Prometheus: Jon Spaihts reveals the Engineers

leading from  
 
 
 
 
 
a) The space jockey revelation
 
The direction it was going was that the alien life form was found in a derelict spaceship on a remote moon
that hadn't played a role in what he referred to as 'the human story'. 

Inside we we see the cadavre of a colossal alien giant with an elephantine face known to many as the Space Jockey, who’s clearly fallen victim to an alien lifeform itself, and of course in spaceship's hold full of eggs that hold the alien life form.
 
As far as Spaihts was concerned, rathet than assuming that the alien life form had been waiting on the planetoid for a near endless period of time for another life form to come along, Spaihts decided that
whatever that giant alien known to use as the “Space Jockey”, and his kind somehow brought the Alien life form here, presumably to the planetoid
 
That meant the prequel really ought to be, in some respect, the story of the Space Jockeys, but he didn’t think it would be easy to make a popular film starring a bunch of what he decided were 14‑foot elephant giants.
 
It seemed impossible for him to imagine an audience or at least a mainstream audience connection wit a giant movie about a fourteen foot tall elephant like monster on another planet speaking an alien language with subtitles
  1. Jon Spaihts: Before Alien, that original instalment, there is nothing. There is a wrecked alien ship with a giant cadaver in it and a hold full of alien eggs on a remote moon that has not yet to my knowledge played a role in the human story and so what does that mean? The space jockeys, these big aliens doing lying dead in ship are are colossal elephantine beasts. it seemed impossible to me to imagine an audience or a mainstream audience er getting down with a giant movie about fourteen foot tall elephant monsters on another planet speaking alien language ... subtitles bleblebleh.  (Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022)
 
 
 
 
b) The Space Jockey's human story

So the only way he could think of to tell the Space Jockey's story prior to Alien and the discovery of the derelict ship is to somehow make their story somehow our story,
 
If their story is somehow the human story, then on the scales that they were talking about in time and space considering the age of the derelict ship in the first movie, the Space Jockeys would be playing a role in human history, 
 
  1. Jon Spaihts:  So the only way to tell the story of the space jockeys story prior to Alien is as if their story prior to their discovery of that ship is somehow also our story, and if the Space Jockey story is the human story, t(Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022) 
 
 
 
 
c) Von Danikenisation

Suddenly his thought about these ancient giants made them into the Erich Von Daniken style aliens who meddled in human evolution and development. 
 
These were now the beings from outer space who might have helped raise humanity's early monuments,  build the pyramids and, perhaps, even to shape the development of the species itself.
 
  1. Jon Spaihts:  then on the scales we're talking about in time and space, (10:00) er, they would have to be playing a role in human history and that makes them suddenly the Von Daniken style aliens, erm, the meddlers in human evolution and in human development, the beings from outer space who might have helped to build the pyramids. (Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022)
 
 
 
 
d) Tapping into man's earliest mythologies 

It would would tap instantly into a whole vein of modern mythology that essentually knitted primal fascinations of early religion and folklore to our present day sense of the unknown. 
 
So these aliens as helper help to create an ur-mythology that stretches from the boundaries of our knowledge now, where 'our god of the gaps' lives, and all the way back to our anciency conceptions of Mount Olympus and gods of death and dreams from early history.

In his mind, fully formed came this notion that they were the creators of the human race on earth. 
 
  1. Jon Spaihts: It... it taps instantly into a whole vein of modern mythology er that essentially knits primal fascinations of early religion and folklore to our present day sense of the unknown, and that's what these sort of aliens as helpers do to us, they kind of create an ur-mythology that stretches from the boundaries our... of our knowledge now, where our god of the gaps lives and all the way back to Mount Olympus and gods of death and dreams erm from early history er so instantly fully... fully formed came this notion that here were our creators and follow up question why (11:00) then are they in a ship then filled with deadly human parasites and why hypothetically  (Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022)
 
 
 
 
e) Questions about the facehuggers 

But why were they in a spacecraft filled with deadly human parasites and why hypothetically did the xenomorph seem to be perfectly adapted to killing human beings when it clearly didn't evolve where human beings were. It was also capable of pupating inside a human body and was compatable with human chemistly.

