The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Prometheus can be found here.
No. Prometheus is based on a screenplay by American screenwriters John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. It is the seventh movie in the Alien franchise, preceded by Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien³ (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), and AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem (2007). Prometheus is a prequel to the original four Alien films, and ignores the Alien vs Predator storyline. Prometheus 2 is in the early discussion stage, and no release date has been set.
In the year 2093, after discovering evidence of yet another ancient star map in a cave on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, a team of scientific explorers, led by archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), secure funding from the aging CEO of the Weyland Corporation, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), and journey on the spaceship Prometheus to the distant moon of LV-223 located 34.6 light years from Earth, hoping to find the answers to humanity's origins. What they find convinces them that they have found the answers to human life, but what they learn also could lead to its extinction.
First of all, it's the name of the spaceship in which the exploration team travels, but the name actually has its origins in Greek mythology. Prometheus, a giant Titan born of Gaia (the earth), is credited with creating the human race from clay and stealing fire from the Gods to give to the humans. For this latter transgression, he was bound to a rock in the Underworld where an eagle would come to feed on his liver. The liver would grow back, but the eagle would return each day to feast on it again. The symbolism between the Titan Prometheus and the giant Engineer is obvious.
When the project was initially greenlit, it was seen as two separate movies to be chronologically before the first Alien movie with director Ridley Scott staying on as producer. However, Fox wanted Scott in the director's chair so much that he eventually accepted under the condition that the script be heavily retooled to reflect the concepts that he wanted to explore. The result has been described as both a prequel and an original story. For instance, in an interview, Michael Fassbender confirmed that this is actually an Alien movie, taking place in the Alien universe. In July 2011, however, Scott stated in another interview that "by the end of the third act you start to realize there's a DNA of the very first Alien, but none of the subsequent [films]". The story itself takes place within the same universe albeit not directly connected to the events of Alien, which takes place 30 years later. The film was supposed to cover the origins of the Weyland-Yutani Company. It shows glimpses and links in common with Alien, including imagery inspired by, if not designed and built by, H.R. Giger (Source). Prometheus depicts the so-called "Space Jockey" in Alien as a member of an ancient race who are nicknamed "Engineers" by the Prometheus crew, and also suggests that the Engineers created the "xenomorphs" (the titular creature in the Alien films) as a biological weapon.
Including the AVP series not considered canon, AVP and AVPR take place in 2004, Prometheus in 2093, Alien in 2122, and Aliens in 2179 (57 years after Alien). Alien 3 follows Aliens, but no timeframe is given other than that it takes place not long afterwards. Alien Resurrection takes place 200 years after Alien 3, so the year in that movie is about 2380.
There had been talks of a fifth Alien movie for years, with alternating contributions from James Cameron and Ridley Scott, but neither Cameron nor Scott were supporters of the Alien/Predator crossover. Ultimately, the project was shelved when the studio opted to make the AVP movies first. After the disappointing box office from AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, however, the studio shelved the AVP series to go back to the original plans for the Alien franchise, bringing back Scott as director.
The humanoid at the beginning of the movie is an Engineer, a member of an ancient race. While standing next to the top of a waterfall, he opens a small container of a moving black liquid and consumes it, as a large spaceship departs in the skies above him. After doing so, he retches and his body begins to disintegrate. Both he and the container fall into the waterfall, where his DNA is shown being released and dispersed into the water. Viewers may conclude that the scene is meant to show an Engineer sacrificing his life to create or modify life on that planet. Whether his sacrifice was an accident or an intentional act is unknown. In an extended scene on the DVD and Blu-Ray editions, it shows another Engineer hand the container with the liquid to the one who sacrifices himself, suggesting that it might have been a ritualistic sacrifice or possibly a forced sacrifice.
There is no definite answer. It could very well be Earth in the early stages of life. However, there is no indication that it is specifically Earth. It could very well be another planet, as it is suggested that the Engineers created other life besides humans.
