Ridley and Damon talked at a great length during the story process of the first movie about what the subsequent movies would be about if Prometheus were to be successful.
Lindelof felt that the movie ended in a specific way that hinted at or strongly implied that the adventure was going to continue and the direction the stories would go would not be a part of the Alien franchise but set up a different one that would become the Prometheus franchise.
The sequel to Prometheus would not be Alien, which in itself confused numerous people who came to see the movie
And they talked about what this sequel to Prometheus would be and Ridley was actually excited about it, but when the movie came out, despite the movie having many impressive visual qualities, Lindelof noticed the reaction to it which was not exactly favourable.
Soon he became wrapped up in Star Trek and also a movie that he was writing with Brad Bird, and a TV project that he was very passionate about.
Ridley came to talk with Damon about the project, and Damon's heart was not in the Prometheus sequel, he couldn't devote another two years of his life to this project and he was a man who could only work on one thing at a time, it didn't even get to the point where Ridley would ask him to actually write the script but it seemed that Lindelof said to Ridley “I really don’t think I could start working on this movie until I do this other stuff. And I don’t know when the other stuff is going to be done.”
And perhaps Ridley replied something to the extent of , “Well, okay, it’s not like I asked you anyway.”
What this really meant is something unprecise but Lindelof may well have seen how the public really were not happy about his script for Prometheus, and he himself would often talk depreciatingly about his work on the script which didn't really help to sell the movie, however this was just in a couple of interviews that most people would have overlooked (See: Lindelof sells Prometheus), but he couldn't see himself going ahead with the sequel, that was that.
- Collider: I know from people at Fox that they were really happy with the worldwide box office of Prometheus and that they are moving forward on a sequel. Are you involved at all?
Damon Lindelof: I am not. Ridley [Scott] and I talked at great length during the story process of the first movie about what subsequent movies would be if Prometheus were to be successful. And I think that the movie ended in a very specific way that hinted at, or strongly implied that there were going to be continuing adventures worthy of writing stories. What those stories would be would not necessarily usurp or transcend the Alien franchise as we saw it because we know that the Nostromo hasn’t come along yet. So the idea was to set up a universe that… Is it a prequel? Okay. If that’s what we want to call it, sure. But the sequel to this movie is not Alien. The sequel to this movie is this other thing.
So Ridley and I talked about what that other thing might be, and he was excited about doing it. But then I think what ended up happening was that the movie came out, and there was a reaction to the movie. And I got really wrapped up in Trek, and really wrapped up in this movie that I’m producing and writing with Brad Bird. And I have a TV project that I was really passionate about. Ridley and I had a meeting after Prometheus came out where we started talking again about where this journey would go. And in that meeting I said to him, unfortunately, before he could ask me and go through the discomfort of whether he was going to ask me or not… It’s sort of like having a date where you’re letting the other person know, “I’m in another relationship.” So I can’t tell you that he asked me and I said no. But I did communicate to him that I was working on these other things.
The thing about Prometheus was it was a rewrite. Jon Spaihts wrote a script and I rewrote it. And still it was a year of my life that I spent on Prometheus, kind of all in. The idea of building a sequel to it—from the ground up this time—with Ridley is tremendously exciting. But at the same time, I was like, “Well that’s probably going to be two years of my life.” I can’t do what J.J. [Abrams] does. I don’t have the capability. I’m usually very single-minded creatively. I can only be working on one thing at a time. So I said to him, “I really don’t think I could start working on this movie until I do this other stuff. And I don’t know when the other stuff is going to be done.” And he was like, “Well, okay, it’s not like I asked you anyways.” He and I are on excellent terms and it was a dream come true to work with him. But much to the delight of all the fanboys, I don’t see myself being involved in Prometheus-er.
( collider.com/prometheus-sequel-damon-lindelof December 2012)