Damon Lindelof sets the record straight on Fox "freaking out" about PROMETHEUS 2

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Despite enjoying quite a bit of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, there were a couple of scripting brainfarts that really marred what could have been a great movie for me. Noelle though, was of the opinion that the entire movie was a gigantic cloud of celluloid flatulence, and for that, and people who shared her opinions, the internet was damn near broken in half, with writer Damon Lindelof probably one snarky reply away from a severed horse head in his bed.

More than a year later and apparently another storm is brewing, this time about the proposed sequel, but it’s a storm that Lindelof insists is confined to a teacup.

This story actually began last week, but due to us being slightly distracted by the plates of pickled fish we were stuffing our faces with, it sort of slipped through the cracks. Now just some back story here: Prometheus began life as a straight up prequel to Ridley Scott’s acclaimed Alien, with Jon Spaihts developing the initial script (which you can read here). However as things went along, Scott’s ideas changed a bit and that’s when he realized that this story he had could still be based in the same universe and have some overlap, but would only be a prequel in the sense that the events of Prometheus happen before Alien.

That’s when Lindelof was brought in to rework Spaiht’s script, and as anybody who’s seen Prometheus knows, his ending famously asked more questions than it answered (cue Noelle’s rage) as unlikely road trip buddies Shaw and David’s Head embarked on a space quest to find the home planet of the Engineers. And with that twist, the film now definitely headed off into brand new very non-Alien territory. A choice which, according to a report at Bloody Disgusting, apparently set the xenomorphs among the humans.

Lindelof transformed Prometheus into a “trilogy”, thus stripping the first film’s conclusion of any meaning and setting Ridley and Fox up for disaster. This disaster was perpetuated when Lindelof announced he wouldn’t be penning the sequel. So, in short, the guy who convinced the filmmakers to make a trilogy, left them in the dust…

Sources close to the sequel have told Bloody Disgusting that the studio and Scott are literally “freaking out” over how to continue the story of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), and are taking pitches from basically anyone who can crack the story. While a sequel is nearly inevitable, it definitely puts it in flux, and in a state of jeopardy.

Now you may recall that after Lindelof took a massive amount of flak for the film’s very open ending (especially after he had done the same thing on Lost), it was revealed that the vagueness was on the express instructions of Scott, and that the director was the one who had wanted to leave it for the follow-up movies. This is a complete contrast to what’s being said in this latest report, and combined with the claim that Twentieth Century Fox was so desperate to fix the mess that Lindelof had apparently left that they were now taking pitches from anybody, naturally meant that it was picked up by all the film news publications and made into big, juicy headlines

Germaine Lussier over at Slashfilm though decided to reach out to Lindelof for a comment on twitter, to hear his side, and the writer initially tweted back saying that “Ridley Scott has never freaked out in life”. He then responded with a full length reply via email to voice his entire opinion of the whole deal.

Hey, man!

While I’m happy to maintain my ongoing role as internets whipping boy (well, not happy, but at least resigned) this is a weird attack piece, even for someone who should be used to it by now.

The unglamorous truth is this:

During the creative process of Prometheus, all involved (that includes Fox and Ridley) had a strong desire for this film to launch off in its own way so that by the end, it would not connect directly to the original ALIEN, but instead run parallel to it. This is something that I talked about many, many times in the press burst around the release of the movie. As you probably remember, there was a lot of interest as to whether Prometheus was a “prequel” — the answer was, “Yes. Sort of. But if there was a sequel to Prometheus, it would not be ALIEN.”

Taking the strong foundation that Jon Spaihts had already written, I worked on the script to this end — and yes, during that process, Ridley did occasionally riff on what he felt might happen next as Shaw and David’s Head ventured off of LV-223 in search of wherever The Engineers had come from.

After the movie came out and discussions began about a possible sequel, I was already neck deep in writing and producing TOMORROWLAND with Brad Bird. I have found, unfortunately, that if I take on too many projects at one time, there is a higher probability of those projects sucking. And contrary to popular belief, I do not want anything I work on to suck. I really don’t. I care about these stories deeply — not just as a writer, but as a fan. It might not always feel that way to the audience, but I swear to God it is true. It also so happens that Ridley was about to embark on directing his next movie, THE COUNSELOR, and had another one, CHILD 44 lined up right behind it. The conclusion was obvious — In the best interest of the franchise, it was best to take myself out of the running before I had to suffer the embarrassment of potentially not even being offered it.

And that it is the complete (if not somewhat boring) truth.

As to whether Ridley and Fox are “freaking out” about me not working on a sequel, well that’s news to me. I retain awesome relationships with both. More importantly, the idea that there aren’t many, MANY writers out there capable of taking the reins is sort of ridiculous. I did not map out a trilogy and then walk when the going got tough. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know me and doesn’t know the truth.

The process of working on Prometheus with Ridley was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Love or hate the result of that work, I don’t regret having done it for a second.

Bloody Disgusting was very clever in tagging their story with the sentiment that denials were going to come. This would seem to throw shade on me denying the veracity of the story simply by anticipating that I would.

But denying the story I am.

As I said, I will take all the abuse in the world for the things I have done, but I refuse to take it for the things I have not.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Your Pal,

Damon”

Now you would have to have mushy peas for brains to not realize that yes, Fox probably weren’t too happy about the mixed critical reception Prometheus eventually received, especially not with the level of talent involved and after the way that the film had been hyped up for so long. So in that regards, yes, I think that Fox may be a little worried about the future of the franchise, as fanboys who were previously slobbering over every single frame of footage released, have now suddenly found skepticism replacing their geek-drool. However, I’m with Lindelof in that this also smacks of sensationalist journalism.

No matter how wary Fox may be, this is director Ridley Scott with stars Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender that we’re talking about here. Those are still incredibly bankable names. I simply cannot see them “freaking out” over this. Maybe a bit perturbed at the lack of movement since the sequel was announced (which is probably the fault of busy schedules more than anything else), and looking for a writer to fill Lindelof’s shoes, but that’s probably about it. Personally, I’d just bring back Spaihts, who admitted that he had already sat down with Scott and roughed out future installments in the franchise, and just get it done.

After I watched Prometheus for a second time, after I now knew that the film was going to pull the ol’ Mario Bros “The Princess is in another castle” gag on us instead of a definitive ending, I was able to be more forgiving of the film’s larger story and actually found myself quite intrigued to know where it goes next (hopefully to a planet that doesn’t have big stuff falling down or our heroes will be royally screwed). So c’mon, Fox and co! Less “freaking out” and more “making the damn movie” from here on out, please!

Last Updated: April 4, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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