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Why does Ridley keep changing his mind?

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cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-03-2017 8:34 AM

I don't know if this topic has already been discussed or not, but I just can't understand why Ridley Scott has changed his mind and/or his direction so many times with Prometheus and it's sequels.

Specifically:

- he originally said they would not have any xenomorphs, or traditional aliens. (and now it's a horror movie with aliens)

- he said the movies would be about the exploration of the engineers and how their origins tie in with human beings. (he may still deal with this concept, but it seems like it will be to a lesser degree than before)

- He's changed the name of the movie and the direction of the storyline more than a few times. 

It's almost like he's contradicting himself, and it makes me wonder if he's caving into corporate pressure to keep the films closer to what they believe the public wants... which is a traditional "Alien" movie.

- Ridley originally had Spaights (sp?) screenplay, but decides to go with Lindeloff, and they alter some of the plot and direction. (in some ways for the better, in some ways not)

- Lindeloff is then out, he goes with completely new writers. So it seems like he's not really sure what he wants to do, and he's not sure where he wants to go, in terms of the plotline or overall storyline.

Did I miss something? Because I'm just a bit confused by all of this, and it kind of makes me worry that he's going to repeat the mistakes of Prometheus, and deliver a mixed bag.

What do you guys think? 

54 Responses to Why does Ridley keep changing his mind?

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-03-2017 9:32 AM

Bear in mind this isn't all Ridley's say. If for example it was his story, his production company and his money then yes, we could hold him solely responsible for changes that occur. 

Example: RS didn't hire Damon Lindelof. But everyone blames him for it (which is in itself absurd, like his writing or not, Lindelof is no idiot, and not a hack but that's the Internet for you). Why is anybodies guess, but I imagine any scapegoat is better than none. The fact is there are many powerful players in the Alien franchise, not just Ridley Scott. He's just the visible one, and he shoulders the stress pretty gracefully while trying to keep things on task, and, publicly, on message. 

This is not to say he doesn't have influence, it's just not all his. Read interviews with Jon Spaights and Damon Lindelof. And keep saying to yourself: 'It's not Ridley's money..'

Hicks/Hudson

FacehuggerMember152 XPFeb-03-2017 9:44 AM

I agree on all points minus Lindelof.

No, he's not a hack, but he loses focus far too often. He keeps things ambiguous that don't need to be, and keeps adding new twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. Problem with that is, when he himself is guessing at what is going on, the script suffers.

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-03-2017 10:35 AM

I just think DL gets more abuse than he deserves, and I think the people who spent the money on him should have spent a little more to polish the script. I thought his ideas, and the direction he took the story, were great.

Hicks/Hudson

FacehuggerMember152 XPFeb-03-2017 10:52 AM

It wasn't all his fault.

Being told "This is an Alien movie" and then in the same breath being told "This is in a similar VEIN to Alien" can turn an otherwise great script into a muddled one.

As I've said before, he's a great idea man. He just can't put it all together sometimes.

ninXeno426

PraetorianMember3047 XPFeb-03-2017 2:21 PM

One thing i must say about the change in direction of this film probably has a lot to do with Ridley.I've been following the film for years now and Ridley has reported that the film had gone under numerous rewrites over the years.Alien Covenant is likely the result of the script he liked the best.About Prometheus,It was Fox's idea to change the film,they wanted Prometheus to be a new franchise.If there's any intimidation,then it would Alien 5.This film had come along and stole the spotlight from Prometheus 2.

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

S.M

XenomorphMember1234 XPFeb-03-2017 3:16 PM

Lindelof poses questions, but then doesn't provide answers. Or even hints.  Which strikes me as a bit lazy.

That said, he was a studio hire because Spaihts wasn't a known writer (by Spaihts own admission).

As for Riddles - if he has a better idea, why shouldn't he change his mind?

ali81

NeomorphMember1823 XPFeb-03-2017 10:35 PM

id say ridley has more control over the movies than people think. I have heard that when fox sat down with ridley, he said he wanted a lot of control over where the series went. I think he has grown a vision over the last decade or so on what he wouldv done and where hed have taken the franchised had he stayed involved but the more he sits down with people and the ideas start to flow, he will naturally change some aspects of his vision. just look at some of the conversations we have on here and the number of times folk say 'never thought of it like that'. I don't see fox being the ones that changed the theme of Prometheus, my guess is the movie execs wanted a straight up alien movie as that's a proven money maker. yes, lindeloff gave us questions and little answers but that surely, being the first in a prequel trilogy, is the point no? I think it is maybe proving difficult to give us some answers without ruining it and making it easy for us to work out the rest and keep some mystery about it for the next movie. he said he wants to give us more movies and if we got answers and had worked the rest out then whats the point? I like the way hes taking it. hes pacing the story in my opinion

Apex_Predator

FacehuggerMember118 XPFeb-04-2017 3:19 PM

I just hope Covenant is not just a slasher film. That has been done numerous times. Prometheus was something special as it asked questions about origin of man. I was cool with limiting "alien" aspects of it, but now we have aliens in all kinda of flavors running around in Covenant. Hopefully the aliens do not get in the way of what prometheus set out to do. 

