New Prometheus viral provides hints for sequel – Our theory

Ben Skipper
Movies Blog
11 June 2012

[Warning: This article will contain lots of spoilers from 'Prometheus' and speculation about what may happen in the sequel. If you haven't seen the film and plan to, turn back now. You have been warned]

'Prometheus' hasn't even been out for two weeks yet the viral marketing campaign is continuing, counting down mysteriously to 11 October 2012.

At the end of the film's credits there was a clue pointing us to (the numbers being the backwards American dating system) which links to a Weyland Corporation website with a video of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and a focus on a real life book called 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'. Watch the video below...

[Related article: Our Prometheus review]
[Related blog: Paper Prometheus trailer impresses studio]

The novel, by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, has themes that very much relate to those of 'Prometheus' and whatever its planned sequel may be.

First however let's talk 'Prometheus'. The film deals with many questions: Why are we here? Is there a God? And if so, why did he create us?  And some of the questions were answered in part. The Space Jockeys (referred to as Engineers in the film) share our DNA and created us. The opening scene shows an Engineer drinking a substance and dissolving away into the ground and water, hinting that this is how humanity began.

Ridley Scott has said that the planet on which this happens isn't necessarily our own. In fact he told that "It doesn't have to be," which sounds to us much more like the scene was meant to instil an idea rather than be obtrusive with its meaning.

By the film's end we know that the Engineers want to wipe out humanity for reasons we don't understand. Noomi Rapace's character Shaw, with android David (Michael Fassbender) in tow have also taken off to find the Engineers' home world in the hope of finding out why they want us dead and to try and stop them.

Back to that book then. The viral website quotes details from Wikipedia regarding who it was written by and when.

It goes on to say: "Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Übermensch, which were first introduced in 'The Gay Science'."

"Eternal recurrence of the same" is what stands out most. Many stories have dealt with the idea of life cycles - the most famous in recent pop culture being the sci-fi video game epic 'Mass Effect 3' - that sees an unimaginable force wipe out life on  a regular basis (although this may be several millennia at a time).

If this works into the 'Prometheus' world then the Engineers are working on a cycle, creating life, leaving clues and wiping their creations out once they reach the technological know-how to travel through deep space to the places marked by our ancestors.

Do they plan to wipe us out before we overtake them technologically and become knowledgeable enough to create intelligent life of our own? This fits into the film, as it's when the human creation David speaks to the Engineer that he kills everyone in the room and sets off for Earth.

Maybe they seek to kill us once we have become God-like in our endeavours as a species (creating synthetic life in David/travelling across the stars). This also ties into the Übermensch concept, also outlined by Nietzsche, which can be read about here.

Which in turn fits with the "death of God" parable, an oft quoted part of the book 'The Gay Science' by Nietzsche referring to the death of religious values more than the literal death of God. It says, "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us?

It continues: "What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"

This is very heavy stuff, so let's get back to that blockbuster inevitability 'Prometheus 2'. Shaw and David are heading off to meet with our creators. If all the Engineers are hostile towards us then it wouldn't make much a film, as there would only be two recognisably human characters (one being a disembodied head).

Our theory is that the Engineers encountered in 'Prometheus' were a splinter group, working separately from the rest of their kind. Their kin spread life through the galaxy in a good-spirited, almost hippy way. Some disagree with that notion and seek to destroy all created life once it grows too big for its boots as it were.

We'll see a lot more as the viral campaign marches on with (presumably) the young Peter Weyland as its star. What will happen on 11 October though? It could be the announcement of that inevitable sequel, or a big reveal of what the 'Prometheus' world is about.

It could also just be the release of the DVD/Blu Ray (although a Thursday is a strange date for that) or more cynically the announcement of the Ridley Scott super-duper director's cut, something he certainly likes doing.

Whatever it may be, Ridley Scott's sci-fi has certainly captured imaginations and dealt with much weightier subject matters than most blockbusters, for which it should be given credit.

What are your Prometheus theories? Let us know below...

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