The second trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus launched today and has already caused something of a stir. Over the course of two and a half minutes, this trailer fills in some more details about the overall storyline of Scott’s first sci-fi movie in 30 years, gives us more of a sense of its epic scope, and – in a couple of shots at least – explicitly says that this, after all the speculation, is a prequel to Alien. Here, in an incredibly detailed trailer breakdown, Chris Hewitt explores the links and much more. Warning: there are what appear to be MASSIVE SPOILERS in this breakdown. Do NOT read on if you haven’t seen the trailer, or if you want to go into Prometheus as pure and unspoiled as John Hurt’s T-shirt before lunch on the Nostromo.
We begin with a tranquil shot of a waterfall that gradually reveals a huge spaceship, moving away from the falls.
Over a shot of a grey-blue skinned/scarred bald humanoid, standing near what we assume is the same waterfall, we hear a woman with a cut-glass English accent – Charlize Theron’s Vickers? – say, “A king has his reign.” Is this our first look at the true face (well, back of the head) of a Space Jockey? Is this the king Charlize is referring to, or…?
This is the Prometheus. “And then he dies.” Is she referring to her boss, Peter Weyland? As played by Guy Pearce in the TED viral video from a couple of weeks, he’s a guy in his 40s. But that’s in the year 2023. Prometheus takes place, apparently, in 2085. Is Weyland a king whose reign is about to be rudely interrupted by death, that most implacable of foes? It also gives us our first look at the hi-tech interior of the Prometheus, a world away from the Nostromo. It's clearly a very different, much more expensive ship.
This is our heroine, the new Ripley, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace, seen here in cryo-sleep. Again, this is far more advanced than the Nostromo’s cryo-stasis chambers, indicating that the Weyland Corp have sunk a lot more cash into it. Who does that hand belong to? Our guess is David (Fassbender), the ship’s robot. “It’s inevitable,” says Charlize, softly, in voiceover. Or is it? Is that really what this expedition is about? Staving off the inevitable?
Here we see Idris Elba’s Janek, the captain of the ship, at a control panel on the Prometheus’ bridge. Cracking design here by Scott’s long-time collaborator, Arthur Max. Let’s hope that glass is reinforced, or that he has the number of Autoglass in case of emergencies. “Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace!”
Push in as the scientific crew of the Prometheus - including Rafe Spall’s Milburn (note the funky glasses), Rapace’s Shaw and Benedict Wong’s Ravel - check instruments. Are they preparing to land on a planet? Good question. And yes, they are preparing to land on an alien world (LV-426? Or is this a different world?), as helpfully explained by Janek: “Prometheus has landed.”
A briefing session on the Prometheus, indicating that not everyone on the crew has been fully informed about the purpose of their expedition. A modern powerpoint presentation flashes up stone tablets from ancient civilisations around the world. We know this because Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) explains, “These are ancient civilisations.” Holloway, along with Shaw, seems to be the leader of the expedition.
A bleak landscape… is this the planet they’re on? Holloway continues, “that were separated by centuries…” Interestingly, these sections were shot in Iceland.
“And yet…” says Holloway, as we can just about make out ‘North Island’ and ‘Mesopotamia’ behind him, examples of locations around the world that may have been visited by an alien intelligence long before mankind started stomping all over the planet. He conflates the diagrams into one… revealing something that has huge implications for mankind. “This same pictogram was discovered at every one of ‘em...” Shaw looks into a crevice back on Earth and sees something that makes her smile with wonder. She’ll be laughing on the other side of her face before too long. Still on Earth, Holloway gambols up the hill, like a newborn lamb, with good news for Shaw: the biggest discovery in human history. “You’re smiling,” he tells Shaw. And he’s right, she is.
As we see a cave painting in which a humanoid figure is pointing at what may be stars, Shaw has a Eureka! moment. “I think they want us to come and find them,” says Shaw. Maybe… or is this another version of the rescue beacon from Alien that actually turned out to be a warning to stay away?
We’ve seen these before, as the landing party gets ready to roll out. But this sideways shot of a mini-SUV heading out of the Prometheus is brand-new (bottom left). Meanwhile, Sean Harris’ Fifield is raising dissent: “We’re all here because of a map you two kids found in a cave?”
“Not a map,” says Shaw, the Swedish Rapace modelling an intriguing British accent. “An invitation.”
