With Ridley Scott returning to the expansion of his Alien universe this year with the theatrical release of the Prometheus sequel Alien: Covenant, many fans have begun re-analyzing parts of Prometheus. One such scene which to this day puzzles many is the Hologram recording scene which involved a group of Engineers running away from something off-camera. At first everyone assumed it was a Black Goo infection, but that really doesn't make much sense when you break down the scenes leading up to and following that particular series of events.
After re-watching Prometheus for what feels like the hundredth time, I noticed a few new details which I and most of the fandom had overlooked prior to today. This post will detail these points and explain how and why we may have purposely been led astray upon our initial viewing of the Alien prequel.
Entering the Engineer Temple - Overlooked Detail
The Engineers on LV-223 were all dead except for one in the temple / Pyramid the Prometheus crew investigated. That one survivor was left in a cryo-chamber asleep. The Hologram recording insinuates all the other Engineers were dead and that none escaped.
The entrance to that temple required the Prometheus crew to physically crouch down and wiggle their way through a broken door. Screenshots below clearly show a curved door frame and what seem to be layers of a stone/metallic door, of which the final panel was busted in.
There is no way and Engineer would fit through that small portion of open door. The only way an Engineer would fit is if he were to crawl in or out. Thus, the door to the Temple was clearly shut or in the process of closing when something busted in or out of it.
This shot above shows clear cuts and straight metallic borders on each panel, indicating that this was not simply a "hole in the Pyramid".
The following screenshot is of the on-board camera feed from back on the USCSS Prometheus, where Janek and the rest of the crew observed the initial descent into the Engineer Pyramid structure. The top right feed gives us another look at the clearly broken door.
Again, there is absolutely no way this door was merely left open - Engineers would have no way in or out if so. This suggests the Temple may have fallen prey to an attack, rather than an outbreak...
The passageway into the Pyramid in ruins
As the Prometheus crew make their way into the Pyramid, they follow the only logical path laid before them. This path also seems to be filled with debris, as if the structure had been partially destroyed in some sense. The following screenshots will help illustrate these points:
As you can see, specifically in the screenshot directly above this paragraph, the rock debris is littered in a way that would suggest something broke its way into the Pyramid rather than broke out.
As the crew continue to follow the obvious pathway into the structure, they find themselves in a circular room, where (to the displeasure of many fans) the crew remove their helmets after discovering the Pyramid was generating an atmosphere. But let's ignore the helmet removal, the big clue here is the way they entered the room. Again, notice the Engineer markings on yet another circular door, which is yet again broken, not left open. Noticing a trend yet?
In the above frame, the debris is actually somewhat of an obstacle as it lays directly in front of them as they make their way into the room. Again, the big slabs of rock, which seem to have rolled inwards indicate the door was busted in, not out.
This second angle shows more of the debris. Notice, nowhere else in the room is there debris like this. So, this also confirms that the Engineers do not decorate their installations with rocks - much the disappointment of Fifield, I imagine.
Keep in mind also, whether scientific or military, an advanced race of super-Humans would surely maintain a certain level of cleanliness and organization for such an important and secret installation.
The Green Goo on the Hologram control panel
Something many fans seem to ignore is the very specific moment when David discovers green goo on the Hologram control panel. This is not Black Goo and it looks very reminiscent of Xenomorph saliva, however it's not. Upon closer analyzing the goo, David remarks "impressive..." and when zoomed in, it looks like the Goo consists of intricate cells which are seemingly still active, even after 2,000 years (assuming carbon dating is accurate to use on an Alien organism).
Why is the Goo on the controls? The Engineers do not emit Goo through their hands, nor do their suits excrete such a substance. If it were from an unknown Alien creature, like a Xenomorph, why would it have its head pressed against a wall for its saliva to smear across it? Seems odd, doesn't it? What if this was blood... blood of an Alien creature we have not yet seen?
Clue Summary 1: There was NO outbreak, the Pyramid was attacked!
The above evidence would suggest that contrary to what we were lead to believe through dialogue by the Human crew members, the Engineer Pyramid on LV-223 was NOT victim to an outbreak of hazardous material. These are an ancient race of highly skilled and intelligent beings - the likelihood of one of them not handling their bio-former material with care is extremely unlikely. Also - their pressure suits mimic those of bio-hazard / hazmat suits we as Humans use today to shield ourselves from harmful chemicals. Thus, it's not a stretch to assume that the Engineer Pressure Suits would have acted as protection against the Black Goo - and all the Engineers in the hologram had these suits on.
Given the analysis above, it leaves us with a few probabilities. Either the Pyramid and the Engineer installations on LV-223 were the target of an organized attack by some unknown entity, or an Alien creature got loose on the planet, found its way to the Pyramid, broke its way in and made short work of the Engineers stationed there.
Side Note: Location, Location, Location!
