leading from: Prometheus - The Return of the Space Jockey
When the announcement came that the Alien Prequel had become a film production called Prometheus, Ridley was keen to emphasise that Alien fans would recognise strands of DNA from the Alien. It became a term bandied around and perhaps Ridley probably wanted to confuse the newspapers, magazines and the public with this statement since no one could actually work out what he actually was referring , instead of telling directly what Prometheus had in common with Alien.
- Deadline: The initial draft of the script was written by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) from Ridley’s idea. Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek) and Scott have since been working together on the current version which has expanded the story into new directions. We hear they were instructed to “go off and come up with what they want” using the ‘Alien DNA’. (Deadline, Friday January 14, 2011 )
- Ridley Scott: While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the singular tale I’d been searching for, and finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart. (collider.com, January 14th, 2011)
- Ridley Scott: The last eight minutes of the “Prometheus” story evolve into “a pretty good DNA of the ‘Alien’ one. (Wall Street Journal/ Speakeasy, November 7th , 2011)
- Ridley Scott: Once you start into the evolution of the story, it moves so far away from Alien that there’s only the mere DNA of the original in Prometheus. (metro.co.uk/2012/05/17)
- Ridley Scott: While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn't be more pleased to have found the singular tale I'd been searching for, and finally return to this genre that's so close to my heart. (Deadline, Friday January 14, 2011 )
- Ridley Scott: I mean, you could actually say, and there's a quote I did, a pretty good quote: By the end of the third act you start to realize there's a DNA of the very first alien, but none of the subsequent aliens. (www.totalfilm.com)
- examiner.com: Still, Lindelof said, it was important to keep strands of "Alien" DNA contained within, given the legions of followers of the franchise, which began in 1979 with Scott at the helm.(www.examiner.com)
What exactly does DNA mean in this context. John August in his article "Writing from theme" on the internet talked about DNA in scriptwriting terms , referring viscerally to "core ideas. Damon Lindelof had been quoted using the term talking about his former TV show, Lost, saying that "Time travel has been in the show's DNA from the beginning." Syd Field also started talking about the structure of scriptwriting using DNA as a metaphor So it can be seen to be Hollywood Scriptwriter speak.
- Damon Lindelof:Time travel has been in the show's DNA from the beginning. The audience is prepared to go on that journey with us. (io9.com, 17th January 2009)
- John August "Writing from theme" talks about DNA in scriptwriting in terms, perhaps viscerally, of "core ideas".
- Syd Field: I believe that good structure in a screenplay should not be seen. Good structure should simply disappear into the content of the story line. When I first started developing my concepts of structure, I would go to a movie, watch and notebook in hand, and dutifully time the individual Plot Points, because I wanted to clarify and define screenplay form. Form, not formula. Looking back on it now, I see I was trying to locate and define the building blocks of the screenplay, and what I discovered was that structure was like the DNA of screenwriting. ("The definitive guide to screenwriting", 2003, p214)
- Syd Field: How do you know when you've satisfied the requirement of the scene? There's no real way of knowing that, of course, except that each scene becomes a link in a chain of dramatic action. Each scene, as mentioned, is like a living cell, it should contain everything within it, either to move the story forward or to reveal information about the character. Just like Just like the DNA molecule in living cells. ("The definitive guide to screenwriting", 2003, p216, )
c) A New Starting point
While it became clear that the DNA was the mystery of the Space Jockey. Ridley also managed to share with magazine L'Ecran Fantastique something more to explain how he could claim it contains the DNA of Alien, talking about how a charcoal rendering of the Space Jockey that Giger gave him that was displayed on his wall at home inspired him with the idea about where to go with a sequel. Ridley though ""damn! This is where we should start again!"
- Ridley Scott: Moreover, after Giger has completed his drawing of the driver, he made me a present of the original. This is a beautiful piece, drawn in charcoal black on white paper, which I displayed on a wall at home. I spent so much time looking at that I ended up saying "damn! This is where we should start again! "[laughs]. [Laughs]. That is why I believe that we can quite accurately describe the Prometheus project, saying it contains the DNA of Alien. (L'Ecran Fantastique Hors-Serie #20, p13)
- Ridley Scott: I came up with saying, "what happens if these guys exist? And if they do exists, who were they?" And I always figures that pilot was flying a battleship and the battleship was a carrier of deadly objects. The deadly objects were the eggs, and the eggs were the DNA that would be carried out to destroy, would be used to destroy. What would they be destroying? (The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus(07:18) )
DNA also is a main theme to be talked about in Prometheus as a story. The Engineer has created the strand of DNA that may lead to what we know of as humanity, and Lindelof decided that the punchline of Prometheus was that in the creature that we have seen as the alien with human traits, there is human DNA, but viewers of the original Alien may well have been through all of this before understanding that the Facehugger combined its own DNA with the human host, which was Kane, to created something that Ash the android referred to as Kane's son.
- Damon Lindelof: So the idea at the beginning that this Engineer essentially creates a strand of DNA that may lead to what we know as humanity – something that’s confirmed in the movie – I felt that the punchline of Prometheus was going to be that there is human DNA in what we have come to know as the human Xenomorph. (http://bloody-disgusting.com/June 12, 2012
DNA becomes mentioned by Arthur Max in a conversation when Empire asks about the relief showing the Alien-esque creature in Prometheus when he says that it is the DNA homage to the Giger Alien creature. Inside a chamber in the domed structure, the Prometheus crew find what appears to be an alter, which has as its centrepiece an arch shaped relief of a pointy-headed ideally Giger-esque creature which appears to have been crucified.
Arthur said how they look and speculate about it briefly but are unclear as to what it is. In the final movie, archeologist Charlie Holloway looks at is by himself, finds a curious transparent green egg shaped structure upon an altar before it and forced to leave early because of the news of an oncoming storm, he mumbles to himself nothing more than "This is just another tomb"
- Inside the pyramid, the Prometheus crew find what appears to be an altar, seen here under construction at Pinewood Studios as well as in the final film, with as it's centrepiece, an arch-shaped relief of a pointy-headed Giger-esque creature, which appears to have been crucified.(Prometheus, the art of the film, p116)
- Arthur Max: That's the DNA homage to Alien Giger Creature. It's a kind of homage to him. They look at it and speculate briefly about it. But it's not very clear what it is. (Prometheus, the art of the film, p116)
- Arthur Max: That's the DNA homage to the Giger Alien creature. They look at it and speculate briefly about it. But it's not very clear what it was." (Empire, August p115)
DNA becomes used by Charlize Theron in discussion when she is talking about her character Vickers and it seems that the character David an android was created as a male version of her.
- Charlize Theron: There is a grey and non-specific feeling between her and another character, And it plays into DNA, and it plays into how much of her was given to create this other character. (Empire, August p115)
Two years later, it was Ridley was able to broaden his statement about DNA, in the fact that it was finely stretched and although he thought it would be much closer, it's now really a long way from the original alien. This really wasn't going to make him any more understood by those who really were not too happy to have this DNA talk fed to them
- Ben Child : Prometheus and Alien, how closely are they related?
Ridley Scott: Erm, DNA, it's DNA now, it's finely stretched, I thought it would be much closer, it's really now a long way from the original Alien (www.theguardian.com Nov 1 2013)