Prometheus 2 – What the future holds

It is time now to put on our thinking hats and speculate how the next part of Prometheus movie would look like. We know for a fact that Prometheus II will be made, with Ridley Scott at the helm. So, that’s good news. But, what is not that good is that there are some inconsistencies between the chain of events in Prometheus and in Alien. You could call it oversight, similar to the visual of green pastures in the engineer sacrifice scene in the first scene in Prometheus, nevertheless it needs to be mentioned. Before I talk about this inconsistency, let us just consider what we have seen and have established from the analysis so far and how we could use this information to establish a direct link with Alien.

Link between LV 223 and LV 426

Nostramus on its way to LV 426 - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Nostromo on its way to LV 426 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

First off, there is only one important thing to be established – the forced landing of the derelict spaceship on LV 426. It is no doubt, it is one of engineers’ ships that I think we can safely assume originated from LV 223. I had reasoned earlier that LV 426 is also part of the same star system that LV 223 is part of. We also know for a fact that there are many more ships under the surface of LV 223. Now, let us see if we could arrive at a logical sequence of events that would lead to the aforementioned scenario. But first, we must reestablish what we know. So. let us review. The engineers had conceived the Alien, but they couldn’t get their plans realized, since the creature had to be “born”. But, when Prometheus came knocking in 2093, the plan got rolling, resulting in the birth of the first Alien like creature – the Deacon aka Proto-Alien. The entire crew of Prometheus is dead, except for Shaw and the android David, who we saw flying to the home planet of the engineers. It is unclear at this moment as to how many undead engineers are still in LV 223. Prometheus came face to face with one engineer who was on hypersleep for many many years. But, if there are other ships on LV 223, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that may be there are other engineers still alive as well. For the time-being, let us keep this thought on the back of our head.

Derelict on LV 426 - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Derelict on LV 426 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineers’ Home – What to Expect?

Let us look into Shaw and David’s visit to the engineers’ home planet. If my earlier assumption is right, then Shaw and David will meet a completely different group of engineers who aren’t that teed off with us like their counterparts in LV 223. This would prove that only a select few engineers had decided to take the extreme route of planning the destruction of humans. They could have broken ranks with a large majority in their home planet and decided to press ahead with their plans on LV 223. Due to their mutiny, they were cast off and given a free hand to do what they wanted, but never come back, in case there was an emergency of some kind. This could explain why no rescue mission was mounted to help the engineers stranded on LV 223. In addition, such a possibility would also prove the existence of structured military and political system within the engineer race with some “elders” calling most of the shots. When Shaw and David explain what they had witnessed in LV 223, it is likely that the elders realize the repercussions of their brothers’ actions. I would be glad if there are more religious aspects discussed over there as well and see if Shaw finally comes out of her religious mind freeze! Then, a team of engineers head back to LV 223 with Shaw and David to assess the situation. Shaw obviously does not know about the Deacon, but I am sure David knows. Since, he is the only person capable of communicating with the engineers, it would be interesting to see just how much exactly does he communicate to the engineers. But, more on David a bit later.

Back to LV 223

It is no doubt that the main action in the second film should return to LV 223. Assuming my theory is correct, then. a group of engineers along with Shaw and David should return to LV 223. Once on LV 223, it is likely that their first focus is on finding if there are still any other surviving engineers left. Apart from that, Deacon would emerge as the central player. It had been commented earlier by the filmmakers that Deacon is female, since she is born of Shaw. So, let us run with that. Now, it would be anybody’s guess as to what havoc she will wreak in LV 223. If there are other engineers still alive, then there is a chance of confrontation between them and the Deacon, which might run in parallel to the chain of events on the engineers’ home planet.

One must also consider another possibility. Sure, Prometheus was destroyed. But, it had the most important person on board – Peter Weyland himself. Hence, it could also be possible that another mission from Weyland Corp. is on its way to LV 223. If so, it would be safe to assume that the crew wouldn’t have any idea as to what had happened to Prometheus as well. I am guessing that such a development would be highly possible. More on this, on my next post.

Role of Deacon/Proto-Alien

Alien type creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Deacon – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Now, let us get back to the star of the film, Deacon herself and what she means to the progression of the movie. She is undoubtedly, the first of her race and I am considering the fact that she is a queen as well. When Alien came out, the first question that bothered most was how did the eggs get there and who laid them. In Aliens, James Cameron proposed the idea of the Alien queen and it is well established now. If the Deacon is not only the first of her kind, but also a queen, then, the problem of who laid the eggs is solved. There is another question of scale. Although the Deacon was “born” of Shaw, she used the life force of the engineer to evolve. Hence, it is no surprise why she is way bigger than the average chestburster that we all love and hate at the same time. So, it would be interesting to see just how big the Deacon becomes. We know from Aliens that the Queen is much larger than the average Alien. Anyway, it would be quite an awe moment when we see the fully grown Deacon on LV 223.

Roaring creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Roaring Deacon – Copyright 20th Century Fox

If we took a closer look at the Deacon and the chestburster together again, apart from scale, there are a few more things evident. Take a look at the picture above and the one below and concentrate on the teeth area. It is clear that the Deacon’s teeth are still organic, but the chestburster’s teeth are metallic. Another obvious difference is the fact that the Deacon’s structure looks more bio-mechanical than the chestburster. We saw in Alien that the chestburster goes through another evolution when it sheds this organic skin to assume the grey mechanical skin tone as it grew. I believe the difference here is due to the fact that the first chestburster emerged from Kane, a human and the Deacon emerged from the engineer. This certainly warrants a brief speculation on the biology of the engineers. I will do that in my very last post in this exercise. As mentioned, you can observe the mechanical teeth structure of the chestburster in the following three pictures.

Chestburster - Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chestburster – Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chestburster 2 - Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chestburster 2 – Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chestburster 3 - Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chestburster 3 – Alien 1979: Copyright 20th Century Fox

Brett inspecting the Chestburster's shed skin - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Brett inspecting the Chestburster’s shed skin – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Coming back to the eggs, a possible scenario would be that the Deacon finds a temperature controlled environment, like the interior of one of the engineers’ ships and lays her eggs. She would eventually battle others almost killing them all. There was another idea I had earlier how to relate the Deacon to Shaw, apart from the fact that she was born of Shaw. I imagined a possibility that the Deacon would infect Shaw and the creature born out of Shaw would be the queen. But, for that to happen, Shaw had to be subdued and perhaps, die earlier in Prometheus 2 which, going by just the strength of her character and main role, is quite implausible. This is the only reason why I think Deacon could be the queen and we don’t need another round of evolution to engineer the queen. But, what I do believe is that Shaw has to die. I am hypothesizing that this would definitely happen, towards the end of the film.

