Ridley Scott Refused to Do an Extended Cut for PROMETHEUS Blu-ray; Jon Spaihts Reveals Details about His Original Script

     October 8, 2012


One of the most frustrating things about Prometheus is its potential.  There are simply too many plot holes (which, admittedly, I didn’t notice when I saw the film; I was wrapped up in the visuals, performance, and strength of Ridley Scott‘s direction).  The fact that the marketing for the Blu-ray has had to be “Questions Will Be Answered” is preposterous.  This isn’t Lost.  This is a movie, and either the questions should have been answered or they should purposely be left ambiguous.  Looking back on Prometheus, I’ve wondered if the more fulfilling picture is out there either in a director’s cut or in screenwriter Jon Spaihts‘ original script.

Hit the jump for why we won’t be seeing the director’s cut, but we can learn a bit more about what Spaihts intended before screenwriter Damon Lindelof came on board.  Prometheus hits DVD, Blu-ray, and 3D Blu-ray tomorrow.

prometheus-blu-ray-dvd[Warning: Major spoilers ahead for people who haven't seen Prometheus]

At the recent press day for the Prometheus Blu-ray, Bleeding Cool learned from Charles De Lauzirika, who worked on the special features, that Fox wanted an extended edition of the film.  However, Scott refused because the theatrical version is his “Director’s Cut”.  The Blu-ray will still feature 35 minutes of altered, extended, and deleted scenes, but Scott didn’t want to edit them back into the movie.  I can respect that.  Furthermore, just because there’s more material, it doesn’t mean that making Prometheus longer would fill in any plot holes.

Moving from the post-production side to the pre-production side, Jon Spaihts recently told Empire some fascinating details about his original script.  As you may know, Prometheus started out as a true prequel to Alien, but over time transformed into a pseudo-prequel that loosely ties in with Scott’s 1979 picture.  In Spaihts version, the xenomorphs were far more prevalent, and they served as the inspiration for scenes that remained in the final version.

prometheus-noomi-rapaceFor example, the med-pod sequence was inspired by Spaihts’ desire to see someone survive a chest-bursting scene:

One of the things I realised was that we hadn’t seen anyone survive a classic Alien chest bursting. And I was really intrigued by the notion that a character might be infected by the parasite and know that it was coming, know they had a timeframe of a few hours, and that we would have set up previously a nearly omnipotent medical device, designed to extend life for explorers in foreign places. Our heroine would have a short time to get to the machine and extract the thing inside her. It was a very gory sequence and it plays out very much like the sequence in the film. The main difference is in choreography. At the end of the sequence as I first conceived it, the heroine manages to get the creature extracted from her and it is expelled from the pod and she’s sealed inside, whereas in the final film it goes the other way.

Then she lapses in and out of consciousness for a number of hours as the machine puts her back together. As she comes back to consciousness, she sees the thing growing in the cabin outside and even killing people. So by the time she emerges from the pod eight hours later, the thing is abroad in the ship and big enough to be a huge danger. That was the original conception of the medpod scene.

As for how she recovers from her surgery so fast – well, it was more of a protracted process in my original notion. My script underwent a number of major evolutions as we were working on it, and then Damon came in and made further changes still. But that sequence and its place in the story was one of the anchors.

prometheus-movie-imageSo it sounds like in Spaihts’ version, we wouldn’t have seen Shaw getting her stomach stapled up and immediately charge into more action scenes where the audience wonders how her guts haven’t spilled out.

So what caused Spaihts’ movie to leave the xenomorphs behind?  Studio executives.  Spaihts explains:

A lot of that push came from the studio very high up; they were interested in doing something original and not one more franchise film. That really came to a head at the studio – the major push to focus on the new mythology of Prometheus and dial the Aliens as far back as we could came down from the studio.

That’s an interesting revelation.  I was under the impression that the change came from Scott and his desire to do something new, and the executives would have been more desirous of a true prequel because when has a studio ever scoffed at building a franchise?  Isn’t it easier to sell something if it’s attached to the established Alien series?  I suppose it’s possible that Fox’s research showed that audiences had soured on the franchise after Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.

noomi-rapace-prometheus-imageNevertheless, you can see the slight changes Lindelof made, like emphasizing black slime and canisters over facehuggers and eggs.  However, Spaihts says the major action beats from his drafts remained:

There was a black mutagenic compound that could change people in unpredictable way, Fyfield did morph into a monster and become a real danger in his own right, and of course the Engineers, the Space Jockeys, proved to be terribly dangerous creatures.  In my draft, as well, we did resurrect one and he tore off David’s head.