Want some candy?

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-05-2017 1:45 AM

I'd like to believe that it's Ridley Scott who has most of the creative say-so, in terms of the plot lines, script and execution of the stories. But like I said, he just seems to be changing his directions and contradicting himself quite a bit.

He originally said that the whole xenomorph alien had been done to death with all of the Alien sequels, and that he didn't want to focus on them with these new prequels. He wanted to delve into the questions which none of the other sequel films did... which was about the engineers, who were they, where did they come from, and how did they come into contact with the xenomorphs in the first place.

But after the somewhat negative results of Prometheus, he now seems to be going back into a straight forward, xenomorph horror film. And I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's a very big 180 degrees from what he originally planned.

Here's another point that makes me wonder about his judgment and/or thinking...

Take for example the scenes in Prometheus where Fifield and Milborn get lost. Fifield is the friggin mapping guy, and he's already set his "pups" to scan the area. How in the world do they head back for the ship and get lost? If ANYONE would know how to get back it should be him. That made absolutely no sense in the movie, and imo, RS never explains it or addresses it.

I don't understand how RS could be watching the dailies, reading through the script, or even editing and not see the flaw in these scenes. Not to mention numerous other scenes in which I feel like RS just rushed through, without any proper context or setup. There's so little character development, other than David and Shaw.

As for the writers, I have to believe that RS had a good amount of say in terms of who he wanted, and what directions they took the story in. So maybe he only had broad ideas, and he let the writers come up with the details, which he liked initially.

Maybe he keeps deciding that he doesn't like certain directions after all, thus he keeps changing his mind, and changing directions. But that makes it look like he's not sure about what he wants, or like he doesn't have any concrete ideas of his own. Either way, that doesn't seem like a good recipe for a quality story or film.

But I don't know why he keeps changing his mind about things. That's why I asked if anyone had any insight.

Personally, it doesn't matter too much to me which direction RS decides to go in. Whichever way he goes, all I care about is the quality. Develop the story and the characters, and use the richness of the "Alien" universe that's been established to create a deep, awesome movie. I love the concept of the engineers and what they represent. I like the idea of exploring that part of the "Alien" universe, so it didn't matter to me if "Prometheus" was distanced from the "Alien" franchise a bit. As long as it's compelling and interesting.

Anyhow, that's my 2 cents.

Thoughts_Dreams

NeomorphMember1529 XPFeb-05-2017 2:48 AM

I am not sure who was responsible for most of what became Prometheus but it certainly lacked things. Fox had a lot of say about how it would develop as far as I remember it so it isn’t just Ridley Scott that affects the movie. A lot of bad things could be blamed on Fox since it seems that they were also responsible for making it less Alien.

 

Getting Lindelof was a bad decision and I am not sure who was to blame for that but it surely didn’t help the movie. A lot of deleted scenes made sense so maybe it wasn’t just his fault. Unfortunately, he is too ambiguous in his writing to make a good alien connected movie. It is good that he won’t be around for AC.

 

Hicks/Hudson has a point about the fact that they first said that it was an alien movie and then it wasn’t. I thought that ‘make up your ****ing minds’ to conclude what a movie shall be about shouldn’t be that difficult.

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-05-2017 3:24 AM

RS is well established and highly respected. I think he's pretty much got his own say in terms of direction, especially when it comes to the "Alien" prequels. Let's not forget, he is the one who got them to put a hold on Alien 5, so that it wouldn't interfere with the prequel plotlines and details. And he's co-producing Alien 5.

And RS is the own who has made all of the announcements as to what Prometheus was going to be all about, what the focus was, and where it was heading. He said in would not connect into the original "Alien" movie until the final installment, which would be maybe the 3rd prequel movie. He said there would be no xenomorphs, he said that it would be a parallel story.

Then, after Prometheus, he says it's going to be scary as hell and there will be new xenomorphs, or new aliens.

I'm not saying RS isn't continuing the Prometheus story line, because maybe it does have a lot of connection to Prometheus and the previews just don't show it. But from what he's said and done, and from what we do see in the previews... it sure does look like the Prometheus connections have been toned down.