We have finally arrived at the all important scene that connects Prometheus with Alien directly – an engineer spaceship leaving LV 223 and force landing on LV 426. I initially thought of talking about it right here, but there are some very interesting things that need to be discussed to understand this scene. Hence, I have decided to talk about it in detail in a separate post next.

Prometheus – Conclusions Part II

Now, let us further explore the Christianity angle and analyze its impact on the engineers’ decision to both destroy humans and their intention to create a sophisticated creature. As Christianity’s message spread all over the world, the engineers realized that their role in engineering life on earth had been forgotten and perhaps, they thought that we would never reach a stage where we would really know the truth behind our existence (I am of course talking about our ability to decode the star maps and come looking for them!). We also see that belief in Christian god is something that Shaw, even after all what she has seen can’t let go. She even argues with David in one of the scenes, where she asserts that the fact that the engineers created us doesn’t negate the existence of god, since the question arises as to who created the engineers!

One of the fascinating facts is that the engineers could have used other ways to obliterate our race on earth. For instance, they could have dumped a load of nuclear weapons that would have resulted in mass extinction. But, they didn’t. Instead, they decided to attempt engineering a semi-biological life-form that would have served as the medium for the extinction of the human race, had it been successful. This is a very important aspect that I believe is key to understand the engineers’ mindset in planning our destruction. Again, I believe it is tied with Christianity and its message. The religion also produced an elaborate rule-set that suggested a way of life that was the one with god. Any other way was not how god intended and anyone following in that path was meant to fail. In addition, the religion also decried the belief in any other god or religious philosophy. Even today, you would find many fundamental Christians claim that religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are pagan religions and that these beliefs need to be destroyed (I am talking of course about people like Pat Robertson from The 700 Club and many other morons on TBN and crazies like the late Jerry Falwell).

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

In addition to promulgating the idea that there is only one god and he created the universe and life on earth, Christian faith also laid some strong rules as to how morality needed to be perceived and defined the difference between moral and amoral. I believe this was the final nail in the coffin as far as the engineers’ hope for us was concerned. The connection between religion and morality has been explored from a philosophical standpoint for many years. Of late, a few thinkers and biologists have put forward the argument that morality doesn’t necessarily have to be a product of religion. Richard Dawkins in particular talked about this in great detail in his awesome book, The God Delusion. He argues that morality is not something that resulted from a religious belief and that it has a Darwinian explanation. He goes on to explain that altruistic genes, selected by standard evolution imparts natural empathy. He also adds that the perception of morality constantly evolves in society and would eventually lead to liberalism. For more, I would suggest you read The God Delusion. He tackles not just the issue of morality, but also many other aspects of religion that have caused only more problems.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Anyway, the important thing I wanted to convey is the fact that the engineers were peeved with the propagation of Christianity and its message on morality and especially as it pertains to sexual themes. Of course not a lot of people would talk about it, but, from some conversations I have had with staunch Christians, I have come to the conclusion that some of them think that the act of sex involves only the male and female sexual organs. Oral sex of both kinds were considered unnatural and don’t even get me started on anal sex. Such acts are still considered sub-human in many cultures and religions. If you extend that further, you would see people giving religious reasons as to why homosexual relationships are an abomination. Actually, most so called “holy books” of many religions talk about the evils of homosexual relationships. Ever since the last decade, we have consistently seen that there is a large amount of evidence that suggests a biological/genetic ground for homosexuality. But, still, fundamental religious nuts resort to idiotic cleansing rituals to and I quote, “Pray the Gay away”.

It is clear to me that the engineers wanted to turn this religious interpretation of morality on its head. Although the destruction of the human race was the engineers’ primary intention, they wanted to execute their plan in a way the humans would realize the blasphemy they had committed when they created the imaginary christian god. The best way to teach them a lesson would be to do it in all ways possible that would be a complete antithesis of Christianity and its message on morality.

Before I talk about how the engineers used this message to plot our destruction, I would like to briefly discuss the multiple religious symbolism that we saw in the film. Right from the beginning, the concept of religion was consistently discussed in the film. Before Prometheus lands on LV 223, we saw David establish a neuro-visor link with Shaw, who was still on hypersleep. We saw an interesting conversation going on between Shaw and her father and in the short time David saw her dream, we saw evidence of religious discord between two faiths and how one’s belief in a god is very strong. We also saw what could presumably be her dad placing a crucifix pendant in Shaw’s hands. The pendant had a life of its own in the film. Prior to her inspection, David tried to remove the pendant to which Shaw reacted strongly. Only after he promised that he would keep it safe, did she let him remove it. During the final scene, when she rescued David, the first thing she asked him was for the pendant. Such an attachment to the pendant could also be viewed as her strong belief in her god and how she still clings on to her faith, irrespective of all what had happened. As I had mentioned earlier, Shaw also argues that the question of who created the engineers was still open. So, it is very clear that she believes in an imaginary god and is unwilling to let go of her belief even in the face of massive evidence against her line of thinking. In addition to Christian symbolism, one cannot deny the fact that ancient Egyptian philosophies had influenced the filmmakers as well.

Development of Alien creature

Finally, we have arrived at the point where it all started – the conception and engineering of the Alien creature itself. I had previously mentioned in my Mural analysis sections that it was clear that the engineers had figured out the life-cycle of the creature and how it would subdue and infect its host (The presence of facehugger on the mural). In my opinion, based on the design of the creature, the way it was intended to sexually abuse the host by orally raping the person is somehow reflective of the engineers showing a giant middle finger to our religious perception of morality! Actually, there is more evidence that would add weight to this idea. For instance, let us revisit the movie Alien for a moment. When Ripley learns the truth about the mission to retrieve the biological specimen, she confronts Ash. During the following struggle, it becomes evident that Ash is an android.