Shaw theorises that these paintings were meant as an invitation, a simple design that would serve as a guide once humanity reached a level at which it could comprehend its universe, possibly using LV-223 as a location to introduce themselves before allowing humans to journey further to their creators' planet. This system is not visible to the naked eye, but they might have counted on humans developing technology that allowed them to see further into space when they reached such a level. Another possibility is that the paintings were misinterpreted by Shaw. For example, they may have been a warning. If the theory that there are warring factions of Engineers is to be believed, then it could be that those responsible for creating humans drew (or inspired others to draw) the cave paintings to alert people to the potential danger of their enemies. Alternately it was a sort of threat intended to keep humans in line- "If you do not do as we say something bad will come from here". The reason why they used this method may have been to provide a means comprehensible to early primitive man- perhaps thinking that once they started to evolve they would either be smart enough to behave on their own or if they didn't would be destroyed quickly. Looking at this second interpretation draws some similarities to the beginning of Alien, where the crew of the Nostromo initially believes a signal to be a distress call only for Ripley to discover too late that it is a warning.
Most likely, he does it because Weyland told him to 'try harder.' Weyland wants to know what the fluid can do, hoping that it could have some kind of "fountain of youth" properties. David goes to Holloway and asks him how far he is willing to go to find his answers. Holloway replies he would do whatever it takes, so David takes this as an invitation to experiment with the liquid on Holloway. David probably chooses Holloway to experiment on for several reasons. First, Holloway is probably the least needed member of the crew. He brings no apparent skills or talents to the expedition. Second, Holloway has been consistently insulting and hostile to David throughout the voyage. We are told that David, as a robot, has no emotions, but his behavior throughout the voyage belies this notion.
According to the Corporate Timeline in the viral marketing website, Peter Weyland [was] born in Mumbai, India on October 1, 1990 to an Oxford-educated Professor of Comparative Mythology and a self-taught engineer. That makes him 103 years old in the film.
Prometheus and the Alien series do not acknowledge AVP as canon. But with a little unofficial speculation one can tie it all together:
Prometheus is considered by both Ridley Scott and the film's producers to be the first film in the Alien series. In this film, Peter Weyland is the founder and CEO of the Weyland Corporation. By the time of the film Aliens, Bishop is an android built by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. In Alien³ a man unnamed in the film but credited as Bishop II claims to be the man who designed the Bishop Android in his own likeness. While there has been longstanding confusion among fans whether Bishop II is telling the truth about this or if he's actually an Android himself. However Alien³'s filmmakers state in the DVD commentary that Bishop II is indeed human. The films script and subsequent novelization also assert this fact, and even give him a name; Michael Weyland. In the Alien vs Predator timeline, Charles Weyland is a character from AVP: Alien vs. Predator. He was the original founder of Weyland Corporation and supposedly Bishop (from Aliens and Alien 3) is modeled on his likeness long after his death. However, with the events of Prometheus, this has been retconned and is no longer considered canon.
Most likely, he didn't expect the interior of the ship to be as complex as it was. They had not been inside very long and he did not expect to need the map to walk in what should have been a straight line. Unfortunately, some of the tunnels looked similar, and he took a wrong turn by mistake. The reason he did not consult the map sooner was because he had no reason to believe he was going the wrong way. By the time they realized their mistake, Janek had already noticed the storm coming in, meaning that navigating them back to the entrance is out of the question as it would expose them to the dangerous storm outside. Shaw and the rest of the team didn't realize Fifield and Milburn were left behind because they both left the group long before they all decided to leave the ship.
Millburn is a biologist. The sight of the strange creature is a revolutionary discovery the likes of which scientists can only dream- a first-hand, face-to-face confrontation with a living extraterrestrial life form. At that point, he had no real reason to believe it was hostile. The only clues to the audience are in its appearance- some have noted a vaguely similar shape to a King cobra and the fact that it bears a faint but not unnoticeable resemblance to the facehuggers seen in the Alien films, but an alien having a shape somewhat reminiscent of life on Earth is not a definitive sign of its nature. If anything, it seemed just as curious of Millburn as he was of it, and he figured most likely it would either hold still or get startled and instinctively run away. In addition, Millburn might not be thinking clearly given he is under a mix of stress from being trapped in the alien spaceship and excitement over this sudden discovery.
The movie is not clear as to the relationship between the tiny larvae and the snakelike creature. There is merely a scene in which some tiny strands of what look like white larvae crawl around in the black liquid oozing from the cylinder. In another scene, 30-40 inch snakelike creatures appear to Millburn and Fifield and, in a deleted scene, they also come across some big earthworm-like creatures in the ground. In addition, it is one of these larvae that David slips into Charlie's drink. Ridney Scott has since revealed that the tiny white larvae are actually strands of alien DNA, so it's possible that alien DNA was recombining itself into new creatures or modifying biological life already present on LV-223.
