually there are parallels back to the original alien universe.
However, the connection between the ship on LV-426, the egg chamber, the canister chamber and the cut scene from Alien are what I think are the most interesting parts in all of this. First let’s examine the egg chamber and canister chamber between both movies. Something remarkable about both scenes is the layout. The canisters and eggs are pretty orderly. It’s not like they appeared in some random spots haphazardly. There is a design and organization to it. So I think that the engineers placed them that way. Again, you have to think of both as “cargo”.
The reason for establishing this fact is that the eggs eventually have to come from some place and placed into that cargo bay. Prior to Prometheus, one theory was that the eggs were the prior crew members of the derelict space craft. But I cannot imagine the aliens being so orderly and meticulous. Also, compare the way the eggs in the chamber appeared to the one on the Nostromo. The cocoon chamber in the Nostromo was created in a sloppy fashion by the xenomorph. The bodies of Brett and Dallas were strung against a wall. The eggs in the derelict were neatly placed in rows. Not to mention that they are smaller than the massive engineers.
That makes me think if the engineers could be abducting life forms like us around the universe and converting them into these eggs via the xenomorphs. This easily goes hand-in-hand with the alien abduction theories out there if Scott decides to use them. Also, we don’t see more of the derelict space craft to know if there’s an experimental area.
Maybe in a future movie, we’ll see Elizabeth Shaw discovering this process. There’s a certain cheese/horror factor about it that works nicely with what we know. But if done right, it ties a lot together. I prefer the combined notion of the warring faction of engineering species because then it describes a purpose for these biological weapons. Yet I want to take things a step further to talk about the xenomorph mural.
There is a sort of worshiping pose to this image. We have managed to provide this thing with some attributes, especially the notion that it is the “perfect organism.” But we also a while back described it as a “destroyer” and connected it to Satan. Something that we have assumed in all of this is that the engineers are manufacturing these species. But why create such a hostile organism? Obviously, once it’s created it becomes somewhat self sustaining and is damn efficient.
One argument is that the warring factions of engineers might’ve established this thing as their own deity. Or perhaps that a faction broke off and that an individual wanted to become this perfect organism and misappropriated the black goo to ensure it’s indefinite lifespan. After all, the cycle of its life is continuing and evolving. Kinda like Weyland’s true motivation.
Unfortunately, the convention of the alien has gone through numerous interpretations. At one point for instance, Hudson, in the movie Aliens, describes them as just “dumb bugs.” For the Alpha Male adrenaline junky type, we can always assume that surface level readings of the world are shallow. The alien itself seems to have quite a bit of consciousness on its own. For instance, how does the hammerpede know to break Millburn’s arms, shattering his bone to penetrate through the suit, to slither inside and then come straight up to the helmet and shove itself down his throat? For something that could be a “dumb bug” that’s damn crafty.
But what if these perfect specimens are that crafty and actually are not just “dumb bugs” but something with a far more sophisticated system. How can it know to penetrate one’s mouth to impregnate someone? How can it even know what a mouth or digestive system is? The black goo might empower part of that intelligence. Still that does make these things smarter than what we’ve assumed for all these years.
Now, let’s get back to the notion of the satan/destroyer xenomorph and the dichotomy of the engineering society. Is is possible that the xenomorph is the result of a corrupt set of engineers that wanted to prolong their own lives and not follow their conventions?
I think that is something which Elizabeth Shaw will discover. The aliens/xenomorphs are what these subset of engineers believe to be the next stage of higher life forms. They are intelligent and at war with the other sect of engineers. They are also technologically primitive and depend upon being parasitic, not unlike the people at top who use the slave labor of those below to accomplish their nefarious means. So they still require things like the space ships and hosts to prolong themselves.
What I think will occur in the future movie is the connection of this and we’ll get to see where these aliens really came from, whom the makers are and possibly where alien eggs truly originate from. With regards to the last part, we only got a small glimpse of the alien egg creation in the director’s cut. But it’s a major and interesting mystery as to the biological process of converting a human (for instance) into an egg. The black goo’s effects genetically explains one part. We do see small glimpses of Halloway mutating with his skin looking infected somewhat similar to the Brett egg from the director’s cut. Then we see how Shaw, who is infertile, miraculously is able to produce a squid-like creature that evolves into Cuddles, I mean a trilobyte resembling a facehugger. I think in the future movie we’ll see these two things come together where a xenomorph is infecting either an engineer or a human with the stinger of its tail (or perhaps the inner jaws) and the engineer/human mutating into an egg.
Besides, that director’s cut scene has left equally a large number of questions especially when it was put in. And I think that’s something Ridley Scott wants to answer.