Alien 1979 - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien 1979 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien 1979 - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien 1979 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The remaining crew finally subdue him and interrogate him. The interrogation scene goes like this:

Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? Ash?
Ash: [speaking in an electronic, distorted voice] Yes, I can hear you.
Ripley: What was your special order?
Ash: You read it. I thought it was clear.
Ripley: What was it?
Ash: Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.
Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?
Ash: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
Ripley: How do we kill it Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it. How? How do we do it?
Ash: You can’t.
Parker: That’s bullshit.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am… I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug.
Ash: [Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts] Last word.
Ripley: What?
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality - Alien 1979 - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality – Alien 1979 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

I think it’s no accident that there was a dialogue like this in Alien. I am positive that this message was used as a major theme in developing the main plot of Prometheus. If we work that backwards, it is clear what the engineers’ intentions were. They wanted to engineer a creature that was unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. In addition, it was also designed to be structurally perfect that can survive just anywhere in the cosmos, thanks to its silicon base later in its life-cycle. I am sure most of you would agree with me that such a creature is absolutely invincible, thanks to not only its physical strength, but also due to its lack of empathy of any kind. It knows only one thing – Kill anything that moves. All it is interested in is propagating its race, infect as many hosts as possible. It really doesn’t care if the host is a man or a woman or a child. The engineers’ intent in creating a creature with such a lack of empathy just shows how pissed off they were with us. In fact, they even went further. They used Christian symbolism in the mural and cast the Alien creature as their version of “son of god”! Its like them telling us, “You believe in this religion and think that your son of god died on the cross for the sake of you? Well, let us define him differently. Our version of son of god will orally rape you, lay his seed inside your body and result in rebirth by breaking out of your chest. That is the only way for your salvation!” Remember, in the second part of my mural analysis I mentioned that I was deliberately avoiding talking about the posture of the Alien on the mural and that I would do that later? Well, I think now is the time. Observe the Alien again in the following picture. The way the creature is standing, with its hands stretched out is very much similar to Jesus on the cross.

"Alien" Mural - Detailed (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

“Alien” Mural – Detailed (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Now, take a look at Jesus on the cross. I don’t think it is mere coincidence. It is deliberate on part of the filmmakers to connect the creature and the Christian faith and its message.

Jesus on the cross

Jesus on the cross

Not only the mural, if you observed the engineer’s spaceship when it’s leaving, from the front, one side of the ship looks like a slightly stretched out hand that looks very similar to a famous picture of Jesus’s hands. It is likely that I am seeing things, nevertheless, I wanted to mention it. Look at the following couple of pictures.

View of the engineer's spaceship

View of the engineer’s spaceship

Jesus hands

Jesus hands

So, my conclusion is that the engineers wanted to teach us a lesson and hence, designed the creature as an antithesis to Christianity and its message and wanted to use it as a medium for our destruction. But, something unexpected happened. They had developed the schematics of the organism of course, but they were unable to create the Alien. From the madness on LV 223, it is clear that the reverse engineered black goo was extremely potent. A mutated worm killed Milburn and we all saw what happened to a mutated Fifield. The engineers were able to get some of their plans right, like as I talked about earlier, shedding of organic cells and replacing it with silicon. But, it is also likely that they underestimated the potency of the black goo. That’s why the entire colony of engineers was almost destroyed by the breakout. Based on the hologram that David saw inside the bridge, one could glean the fact that the surviving engineers had enough with their “failure” in creating the creature that they decided to leave LV 223 and dump the entire cargo on earth.

Now, coming back to the Alien itself, how come they were unable to bring their plan to fruition. It is my view that they had overlooked one essential aspect in creating the creature – the act of sex. The creature they had designed was meant to abuse you sexually in every way possible, yet, they didn’t know that the creature had to be “born” first from the act of sexual reproduction. This is the reason why they were unable to create the creature as they had planned. When the infected Holloway had sex with Shaw, it resulted in the birth of the giant facehugger, which ultimately resulted in the birth of Deacon or proto-alien. This whole thing makes the Alien partly human and it is absolutely fascinating that the engineers’ doomsday machine for humans needed humans for its creation! Imagine what might have happened, if David hadn’t spiked Holloway’s drink with the black goo? That’s why I find David integral to the movie. But, I must confess, it isn’t that surprising at all. In Alien, Ash was a very important character and androids have always had a notorious reputation in the entire Alien franchise. This is one of the reasons why I would like to talk about the role of David and androids a couple of posts later. There is also another aspect to the act of reproduction that I would like to discuss in my next part, where I talk about how Prometheus Part II would look like.

Final Review

I think I have finally been able to convince you of my thoughts on why the engineers conceived the alien. They were pissed off with us for creating a christian god and propagating Christianity and its message on morality. They conceived the creature as an antithesis to this belief and wanted to use it to destroy us. But, during the course of developing the creature, they overlooked the fact that the creature had to be born first. The potent reverse engineered black goo they used to conceive the creature turned on them and almost destroyed their colony on LV 223. Prometheus’s visit to LV 223 in 2093, reawakened this process and thanks to David’s intervention, resulted in the birth of Deacon or proto-alien.

Prometheus Analysis Part XI – Final Act

Heading back to the structure - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Heading back to the structure – Copyright 20th Century Fox

We have now come to the final act of the film. Weyland, David, Shaw, Ford and another mechanic leave for the structure. While inside, David tells Weyland he could remove his helmet, since the air is breathable. Weyland initially hesitates, and Shaw also warns saying that they still weren’t sure if the infection could be transmitted by the air. David tells Shaw that it doesn’t. Shaw wonders how David knows that and gives him a stare. David then leads them to the Bridge where he found the hypersleep chambers and the live engineer. They go through a bay where they see thousands of stone vases and Weyland asks David if he knows what it is. David replies that it is the cargo hold. Shaw is worried and asks Janek back on the ship if he could see them. He asks Shaw how many of those vases are there, to which Shaw replies thousands. Janek is shocked to hear this and he starts focusing on the holographic map of the structure they had mapped out earlier with the help of Fifield’s probes. He strips away the dome structure, isolating the cargo hold area and it becomes evident to him that it is a ship! Vickers is shocked as well.

Cargo imagery transmitted by Shaw - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Cargo imagery transmitted by Shaw – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Janek figures out the ship - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Janek figures out the ship – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It is the first time the crew finally realize that the structure they had been exploring was all a ruse, hiding a ship beneath the surface. Once Janek isolated the dome, it becomes clear. David, on the other hand had figured that out long time ago that it was a ship.

The crew then enter the bridge or the command center. David comments that the engineers are a superior race without a doubt and that their hypersleep chambers would impress anybody. Shaw realizes that they had tried to leave before the breakout of the thing. David tells her that they were intended to fly to earth. A surprised Shaw asks David why. He tells her that in order to create, one must destroy! Now, Shaw is even more shocked. They then make it to the engineer’s pod and Weyland wants to confirm again if he is alive and if David can talk to him. David assures Weyland that he can.

