Prometheus – before and after

There was quite a bit of speculation about what form Prometheus would take be before it was finally released. Was it indeed an Alien prequel? Would it be Alien influenced, but still remain its own unique story?

Nobody was really certain, and it was definitely exciting to speculate before the film hit theaters around the country. 

Having written about screenwriting a great deal in my life, it’s always interesting to look at scripts after the fact, to see if it was better on the written page, or if what wound up on the screen was a vast improvement from what was originally written. Usually once a film is out in the world, the script is all over the ‘Net, or you can buy a copy at a memorabilia shop and check it out for yourself. 

Remember, a script can go through a ton of drafts before it finally gets made, and as Collider and Indie Wire report, a draft of the Prometheus screenplay penned by Jon Spaihts that recently leaked is indeed authentic, which supposedly went under the title of Alien: Engineers. Damon Lindelof, who was a writer on Lost and also worked on the new Star Trek script, came on to work on the Prometheus screenplay as well. (Lindelof’s version of the script was called Paradise, which I’m assuming was a code name).

As Indie Wire confirms, Spaihts was brought aboard to write a prequel to Alien. However, director Ridley Scott ultimately changed his mind about doing a direct prequel to the film. Lindelof subsequently took the next draft of the script farther away from the original Alien, and what you see is what you get with Prometheus.

As noted above, the script for Alien: Engineers leaked, and then got pulled off the ‘Net pretty quickly. So just what are some differences between the script and the finished product?

Well, those who read the script pointed out that earlier drafts had a scene underwater, traveling to a sunken city in the Mediterranean, and in the ocean they found a star map. In another version of the script, the star map was located on Mars. It was also Ridley Scott’s idea to have the spaceships crash into each other at the climax of the film, and Spaihts had to come up with a justification for having the ships spectacularly collide. The caesarean scene in the film was also Spaihts’s idea, and he feels this idea got him the screenwriting gig in the first place. 

Indeed, what excited people about the first Alien script was the chest burster scene. Like the shower scene in Psycho, it’s what perked people’s interest, and became the cornerstone of the movie. But beyond chest bursters and face huggers, what especially elevated Alien from the script, and what especially made Prometheus sparkle, is Ridley Scott’s incredible visual sense. How much of a difference the early drafts would have made to Prometheus are up for the fans to decide if they can track them down on the ‘Net fast enough.