Prometheus Should Have Been The Best Alien Movie, But Damon Lindelof Ruined It

Is it better than the final film we got?

By David Wharton | Published

alien Prometheus

When Prometheus hit the big screen back in 2012, there were legions of Alien fans waiting anxiously for a return to that universe. Even all these years later some are calling it brilliant. Some are still convinced it’s an abomination cluttered with gaping logic holes.

And many seem to fall into the same camp as us: admiring what the film was trying to do, but bewildered by the characters doing one stupid, illogical thing after another.

There’s no question that these problems should have been addressed in the script stage by both director Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof (Lost), whose draft was used for the final film and who shared screenwriter credit with Jon Spaihts.

But what many don’t know is that an earlier draft of the movie that became Prometheus popped up briefly online and it gave us an intriguing look at a different path the film could have taken.

The script originally appeared on Prometheus Movie (it was taken down due to copyright rules) but was confirmed as genuine by screenwriter Jon Spaihts via Twitter.

Jon Spaihts penned the original Prometheus script and it was called Alien: Engineers

You had to read quickly at the time, because of the swift removal, but enough eyes got on it to flesh out what Spaihts was doing with this in the first go-around.

So, what did Prometheus look like before Lindelof got involved? Spaihts penned the pre-Lindelof version of the script, and it was Spaihts’ draft that really helped get the project rolling.

Then called Alien: Engineers, Spaihts’ script featured a Prometheus that was much more directly connected to the Alien franchise, rather than the “spiritual predecessor” that eventually made it to screen.

Among plot points in the original script, we were going to see the initial expedition to find the Engineers taking place underwater at an obelisk site in the Mediterranean, not on the Isle of Skye. That’s where they found the map coordinates to find the Engineers.

The black goo wasn’t going to play a role, but rather a swarm of insect-like creatures called “scarabs” that attacked and ate the Engineers. And the Prometheus ship was set to travel to the moon LV-426 which you would recognize from the original Alien film. Instead they traveled to LV-223 with all of its statues and research stations.

Alien: Engineers was meant to be more a straight prequel for the Alien franchise

The biggest overarching feature of the original Prometheus script was that it was set to be a more direct prequel to the Alien franchise rather than a loosely connected series of events that give some (but not tons) of background on what we would see “later”.

In the end, Prometheus was fine for what it was, though there was definitely a missed opportunity here as part of the overall Alien franchise arc. It should have just been a straight prequel setting up the rest of the Ripley story. But Lindelof went a bit astray, and we were left with an Engineer ripping Michael Fassbender’s bead off.