David tells Shaw of the engineers' plan to leave for earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David tells Shaw of the engineers’ plan to leave for earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Inscriptions on the hypersleep chamber - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Inscriptions on the hypersleep chamber – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David proceeds to open the engineer’s hypersleep chamber. The engineer wakes up and steps out of his pod. He doesn’t show any side effects of having been asleep for a long time. Weyland tells David to speak to the engineer and tell him that they came just like he asked. But, Shaw is interested in knowing more about what killed them. She tells David to ask him where they are from and what do they have in their cargo. Weyland is annoyed with Shaw at this moment.

The surviving engineer after his hypersleep - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The surviving engineer after his hypersleep – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw also wants to know why they would lead us here and why was the cargo meant for us. At this point, Weyland loses his patience and asks one of his men to shut her up. Shaw is still relentless, and wants to know what humans did wrong and why the engineers hated the humans. The engineer looks as if he is uninterested in the whole bickering between the humans. Then, David tells the engineer in his own language that Weyland is here because he does not want to die and that he believes that he can give more life.

David talks to the engineer - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David talks to the engineer – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The engineer looks at Weyland and looks and touches David’s head tenderly at first, but then suddenly goes nuts and twists and rips David ‘s head off and attacks Weyland. One of Weyland’s men shoots at the engineer, but it does nothing. He knocks both him and Ford and watches Shaw run off. After being knocked down cold by the engineer, Weyland looks at the decapitated head of David and says that there’s nothing. David tells him that he knows and wishes him a good journey, Vickers watches this whole thing on her monitor and as Weyland dies, she tells that its time to go home.

Engineer stroking David's head - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer stroking David’s head – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Weyland knocked out - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Weyland knocked out – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Decapitated David wishing Weyland a good journey - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Decapitated David wishing Weyland a good journey – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Based on the hologram that David saw earlier, he had figured out the engineer’s plans. And the fact that he tells Shaw that creation would require destruction could mean that he knows more than what he is letting others know. It is clear that the goo has deadly effects, but it is unclear as to whether he has also figured out its course of action as it was intended by the engineers. Regardless, it is evident that he knows more. Coming to the hypersleep chamber, the hieroglyphs on the pod are similar to the ones that we saw earlier in the movie. When David asks the engineer about giving life to Weyland, the engineer first looks at David tenderly. He went straight for his head thereafter, so it could be likely that he knew that David was an android immediately. It is also likely that he was incredibly offended by the request coming from someone who was created by the life form they had engineered. Immortality would have removed any major difference between their creator and life form they created. Also, one needs to remember that he has been carrying more than 2000 years of hate and when you wake up after having slept on it that long a time, you have no reason to think about rationality. Your are still bound by your strong emotions. The way the engineer went about knocking everyone down and immediately plotting course for earth shows that he was a possessed man. He poured cold water on Weyland’s dreams. Prior to dying, Weyland tells David that there was nothing and David tells him he knows. Now, what the hell was Weyland expecting. I think, given Weyland’s intent to attain immortality, he should be also interested in transition of life. It is likely he was intending to see a light or something before he passed on and he saw nothing. David tells him he knows there’s nothing. If this hunch is correct, then we have another religious element that goes all the way back to the conversation the young Shaw had with her dad about death and heaven and all. More on the religious theme in the final analysis.

The engineer then starts his ship and the pilot’s seat is automatically activated. I got goosebumps watching this whole scene. The relevance of this space jockey scene with respect to the original Alien is without a doubt well established. Still, to see the transformation of the engineer into the space jockey was nothing short of exciting! The engineer plots course for earth and he takes off.

Pilot's seat activation - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Pilot’s seat activation – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer preparing for take off - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer preparing for take off – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The legendary Space jockey - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The legendary Space jockey – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Destination earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Destination earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

At this point, Shaw realizes that the ground is shaking and a bit later separates as the ship initiates take off. Shaw, knowing where the ship is intended for, makes a frantic call back to Prometheus and warns Janek to stop the engineer’s ship at any cost. Janek is hesitant at first, but Shaw reminds him that irrespective of whether Prometheus is a war ship or not, the engineer has to be stopped, else, there would be no home to go! Vickers is unmoved and orders Janek to leave for earth. Janek, realizing that Shaw’s concerns are very real, decides to sacrifice himself and Prometheus to stop the engineer’s ship.

Shaw warning Janek - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw warning Janek – Copyright 20th Century Fox

He asks Ravel to warm up the ion propulsion to use Prometheus as a bullet. He tells the disgruntled Vickers that he would eject her support module and she could get to her escape pod in a few seconds, else, she could prefer to stay with him and die. Vickers makes a run for the escape pod and ejects herself in the nick of time. Prometheus crashes head on with the engineer’s ship bringing it down and presumably killing Janek, Ravel and Chance in the process. Vickers is crushed by the falling ship leaving Shaw as the only survivor.

Engineer's ship taking off - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer’s ship taking off – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Collision Course - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Collision Course – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Mission accomplished - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Mission accomplished – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw is warned that her oxygen levels have gone down and that she’s got just two minutes left. She makes her way to the support pod of Vickers. Once inside, she realizes that there is some commotion in the surgery room hosting the med pod where she removed the alien offspring. She carefully looks into the room through the glass window and finds out the alien creature has grown to gigantic size with tentacles and all.

The alien offspring - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The alien offspring – Copyright 20th Century Fox

She is contacted by David at this point who warns her that the engineer is following her. She has a brief struggle with the engineer before opening the surgery room door and unleashes the giant alien creature on the engineer. The creature looks like a giant facehugger from the 1979 film and it subdues the engineer after a struggle and inserts its proboscis down his throat and sits on him.

Engineer struggling with the giant facehugger - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer struggling with the giant facehugger – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Proboscis struck down the engineer's throat - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Proboscis struck down the engineer’s throat – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer subdued completely - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer subdued completely – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Meanwhile, Shaw makes it out of the support module and collapses on the moon surface basically giving herself up. David contacts her and tells her that he was worried that she might die. He then tells her that he needs her help but Shaw is not that excited about helping him. He tells her that he is her only hope to get out of LV 223 and that there are many more ships buried and he knows how to pilot them to earth. Shaw goes back to the bridge of the brought down ship and recovers the head and torso of David, but not before she collects her cross back. She also tells David that she wants to goto the engineers’ home planet and not earth. David wants to know what difference would it make to know why the engineers turned on them, to which she replies that he wouldn’t get it because he is a robot.