Speaking of facehuggers, one particularly cool sequence from Spaihts draft didn’t make it into the final picture because Fox’s wish to pull back on the xenomorphs.  Spaihts had a much gorier notion of how Holloway becomes infected, and how his infection is revealed to Shaw:

I did have facehuggers in my original draft. David, as he began to get fascinated by the science of the Engineers, doesn’t deliberately contaminate Holloway with a drop of black liquid. Instead, Holloway hubristically removes his helmet in the chamber, is knocked unconscious, facehugged and wakes up not knowing what had been done to him, and stumbles back into the ship. In my draft, he returns to his cabin, is embraced by Shaw, who is delighted to see him having feared that he had died, and the two of them make love. And it’s while they’re making love that he bursts and dies. So that lovemaking sequence echoed my original lovemaking sequence where he explodes! It was messy.

michael-fassbender-prometheus-imageThat scene sounds almost too over-the-top to work, but I think Scott could have made it play.

I also like what Spaihts had planned for David’s character arc and why he becomes fascinated with the Engineers, although Spaiht’s David lacks the subtlety and finesse of the character in the final version:

Subsequently, David, fascinated by these creatures, begins delaying the mission and going off the reservation on his own, essentially because he thinks he really belongs with the Engineers. They’re smart enough and sophisticated enough, great enough, to be his peers. He’s harboring a deep-seated contempt for his human makers. So at one point Shaw goes to stop him and David ties her up and deliberately exposes her to a facehugger. He caresses an egg open and out comes a facehugger. David doesn’t smell like a person – his breath isn’t moist – so he can handle the thing like a kitten. It doesn’t want him; it’s not interested. But then he exposes it to her and it goes for her like a shot. He toys with her for a bit and then lets it take her. That, in my draft, was how Shaw was implanted with the parasite that she had to remove with the medpod sequence.

michael-fassbender-prometheus-imageSpaihts admits that his David was more “bloody-handed” than the one in the finished film.  The screenwriter adds that in his version, the ending between David and Shaw is left ambiguous:

I left the two of them on the surface of that planetoid. It was plain that David and Shaw were going to have to work together and deal with one another if they were to survive. That one shot of the ship taking off in the finished film really focuses you on a particular outcome, whereas my ending was much more open as to what was going to happen next. But it was very much about this shattered android and this scarred woman being left with no-one but each other to carry on with.

However, he and Scott did have an idea where they wanted to go next should Prometheus prove to be a success.  He says his trilogy “would have involved the arrival of the Yutani Company and a couple of other major plays around the Engineers themselves: the revelation of an additional grand Engineer design, and the possibility of seeking an Engineer homeworld.”  While Scott has expressed interest in doing a sequel to Prometheus, we’re currently left to wonder where Shaw and David’s spaceship will take them.

  • ari

    So Damon Lindeloff fucked the script, as I suspected. What a talentless hack!

    • m r

      No, I really like what he did with the script after reading this. He made the android much less vicious and more relatable aparently. I liked David’s character in the film and I would not have in Spaiht’s version.

      Although I think I would have prefered Spaihts version for how Holloway gets infected by a facehugger. His scenario for Shaw getting infected sounds really cool too, but he comes off as too much of a Bad Robot. A robot having deep seated contempt is fine, but having those scenes would have removed a lot of the mystery surrounding the character.

      All of this info really gives you more insight with what they were going for with all of the characters though.

  • drod

    Personally I loved it and I think others will to as the movie ages. Its not for everyone though and to me its because its an intelligent film about the humanity of the characters and the hard choices they have at believing in something they cannot see. 10/10 Great Watch!

    • Tom Jones

      BZZZZZZ! Wrong answer. What you meant to say was it’s a directionless, schlocky train wreck, littered with non-sensical behavior from lame, cookie-cutter characters leading to a ridiculous, confused and unsatisfying conclusion. Oooh but it looked pretty!

