Damon Lindelof would like to make one thing perfectly clear: there is no bad blood between he and 20th Century Fox over Ridley Scott's proposed "Prometheus" sequel.
Ok, so first a little context is in order. Earlier today, horror website Bloody Disgusting ran a piece in which they claim Fox executives are "literally freaking out" over how to continue the story set up in the first "Prometheus" - a desperate state of affairs they charge Lindelof with creating by leaving the studio in the lurch when he declined to pen the sequel.
The article further asserts Lindelof's culpability in the so-called "disaster" by stating that he was the one who transformed Jon Spaihts' original screenplay from a one-shot prequel into an open-ended franchise-starter. As Bloody Disgusting put it: "The guy who convinced the filmmakers to make a trilogy, left them in the dust," leaving the studio to set up a frantic series of pitch meetings with different writers in hopes of cracking the code for a viable follow-up.
Not so fast, says Lindelof. In a lengthy email to Slashfilm, who asked the "Star Trek" scribe for a response to the accusations via Twitter, the screenwriter asserts he "did not did not map out a trilogy and then walk when the going got tough. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know me and doesn’t know the truth."
Backpedaling somewhat, Bloody Disgusting subsequently updated their original story with the following quote from Spaihts (lifted from a previous interview the writer gave to Empire) that indeed seems to back up Lindelof's side of the story:
"I did have a plan for multiple films and the conversations I had with Ridley was [sic] about a new franchise, from the beginning. We talked about a possible trilogy, or a duology, but more often as a trilogy. And I did have pretty broad notions as to how we were going to get from this world to the original 'Alien' – the baton pass, closing the circle, if you will."
In sum: the idea to make "Prometheus" a trilogy came long before Lindelof even signed on to the project, meaning he can't be held responsible for originating it and then bailing, as Bloody-Disgusting charged in their original piece. However, while acknowledging that Lindelof "shed some interesting light on the situation" with his letter, the website ultimately concludes by stating: "that doesn’t change the fact that Fox and Scott have no idea what to do now in regard to 'Prometheus 2.'"
You can read the full text of Lindelof's email below.
Thoughts on the above controversy? Would you like to see a "Prometheus 2"? Sound off in the comments.
The full text of Lindelof's letter to Slashfilm:
While I’m happy to maintain my ongoing role as internets whipping boy (well, not happy, but at least resigned) this is a weird attack piece, even for someone who should be used to it by now.
The unglamorous truth is this:
During the creative process of Prometheus, all involved (that includes Fox and Ridley) had a strong desire for this film to launch off in its own way so that by the end, it would not connect directly to the original ALIEN, but instead run parallel to it. This is something that I talked about many, many times in the press burst around the release of the movie. As you probably remember, there was a lot of interest as to whether Prometheus was a “prequel” — the answer was, “Yes. Sort of. But if there was a sequel to Prometheus, it would not be ALIEN.”
Taking the strong foundation that Jon Spaihts had already written, I worked on the script to this end — and yes, during that process, Ridley did occasionally riff on what he felt might happen next as Shaw and David’s Head ventured off of LV-223 in search of wherever The Engineers had come from.
After the movie came out and discussions began about a possible sequel, I was already neck deep in writing and producing TOMORROWLAND with Brad Bird. I have found, unfortunately, that if I take on too many projects at one time, there is a higher probability of those projects sucking. And contrary to popular belief, I do not want anything I work on to suck. I really don’t. I care about these stories deeply — not just as a writer, but as a fan. It might not always feel that way to the audience, but I swear to God it is true. It also so happens that Ridley was about to embark on directing his next movie, THE COUNSELOR, and had another one, CHILD 44 lined up right behind it. The conclusion was obvious — In the best interest of the franchise, it was best to take myself out of the running before I had to suffer the embarrassment of potentially not even being offered it.
And that it is the complete (if not somewhat boring) truth.
As to whether Ridley and Fox are “freaking out” about me not working on a sequel, well that’s news to me. I retain awesome relationships with both. More importantly, the idea that there aren’t many, MANY writers out there capable of taking the reins is sort of ridiculous. I did not map out a trilogy and then walk when the going got tough. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know me and doesn’t know the truth.
The process of working on Prometheus with Ridley was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Love or hate the result of that work, I don’t regret having done it for a second.
Bloody Disgusting was very clever in tagging their story with the sentiment that denials were going to come. This would seem to throw shade on me denying the veracity of the story simply by anticipating that I would.
But denying the story I am.
As I said, I will take all the abuse in the world for the things I have done, but I refuse to take it for the things I have not.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.