Finally, she makes the following log:

Final report of the vessel Prometheus. This ship and her entire crew are gone. If you’re receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There’s only death here now and I’m leaving it behind. It is New Year’s Day, the year of Our Lord, 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw. Last survivor of the Prometheus and I’m still searching.

We see another engineer ship leave the moon, which is the one launched by Shaw and David and is on its way to the engineers’ home planet.

Shaw leaving LV 223  - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw leaving LV 223 – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The scene then cuts back to the support pod where the subdued engineer is suddenly shaking. His chest bursts open and the cut reaches his stomach and a creature emerges out of his body. The creature then stands up and roars.

Alien type creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Alien type creature – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Roaring creature - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Roaring creature – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The creators prefer to call the creature, Deacon and lets roll with that. The birth of Deacon itself is pretty interesting. Although, there are some differences between Deacon and the classic Alien from 1979, I think it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that Deacon could be something right before the Alien in the development/evolution tree. However, as we know already, the alien evolution is anything but standard.

Shaw’s intentions have been clear right from the moment she learned that something was wrong with the engineers. She wants to know the reason why they turned against humans. She is relentless in her quest to find the answer. So, it doesn’t surprise me that despite all the carnage and destruction, she still wants to visit the engineers for an answer. David finds it illogical, but he is still excited about the prospect of learning more. Shaw and David’s survival is not surprising from a movie standpoint. They are the strongest characters in the film and their individual actions are driven by different motivations and it is important to analyze them in detail.

Anyway, now that we have completed the scene by scene description of the film, it is time to analyze some pending issues and how we could arrive at a picture that would indicate what to expect from Prometheus 2.

 

Prometheus Analysis Part IX – Act 4

Stone Vases outside the Command Center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Stone Vases outside the Command Center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Let us focus now on the second exploration scene inside the structure. Janek heads a team back to the structure to locate Millburn and Fifield. In the meantime, David is on his way alone to find the probe that seems to be picking up a life form at regular intervals. Vickers wants David to connect his camera feed to her room. David finally finds the probe floating in front of what seems to be a door to another room. He opens the door and inside he finds thousands of stone vases that we saw earlier, all neatly stacked. David opens another door that leads him to what could be thought of as a command center. At the entrance, there are four, large, 1:1 scale engineer statues, all suited up. Suddenly, something catches his attention. At this point, he cuts off his camera feed much to the annoyance of Vickers. He sees a large circular structure with four hyper-sleep chambers.

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The rest of the exploration team come across the pile of dead engineers that Millburn and Fifield earlier encountered. Holloway, seemingly sick from the infection trips on one of the bodies. Shaw takes a closer look at him and is worried on seeing his eyes bloodshot. She tells that he is sick, but Charlie advises to move forward. They enter the room where they found the vases earlier and when Chance is about to touch the black goo oozing out of one of the vases, Janek advises him not to. Shaw tells Janek that they were dormant when they first saw the vases. Chance finds a motionless body on the ground and he realizes that it is Millburn.

Chance finds a motionless Millburn - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chance finds a motionless Millburn – Copyright 20th Century Fox

As they approach Millburn, Holloway falls again and he asks Shaw to look at him closely and tell him what she sees. Shaw knows instantly that Holloway is very sick. The others turn Millburn’s body over and find out that he died with his mouth open. Shaw tells Janek that they have to get back to the ship immediately due to Holloway’s infection. The ones checking on Millburn find something crawling in his esophagus that is ruptured open. A snake like creature  jumps out of his esophagus, unsettling everyone before swimming away. Shaw gets in touch with Prometheus tells that a medical team is required by the airlock and also calls for quarantine fail-safe since Holloway’s sick. Vickers is worried about this development and denies Shaw’s request and tells her that she would be closing it up.

Shaw checking on sick Holloway - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw checking on sick Holloway – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open – Copyright 20th Century Fox

While this chaos is going on with Shaw and gang, David is busy figuring out the specifics of the command center. He finds some rubbery egg like buttons and he presses them. One of them lits up and he presses it again, which results in a chair being released and presumably another hologram activated. He proceeds to sit on the chair and watches the hologram as the scene unfolds.

The Hologram

The Chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The Chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

When David sits on the chair with almost a child like enthusiasm, the hologram is activated. We see four engineers coming in and speaking to each other. One engineer checks on one of the hypersleep chambers and seems to motion another engineer to his right. The other two engineers come in and one of them seemingly makes an action that could only be interpreted as something along the lines of “Enough with this!”.

Hologram showing the first engineer - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Hologram showing the first engineer – Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right - Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

This engineer heads straight to the chair. David makes way for the holographic engineer to take his place. The engineer then uses a flute like device to play a tune and immediately a three dimensional structure is activated along with a few other controls. He proceeds to operate the controls.

Engineer playing the instrument - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer playing the instrument – Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated - Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls – Copyright 20th Century Fox

At this point, something very interesting happens. The first engineer, who was checking on one of the hypersleep chambers, comes to the engineer at the chair and has a conversation with him. The body language of the engineer suggests that he is concerned and seems to suggest that he may be asking if it would work. Just a hunch!

Another engineer walking towards the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Another engineer walking towards the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The engineer on the chair activates a complex map of sorts that show various star systems, galaxies and planetary systems. David is completely overwhelmed by joy seeing these images that he starts exploring the maps. It is clear that our solar system is prominently featured in one of the maps and our planet is marked. David observes this closely and it is very clear that the engineer has plotted course to planet earth. The other engineers are busy attending to the hypersleep chambers.

Complex starmap  - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Complex starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Right when the hologram of earth disappears, David discovers that one of the hypersleep chambers is lit. He checks it and finds an engineer, alive and well and sleeping. He hears the heartbeat of the engineer with utmost satisfaction.

Earth's hologram prior to its disappearance - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Earth’s hologram prior to its disappearance – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What is evident from the aforementioned developments is the fact that the engineers wanted to get the hell out of LV 223 and as it would emerge later in the movie, wanted to take their spaceship to earth, with its deadly cargo. If you looked at the scene closely, it would be clear that from the vantage point of the engineer on the chair, the hypersleep chamber to his top left is the one where one engineer is still alive. What happened to the other three is not known. Even after having “warmed up the ship” and plotting their course, something stopped them from leaving. As we will see very soon, there is one more step needed to activate the pilot’s seat, which means that something attracted the engineers’ attention prior to this step. It basically killed three of the engineers. May be only one engineer was not infected and he went to hypersleep without knowing what fate had in store for the other three engineers.