According to Dr. Anil Biltoo, one of the linguists who helped create the Engineer language, David tells the Engineer "This man (referring to Weyland) is seeking more life. He believes you can give it to him." Biltoo also revealed that there was originally more of a conversation between David and the Engineer, but it was reduced to one line. This scene is available in the special features on the DVD and blu-ray.
Other structures, the same as where the Space Jockey/Engineer's ship is concealed, can been seen as they land in the Prometheus on LV-223. David also manages to interact with the ship and its navigation system, making it possible that he was able to view the location of other ships. David can also read the writing of the engineers, which may include information about the other ships.
With two minutes of oxygen remaining, Shaw makes her way back to Vickers' module and stabilizes the oxygen levels. She hears noises and finds that her aborted fetus has grown to immense size. David contacts her from the crashed alien ship and warns her to get out of the module because the Engineer is coming after her. The Engineer breaks into the module and tries to attack Shaw, but the huge fetus attacks him first, sending a tentacle down his throat. Shaw grabs her helmet and jumps out of the module. David contacts her again with the news that there are other ships and that he can navigate them. Shaw goes back to the Engineer's ship, finds David's head, but informs him that she doesn't want to go back to Earth but to where the Engineers came from. David agrees to take her. As Shaw and David take off from the planet, a warning message left by Shaw is heard. 'Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you are receiving this transmission make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There is only death here now, and I am leaving it behind. It is New Year's Day, the year of our lord 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw, the last survivor of the Prometheus, and I am still searching.' In the final scene, back in Vickers' module, an alien-like creature is seen bursting out of the Engineer's chest.
No. A minor 'crazy credit' appears at the end of the credits in the form of a full screen logo for the fictional Weyland Corporation with the date 11.10.2012 (11th October 2012). The site pops up with a new Weyland video (odd to have a date after the film's release date, but it possibly a plug for the DVD/Blu-ray release). The video has Weyland quoting more Nietzsche just before he walks on stage for the TED Talks video. It links to an interactive Weyland Industries timeline.
No, the ship in this movie was found and crashed on the planet LV-223 whereas the derelict ship in Alien was found on LV-426. Since the remains of the Engineer found in Prometheus were carbon-dated as some 2,000 years old and Dallas states that the Space Jockey found in Alien 'looks like it's been dead a long time...fossilized...looks like it's growing out of the chair,' a possible explanation is that both ships were docked on LV-223 when the initial alien outbreak took place 2,000 years earlier and that Derelict-223 didn't make it off the planet whereas Derelict-426 did but that it later crashed on LV-426 where it was found by the crew of the Nostromo. Confirmation that the ship crashed on LV-426 prior to the events in Prometheus is on the Prometheus Blu-Ray in the Peter Weyland files. It mentions that they used long range scans of the area of LV-223 and found a signal coming from LV-426, which is in the same area as LV-223. This must be the same signal the Nostromo crew picked up 30 years later. Other than Weyland, David was the only one that knew about it but was not supposed to reveal the location until "the time is right." This may be how the Nostromo crew was set up. Because of this, it wasn't until Alien that Weyland Corporation was able to send a crew to LV-426 with the Ash android to bring back the alien life form.
It's never revealed whether or not Vickers is an android. It's left ambiguous, although there are a few hints for either side. Some viewers conclude that Vickers is NOT an android and cite such evidence as (1) she is housed in a separate module with life support, (2) she had sex with Janek, (3) she has strong emotions such as anger, panic, frustration, and exhaustion, as when she displays jealousy at Weyland's remark that David is like a "son" to him and when she screams "No No No!" just before she is crushed by the falling debris, (4) the first time we see her she is doing pushpus, drenched in sweat and (5) she is seen frantically pulling on the space suit that will supply her oxygen, which androids do not require, after her bail-out of the Prometheus. Other viewers conclude that she IS an android and base it on evidence such as (1) she calls Weyland 'Father' but shows little emotion at his death, (2) the disparity between her age and his, (3) she throws David against the wall with ease, (4) the surgery-module in her escape pod only performs operations on males, suggesting that she doesn't need medical assistance (though it could be for her father, not her), and (5) androids can be programmed to act human and to eat human food, as did Ash in Alien and Call in Alien: Resurrection. Alternatively, Vickers could have been programmed in a similar manner to Rachel from Ridley Scott's other science fiction film Blade Runner- designed to pursue a particular agenda but programmed with false memories in order so that she believes she is human. Therefore, it's up to the viewer to decide.
