Prometheus: Damon works on the derelict ship and pilot concept

leading from

a) Confronting the Derelict ship mystery
Since the time of Alien, Ridley had for some time make interesting statements and give updates in interviews about his further interest in the derelict ship and the pilot known as the Space Jockey (See: Alien: The space jockey's story) but Damon Lindelof would come to face Ridley's interest first hand
So it was obviously something that sat in the back of Ridley 's brain, never went away, and he couldn't resist using this as a chance to pursue that direction.
It didn't seem as if Damon had really given the endless strange possibilities about the derelict mystery much thought.
He only thought that it was very clear that the spacecraft sending out the distress signal had crashed, that the Nostromo responded to it, that there would be these eggs found aboard and what happened to it was not an unresolved question.

b) Obvious Questions
Soon Damon got around to himself asking where this derelict ship had picked up these eggs.
He also felt really bad about the Space Jockey because he thought of it as simply the victim of the alien life form. 
So he felt he had all the story that he needed about the Space Jockey and the spores, being that they came across the life alien form, picked it up, and so they were killed

c) Damon's Surprise about Ridley
Damon was surprised that Ridley was so interested to talk about what Prometheus would be all about and what characters he wanted.
It seemed curious because as far as he was concerned, the original characters in Alien were slightly underwritten and all they did was just hanging around not wanting to get killed.

d) Ridley's Questions
Ridley was advancing towards ideas for Prometheus, which were: 
1) What is the space jockey species weren't as alien as we thought they were?
2) What if there is a fundamental relationship between those beings and us?
3) What if they weren’t victims of these eggs but were directly responsible for making them?

Pandora opens the box

e) Pandora's Box
Once Damon found his brain had been prodded by Ridley enough to go in a new direction, he soon got around to thinking that rather than the space jockey race being hapless victims. 
It was more of a thing where they had made a Pandora's box and something got out.
With those ideas, Damon's enthusiasm flowed.

  1. Damon Lindelof: Ridley always says that he was always very interested in the derelict spaceship and the space jockey that was piloting it, It was just something that sat in the back of his brain and never went away. So when the chance came up, he couldn’t resist it. I wouldn’t say he’s a particularly spiritual, touchy-feely guy, but in talking to him I was surprised by the fact that he wanted to talk so much about what Prometheus would be about and what the characters wanted. Which is very different to the original Alien, where essentially the characters wanted to just not get killed. (The Guardian, The Guide, 26th June 2012)  
  2. When you first saw Alien back in the day, did that Space Jockey sequence send your mind racing?

    Damon Lindelof:Well, what was really interesting to me about it… Truth be told, I never felt that it was an unresolved issue in Alien. I felt that, OK, this is pretty clear—this is a crashed alien spacecraft that is sending out a distress signal, and the Nostromo is responding to it, and then there are these eggs on-board. So then, obviously, the question becomes, Where did this alien spacecraft pick up these eggs? But then, also, I feel really bad for that guy in the chair, this Space Jockey, because he’s a victim in this thing. So I felt like I had all the story that I needed: They picked this stuff up, came across it, and it killed them. But the idea that Ridley was advancing for Prometheus was, A, what if those things weren’t as alien as we thought they were? And, B, what if there is a fundamental relationship between those beings and us? And, C, what if they weren’t victims of these eggs but were directly responsible for making them? As in, it’s more of a thing where they made Pandora’s Box and something got out, rather than them being innocent, hapless victims. Those were the ideas that really got me pumped up for Prometheus. (
  3. So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athena to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web;  and golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature. So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Cronos.  Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And the goddess brighteyed Athena girded and clothed her, and the divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon her,  and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athena bedecked her form with all manner of finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus,  and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora, because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.
    But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sicknesses which bring the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar with her hands and scattered, all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds.  But the rest, countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils, and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them.  So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus. Or if you will, I will sum you up another tale well and skilfully—and do you lay it up in your heart,—how the gods and mortal men sprang from one source. (Hesiod, Works and Days)

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