      Once the FX technology it took to make it “look cool” laps this film, it will fade into the obscurity of movie blunders where it belongs. FAIL

      • spongefist

        BZZZZZZ !

        Tom Jones, yours is the correct answer. The film was worse than crap.

    • Cpt. Hindsight

      Yup, its cause you’re so deep and people just don’t get it like u do. It’s not deep at all. It tricked u into thinking it was deep because of the hype behind the film and pedigree of the cast behind it. It’s still a “who and why are we” picture. How many space movies over the years or movies in general have used this basic plot set up? I wanted it to be deep and have substance but it was basically a pretty movie to look at. It should of been an Alien prequel end of story. I knew it wasn’t going into it but it should of been. Its dumb. Its not different or more original if u go “ok instead of Alien eggs let’s take that and make them look kinda like that but metal and instead of a facerhugger let’s go with black goo.” Not original. Just switched some shit up to make people think its original. It’s still pretty much the same only more frustrating cause u know what it should be.

      • lulzatron

        So you’re mad that it’s not original, but you’re saying it should have been a full on prequel. Because prequels are original, right?

        Can’t wait to hear everyone cry when Ridley does a similar spin-off for Blade Runner.

      • Stay frosty!

        Ridley Scott is doing a prequel to Blade Runner…it will be called Road Runner.It is about a coyote given the job of terminating a replicant desert dwelling fowl….

      • David Webb

        Dude, thank you so much for the laugh! :)

    • Lance

      I agree with you drod. The haters still hate, but a lot of their objections will go away once they realize most of their objections about the film really were due to them not watching carefully enough, or thinking hard enough, about the movie.

  • JJ

    They need to make a sequel to this more than to any other existing series.

  • David

    Despite the failures of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, I fail to think that some high end executives with in Fox did not want to some how connect Prometheus to Alien and Aliens. Studios are obsessed with franchises. And getting Scott to helm it was a clear indication that rebooting the Alien series was Fox\’s goal,

    I consider myself a smart guy, who has caught onto Hollywood\’s idea that \"sound and fury\" is all that is needed to produce a film, that we should ignore the plot holes of a film and just \"enjoy\" a visual treat. Alien was a smart film, creative despite its tropes. Prometheus seemed to be that way initially (and even advertised that way). But the internal logic that all films need to make them work, failed it. Instead, it became a visually pretty film, with plot points and characters doing things that make no logical sense.

  • Pocketses

    It is really interesting to see Fox, of all people, be the architects (the…engineers, if I could be so bold) behind derailing the prequel most everyone wanted to see. I was also under the assumption that Scott had been the one behind wanting to change it, to be something new instead of tied to the original series.

    As much as I still liked Prometheus (like the author, I was mesmerized the first time I saw it, have soured on parts of it since having watched it) I think many of these changes sound for the better…

  • Tom

    This film is a classic and above the heads of most. As time goes by and more people view it , it will make more sense to the over-critical unintelligent hipster crowd. Many of the great classics were not liked by many when they were first released.

    • zachrifice


      im pretty much fed up with having to answer the questions of all the haters that simply couldnt comphrehend the film.

      Sure there were tedious inconsistencies but nothing significant. I dont understand why people are singling out this film for having a rediculous amount of plot holes when there werent any.

      However for all the haters crying over plot holes – Every film has inconsistencies.

  • Chad

    Ah, what could’ve been… alas, Ridley screwed it up.

  • Joseph M

    Prometheus is such a frustrating film. Like a caterpillar that didn’t quite make it into a butterfly.

    • zac

      you summed it up perfectly! no deep intellectual “meanings” can cover for texas sized plot holes,
      agenda setting in film should never exceed the story and that’s what this did!

  • zac

    also “event horizon” and “sunshine” oblitirate “Prometheus” in story and meaning and everything else!

    • bubba

      I have an empty roll of toilet paper that has more meaning and less (plot) holes than Prometheus.

      • Ned

        Prometheus stayed with me for days after, I don’t recall much about Event Horizon or Sunshine.