Now, let us look at the starmap itself. It is undoubtedly a celestial sphere displaying various star systems. As it emerges later we find that the primary focus is our solar system. What of the geometrical skeleton that makes up the sphere? It looks to me like a tessellation. Once defined mathematically, the tessellations are perfect tools to solve complex and tricky problems. In astronomy, one of the most widely used tessellations is the Voronoi Tessellation (VT). It is also known as Dirichlet Tessellation or Thiessen polygons. A VT is a tessellation based on a set of points, like stars on a chart. Each point is enclosed by a polygonal cell — a closed shape formed from line segments — that encompasses the entire area that is closer to its defining point than to any other point. Cell boundaries (or polygon segments) are equidistant to two points; nodes, where three or more cells meet, are equidistant to three or more defining points. VTs can tessellate higher dimensions as well.

VTs provide a useful way to visualize and analyze data patterns as well. Closely clustered spatial data will stand out on a VT as areas dense with cells. Astronomers use this quality to aid them in identifying galaxy clusters.

A close relative to the VT, the Delaunay tessellation also boasts a variety of uses. To make a Delaunay tessellation, begin with a VT, and then draw lines between the cell-defining dots such that each new line intersects a shared line of two Voronoi polygons. The resulting lattice of chubby triangles provides a handy structure for simplifying graphics and terrain.

May be it is not a tessellation and I am imagining things. It is certainly not a VT. Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect our analysis a lot. The pattern most likely resembles Penrose tiling. One sub-structure that you could oft see is a rhombus type with a diagonal intersection with some vertices having a kind of marking. Let me repost the picture and I hope it would be clear what I am talking about.

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It could be likely that this structure is simply part of a more complex repeating pattern of a polygon. But, I am unable to make out more from the picture. It could be likely that what we see here is just a portion of a polygonal symmetry that could be an element of Penrose tiling, I don’t think I would like to go into details regarding Penrose tiling. I think the wiki page is comprehensive with a ton of information. All I would like to say is that we could also see diagonals connecting the vertices of a few rhombuses. This could be the classical golden ratio (1.618). Penrose tilings normally involve the golden ratio. In addition, in case of of a particular Penrose tiling with global symmetry, the center point is either the sun or the star vertex.

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What we see in the center is actually our Sun, with planetary orbits around it. I know, it is quite a stretch to talk about Penrose tilings and symmetry and stuff! But, it is just interesting. Anyway, regardless of whether you find the topic of celestial spheres, tessellations or Penrose tiling relevant or not, the most important information that could be gleaned from the hologram is that the engineers were in a hurry to leave and their destination was earth.

OK, now let us move to the next scene. As the crew rush back to Prometheus with the sick Holloway, they find the air lock shut. Vickers shows up at the air lock and is unwilling to let Holloway in and she is carrying a flamethrower. She is worried that he would infect other people as well. Holloway is progressively getting worse and his skin seems to be changing very rapidly, something akin to a fast mutation of sorts. Shaw is unwilling to leave his side, but Holloway asks her to go. He badly wants to escape the misery of carrying such an infection and he goads Vickers into shooting him. Vickers finally shoots Holloway with the flamethrower resulting in his fiery death.

With that, we are finished with Act 4. Let us do a brief review. We learn that the black goo is oozing out of the vases and Millburn is found dead, with a strange creature shooting out of his throat. David discovers important information about the engineers and finds one of them very much alive and in hypersleep. Holloway’s infection gets progressively worse and he believes that only death can help him get past his misery. His wish is granted by Vickers.

That concludes Part IX of the article. In the next part, I would like to look into Act 5, which takes place back on Prometheus.

Prometheus Analysis Part VII B – The Mural

One thing is clear from the mural – the creation of Alien was no accident. The engineers knew exactly what they wanted to create. It is also evident that they had even figured out the life cycle of the creature. This would explain the facehugger on the mural. But, a few interesting questions also emerge from this scenario. Let us address them one by one.

“Alien” Mural – Detailed (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Time Frame – When did the Engineers conceive the Alien?

In my opinion, this is an extremely important question to address. The ‘schematics’ seem fairly detailed, and hence, it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that they had also worked out the specifics of the biology of the creature, not just its life-cycle. Now, from a time standpoint, there are a couple of possibilities. Let us explore both of them and try to figure out which one is the likeliest.

Scenario 1: The engineers conceived the idea for Alien prior to engineering life on earth.

Scenario 2: Alien was designed roughly around the beginning of the Vulgar Era (Common Era or A.D) in the Gregorian calendar of our history. (Yes, I know the term Vulgar Era isn’t used that often, but for our current discussion it fits).

I am sure you would agree with me that scenario 1 is a bit illogical. If it were true, it would mean that the sole reason for engineering life on earth was to invite a few people over to LV 223 to use as specimens for experimenting with the black goo aiding in the creation of Alien! Not to mention, they were willing to wait nearly 4.6 billion years to accomplish their mission! The whole idea seems a bit far fetched and totally inefficient for such an advanced race. Hence, I am absolutely positive that this time frame can be ruled out.

Scenario 2 seems more likely. It would mean that there was some “event” in human history that changed the engineers’ opinion of us as a race. May be we didn’t meet their standards and they thought of us as a monumental failure. So, they conceived Alien both as a way to correct their mistake and at the same time, use us in it’s creation or evolution.

A few interesting things can be gleaned from such a scenario. First off, the importance of LV 223 should be considered. It is clear that LV 223 was the focal point of the engineers’ grand scheme of things long long time ago. This is based on the star map that we saw in the beginning of the film. Going by the oldest such map dating back to more than 35,000 years ago, it is clear that they had something planned for us on the moon, LV 223. Else, they wouldn’t invite us there. The only thing I could think of is that their intentions then were very different, perhaps even benevolent, Thanks to the so called event, it all changed and the engineers suddenly went batshit crazy and developed the schematics for the Alien and started engineering the black goo for that purpose. Now, as far as a rough estimate is concerned, we do have a clue. When Shaw dated the dead engineer in the cave, she said he’s been dead for nearly 2000 years give or take. When Prometheus was close to its destination, we saw the date was December 21st, 2093. So, that would roughly put the time of the “infection” at around 100 AD. This estimate should provide an ample window when the event happened and the engineers developed the black goo weapon.