Our first glimpse of Fifield, with his rockin’ sci-fi tattoos and haircut: “From whom?” he asks, rather reasonably. We also see Kate Dickey’s Ford for the first time. She’s holding a cup of Future Coffee, presumably purchased from Literal Starbucks.
That’s a good question. Shaw and Holloway, sporting a lovely cravat, look at each other in a manner that suggests they don’t entirely know.
An ominous shot of a huge mountain - or is it a structure? Presumably, this is where our heroes will find the answers they seek, along with a great deal of running and screaming and melting.
David looking at ancient alien hieroglyphics. “Please tell me you can read that?” asks Holloway. David, who is Michael Fassbender and therefore can do anything, looks at him in a way that says, “Please… I’m Michael Fassbender, and therefore can do anything.” But is David reading a warning or a happy greeting? And would he tell his human creators if it were a warning? Remember how Ash went all nutjob psycho doolally?
Incoming message from the Big Giant Head! Sadly, The Shat will not be appearing in this motion picture. Unless he rips his way out of someone’s chest. Shaw, in the ampule chamber, shines a light at the Big Giant Head. “Prometheus?” she says, with awe speckling her voice. “Are you seeing this?”
And now the shit/fan interface starts to begin, as the trailer takes a turn for the ominous. Two humans shine a torch down a corridor and find some decidedly Giger-esque biomechanical markings…
Fifield and Milburn throw up some interesting looking red laser probes that flit around the room they’re in.
David looks disturbed by something. Can an android be disturbed? Can an android have feelings? That seems to be part of the big themes Prometheus is tackling.
Holloway shines his torch on what looks like a bowl. Evidence of an intelligent lifeform, or has he stumbled upon an interstellar branch of Habitat? Janek, back on Prometheus, is monitoring the expedition’s data, and doesn’t like what he sees. “Whatever that probe is picking up…”
And now we see Charlize Theron’s Vickers, a Company rep, also on board the Prometheus, looking at the data as red dots start to home in on yellow triangles (that we guess represent the scientists)… Janek adds, “It’s reading a lifeform.” Ulp.
Three besuited figures enter a room. Is that an egg? Surely not…? Notice how the scientists aren’t wearing helmets here, yet are outside the structure. Interesting…“What do you mean, ‘a lifeform’?” asks Holloway, as we see David approach an ampule.
A shot of the ceiling of one of the chambers. It seems to be moving. “Overhead!” cries Shaw. And as we see her look up with her torch shining on something, we notice that she is crying, incredibly moved by the discovery she’s made. “They’re changing…” she whispers.
Vickers echoes the thoughts of everyone watching this: “Changing into what?” Oh, Sir Ridders, you tease!
David watches a tiny creature, what looks like a bean, jump around. He has an eerie smile on his face.
What appears to be a gloved hand coated in plasma, slowly prises its fingers apart. A panicked Fifield, who doesn’t want to be there, asks: “Moving? Are these things moving?”
What… the… hell? Enshined on the wall is a very old, familiar figure, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reminder that this is an Alien prequel. Can we expect to see something like this up and running around before too long?
In the alien pyramid, a lightshow flickers into life. “What is that?” asks a voice that, given its Scottish lilt, we presume belong to Ford.
Back on Prometheus, Janek and Vickers aren’t happy. “That’s a ship,” says Janek.
And, lo and behold, we see a hologrammatic representation of the ship. Alien fans, hold on tight - we’ve seen that before. Yes, it’s the Space Jockey’s Derelict. And then we see the ship for real, as the structure opens. “They were leaving,” says a voice that may be Fassbender’s.
Something is rising up through the darkness…
“To go where?” asks Shaw.
David, holding a lightglobe that looks familiar, says: “Earth.” So, having stumbled upon the Space Jockeys, have our heroes inadvertently set them on a path that may lead to mankind’s destruction? Oops. In the grand tradition of movie scientists, their meddling may lead to lots of death and destruction. And, frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember kids - don’t read books and get smart, or we’ll all die! With David then surrounded by the starmap, looks exultant, drinking in the discovery.
Shaw, in a robe, back on Prometheus, says “We were so wrong.” These words were heard, faintly, at the opening of the last trailer. What was she wrong about? The Space Jockeys’ intentions?
Back to the ship! Get to da choppa! Etc. Etc. A shot of David’s helmet cam - note the Weyland logo? (top left) - shows someone running for their lives.