    • doomas10

      damn right. Prometheus was the colossal disappointment of the year. Event Horizon stayed with me for weeks. Great film

      • TheTruth

        Event Horizon is a piece of garbage and Paul W.S. Anderson is the biggest hack in Hollywood alongside Len Wiseman.

  • PresidentObama

    Sounds to me, the changes made the final film much better. It had enough amount of aspects to make it an Alien prequel in it’s own unique way (maybe not in the direct way, many wanted it to be) and now the centeral characters are the engineers, which is much more interesting than seeing more of the same aliens we already know too much and enough of. Really, what is there to know of the aliens, we don’t already know of? Can’t wait for the sequel(s) so long live Sire Ridley Scott!

  • anonymous

    Weak story. Horrible script. Brilliant art direction. Talented actors. Great concept. Poor execution. \"Lost\" is exactly where Lindelof was on this film. Scott dredged up all his old ideas from the first movie, which were never used. Watch the extras on Alien.

  • Lance

    Prometheus rocked. Thankfully the Fox executives learned from their own mistakes in regards to the awful, awful, schlock that was the AVP movies (you know the Prometheus haters loved that garbage, though) that you can’t just throw facehuggers into a movie and have everyone come running on opening day, like in the past.

    Spaiht’s script has some interesting ideas, but it also wouldn’t have been scary, just gory.

  • Slice

    A “Director’s Cut” of this movie should be about an hour long.

    As far as I’m concerned they need to cut five things.

    - Squid baby
    - Guy Pierce
    - Damon Lindelof’s name in the credits

    • Slice

      - Love scene
      - Ending “reveal”

      There’s 5

      • Lance

        Hmm! Looks like you needed a director’s cut of your own post. Think how much harder the task of getting an entire film right is, and be less judgmental.

      • Felipe AC

        Personally i would cut

        - The first scene with the engineer

        It spoils the alien(that snece where they take of the mask of the engineer body would be so much efective, specially since they never showed the engineers on the trailers), and it would be better if the process of how the enginners created us remmained a mystery IMO…But whatever ,cant unseen,and the enginners is even on the cover..

  • Spikey_Bill

    I wanted this to be so good, and while I enjoyed going back to that universe, the main performances, Scott’s direction and the whole visual side of the movie, the story was a mess. One character even points out near ther beginning that the whole engineers as seeders of humanity ignores evolutionary theory in a big way, and it does! I would have preferred the engineers to have remained alien (adj.) and not be giants in suits; we were, just as David postulates, made simply because they knew how to set up a chain of events that would lead to life. An experiment. However, human and engineer DNA matching so precisely? They only seeded us? What about other life on Earth? Chimpanzees share almost identical DNA to humans, so were they also a product of the engineers? What about ferns? Or sponges? How come humans evolved from much simpler DNA to turn out to be a 100% match to engineer DNA? It doesn’t make sense. I would have rather seen ‘exoskeleton’ engineers who made us on a whim or a dare being confounded that one of their little experiments had gone so far as to create something that found them. And what’s with all the cave paintings/carvings/murals showing a planet they didn’t want people to visit that wasn’t their home anyway? The more I think about the story, the harder it is for me to buy it. If anyone out there can put me straight on this, I’d appreciate it!

    • TheTruth

      Seriously some folks are going way out of their way to try and not make sense instead of theorizing logical conclusions. What if the other deviations of DNA strands on the planet did come from the Engineers … They were obviously into splicing DNA. Is that really something that needs to be spelt out for you in order to gain your approval? I’ve also seen people ask why the Space Jockeys are wearing exoskeleton suits when the planet was terraformed. As if oxygen supply is their only concern when messing with highly contaminate material. The only thing left unanswered that actually needs to be addressed is the cave paintings. That however is the entire setup for the sequel. We need to know why the Space Jockeys decided to spare the human race after all. Perhaps a sect broke off that wanted to give mankind a chance and thus left us with the information to find LV-223, which is a moon btw. We’ll just have to wait and see.

      It’s sad to see how the general public and now the critics alike need everything spelt out for them these days. Then they turn around and praise marketing flicks such as The Avengers because it’s easy for them to digest. Never mind that flick ACTUALLY had plot holes from here to China that were all filled in with Loki’s scepter plot device. It’s truly you bandwagon jumpers including Mr. Goldberg who make no sense at all.