I would just like to mention a bit about the organizational structure of the engineers in the context of the reverse engineered black goo. If there had been a common consensus in the development of a weaponized form of the black goo, it surprises me that seemingly no effort had been made on part of the engineers to save the ones on LV 223 who were exposed to this plague. Irrespective of the heightened danger that such a situation presented, it is strange that the affected engineers were left to deal with the mess themselves. More than 2000 years had passed in the meantime, with no evidence of a mop up operation of some kind. It certainly paints the possibility that the modified bioweapon exercise on LV 223 was perhaps the work of some bad apples, a community of engineers who took offense to the “event” and it was an emotion that was not shared by all of them. The other group of engineers had planned on something else for the humans on LV 223. This would mean that we could have two groups of engineers and the one which felt the need to punish humans and the other that did not want to get involved. Just a thought. Anyway, I will come back to this issue much later in my thesis when we address later scenes.

By the way, there is another very important aspect of the mural that I am deliberately not touching upon right now. It has to do with the posture of the Alien! I am sure you guys would probably observe the special nature of such a pose. I will talk about it in detail during my final discussions.

Prometheus Analysis Part VII A – The Mural

The scene inside the “tomb” is probably one of the most important scenes in the whole film, because it is the first time we get to see signs of the creature link between Prometheus and Alien. Although it is not that direct, it reveals itself in the fascinating mural inside the tomb. I am sure you folks would agree that the whole scene is reminiscent of being inside an ancient Egyptian tomb –  the hieroglyphics, murals etc. But, given the plot of the film, it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that the ancient Egyptians had been influenced by the Engineers and hence, the architectural ideas of the Engineers is the original. In fact, the lead in to the discovery of the tomb in itself is a treasure chest of information – starting from the discovery of the hologram to the scene when they escape the tomb we are bombarded with important symbolism and imagery that provide a key to connect the storyline of Prometheus with Alien. Let us explore them one by one.

Let us revisit the hologram activation scene. David discovers hieroglyphic inscriptions on the wall of the corridor, which look like in the image below. In total, he performs five actions to activate the hologram. Two downward swipes, left to right, press one, fourth action is unclear and finally, another press. Now, the above information is not that important, but, the glyphs reminded me of something else. In Alien, in the very beginning, as the credits were rolling, the title played out on top of the screen with a series of vertical and slanted bars organizing into the word, Alien. Of course, I am not claiming that it means something. It’s just that I thought it was interesting to look at both the scenes from that context.

Hologram Hieroglyphs – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Titles – Alien 1979 (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

The next interesting imagery is when they follow the hologram eventually finding the door to the tomb. Again, a fairly detailed hieroglyphic inscription greets them. You can observe them in the next couple of images. If you recall, Holloway asked David with an almost exasperated expression whether he could read them, to which David responded perhaps.

Hieroglyphs outside the tomb I – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Hieroglyphs outside the tomb II – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

If you compare these glyphs with the one that activated the hologram, you could see that there are similarities. I have marked them in the following picture. Note that the ||| glyph is oft repeated in two styles – a bar on top and a bar on bottom. Although, the one encountered earlier had no bars either on top or bottom. Given the intersection between the two glyphs, I am positive David could have at least gotten an idea about what it says.

Similar characters shared with hologram activator – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

OK, now let us discuss the imagery inside the tomb. The pictures below show four different shots of one such image. There is no big mystery in the fact that it depicts an engineer enveloped in some kind of misty layer. But, what is not so clear is that his right hand leads to something unknown. I could not make out any details from the structure. It could be a headless body in a similar position like the engineer and happens to depict a right limb or it could be something more complex. Whatever it could be, would it be possible that this image projects the idea that this thing is envisioned to be something that”evolved” from the engineer? I am not really sure. May be I am just imagining or seeing things. But, the image is nevertheless interesting. I think I will watch this scene in super slow motion tonight again and try to see if there’s more to it.

Engineer Mural inside the tomb I – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb II – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb III – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer Mural inside the tomb IV – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Defining Moment – The Mural

It is time now to pay attention to the all important mural inside the tomb. I think it is fairly evident that the mural depicts the classic Alien creature that we all love to death. Of course, it is not completely detailed, but the important features are all there –  the head, the exoskeleton like structure, stretched out hands, bipedalism.

Alien Mural inside the tomb – Copyright 20th Century Fox

In addition, the wavy, viscous nature of the mural texture looks very similar to the way the black goo reacted and moved before it started overflowing. You could see the details of the mural texture and the black goo motion in the following pictures. Such a parallel between the two opens up the possibility that the black goo is sentient (If this assumption is right, then it is another win for The X Files as it relates to Prometheus).

“Alien” Mural – Detailed (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Wavy motion of the viscous black goo – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Ancient Egypt inspiration?

I had mentioned earlier that the symbolism and images have ancient Egyptian style written all over it, but, that the engineers could have influenced the Egyptians during their frequent visitations during that time. I would like to advance this idea of reverse logic further and am gonna talk about another interesting aspect of the mural. Please remember, this is another one of those not in the ballpark ideas my sick mind conjured up. It could be entirely wrong, but nevertheless, I hope it provides an interesting twist.

The following personal story segment has no bearing with the analysis, so, feel free to ignore it.

*START – Personal Story*

When I was roughly around 15-16 years old I saw a documentary on TV about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb. It made quite an impact on me that I started visiting the British Library in Madras almost every evening after school just to learn more about ancient Egypt. To have had a civilization like that in our evolution history is certainly a very proud thing for us as a race. But, as you know a lifetime is not sufficient to learn everything about ancient Egypt. Hence, I focused my interest mostly on aspects of the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom until the Greek invasion. Those evenings spent at the Library did not go in vain though. Six years later, a friend of mine cleared his Common Admission Test (CAT), organized by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in India. IIM is a premier management institute in India and is famous all over the world for their programs. It is also probably one of the most difficult schools to get into. If you clear the test, you have to take part in a Group Discussion, followed by an in-depth interview, where anything goes. Anyway, my friend got an interview invite from IIM-Ahmedabad, the best IIM in the country and he asked me advice about strengthening his hobby areas, just in case it comes up in the interview. He thought Egyptology could help him, since, it is something very different and that might interest the interview panel. We had a month before the interview and we spent almost 4-5 hours everyday and we would discuss about ancient Egypt. Since time was short, I advised him that we could just look into the New Kingdom, especially the burial rituals, Gods and two pharaohs, Ramses and Akhenaten. I am a huge fan of Akhenaten and he was the first and probably the only one to go against stereotype of that time and was way ahead of the curve both in his thinking and ideology. I hoped our efforts would turn out useful for my friend. As luck would have it, he was asked about his hobbies in the interview and upon hearing Egyptology, the panel was surprised. One professor in the panel had dabbled in Egyptology himself and he was very excited to meet a prospective student with a similar interest. It made the environment a bit friendlier, my friend said. They ended up talking about Akhenaten in particular. My friend got admitted into IIM-Ahmedabad. I am not saying that he got the seat solely because of his discussion about Egyptology, but it did come in handy. Self high five.