The med-pod was not for the crew's use. It was kept in the private luxury suite/lifeboat that Meredith Vickers travelled in, and was there presumably for Peter Weyland's use alone. Vickers specifically told Shaw not to touch it and, during their conversation, it is made clear that the med-pod was very expensive and was one of only a few that were made. As Weyland was an old man with failing health, he had good reason (and the financial means) to have one onboard that was programmed solely for his use.
Technically yes. As Ridley Scott has stated in interviews, by the third act of the film, you begin to see Alien DNA (literally). After having sexual intercourse, Shaw is unwittingly impregnated with an organism by Holloway after he had been exposed to the black liquid. However, she has the fetus surgically removed from her uterus before it kills her. At first it appears to be similar to an Alien chestburster, though upon closer examination it is revealed to be rather squid-like (the filmmakers refered to this creature as the "trilobite"). At the end of the film, the trilobite has grown to around 9 feet in length/height and attacks the Engineer and sticks an ovipositor down his throat, essentially making the trilobite to be a much larger, earlier version of a facehugger. The very last scene of the film has a "xenomorph" type creature bursting from the Engineer's chest. It is extremely similar to the titular creatures from Alien films apart from a few key differences. The shape of the head looks more like a shark's fin, the creature's body is smoother instead of being skeleton-like, its mouth has rows of tiny, flat teeth (more omnivorous than carnivorous) and the inner "striking" jaw looks and works differently.
The reason is not explained in the movie and is left as the question that motivates Shaw to continue searching for the Engineers' home planet. Because of an idea proposed by Ridley Scott...that the Engineers were responsible for the creation of Jesus Christ or at least one or more individuals who in time would become the basis for the story of Jesus and ultimately Christianity...a number of theories revolve around that idea. They cite the atrocities and genocides committed in the name of Christianity as the reason that the Engineers decided to destroy humanity. That hardly sounds like a viable theory because the Engineers were already on their way to Earth with their 'gift' of alien DNA 2,000 years earlier, shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus and during a time when Christianity was still a tiny sect, known to only a few followers and practiced secretly. However, an alternative possibility would be that the Engineers created Jesus to help provide "guidance" by showing mankind what the Engineers considered to be "proper" behavior, and it was the fact that this "teacher" was ultimately crucified for "treason" that led the Engineers to conclude mankind was irredeemable. Other, nonreligious theories include: (1) that the Engineers deemed the human race a failure or even a threat and sought to undo their work or possibly start over, (2) that the Engineers created life on Earth to be used as a breeding test ground for weapons, one of which included the development of xenomorphs, (3) that the Engineers had some project they wished to accomplish but were unable to do so immediately because mankind was in the way, (4) that David misinterpreted the Engineers' mission such that they were not looking to destroy humanity at all, and (5) the Engineers simply lost interest in humanity some time after creating them and wanted to move on to other projects. Hopefully, Prometheus 2 will provide an answer to the question of why the Engineers changed their minds about humanity.
Yes, during the film's viral marketing campaign there were a couple of videos released that give some background on a couple of key players in the story. The first is the TED Talks video. Next is The David 8. Third is Quiet Eye. After the release of the film, an additional video was released, which appears to precede the TED Talks video; Thus Spoke Zarathustra
No, Fifield's body becomes mutated and reanimated, however he shouldn't be considered a zombie. When Fifield tries to cut the snake creature off of Millburn's arm, it sprays acidic blood onto his mask. This causes Fifield to stumble and fall face-first into the black goo that was on the ground. The last we see is the goo somehow adhering to Fifield's face. His body goes missing until it shows up outside the loading dock of the Prometheus. The crew go to inspect the body, seeing it in a contorted state. Fifield's body stands up, revealing a twisted, mutated head and with superhuman agility and strength it begins to kill the crew until finally being run over and torched. It can be assumed whatever the black liquid is, it's some form of chemical agent that can either manifest creatures such as the snakes, or mutate living animals into a sort of drone weapon. There is an alternate take on this scene in which Fifield's head is significantly more mutated looking very similar to an Alien. It's entirely possible this is what would have happened to Holloway if he didn't get Vickers to kill him.
Prometheus Image/Dialogue Gallery, a Prometheus image gallery with 900 screenshots along with dialogue and soundtrack highlights.
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