Director Ridley Scott talked to MTV about his plans for an Alien prequel that will explain the space jockey. As Scott puts it, “Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle â€” there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair. Remember that?”
I read that as somewhat sarcastic, especially when Scott goes on to say, “They’ve squeezed the franchise dry. The first one will always be the most frightening, because the beast we put together with Giger and all its parts â€” the face-hugger, the chest-burster, the egg â€” they were all totally original, and that’s hard to follow.”
He’s right, of course. None of the movies that followed Alien gave us much of anything new. All Cameron did with Aliens is base his movie on action-adventure rather than horror/SF. The third and fourth added absolutely zero to our sense of the world the aliens came from, or anything about the space jockey. I mean, there is a whole alien civilization out there that pilots space ships and leaves a huge freakin’ skeleton behind, and apparently was deliberately transporting alien eggs.
You’d think that by now we would’ve gotten some new data on all of that, in the movies. Instead, we’ve gotten riffs on the same movie, over and over. And don’t get me started on the Alien vs Predator movies. (And, yeah, there are some base similarities between my Predator novel and the new Predator movie, but I’m fairly certain the movie will be much, much stupider.)
So I think I’m actually looking forward to this prequel. The thing about Alien is, yes, it was horrific. Yes, it was a haunted house movie in a sense. But it also gave us a glimmer of a sense of wonder. One of the best scenes in any SF movie is the one in which they first encounter the space jockey. It’s fundamentally about what we love about SF, and especially about subgenres like space opera…and then they didn’t follow through.