|Prometheus (/ˈprɵmɨθiːʌs/) is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, and written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, and Charlize Theron. The story is set in the late 21st century and centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. The crew, seeking the origins of humanity, arrive on a distant world and discover a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race.
Development of the film began in the early 2000s as a fifth installment in the Alien franchise. Scott and director James Cameron developed ideas for a film that would serve as a prequel to Scott’s 1979 science fiction horror film Alien. By 2003, the development of Alien vs. Predator took precedence, and the project remained dormant until 2009 when Scott again showed interest. Spaihts wrote a script for a prequel to the events of the Alien films, but Scott opted for a different direction to avoid repeating cues from those films. In late 2010, Lindelof joined the project to rewrite Spaihts’s script, and he and Scott developed a story that precedes the story of Alien but is not directly connected to that franchise. According to Scott, although the film shares “strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak”, and takes place in the same universe, Prometheus explores its own mythology and ideas.
Prometheus entered production in April 2010, with extensive design phases during which the technology and creatures that the film required were developed. Principal photography began in March 2011, with an estimated US$120–130 million budget. The project was shot using 3D cameras throughout, almost entirely on practical sets, and on location in England, Iceland, Spain, and Scotland. It was promoted with a marketing campaign that included viral activities on the web. Three videos featuring the film’s leading actors in character, which expanded on elements of the fictional universe, were released and met with a generally positive reception and awards. Prometheus was released on June 1, 2012 in the United Kingdom and on June 8, 2012 in North America. It grossed over $402 million worldwide. Reviews praised both the film’s visual aesthetic design, and the acting, most notably Fassbender’s performance as the android David. However, the plot drew a mixed response from critics, who criticized plot elements that remained unresolved or were predictable.
As a hovering spacecraft departs an Earth-like world, a humanoid alien drinks a dark bubbling liquid, then starts to disintegrate. The alien’s remains cascade into a waterfall. His DNA triggers a biogenetic reaction.
In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map in Scotland that matches others from several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity’s forerunners, the “Engineers”. Peter Weyland, the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, funds an expedition to follow the map to the distant moon LV-223 aboard the scientific vessel Prometheus. The ship’s crew travels in stasis while the android David monitors their voyage. Arriving in 2093, they are informed of their mission to find the Engineers. Mission director Meredith Vickers orders the crew to avoid making contact without her permission.
The Prometheus lands near a large artificial structure, which a team explores. Inside they find numerous stone cylinders, a large, monolithic statue of a humanoid head, and the decapitated corpse of a large alien, thought to be an Engineer. They find other bodies and presume the species is extinct. David secretly takes a cylinder, while the remaining ones begin leaking a dark liquid. A rapidly approaching storm forces the crew to return to Prometheus; Shaw takes the Engineer’s head. Crew members Millburn and Fifield are left stranded in the structure. In the ship’s lab, the Engineer’s DNA is found to match that of humans. David investigates the cylinder and the dark liquid inside. He then intentionally taints a drink with the substance and gives it to an unsuspecting Holloway. Shortly after, Shaw and Holloway have sex.
Inside the structure, a snake-like creature kills Millburn, and sprays a corrosive fluid that melts Fifield’s helmet. Fifield falls face-first into a puddle of dark liquid. When the crew return, they find Millburn’s corpse. David separately discovers a control room containing a surviving Engineer in stasis, and a star map highlighting Earth. Meanwhile, Holloway sickens rapidly. He is rushed back to Prometheus, but Vickers refuses to let him aboard, and at his urging, burns him to death with a flamethrower. Later, a medical scan reveals that Shaw, despite being sterile, is pregnant. Fearing the worst, she uses an automated surgery table to extract a squid-like creature from her abdomen. Shaw then discovers that Weyland has been in stasis aboard Prometheus. He explains that he wants to ask the Engineers to prevent his death from old age. As Weyland prepares to leave for the structure, Vickers addresses him as “Father”.
A mutated Fifield attacks the Prometheus’s hangar bay and kills several crew members before he is killed. The Prometheus’s captain, Janek, speculates that the structure was an Engineer military installation that lost control of a virulent biological weapon, the dark liquid. He also determines that the structure houses a spacecraft. Weyland and a team return to the structure. David wakes the Engineer from stasis and speaks to him. The Engineer responds by decapitating David and killing Weyland and his team. Shaw escapes from the spacecraft as the Engineer activates it. Shaw warns Janek that the Engineer is planning to release the liquid on Earth and convinces Janek to stop the spacecraft. Janek ejects the lifeboat and rams Prometheus into the alien craft, while Vickers escapes in an escape pod. The Engineer’s disabled spacecraft crashes onto the ground; its wreckage crushes Vickers. Shaw goes to the lifeboat and finds her alien offspring is alive and has grown to gigantic size. David’s still-active head warns Shaw that the Engineer has survived. The Engineer forces open the lifeboat’s airlock and attacks Shaw, who releases her alien offspring onto the Engineer; it thrusts a tentacle down the Engineer’s throat, subduing him. Shaw recovers David’s remains, and with his help, launches another Engineer spacecraft. She intends to reach the Engineers’ homeworld in an attempt to understand why they wanted to destroy humanity.
In the lifeboat, an alien creature bursts out of the Engineer’s chest.