I'm certainly not thinking that RS has 100% authority over all aspects of the production, but I'd be willing to bet that his authority is very broad. The only areas I think are out of his control are budget and promotion.

Anyhow, I just hope he's not half-assing it. He has taken on a lot of projects the past few years and it makes me wonder if he's giving all of them his full creative attention.

Keep in mind... Stanley Kubrick would work on ONE project for years. Sometimes years of story research and development alone. And then sometimes years of pre-production, production, and post production. He concentrated on one project at a time, one central focus at a time. He may have researched multiple ideas, but once something went into production... that was his only focus.

Ridley may be trying to juggle too many balls at the same time, and he's not a young director anymore.

Just sayin.

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-05-2017 6:07 AM

*sigh*

Lone

PraetorianMember2674 XPFeb-05-2017 6:28 AM

^^Ridley is every bit as detail oriented as Stanley Kubrick, the special effects on 2001 took years to finish, whereas that is not the case anymore.

Fast turnover of projects doesn't mean his product lacks depth or quality. I just wish he had produced more Sci-fi, I think he is suited to the genre better than most.

At one time he was going to make The Forever War, but sadly, the rights are no longer his. 

I'm still hopeful that he might yet manage to make WOOL.

Plus there's a list of Sci-fi projects he was once attached to which never came to fruition including versions of DUNE and I Am Legend. 

 

 

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-05-2017 6:45 AM

Is the only acceptable narrative 'It was Ridley's idea'? There's so much more to it than that.

Again, it's not his money. Period. Yes, he has influence, but there are other players with more. Ridley wanted 250 million and a 3 hour runtime for Prometheus. Didn't get it. What effect did that have on the movie that was released?

Delaying Alien 5 was not his decision. Again, it's not his money. If Fox wanted Alien 5, directed by Neill Blomkamp, it would be in production right now. The Prometheus sequel was well under way, had been for years, was being planned even before Prometheus was filmed.

Again, he is the visible figure who has to stay on message publicly regardless of what changes are made, by him or anyone else. He does make changes. But, so do others. Believe me, adding a 'Xenomorph' to the sequel was almost certainly not his idea.

Lone

PraetorianMember2674 XPFeb-05-2017 7:33 AM

"I'm not saying RS isn't continuing the Prometheus story line, because maybe it does have a lot of connection to Prometheus and the previews just don't show it. But from what he's said and done, and from what we do see in the previews... it sure does look like the Prometheus connections have been toned down."

The biggest Prometheus connection will be David, through him we will learn the history and fate of the elders/engineers and witness the 'evolutionary results' of their experiments.

That aspect is deliberately being toned down in the trailer, as it will be key to the entire story.

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-06-2017 8:34 AM

"Believe me, adding a 'Xenomorph' to the sequel was almost certainly not his idea."

Precisely... if adding xenomorphs was not his idea, and if it went completely against his earlier vision... then that's an example of RS giving into the pressure of the studio and producers.

He might be somewhat resentful that he has to concede to the commercial and financial pressures of the money machine. He wanted Prometheus to be a side story to Alien, while being within the same universe. He wanted to concentrate on other plotlines having to do mostly with the engineers and their history.

Perhaps some of the backlash and negative responses have caused him to waver a bit in his conviction to the original ideas. Maybe that, and a combination of studio pressures to make the movies more commercial, have led him to make the changes that he has made. The movie titles, the xenomorphs, etc. 

And I'm not saying that RS isn't a committed and dedicated film maker, but in all honesty... Kubrick never had to waver on his visions, or give in to studio pressures, in terms of his creative decisions. Not after he was established anyway.

I'm not dissing RS or trying to make him less than Kubrick. I'm simply making a point that losing any amount of creative control is not an ideal position for any great director, with a firm vision of a project.

For the record, I'm not trying to create arguments or debate with my questions and concerns on this matter. I'm just trying to get a better handle on what's been happening with the Prometheus story, and perhaps get a clearer understanding of what RS is doing, and why.

I appreciate all of the responses and insight.

Lone

PraetorianMember2674 XPFeb-06-2017 8:52 AM

cmutt Welcome to the boards, it's all good discussion! :)

Perhaps another studio would have given Ridley more room. He is now a proven world class director, yet the strings are still pulled tight, not much has changed in that regard, between A L I E N and Prometheus.

I only hope he gets a longer running time for AC as there is a lot to be covered, but I very much doubt it!

EDIT: Apologies cmutt I see you have been a member since 2012 too, I mistakenly thought you were a new member!

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-06-2017 9:36 AM

Lone - Yeah, I signed up here years ago, but I very seldom post or check in on the forums. Thanks for the welcome anyhow.