  • Ned

    Prometheus stayed with me for days after, I don\’t recall much about Event Horizon or Sunshine.

  • calvincrack

    i take issue with the haters and some of the defenders of this movie. haters….quit trollin’. those of us who like the movie agree with you that it’s not perfect. so stop being such damn pessimists. and you: mindless defenders who claim that the haters have no reasonable points of contention with the patchy screenplay? that’s wrong too. everyone needs to back the f**k off of this movie though.

  • fassbendershead

    Was this a studio-directed movie? Perhaps if Scott had complete creative control the movie would have made more sense. But I can see how Fox would be reluctant to give such an unproven director that much freedom.

    • TheTruth

      The movie made perfect sense. This guy just sounds jilted and you just sound like the rest of the movie public these days who desperately need everything slowly spelt out for them.

  • Luc

    If Ridley Scott doesn’t want to do a new cut, then maybe they should make a producer’s cut. I would like to see a version with Shaw fighting the engineer at the end. When the movie was released it was revealed in interviews that they filmed it that way. This movie is sorely in need of having its female hero do some physical action so we can look up to her.

  • Chris

    The term “plot holes” is way overused by people who clearly don’t understand what a plot is. There are no real plot holes in Prometheus. There are some ambiguous actions at most. The film is a solid work, smart and beautifully realized.

    Also, Lindelof is one of the most interesting writers working in Hollywood today. Without him, we would have got another tepid monster movie.

    • ScaredForMovies

      You do realize Lindelof worked on a finished script for 10 months? To me it doesn’t sound like he changed that much at all. While I enjoyed the movie and it was beautifully shot my problem wasn’t with the plot holes. I had a problem with the stupidity of some of the characters. When the 2 scientists are trapped inside the alien construct and they come across the eel alien and the one guy starts treating it like a dog. Really? Or the infected guy who has a little worm coming out of his eye and instead of getting medical attention goes back out into the field? Or how about the part when the spaceship shaped like a wheel is rolling after them and instead of running horizontally to easily avoid it they keep running in a straight line? When Rapace falls she literally rolls out of its way while Charlize keeps on running. Everyone at the theatre was laughing out loud at that part. An enjoyable movie but a simple lack of character realism/common sense keep it from being the masterpiece some claim it to be.

      • snowball

        Agreed. The engineers did a horrible job of creating us and they didn’t need to come back and wipe us out. In Ridley’s world they were all too stupid to live anyway. Even David. Ah, natural selection…well done there.

  • bubba

    Sounds like it was doomed either way. Sir Ridley made a couple good flicks in the late 70s early 80s but…

    • Lance

      “Sir Ridley made a couple good flicks in the late 70s early 80s but…”

      That’s the go-to phrase of every snobbish hipster who wants to convey to people around them they’re some kind of great cinephile with superior tastes. Just replace “Sir Ridley” with whoever. “Spielberg,” “Woody Allen,” “Martin Scorsese,” “Coppola,” “Kubrick,” etc.

  • MrPerfect

    I thought the film was really obvious and stupid. It wasn’t confusing – I understood all the ideas and mythology Sir Ridley was toying with. I just thought it blew hard and was f**king boring. Oh well, there’s always Blade Runner 2.

  • anon

    lol… not liking the movie means you’re not intelligent enough to watch it. Brilliant logic.

  • Bob Smith

    I’ve liked most of Scott’s other movies he’s directed, so this one shouldn’t be a disappointment. I haven’t seen Prometheus yet, but some co-workers at DISH told me to check it out, and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often. I wish I had the money so that I could just go out and buy it, but sadly I don’t. So I’ll add it to my Blockbuster@Home queue. By using Blockbuster I’ve found that by paying a flat monthly fee to rent movies I save a ton of money in the long run. From what I’ve seen so far, it does look pretty interesting.

  • JohnnyW

    When the hell has Ridley Scott ever had any qualms about producing a different cut of his films before?? Having seen the deleted scenes, I WANT them back in the movie (most of them at least). With branching he could have both versions on the same Bluray. What a pain!

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