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With fanfare worthy of a summer tentpole, Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus touched down in theaters over the weekend surfing a pre-release buzz of sci-fi mystery and big-budget mayhem as rabid Alien fans bought tickets to see how the “strands of Alien DNA” found in Damon Lindelof’s screenplay connected Scott’s former masterpiece to his latest.
Based on the box-office results, hordes of movie fans at the very least were interested in what Scott had up his sleeve. According to estimates, Prometheus opened to a whopping $50 million in the States, adding an additional $91 million in overseas ticket sales (where the film has been playing, in select international markets, for several days). Granted, those aren’t Avengers or Hunger Games numbers. But if the numbers hold, Prometheus will be Scott’s biggest opening weekend since 2001’s Hannibal and the second biggest opening number of the director’s impressive career.
All weekend, we have been debating the importance of the black goo, the motivations of the Engineers, and the meaning of Prometheus in our spoiler-heavy discussion (and to join in, click here). Yet now that Prometheus is out and people seem interested, I think there are three VERY IMPORTANT questions that demand to be answered regarding the property and its immediate future. In attempting to answer them, I have to dig into spoilers (as is the case with this movie). Proceed with caution if you haven’t yet seen Prometheus … and if you haven’t, go now!
So, as for the future of Prometheus, the obvious question is:
Will there be a sequel?
And I think the answer is, “Yes.” Prometheus seemed to justify a sequel with its box-office performance and critical response. And a sequel always was Scott’s intention. Prometheus ends with a clear-cut tease to the next chapter of the ongoing story, with Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomie Rapace) and what’s left of the android David (Michael Fassbender) boarding one of the Engineers’ many ships and taking off to find out where this alien race came from. Shaw started out on a mission to find her creator. Now she wants to find out who created this aggressive race of sentient beings … and we don’t think she’ll be happy with what she finds.
Scott has made it clear in virtually every interview he did on behalf of Prometheus that he’d love the opportunity to continue telling this story. He always envisioned Shaw and David venturing off on the next leg of their journey as the natural end of this film, and he says he has clear-cut ideas of what could and should happen in the next film. Those who checked out Prometheus likely want to see where Scott wants to take them next. And there are so many questions proposed by Prometheus that demand answers. It’s likely a few of them could be answered in a potential sequel (or two). However, it’s going to be difficult to mount a Prometheus sequel. It might be downright impossible, and I’m not certain Scott will be able to overcome the odds and pull it off …
Wait, maybe there won't be a sequel.
For starters, Scott collects potential film properties like the Engineers collect cylinders of mysterious black goo. A cursory rundown of the films Scott has agreed to direct include: his oft-discussed Blade Runner sequel; an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor, which he’s prepping to shoot with Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz; an in-development Monopoly movie; the Cold-War drama Reykjavik; and who knows what else.
And that’s just the director. If a Prometheus sequel were to happen, Rapace and Fassbender would need to be available, and their calendars are as booked as Scott’s. Rapace has one film, Knockout, in pre-production but has two others in the can. In addition to The Counselor, Fassbender plans to shoot Twelve Years a Slave with his Shame and Hunger partner, Steve McQueen. From there, he’s committed to reprising his role of Magneto in the soon-to-shoot sequel to X-Men: First Class.
That film has a July 18, 2014 release date circled, and already has begin pre-production and script detail. Given the fact that a Prometheus sequel is barely in the discussion stages (as far as we know), the earliest we might see a sequel reach theaters is 2015. Are you willing to wait?
So what will actually happen next?
The million-dollar question, with a difficult answer. Basically, what’s next is we wait. Fox could confirm a greenlight on a Prometheus sequel right away, which would shift Scott’s priorities around slightly. But it sounds like he’s eager to dive into his Blade Runner sequel after wrapping The Counselor. If Fox pushes, a Prometheus sequel could slide ahead of Blade Runner on Scott’s crowded production schedule. Then again, Rapace and Fassbender’s availability (or lack thereof) could hinder an immediate start date for a Prometheus sequel, pushing the project back even further.
It’s a good problem for Fox, trying to figure out the logistics on a sequel that many now are anticipating. Because the alternative – picking up the Prometheus pieces and sweeping a failed epic under the rug – would have been much worse. Scott, his crew, and his fans are elated that isn’t the issue. Instead, it seems like we’ll get at least one more trip to the Alien universe with Scott at the helm. When it happens is another story altogether.
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