“Take us home!” yells Vickers, who is also British. On it. Janek lifts Prometheus off the planet and into space. Phew, that was a close one. Movie’s over, folks! File out in a neat and orderly… oh. It’s not over, is it? Something’s going to go horribly wrong on board, isn’t it?
Back on the planet - and we don’t know whether this is happening at the same time, or later on - Shaw feels the ground open beneath her feet. “If we don’t stop it, there won’t be a home to go back to!” she yells, lending credence to those early rumours that the Space Jockeys might be planning to use the Aliens as a bio-weapon to wipe out entire races and civilisations.
Shaw runs for her life.
We can’t entirely make out what Janek’s saying here, but it appears to be, ‘Why’s that door open?’ And he’s not best pleased. Ravel rises from his seat in horror, looking at something out of shot. Has something got on board the Prometheus?
Interesting one, this. Shaw, drenched in sweat, stands looking at a mirror in her quarters, while a voice yells, “CUT IT OFF! CUT IT OFF!” Cut what off? And from whom?
And now, as that Alien-style high-pitched wailing begins, we see a terrified Vickers high-tail it down the corridors of the ship, looking for a way out.
Seen for a split-second… is this a Space Jockey on the planet? And what is that glowing thing he’s looking at? This cannot be good.
An approaching storm – or has it been whipped up by the Space Jockeys’ departing ship – heads straight for the Prometheus.
On board the ship, two suited figures use their flamethrowers to ward off something.
Another slightly longer version of a shot from the first teaser, as a Prometheus crew member – now horribly mutated or scarred by something – leaps at one of his colleagues. What could have mutated or scarred this individual? Something from the ampule chamber? Is someone tampering with DNA? Has the Prometheus stolen something, akin to fire, from the Gods? If so, no wonder the ‘Gods’ are pissed off.
The Space Jockey looks on at something very familiar to fans of Alien – the cockpit/turret from the Derelict. Is this where he meets his doom?
What we presume is a medical capsule opens… We can’t see the patient, so we can’t be absolutely sure, but could this be Shaw?
The Prometheus hurtles through space… And Janek doesn’t seem too happy about something coming towards it. Be warned – the next shot is a HUGE SPOILER, or certainly seems to be. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. In fact, from hereonin, it’s a spoiler-o-rama.
Here, the Prometheus seems to be crashing into the Derelict. A noble sacrifice to prevent the death of the human race? Or something else? Is there more to this than meets the eye? And it’s interesting that this shot is in here, and that Sir Ridley would have approved something so spoilerific. But, if we’re playing Devil’s Advocate, Prometheus is a mood movie, in which very few things blow up. Audiences don’t like it when things don’t blow up these days, so if you have a chance to insert an explosion into your trailer, perhaps you seize it…
Shaw, on the planet, leaps over a chasm as it gets wider – all the better to allow the Space Jockeys to leave.
Someone’s having a bad day.
Shaw, covered in blood and in Ripley-style underoos, staggers through the corridors of the Prometheus. There’s a big orange suit behind her – what could that be for?
Now we know why the Derelict is called the Derelict. This is another shot that was seen in the first teaser.
During a massive storm, someone tries to prevent themselves from being blown away. It doesn’t seem to be working.
Vickers crams herself into an escape pod and hopes for the best. But what is she escaping from? Where’s the rest of the crew?
Say hello to the most famous Jockey this side of AP McCoy.
Another shot from the first teaser, of some guys – mercenaries? Bodyguards? – firing guns at something that’s on board the Prometheus. Again, let’s note what appears to be an old man standing behind them. Is this Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland?
The Derelict crashlands. If Zoolander were here, he’d say something like, “You can derelict our balls, Space Jockeys!” Charlize Theron’s Vickers runs for her life.
Shaw, in full-on Ripley Warrior Mode. She’s furious with something…
Here we see what it is. Or what it appears to be. A Space Jockey, on board Prometheus, and cornering Shaw. But is it a Space Jockey, per se? Or a mutated, augmented crew member? Find out the truth when Prometheus hits in June.
And now the last shot of the trailer, a tongue-in-cheek confirmation – to go with all the other confirmations - that Prometheus is an Alien prequel, as David tells someone, ‘Big things have small beginnings’. It’s fair to say that Prometheus could be an even more intense, bleak summer movie experience than The Dark Knight Rises, but this line shows that it’s not entirely without a sense of humour. And, following Shame, giving Fassbender a line like this is, somehow, rather apt.