Ridley Scott Talks Alien: Paradise Lost

Exclusive: “I’ve even got connections with Ripley in this one...''

As Sir Ridley Scott prepares for the launch of his enormously satisfying sci-fi flick, The Martian, he’s been talking, mostly to HeyUGuys, about his next movie: the sequel to Prometheus. Yesterday, he revealed that the title of the film was actually Alien: Paradise Lost, linking it directly to the franchise he started back in 1979.

But it also set tongues wagging: what did this title mean? How do things tie into the Alien world? What does this mean for Neill Blomkamp’s mooted Alien sequel? And what the heck is going to happen to the disembodied head of Michael Fassbender’s David?

Well, we spoke to Sir Ridley this afternoon (hear the full interview on next week’s Empire Podcast) and got some answers to those burning questions.

On the title change, Sir Ridley said it had been a long time coming. At one point, Paradise was a possible title for Prometheus, but its origins stretch back further than that: “Years ago, I kept mulling over what Alien 2 could be. I was fiddling around with some ideas. I was always fascinated with why this thing [the xenomorph] would be made, by whom, and for what purpose? The planet it was on – and I was looking at the dark side of the moon – would be called Paradise. Paradise is a very ominous word...”

Does this indicate that Paradise will be the name of the Engineers’ planet in Alien: Paradise Lost? Could be. Sir Ridley said that the title change has not affected the story of The Artist Formerly Known As Prometheus 2. “In a way it is Prometheus 2. It’s exactly the same story. But it was always in the works to be called that [Alien: Paradise Lost]. Is Prometheus actually taking us off course from where I’m going, which is actually backing into the first Alien... I’ve even got connections with Ripley [in this], but I’m not telling you what.”

Connections with Ripley? Space cat. Space pigeons.

So what does this mean for Neill Blomkamp’s sequel? There had been speculation that Alien: Paradise Lost might mean that it wouldn’t get made, but Sir Ridley has scotched those rumours. “I’m producing it,” he reiterated. “The design is for it to go out next, after this. This will go out first. It’s more associated with Ripley, it’s a completely different angle, it’s more of a sequel. I’m coming in from the back end.”

The main story of Alien: Paradise Lost will see Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw and the head of Fassbender’s android, David, travel to the planet of the enigmatic space arseholes, The Engineers, to find out, once and for all, their part in the birth of mankind. Will this mean that we can expect to see, at some point, the alien? Scott has previously said that going back to the design of the classic H.R. Giger xenomorph didn’t excite him. Good news – he’s changed his mind.

“I think I have to go again,” he said. “We will see who made it, and why. That’s what’s interesting.” Whether that happens in this movie, or in the other two planned Promethalien movies, remains to be seen.

But onto the big question: can we really expect Michael Fassbender to spend an entire movie as a disembodied head? “It’s going to be better than that,” chuckled Scott. “It’s a very nice big idea I’ve got. It’s really great. You’re going to have to wait...”

You’ll have to wait until 2017 for Alien: Paradise Lost, but not too much longer for the full Empire Podcast interview with Sir Ridley Scott. That’s due next Friday.