Behind the Camera With ... Prometheus
By Matt Click / April 18

There's a shot in Ridley Scott's Alien that has always stuck with me. Likewise, it's one of the most talked-about and debated shots in the franchise. Ridley Scott couldn't anticipate the decades of speculation it would stir, but it seems like he's going to be taking advantage of it with this summer's Prometheus (coming to theaters June 8), a film that will seek to answer questions (and no doubt spawn a few dozen of its own).

The shot I refer to?

The Space Jockey.
This being is the apparent pilot of the massive derelict ship discovered on LV-426 by the crew of the Nostromo in Alien. A haunting, disconcerting image of a completely alien life-form. Massive, ancient, foreigndead. The gaping hole in its chest is a foreboding sign of things to come, and the lighting, music, and cinematography work together beautifully to create one of the most unsettling images in sci-fi horror.

This derelict ship carries the xenomorph eggs—y'know, the ones that hatch? And given that nasty hole in the Space Jockey's torso, we can take an educated guess as to the nature of its death. But beyond the obvious, we know zero about the Space Jockey—its origins, its purpose, why it would be transporting xenomorph eggs, etc.

There's been plenty of speculation, but we've never got a definite answer. That is, until...

 See those? See the architecture of this ship/structure? Those, my friends, are Jockeys. Or rather, they are Jockey suits.

That's right. It's been speculated, but Ridley Scott has essentially confirmed it. The creature that we saw in Alien was not a creature at all. Rather, it's a suit. Biomechanical, it seems, and not unlike an astronaut's suit in function. So that means we know even less about the Space Jockeys than we thought.

Prometheus is a film we know very little about. The production has worked diligently to maintain a cloak of mystery and secrecy around it, and I honestly admire that. In a time when movie trailers give everything away, and we walk into films knowing exactly what to expect, it's refreshing to see a film go out of its way to mislead the audience. We know Prometheus is very loosely related to the original Alien film. It is a story set in the same universe
—and not a prequel. This is a separate film altogether, with its own unique questions to ask. It's going to be a film of origins—a closer look at the mythology of the Alien universe. The crew of the Prometheus is exploring the origin of humanity, and its apparent connection with an advanced alien civilization.

An advanced alien civilization? Sounds like Jockeys to me.

Whatever questions we might have, we're going to have to wait for Prometheus on June 8 to get any answers.

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