So after I quickly published my glowing reactionary Prometheus post, I started scouring the internet for more reactionary Prometheus posts. You know, like you do. And I found out that people had a lot of unanswered questions. Which is totally fine. It means they thought about the movie enough to form questions about it. And they’re using the internet as a free forum with which to discuss them! Everyone wins!
Some of the questions were issues I had with the movie (why was Guy Pearce cast as an old dude?), but some of the questions were things that I… thought had already been answered. Not expressly answered in the movie, per se, but answered through further analysis. So I’m going to do that, because like I said before, the internet is a free forum. And I’m kind of addicted to blogging.
(Except for the first one,) none of the answers I’m providing are “official.” I’m just a girl who loves movies sitting in front of her computer telling you all her thoughts. And if you disagree, great! Come tell me in the comments and we can discuss it!
I think it goes without saying that there are a crap ton of spoilers after the jump. So be warned!
– Why was Weyland played by Guy Pearce if they weren’t going to use young Guy Pearce in the film?
You can thank my best friend Elspeth for bringing my attention to the answer to this one. Four months ago, Guy Pearce starred in a viral video of a TED Talk set in 2023. He references the scene in Lawrence of Arabia that David watches in the beginning of the film, when everyone else is in cryonic sleep. (Which simply saved me a Google search to find out what movie David was watching, because I’m a failure at life and I have never seen Lawrence of Arabia). There are also rumors that a scene was cut in the shooting script that featured David speaking with a young Weyland (that is, Guy Pierce sans old man make-up) in his dreams, the same way he watched Shaw’s dreams.
Is the TED Talk video cool? Absolutely. Does it completely rationalize casting a young man on whom you have to spend several hours applying old-man make-up? Not… really… but it helps to know why.
– Why did David infect Dr. Holloway?
This is where I start jumping off into the realm of pure analysis, but… I think David was jealous. We know that David is capable of admiration and idolatry–he dyed his hair blonde and combed it in the style of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (fun fact: Peter O’Toole was one of the actual-old-man-actors, along with Oscar winner Christopher Plummer who I suggested could have played Weyland instead of Pearce in my last Prometheus post… before I actually knew that David was watching Lawrence of Arabia). Judging by the TED Talks viral video, where Weyland references the film, David could have been programmed to admire Lawrence of Arabia–and, consequently, the film.
But I believe David also admires, and has a weird robotic crush on, Dr. Shaw. Besides Weyland (who was giving David orders) Shaw is the only character we see David interacting with in cryonic sleep. He watched her dream–apparently more than once, since he knew how her father died, which wasn’t shown in the on-screen flashback. This was his way of learning more about her life and advancing their relationship to a more emotionally intimate state. Did it backfire? Well, yes, but I’m sure David had a different outcome in mind.
It’s unclear whether David a) knew that Shaw and Holloway would have sex after he infected Holloway–though it’s not entirely unexpected that he would assume that they would have sex eventually–or b) that Shaw would become pregnant with a creepy alien baby. I do think, however, that David was jealous of Holloway for being Shaw’s confidant, friend and lover. And let’s be honest: Holloway made absolutely no effort to befriend David, but Shaw did. Up until David started acting strange and opening up doors in the pyramid, Shaw seemed totally willing to make friends with David, but Holloway treated him like a lower life-form. Coming from an archaeologist who is searching for the higher life-forms who created him… that’s kind of a dick move.
Plus, David is the only character who can actually read the Engineer’s language. Maybe there were warnings (or instructions) written on the wall. Perhaps David knew exactly what he was getting into with Holloway and Shaw, and decided to use Shaw as an experimental vessel to bring the squid creature into the world. (However it’s entirely possible I’ve been watching too much Angel)
– If the Engineers created life on Earth, why are there other life forms besides humans? And why are there 2.5 million years of dinosaurs and other creatures before the emergence of humans?