I'm also hoping for a longer movie, because you're right... there is SO much that needs to be covered. I also hope that RS stays fairly connected to the Prometheus story, especially regarding the engineers.

But I also don't mind if he jumps around and splits the prequels up, in terms of chronology. Like if he uses AC to tell another semi-parallel story, and then with the next movie, ties them back in with Prometheus a bit closer.

I just want a great movie and great story.

Lone

PraetorianMember2674 XPFeb-06-2017 9:45 AM

Hear hear, that's what we are all hoping for!

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-06-2017 11:17 AM

RS is gonna do his best with what's put before him, and I'm betting he has more resources and freedom this time out than he did with Prometheus, so it's gonna be at the very least artful and fascinating which is saying a lot for a space horror movie. I believe there's every reason to be excited. 

Bear in mind that Kubrick made his own movies with his own crew and equipment. That was a different time. Alien is a huge property controlled by executives and, especially with Star Wars blowing up, God only knows what Fox might be planning for it.

That's why I'm annoyed by all the finger pointing going on with Alien 5. Relax people, it's gonna happen. Ridley couldn't stop it if he wanted to, and I doubt he'd try even if he did. In fact, he's (so far) producing Alien 5 so I'm sure his heart is in the right place. I don't think he cares about any of this the way we do, he just enjoys making movies.

We should just be ****ing thankful a true original (and the originator) is putting his final stamp on the franchise. He'll be dead soon, but Alien will not. 

Lone

PraetorianMember2674 XPFeb-06-2017 11:31 AM

"We should just be ****ing thankful a true original (and the originator) is putting his final stamp on the franchise. He'll be dead soon, but Alien will not."

Absolutely Aorta....I am very f-ing thankful!

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-06-2017 12:39 PM

"Bear in mind that Kubrick made his own movies with his own crew and equipment. That was a different time."

And Kubrick also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for most of his films, or he made sure he had power to re-write, so he was almost always in complete control of the stories, the scripts, and the productions. Kubrick is probably the most unique director of all time, especially in terms of his commitment and control over his films.

Again, the only reason I used Kubrick as an example was to make a couple of points. Which were that maybe RS doesn't have that type of control over Prometheus and it's sequels. Which can be a major problem for some directors, depending on the level of interference. Look at David Fincher and Alien 3 for example. (and by no means am I implying that RS's situation is the same as Fincher's, I'm simply stressing the interference aspect)

And the other point was that maybe RS is juggling too many projects, and many of them are over lapping, and coming right at the heels of each other. Which could make it difficult for him to invest his full attention and creativity to each project.

And again, it's only speculation on my part, and just food for thought. I just can't help being curious about these matters... but the bottom line is that as "Alien" fans, we all just want to know that it's being done well, and that it's in good hands.

Aorta

FacehuggerMember316 XPFeb-06-2017 2:12 PM

Kubrick is a great example, RS is very influenced by him, and his eye and ingenuity were all over Prometheus.

There's one shot in particular in the first act that I think is brilliant: David is walking through the center of the ship, this is before anyone is been awakened. As he walks through different spaces illuminate or go dark (the sound design here is also quite good and very subtle).

All that lighting was built into the set and was in fact the lighting used to illuminate the shot, with various light sources with various color temperatures, so the set is almost a light sculpture. The result is poetic (I did lighting for 30 years so I'm big on this geek stuff) and for whatever reason reminds me of Kubrick  laying on the floor with a bare lightbulb on his chest, filming hand held the iconic scene of jack Nicholson's head coming through the hole in the door.

That invention, that love of light and framing, are what defines the film maker. Movies were light long before they were sound. But I digress.

I understand your concern about RS being overwhelmed but my point is I think he's in his element. He's always been doing a hundred things at once. I think he loves the chaos and ingenuity of film making and he's surrounded by world class pros to make it happen. If I was him, I wouldn't stop either. 

Dr. Curt Connors

ChestbursterMember661 XPFeb-06-2017 5:22 PM

Christopher Nolan is another example of a director, my favorite director by the way, who works on one project at a time. But I don't think Ridley Scott has too many projects on his plate, he has made lots of great movies. You know what bothers me about studios and Ridley Scott that they still don't let him after all these years put everything he wants in a lot of his films. He still has to put out director's cuts for the majority of his movies or in the case of Blade Runner more than one cut. Let this man make 3 hour movies if he wants, yes he has made a few stinkers but overall most of his movies are good if not great. I certainly hope Alien: Covenant is at least 2 and a half hours or close to it, this movie looks awesome!

ninXeno426

PraetorianMember3047 XPFeb-06-2017 5:33 PM

Well said.Nobody is perfect,not everyone the Greats Like Scott or Spielberg.I too am very thankful for Scott's return to Alien.Except for James Cameron,every decision has been basically been made by Fox.Between Prometheus and Alien Covenant,these are Ridley Scott's movies.Nobody told him to make them.Were it not for Ridley i  don't think they would be happening.It's like George Miller returning to Mad Max.

