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Many have termed this an 'Alien prequel,' though reports have been coming in that while Scott originally had planned a much larger Alien aspect, Prometheus has gone more in it's own direction since the original film's inception. Nevertheless it will certainly lie within the Alien canon and genre.
Here's the latest plot statements from the movie's official website as of March 5th:
This is from the page Prometheus Plot...
Current Official Synopsis
Ridley Scott, director of 'Alien' and 'Blade Runner,' returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Original Official Synopsis
Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life's ultimate mystery.
What we know so far:
Little is known about Prometheus' plotline. But what we can share with you is that the film is set in space for the most part. Similar to that of "ALIEN"; the jumping off point to this project. The film's name "Prometheus" is that of the space vessel, used by a crew of select individuals who set off to explore and investigate fragments of "Alien DNA".
The film itself revolves around the Space Jockey creature; as seen in the original film ALIEN (1979). When the team of scientists embark on this journey, they get stranded on an Alien world which tests their limits; both mental and physical.
Prometheus is also largely based on the creation of mankind, life and the Earth. From the recent synopsis publicly released by 20th Century Fox, we can determine roughly that Prometheus involves a team of scientists, "The Company" representatives and robot / synthetics which investigate and search for keys to unlock man's ultimate mystery. But in the process, they threaten the future existence of mankind and are faced with unimaginable horrors.
The Aliens themselves are said to be much larger than the original "Xenomorphs" we are used to. However, their overall construction will be easily noticable to that of the original Alien canon.
Prometheus will be much more than just an Alien sci-fi horror. Ridley Scott is digging deeper for this project and Prometheus will unlock many questions and will touch on many aspects of life and existence. A true masterpiece.
Connction and Ties to Alien:
It became evident to to us the tie between Prometheus and Ridley Scott's original ALIEN. In a fictional TED conference created as a viral marketing scheme by FOX to further promote Prometheus, we were introduced to a very noticable character which would further prove and validate Prometheus as a definite prequel to ALIEN...
Peter Weyland - the head and owner of WEYLAND CORP, portrayed by actor Guy Pearce, gives a rather influential speech on the greek myth of Prometheus, technology and his intentions to "change the world". In celebration of the "cpmany's 50th anniversary", FOX launched a website under the address http://weylandindustries.com - which featured a link to thies TED video as well as promotional snippets of information for the eager fan bas.
The inclusion of WEYLAND is a major focal point as it ties Alien and Prometheus together. It is the same company responsible for both expeditions, Prometheus and Nostromo. In an interview Ridley Scott identifies that this is the only tie between Alien and Prometheus - but up until that point, Mr. Scott himself had battled with the press to assure us that Prometheus was in fact NOT a direct prequel to ALIEN, but instead a stand-alone film.
As it may still be considered a "Stand-Alone" film, the obvious connections can not be mistaken and the inclusion of WEYLAND further confirms Prometheus is more of a prequel than the studio, actors and director would like to have us believe.
Basically, I'm drooling over another opportunity for Ridley Scott to make me accidentally pee a little in a darkened movie theater once again... :)