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Prometheus Plot Point FAQ

Some answers (as I see it) to some of the things people are puzzling over in the film Prometheus.

Warning: Total Spoilers below … Read no further if you are avoiding them.



Q. What is the time relationship with the film Alien

Year: 2093: scientific vessel Prometheus arrives at moon LV-223 where the events of the film Prometheus take place.

Year 2122: USCSS Nostromo encounters what is assumed to be a distress signal emanating from the planetoid designated LV-426 which is where the events of Alien take place.

Q. What’s with the “Engineer” drinking the black goop stuff and dying at the beginning of Prometheus

A. He sacrificed himself to put DNA into the environment which it is assumed later led to the evolution and rise of human beings.

Q. What’s with all the primitive human cultures having the same symbols which eventually leads the Prometheus scientific team to LV-426?

A. The “Engineers” were checking back in on humanity’s progress and telling them about the wonderful gift they would be bringing from their stars when the time was right.

Q. And this gift was …?

A. Death.  Humanity was engineered to serve as hosts for the Alien (Alien meaning Xenomorph) life form.  Unfortunately for the Engineers the Xenomorph life form got to them first.

Q. What’s the story with Meredith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron)?

A. She’s old man Weyland’s daughter

Q. Why is the Auto-Doc in Vickers private quarters / shuttle calibrated for men only?

A. Because the Auto-Doc was there for old man Weyland (who was near death) and not her.

Q. Where did those first Alien life-form snake things in the film come from? 

When the landing crew was walking into the area of the urns which contained the black Xenomorph goo, briefly, there was a shot of very primitive and harmless earth worm creatures they were stepping on.  When the Goo was released, it began evolving the earth worms.

Q. What’s the story with the David android?

A. He was built by and belongs to old man Weyland and he is there to find any way possible to use the Engineers Xenomorphic technology to keep Weyland alive.

Q. Why did the David android spike the drink of Charlie Holloway with the black goo?

A. David was under orders to try anything which might either keep Weyland alive or stop his aging.  Weyland himself told David to “try harder”.  David theorized that perhaps the black goo would have some beneficial effect on humans.  He viewed Holloway as both   expendable and also likely to have intercourse with and pass biological material to Shaw.  In short – it was an experiment and a twofer at that.

Q. What’s with the Alien thing Shaw gave “birth” to?

A. Halloway and Shaw had unprotected sex after Halloway was infected by David.  We know it was unprotected because of the plot-point where Shaw is said to be sterile, therefore pregnancy was not a concern.  This led to Shaw becoming the host to Halloway’s Xenomorphic biological material (sperm).

The end result of the pregnancy is a primitive early stage “Face-Hugger”.  Although it grows to a massive size later in the film and looks vaguely like a squid it has the same biological function as the better developed crab-like ones from the later Alien movies.  The face-huggers from the films  Alien and Aliens are, of course, farther along the Xenomorph evolutionary cycle and more thoroughly developed for their task of hunting humans.

When the primitive face-hugger in Prometheus gets hold of an Engineer it predictably inserts the tube down the hosts throat, hugs on and plants the eggs which will later hatch from the hosts chest.

Q. Why does the “Engineer” freak out and immediately try to kill the Prometheus crew when old man Weyland wakes him?

A.  The Engineer was about to embark on a mission to bring the black goo (Xenomorphic genetic material) to Earth.  That is, before the Xenomorphic genetic material got loose and wiped out the Engineers.  OK, so he gets awakened and here he is surrounded by humans – one of them screaming questions about why he was taking black goo to Earth.

The Engineer logically concluded that things had gone downhill and it was time to get back on track with the original plan – starting with the death of the humans in front of him.  To the Engineers humans are just hosts – hosts which had gotten way too sophisticated.  Their plan to infect humanity with Xenomorphs went off the rails some 2000 years before the research team of Prometheus showed up.  If the Engineers plans had worked out correctly they would have infected humanity around Industrial Revolution period – and I’d have to say that would make for an interesting Steam Punk take on the Alien franchise.

Q. Why does the Engineers base have a picture / idol of an Alien (Xenomorph) Queen on the walls?

A. Because the goo in the urns – the base Xenomorphic genetic material – eventually follows an evolutionary path which leads to a Queen.  And the Engineers know that.

Q.  Why did the Engineers create human life on Earth just to later infect humanity with Xenomorphs?

A.  Shaw and David go looking for that answer at the end of the film Prometheus.  It is unknown.

Q.  How come the creatures in Prometheus do not look like the Alien we are used to in the other Alien movies?

A.  The Xenomorphic genetic material starts out as a black goo.  It uses whatever living host it bumps in to to begin evolving towards a specialized end state.  The “perfect organism” as it has been referred to throughout the Alien franchise.

Whatever intermediate genetic steps it needs to take in evolving towards the goal it takes.  The intermediate steps may be more generic and adaptable in order to ensure the propagation of the evolutionary cycle towards the goal.  However there are some similarities.  Acid for blood as a defense mechanism is seen in Prometheus in the evolved earthworm Xenomorphs.

Since the Engineers have images of an Alien Queen among the urns of Xenomorphic genetic material, we might assume that in the end that’s where it gets to.

Q.  Why is the Xenomorphic genetic material that the crew of Prometheus finds a simple black goo but the downed Engineer spacecraft the Nostomo finds 29 years later is laden with fully evolved Alien eggs?

That link has never been explored in the films, but it does not seem like a far stretch to say that the Engineers had a stock of off-world humans they could use as hosts to evolve the Xenomorphic genetic material towards its final form.

Since the Engineers are shown at the beginning of Prometheus to be giving rise to humans on Earth and were known to have visited Earths primitive cultures, it’s probably a given they kept a stock of humans to evolve the Xenomorphs in controlled situations off world.


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