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

Starlogger

ChestbursterMember907 XPFeb-06-2017 5:36 PM

@Dr. Curt I so agree. MORE is better with a GREAT film, or one like A:C that has a LOT of ground to cover. Hell, if those LoTRs movies could go nearly 3 hours, then damn...Alien movies should be able to!

Starlogger

ChestbursterMember907 XPFeb-06-2017 5:39 PM

@cmutt Sir RS has enough money and prestige that he doesn't have to try and balance a bazillion jobs all at once. He is doing what he WANTS and nothing else. No one wants the stress of overburdening oneself, not even him. 

Dr. Curt Connors

ChestbursterMember661 XPFeb-06-2017 5:42 PM

@Starlogger     Absolutely, can you imagine a close to 3 hour Alien movie! I'm not a fan of Prometheus but if it were longer I am pretty sure it would be a lot better. When a movie moves too fast it takes away from the overall movie and I am so tired of hearing people complain about how long a movie is. If it's a great movie and something you love you don't want it to end so make it long and make it great!

cmutt

OvomorphMember50 XPFeb-07-2017 9:23 AM

As much as we all agree that RS is a great director, and make no mistake, I think very highly of him too, I just want to point out a few examples where I think he is definitely solely responsible for some glaring mistakes in both execution and judgement.

As I mentioned before, take the Fifield and Milborn sequence in Prometheus. These are supposed to be specialist employees that have accepted a contract for a job, mostly based on the money incentive, because they didn't know the details about where they were going, or exactly what they would be involved with. 

Right from the get go, when Shaw and Halloway make the presentation, they show signs of attitude and negativity. And this is directly in front of their employer, who is... Peter Weyland, represented by Vickers.

They are being paid, and they chose to be there, yet they have the nerve to come out of hypersleep and immediately start talking ****. C'mon, that's unrealistic, considering the cir***stances. In my opinion, they would not have been hired in the first place. Weyland would have chosen diligent, yes men, to shut up and do the job that they were being paid to do. Anyway, that's just the start, and that's a small issue.

The larger issue is how they get to the site, and literally, within 20 to 25 minutes of the exploration... Fifield gets in Shaw's face and yells, "I'm not in the ****ing dead alien business, and I'm leaving!". Or something like that.

Give me a break, are we really supposed to believe that some employee, who chose to go into hypersleep, and accepted a job under unknown cir***stances, for probably one of the most powerful companies in the world at that time... is going to get there... and then make a dramatic chicken **** bolt within less than an hour of exploration?

And the same for Milborn? He's supposed to be what, some kind of a biological specialist, and he wants to leave with Fifield after just that brief bit of exploration? All of that makes very little sense to me, and it reeks of poor judgement.

Now for the point I made before about them getting lost. These guys have just started exploring, they've only gone so far into the site, Fifield has set up his PUPS for scanning and mapping for goodness sake, and they are on intercom, in constant communication directly with the Prometheus ship... and they get ****ing lost!!!

I'm sorry, but not only do I not buy that, as a realistic situation, under the cir***stances of that mission... but I also find that to be terrible writing, and terrible decision making by the director. 

RS had to have read those scenes through, thought about them, planned out the shots, shot them, and then edited them. Did he never once notice the flaws or discrepancies, in terms of logic?

Even if he like the idea of them getting lost and stuck there, why did he not set it up better, or make a better scenario where it could be explained, and more realistic?

Instead, he chose to leave it like it is. And these are just a few examples of many scenes, and many dialogues in the movie that I think are either rushed, and/or not well thought out and executed.

And believe it or not, I'm a big fan of Prometheus. I think there some amazing and awesome scenes, and I love many of the concepts that are introduced. But I'm just being honest when it comes to some of it's major flaws, and many of them are in Ridley's lap. He's the director.

Kane's new face

OvomorphMember34 XPFeb-07-2017 11:25 AM

I wouldn't crucify him for all this. Sure it's been a bit of getting expectations jerked back and forth, but I'm guessing he's had to adapt as cir***stances have called for it. Whether it's Fox, fresh ideas from writer change, or catering to the crowd, it's all part of the general considerations that probably should be made when doing something like a 4 movie prequel. Let's see how covenant is before we start questioning the mans judgement at least.

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