*END – Personal Story*

Atum – Heliopolistic Creation Mythology

The idea is connected with creation myths of ancient Egypt. Although there are many theologies based on the prominence of a certain God in one of the major cities in Egypt, they all contribute in one form or the other to the creation mythology. I am not going to focus on all of them, since there is a wealth of information available on the net, starting from Wikipedia. But, what I would like to do is talk about one of the important deities during that period – Atum or Atem or simply, Tem. It is suggested that his name is derived from the word, tem, which means to complete or finish. He is regarded as a complete one and he is credited with both creation and ultimately destruction of life. Atum was the central God in the ancient city of Heliopolis. Hence, the creation myth involving Atum originated in Heliopolis. According to this creation theory, Atum created Himself by sitting on a mound that arose from the primordial waters of the abyss, called Nu. Sometimes, He Himself is considered as the mound. Why do I have to talk about Atum, you ask? Here’s why – He is also credited with the creation of god Shu and goddess Tefnut. He created them by spitting them out of his mouth. It is believed that he was masturbating and upon orgasm he took the semen in his mouth and spit it out thereby creating the gods. The texts from that time suggest various mechanisms for the creation, but they all involve masturbation, semen and spitting. So, the underlying thing here is that he created the twin gods by spitting them out. Shu and Tefnut eventually married each other!

The reason why I find Atum’s story in the context of the mural fascinating is because the Prometheus mural not only reveals the classic alien, but also a head type of thing right above it. It is animal-like (bull?) and I could see distinctive features like, eyes, mouth and nostrils (Atum, for instance, is thought of taking the form of a snake, mongoose or a bull sometimes). Considering the Atum-centric mythology and the relative proximity of the Alien to the mouth of the head above it in the mural together, I cannot ignore thinking about a connection between the two. At the risk of sounding like a broken ancient record, I would again like to emphasize that it is just a hypothesis and I might be dead wrong and the film makers never really cared about any Egyptian influence.

Coming back to Atum, He is a self-engendered god and He chooses when to create and when to destroy. He exercises authority over all life and has complete control over everything. So, the engineers are like Atum and they consider themselves as omnipotent beings and they have the authority and power to engineer and destroy life. That is reflective of a massive God complex! In that context, the unknown head like thing on top of the mural could be a reference to the engineers themselves and that the Alien is their “spat out” creation.

Sexual Connotations

The original Alien was pretty unsettling for a lot of people at that time because it turned the concept of sex on its head.  Dan O’Bannon (Bless him), the writer of Alien even mentioned in one of his interviews that his idea was to unsettle the average male viewer with the whole facehugger sequence. If you look at it, it is basically oral rape, the wrapping of its legs tightly around the host, insertion of its proboscis down the throat simultaneously implanting the embryo, all of it presents a violent image of sex. Not to mention the culmination of the entire process with birth of the chestburster, which is one of those biggest “Holy Shit!” moments in movie history. So, the mouth of the host is integral to the whole cycle.

Facehugger Rape – Alien 1979 (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Masturbating Atum on the left

Now, let us look at the Atum-centric creation myth again. Of course, many would say that the image of a god masturbating and taking his own semen inside his mouth (see pictures to the right and the one below) before spitting it out creating other gods is sick. Some would even say that it is somewhat amoral and all that crap. Also, the spat out gods, who are siblings, married and gave birth to other gods. So, you see there are a lot of things here that would make people uncomfortable. But, ancient Egyptians believed it and were fine with the idea (If you thought Atum masturbation myth was odd, you should read about the infamous lettuce incident between Horus and his evil uncle Set. Horus’s father Osiris was killed by Set and Horus wanted to exact revenge. My point is, sexual aspects are fairly common not just in ancient Egypt, but in many other ancient religions, like Hinduism as well). It just shows how morality was perceived earlier and how it changed over the years, thanks to a certain religion. I will come back to the issue of morality later on in my thesis, because I think it is going to be the key in answering some of our pressing questions about the engineers’ intent.

Same picture as before – Semen consumption

Due to all this I think it is not that far fetched to compare the Atum-centric creation myth with the mural and the deeper meaning that such a comparison unravels.

Now, getting back to Prometheus, we saw that the murals started changing after a while inside the tomb. The group then rushes out of the place. One of the shots of another mural that showed this change or “evolution” is given below. If you paid attention to the scene, you would see something like the classic alien head and its famous bony appendage with which it would attack. I have marked it for easy viewing. I might be seeing things, but I just thought of mentioning.

Mural Evolution inside the tomb – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Finally we come to the last scene related to the mural. When you see the following picture, it should become clear. I am sure everyone would agree that on the bottom right corner, what we see is a classic facehugger! Holloway’s light even emphasizes this part of the mural, which is a clever way on part of the filmmakers to give us further clues. The fact that the alien and the facehugger is heavily represented in the mural shows that the engineers knew what they exactly wanted to create. I would elaborate on these aspects in my next post, which will be the final part of the mural analysis.

Facehugger – Prometheus (Copyright 20th Century Fox)

Review

So, there is a heavy reliance on Egyptian style hieroglyphs and symbolism to not just further the movie, but, also give us hardcore fans some subtle hints helping us connect the dots. There is a stylistic resemblance between some of the glyphs and the way the title, “Alien” played out in the original film. The scene inside the tomb depicts a variety of murals that show engineers, the original alien creature and the facehugger. Looking at some of the aspects of the whole scene through an ancient Egyptian eye lens provides us with a few other fascinating ideas that cover issues like creation and sexuality.

Whoa! That took some time. Anyway, I still need to talk a bit about how the mural might tell us about the engineers’ intent in engineering this creature. I will do it in my next post.