If you're reading this post, you've clearly seen Prometheus by now and-- wait, you haven't seen Prometheus yet? No seriously-- do not read this post until you have seen Prometheus. This post intends to break down all of the lingering questions about the movie, most of which come late in the film and all of which are much more fun to think about yourself as you watch the movie than to let yahoos like us tell you what to think.
MAJOR PROMETHEUS SPOILERS WITHIN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
So, anyway, if you're reading this post, you've clearly seen Prometheus by now, and if you're anything like us you've spent hours debating the many questions brought up by the movie, trying to figure out how many unanswered questions were screenwriter Damon Lindelof trying to drive you crazy, and how many questions were supposed to be figured out. Prometheus is the kind of movie you can start to like better the more you think and talk about it, and we've had a blast debating the many mysteries of the film, and trying to piece together just what those pesky Engineers were trying to tell us all along.
So we've brought the conversation to you, not just a rundown of all the questions we think still aren't answered, but our theories on how we might answer them. We're not truly "explaining" Prometheus, of course-- only Lindelof and Ridley Scott can do that, and they probably never will. We're just giving it our best shot, digging through what the movie tells us and seeing if we cant inure out what it means. Check out our suggestions and questions below, and join us in the comments for a conversation that's hopefully as fun as the ones we've been having in real-life.
What is going on in the beginning when the Engineer drinks the black goo?
Our Theory: What we are seeing in the beginning is the creation of Earth. The giant ship (which is different from the ring-shaped one we see later in the film, weirdly) has landed on Earth to drop off the Engineer so that he can terraform the planet and make it sustainable for life. We think he drinks the black goo to break down his own structure and spread life on Earth through his own DNA, but that doesn't really explain his surprise while he's disintegrating (and if the Engineers do have the same DNA as us, it's hard to say why the Engineers had to be broken down in order to create humanity).
_What does the black goo do? Why does it affect different people differently? _
Our Theory: The black goo is the earliest evolutionary stage of what we've come to know as the xenomorph. It is theorized that even the first living things on Earth began as single-cell organisms that evolved and adapted with the environment to become more complex. This is presumably what happens with the black goo. As for why it has a different effect on different people is yet another mystery.
What are those ghost-like apparition/memory/shadow creatures that show them what happened in the past?
Our Theory: This is one of those sci-fi things we honestly like better unexplained. Things are just different in space, and especially if you consider that the shadows aren't memories exactly, but simply a glimpse into an earlier part of the timeline, these shadows seem like a fun spin on actual outer-space science. A lot of these unanswered questions are frustrating, but for this one, we'll keep the mystery.
Why does David poison Holloway?
Our Theory: While the rest of the crew on-board the Prometheus was looking for the origins of life on Earth and our creator, David had a very specific side mission: to find a way for Weyland to live forever. Therefore, it's possible that David decided to dose Holloway because he wanted to experiment and see if the black goo they found would be the key for Weyland. It's also possible he saw the black goo as the potential to create alien weapon creatures, which a company like Weyland could exploit-- though he might not have counted on that weapon attacking his crew so soon.
How does Janek know that the moon is full of "weapons of mass destruction" and is just a stopover moon for them to build weapons?
Our Theory: This bit of descriptive dialogue is necessary to solidify the plot, and it's best that Elba's character delivers it. But it's more of a theory than concrete fact. From the beginning, he is written as a world-weary ship captain who has kind of "seen it all," a cagey veteran who's around for guidance as much as he's around because he's good at piloting a craft. Not that he has run into many alien weapons factories (for lack of a better term), but he's experienced enough to know when a hostile opponent is crafting a weapon for retaliation, and we think that's what he witnesses on the distant moon of LV-223.
If the moon visited by the Prometheus isn't the Engineers home and it was an accident that led them to be stuck there, why did they have the cave drawings lead there?
Our Theory: The cave drawings are additional proof that the Engineers have been to our planet multiple times over the years. As the opening scenes of Prometheus show us, the Engineers spread their DNA all over the galaxy, creating life on various planets. We happen to be an offshoot of that DNA. Scott has said the Engineers often check in on their creations ... and are disappointed in what they see. The cave drawings, first and foremost, are ways to show that individuals, over the course of many centuries, encountered Engineers. But they suggest that Earth's citizens learned something about the weapons being designed to annihilate us, and were saying, "Stay away from this area!" Or then again, maybe not.
Why does Weyland have to hide that he's on the ship?
Our Theory: Weyland seems like the kind of guy who likes to keep things close to the vest, letting his android David do his bidding and staying asleep, or doing whatever he's doing, in his own secret chambers. We could argue all day that the movie would be more interesting if he were part of it from the beginning, but we guess the eccentric trillionaire has his reasons for keeping his distance.
_Why cast Guy Pearce as an ancient old man? _
Our Theory: The casting of Guy Pearce was a move motivated by franchise building. Ridley Scott is hoping to create a series out of Prometheus and by casting Pearce he gives himself the ability to travel back in time to show Weyland as a young man. This was already sort of done when the viral campaign first began and the young Peter Weyland was shown giving a futuristic TED Talk.
Why did the Engineers suddenly decide to destroy the Earth?
Our Theory: "Suddenly" might be the wrong word. It's basically implied that the Engineers have been angry with us for some time, they being the "parents" who once created us. Scott has said there were sequences in the film that were going to explain why we'd angered the "gods" known as the Engineers. In one instance, it was going to be posited that Jesus was an emissary of the Engineers, sent to see how we were doing. And what did we do? We crucified him. So the Engineers have been upset with us for some time. But something happened while they were creating the aliens to force the Engineers into hibernation. This, also, falls under the category of "Things probably better explained in a potential sequel," which is disappointing for Prometheus, but there you have it.
_What did David say to the "Space Jockey" to make him so angry? _
Our Theory: It doesn't matter what David said. And by that, we mean Michael Fassbender actually talked to us about this very question, and he said he knows the line, because they had translators come in an break the line down for him. But that's not the point of the scene. The point of the scene is to show how angry the Engineer is that he's being woken up out of cryo-stasis by these insignificant beings, and all he wants is for this android to stop talking. So he tears his head off, like you would the wings of an insect, an insignificant fly.