I just got back from the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival, where Sir Ridley Scott spoke between screenings of his genre classics Alien and Blade Runner. The director had a few words to say about his upcoming return to the franchise he created, with the 3-D Alien prequel -- or rather, prequels. Scott explained why there will be two of them; and that writing on the the first of the two has been completed. Hit the jump for more.
"I watched the franchise zip along for the next twenty, thirty years. I let it go, because Blade Runner followed," Scott told a packed house at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood. "I started thinking about the franchise, which now has died on the road somewhere. I thought, 'What I should do is go back and…' In the first Alien when John Hurt climbed up, looked over the horizon and said the immortal lines, 'Good God, what is this?' what we saw was appropriate for 'Good God,' because it was a massive giant lying in a chair, and the chair was either a form of engine or some future technology. I always thought, 'Nobody's asked, "Who is the [giant]?"' He's come to be called 'the space jockey.' I thought, 'Who the hell is the space jockey?' And so it's written and I'm prepping it now."
Scott explained his reasoning behind developing two prequels, which will take place long before the first Alien: "If you explain who he was and where he came from, then that will deal with the savagery of this version, which will be pretty savage. Then you may want to find out where they came from, the place where his people come from."
As far as the prequels' stories go, Scott hinted that there will be a deeper exploration of the science behind the world of Alien, a science he says is very much grounded in our own current technology.
"The first Alien was honestly The Old Dark House -- seven people in the old dark house with a visitor. This will go further into the world of terraforming. We're thinking about doing it. In fact, if Kennedy had been allowed to continue his space program, we'd probably be on Mars now with a population of nine-thousand people. That's how far we should have gone."
What do you think? Are two Alien prequels a good or bad idea? Should Scott leave his masterpiece alone, or does he have a lot more to offer genre fans?
For extra fun, here's my video interview with Scott on Blade Runner's 25th Anniversary, in which he contemplated his return to science fiction...