LV-223 and LV-426 (setting for ALIEN and ALIENS) are part of the same system. The Space Jockey ship which crashed on LV-426 was very, very old and carried a cargo full of Xenomorph Eggs. Is it possible, that the Space Jockey represented a different race of Engineer, one that was opposed to the group on LV-223, or possibly even a radical from their own group, who attempted to stop the assault on Earth. There could have been an Engineer civil war due to the one faction's extremist view and will to end Humanity, which led the rebellious ones to unleash the Xenomorph - but at a cost. Perhaps Aliens were dropped onto the LV-223 installation to eradicate the Engineers before they launched their assault on Earth, but in the process, the cargo was unstable and got loose somehow - killing the radical Space Jockey in the process and crashing on LV-426 shortly after its "drive-by" of LV-223. Certainly a possible scenario.
Blatant audio clues to support an Alien attack
Another aspect of Prometheus many seemed to neglect when scrutinizing and analyzing its plot were the audio clues littered throughout.
At approximately 34:22 the crew of the Prometheus venture down a hallway, to which Milburn remarks that the water might be "martian piss", a faint screech can be heard. The screech mimics that of a Xenomorph all too well, when compared to the sound effects even used in Alien videogames. Look up that scene, turn the volume way up and listen to the faint screech and then play 2010's Aliens vs. Predator game as an Alien and click the "roar" button. Almost identical. Coincidence?
Roughly a minute later David activates the Hologram and a very familiar audio clip is played as the Hologram starts up. Echoing down the halls of the Pyramid is the call of the Deacon. If you wish to check it yourself, the roar kicks in at approximately 35:15, right before the Engineers begin running down the all.
Between the two audio clips, the Deacon roar is by far the more concrete one to use as an argument for this analysis. The roar only happens when David activates the Holographic recording, of which the Pyramid replays both audio and visual data. The Engineers are frantically running away from something, that much is clear. It can't be the Black Goo, because the Black Goo does not disperse like a gas bomb and as stated earlier, their suits would have shielded them from its contents anyways. Compare the audio played at 35:15 with the roar at the end of Prometheus and the two match up identically.
It is clear that many of us were confused by a series of red herrings littered throughout Prometheus. Fans were quick to judge screenwriter Damon Lindelof for his "poor writing" and pacing of the story, but in actuality Lindelof did exactly what he was tasked to do - ask questions, leave hidden clues and set up for a sequel. It is extremely unlikely that all of the above acknowledgements were simple mistakes (especially the audio), I didn't need to read into the film too much to realize the obvious - all it took was another viewing where by I paid attention to the background instead of the obvious focal points.
To summarize everything discussed, it is clear that the fate of the Engineers on LV-223 were not what Shaw and Janek assumed it to be. They were observers with limited understanding of what the installation was - as Humans often do, they jumped to conclusions and assumed an outcome based on their very limited understanding. In actuality, there is a much larger backstory at play here, one that seemingly insinuates an internal conflict within the Engineer society.
What we can't deny: The Pyramid was ravaged and broken into by something. From there, something let out a terrible roar before chasing down and murdering all but one of the Engineers in that facility. Something left a residue on the Hologram control panel and something piled up those bodies against that door Fifield and Milburn discovered.
Given the above and the fact that an Engineer was left alive on LV-223, I am willing to bet that (like in Jon Spaihts' original Alien: Engineers script) there was an Engineer vs. Alien conflict following the initial attack. The Engineer, who David wakes up in Prometheus was the only one to survive the ordeal and who likely killed the Alien (or Deacon)- or at least trapped it in the room, behind the pile of dead Engineer bodies. Why he didn't flee in the Juggernaut ship is unknown, but could be due to the fact that he was infected by the Alien prior to his victory - leaving a festering spore inside of him. The spore was then accelerated and mutated when impregnated by the Trilobite at the end of the film. By entering into Cryo-sleep (as David suggests to Shaw earlier on after discovering her "abnormal fetus") he would have slowed its growth and extended his life until more of his comrades showed up to assist him. Obviously, they never did and when he was awoken 2,000 years later he realized his people may very well have been wiped out - thus sparking his rage and immediate action to launch his assault on Earth.
Of course that last bit was my own personal opinion based on the facts presented, but it certainly makes more sense than the "outbreak" scenario we were suggested in the film.
What do you think? Do the above points change your outlook on this very important scene in Prometheus? If accurate, how do you think this Engineer Civil war may be explored in Alien: Covenant? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and feel free to suggest anything I may have missed.
If you're a fan of Alien / Prometheus and are looking forward to Alien: Covenant, be sure to join in our Alien: Covenant forum! Ranked the #1 Prometheus forum back in 2012 and hosting a community of over 31,214 members, it's a great place to discuss the upcoming Prometheus sequels, dissect details from every trailer and engage with like-minded fans.
Stay up to date with the latest news on Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant movie by liking Scified on Facebook and by following us on Twitter and Instagram! Also, consider subscribing your email to our Alien: Covenant blog for instant notifications of when new posts are made!