Because the Engineers didn’t create “life on Earth,” they created sentient life on Earth. Their DNA was a match for humans–not giraffes or triceratops or antelope… humans. Which means only humans evolved from the DNA of the Engineers. I don’t know whether the mythos of Prometheus discounts the idea that we evolved from apes, or if it assumes that we just kind of emerged as Cro Magnon people, but that’s not super important. Furthermore, they could have easily come 2.5 million years ago to create the homo genus–long after all the dinosaurs had died out.
– What was the black goo? What was the sparkly green goo?
The black goo was a security device. It surrounded the green goo in its crystal/glass container, and when it was disturbed it produced that weird snake thing. Which in turn attacked the Biologist and the Geologist (I’m sorry, but they died so quickly I forgot to learn their names. Millburn and… something that begins with an F).
The sparkly green goo was the substance that infected Holloway, and thus set off the chain reaction of Holloway impregnanting Shaw, which essentially forced her to perform an abortion on herself (because come on, what was her alternative? She might not have seen Alien, but everyone else here has). The black goo was created (I think) to protect the sparkly green goo from getting stolen by well-meaning, somewhat idiotic biologists.
– How did the xenomorph get off the planet?
This was a question raised by my aforementioned BFF Elspeth and her husband Zach. How the heck did the xenomorph-like-creature get from this planet in 2093 to the planet in Alien in 2122? Even if the escape pod was flyable, or the Engineers had more ships besides the one Shaw and David took (and the one that Idris Elba’s Janek flew Prometheus into, thus saving mankind). It’s not like the creature can pilot a ship–it doesn’t have the brain capacity for that.
I thought long and hard about this, and I only have one answer. It’s not very good, but bear with me. I think we’ve established that humans, as a race, aren’t good at controlling their curiosity. We’ve also established that, in the world of Alien and Prometheus, we’re not alone in the universe. Who’s to say that another sentient race of beings created by the Engineers (Ridley Scott has said that the planet at the beginning of the film “doesn’t have to be [Earth]. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself.” Perhaps the Engineers left messages for other beings on other planets. Perhaps they went back to the planet Shaw left and encountered the xenomorph in a more Ripley/Alien way… with a much different ending.
– Why would the Engineers leave star maps to a planet that was essentially just a large weapons R & D Department?
This one’s a little trickier. First of all, we don’t know for sure that the planet was only used to develop weapons–we only have ship’s captain Janek tossing out the theory that it was used for that. Furthermore, if the most recent “map” (so to speak) found by Holloway and Shaw was from, say, the 5th century (400 BC), that’s almost 1,700 years between the time the Engineers left the map and the time Shaw and company find the planet. Even if the latest map was from the 10th century (because I can’t remember the exact dates Shaw laid out), then that’s 1,200 years. A lot can happen in 1,200 years: look at how much our planet changed in that time. Surely a race that has had advanced space travel almost 3 million years before us (assuming they arrived on earth more than 2.5 million years ago, which was when the homo genus appeared) can find a new planet if something disastrous happens on theirs.
Such as… perhaps… a huge unexpected accident related to the weapons of mass destruction they were developing? Accidents like that are not unheard of–look at Chernobyl! Shaw said that the Engineer they found had been dead for 2,000 years (give or take). Assuming that since we share the same DNA, her carbon dater or whatever she used would give her a good reading. The other Engineers could easily have evacuated and moved on to a new planet.
Or perhaps they left us messages because their plan all along was to create weaponized squid creatures using our anatomy. Perhaps after the explosion they sent their leaders into hyper sleep so that they could finish the job. Perhaps they left those messages because, like humans, they are sentient beings who, perhaps, enjoy the hunt. Maybe they wanted us to advance as a species, develop space travel and find them because what fun is it to squash a bug when you can defeat a thinking, fighting, intelligent being?
– One last question: What did Shaw eat on the Engineer’s ship?
I… got nothing.
What do you think? What other unanswered questions did Prometheus leave in your brain? Am I on the right track? Am I totally off-base? Let me know in the comments!