Between “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” it’s been a pretty great week for trailers. With a countdown that started on Monday at Apple.com with 30-second teasers hosted by director Ridley Scott, the bar was set pretty high for the premiere of the trailer for “Prometheus” today. After watching it several times over, we think it’s safe to say it completely delivered.
With speculation raging about how much of an “Alien” prequel the film would be over the last several months, aside from being edge-of-your-set menacing and stunning to look at, the trailer is packed with Easter eggs that die-hard fans of the mythology surrounding the acid-bleeding xenomorphs should find extremely exciting. Here are the top five things we noticed.
1. The Mystery of the Space Jockey
The first alien that the crew encounters in the 1979 film isn’t the one that hugs your face or the one with a second set of jaws in its tongue, it’s the creature dubbed the “Space Jockey” by the fan base, and he’s been dead for a while when they find him. By something that burst out through his chest. Some folks might have turned around at that point and gone home, but then it would have been a really short movie.
Who the Jockey was, what he was doing with a ship full of of monsters, and how he became impregnated are all story threads that have not been addressed in the films, but it looks like the mystery will be cleared up in this film, because we’re pretty sure that’s his helmet sitting on the examination table.
2. The Derelict
The horse-shoe shaped vessel sending out the “unknown signal” (which Ripley later figures out was a warning, and could possibly be the transmission we hear at the start of the “Prometheus” trailer) that the Nostromo investigates is completely out of commission at the beginning of “Alien.” The derelict briefly appears in the director’s cut of the James Cameron sequel, after that it disappears from the film continuity.
In the “Prometheus” trailer, we finally get a chance to see the ship fully functioning. At least until it gets blown out of the sky and almost crushes Charlize Theron. The mystery of whether or not the eggs were originally cargo or something laid by whatever burst out of the Space Jockey might finally be solved.
3. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation
While the protagonists of the “Alien” films are consistently menaced by drones, warriors, queens, face-huggers, chest-bursters and hybrids, the most insidious monster has always been the corporation that will do anything and sacrifice anyone to achieve their goal of weaponizing the intergalactic biological threat.
With their logo branded all over the vehicles, equipment and Idris Elba’s t-shirt in trailer, it suggests that Ridley Scott plans on keeping the theme that humanity’s worst enemy is often itself.
4. Humans Used As Hosts
One of the more horrifying aspects of the “Alien” franchise monsters is that they don’t just kill anything they can find, they completely violate the human body whenever they have the chance. In the original film, John Hurt’s character Kane is not simply murdered, but is first used as a host to incubate the creature that would decimate his fellow crew members and ultimately lead to the destruction of his ship. In a deleted scene from “Alien,” the horror was even further explored when Ripley stumbles across her fallen comrades in the bowels of the ship, where they are slowly being transformed in to egg sacs to produce more drones.
Judging by the appearance of the crew-member springing on to the flame-throwing troops at the 43-second mark (most likely Logan-Marshall Green’s character, who is being sprayed with something volatile earlier in the trailer), the element of physical corruption will remain in the DNA of the franchise for “Prometheus.”
5. A Full Shot of An Alien
Horror and science-fiction films are notorious for not giving you a clear look at the monster or the alien in trailers. The trailer for the original “Alien” (embedded at the bottom of this post) barely revealed the creatures at all. That’s why we were surprised that in the trailer for Prometheus, the alien shows up at the 44-second mark. In comparison to how tiny the crew of Nostromo appeared when they explored the pilot’s cabin in “Alien,” it stands at least twice as tall as a human. As the being isn’t in its space suit, you can see just how much it resembles the giant, hair-less head featured in the film’s poster. While it isn’t a shot of the titular alien from the other films in the franchise, it’s a bold reveal for a first look at the film and it makes you wonder what kind of surprises (and horrors) they’re holding back for later.
“Prometheus” is due out in theaters on June 8th, 2012. You can watch the original 1979 trailer for “Alien” below and see how they line up.