He went even as far as to think that its gross invasive proboscis was perfectly matched to human anatomy like a humming bird's bill to a flower and he wondered how that could be, even though by Alien 3 we would discover that they were adapted to infecting either dogs or oxes, depending on whether you watched the theatrical or extended cut of the Alien 3 films,
 
Of course we can known that Ridley was going along with the idea since the original Alien production that these Face Huggers will infect any life form that they could land on that would include cats and dogs, any other animals as well, and then take on a similar body shape.

But Spaihts answer to all of this was that these alien gods made them to kill the human race and so that was the seed of his story, which he near enough jumped in and started telling. In a space of half an hour, he sketched out to them what would remain as most of the major movements in the final film and of course a lot of embellishments would come later.
 
  1. Jon Spaihts: Well built into, erm, the premise of Prometheus is an implied schism among the engineers themselves. if they've played the role that Holloway's certain they have, then they have been meddling very intimately with human development both biologically and culturally for aeons (43:00) and they have by implication moulded us into their own image. Our faces look like theirs. Their faces don't look like ours, they were first. They bent humanity towards themselves. It was a hubristic project and yet here is this death ship and here is its navigation system aimed at Earth with this harbour of perfect predators of such a design that they could ravage our planet killing only human beings, leaving the rest of the biosphere intact, and essentially erase the engineer's project perfectly. (Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022)
  2. Jon Spaihts: ... fully formed came this notion that here were our creators and follow up question why (11:00) then are they in a ship then filled with deadly human parasites and why hypothetically

    Al Horner: (chuckle)

    Jon Spaihts: er does the xenomorph seem to be perfectly adapted to kill human beings when it clearly didn't evolve where human beings were. it's capable of pupating inside a human body. Er, it's comparable with our chemistry. Even its gross invasive proboscis

    Al Horner: (chuckle)

    Jon Spaihts: is, is perfectly matched to our anatomy like a humming bird's bill to a flower and how could that be? And the answer was well that's because these alien gods made them to kill us and why and that was the seed of the story, and I sort of jumped in and started telling it. Erm, and in the space of half an hour I sketched out what remain most of the major movements of the film that was shot   (Transcript for Script Apart podcast Episode 41: Prometheus with Jon Spaihts  2022)

 
 
 
 
 
f)  Engineers of the cosmos reveal a human face
 
Spaihts called them the Engineers and imagined them as the ones who fomented sentient life on earth and then schooled that life into their own image, both cognitively and physically. 
 
We might look back to Clifford D Simak's 1950s novel "The Cosmic Engineers" when considering that term.
 
With that, in his story,  the closing idea was that that elephantine alien face of the space jockey was merely a mask and underneath it, to our astonishment, it would be revealed that they looked like humans or, perhaps more accurately, that humans looked like them.
  1. Filmmaker: What were some of those things? You talked a little bit about Passengers and the previous script, but what were some of those things in that crossroads?

    Spaihts: It’s difficult for me to say very much about Prometheus without getting spoiler-y, so I’ll talk with some delicacy. I had the insight that if you were to try to reach back in time for the history of the universe we glimpse in the original Alien, you are inevitably concerning yourself with the affairs of non-human beings. Both the deadly predator that is the through-line of the Alien franchise and the enigmatic dead alien giant that is the great mystery at the beginning of Alien. Those are interesting entities not fully explained, but to keep an audience interested in those things it couldn’t be abstraction, it couldn’t be a purely “alien story” about things we can’t relate to. It was going to have to be connected to our own story. Somehow the story of those creatures was going to have to be connected to the human story, not just our history but our fate to come. I looked for ways to make those connections, and that’s where I got interested. (https://filmmakermagazine.com/46440-prometheus-screenwriter-jon-spaihts/#.X02DttZ7n8M) 

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