As always with pieces like this, there is the possibility some of what will be guessed at will turn out to be spoilers. I think there's a fair chance much of the following is correct. If that's the case you shouldn't read this.
If I'm wrong then it doesn't matter. If I'm right the movie will be ruined. Yeah...pretty much ruined. You'll hate yourself.
ADDED 5/16: Video of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw asking Peter Weyland for funding to go to the planet where the HS is to search for proof of where we came from which supports, or at least fits with, the conclusions reached below.
If you haven't read my earlier plot speculation you may want to. Pondering Plausible 'Prometheus' Plot Possibilities is a general overview. In The Prometheus Plot Cipher and Decoding the Secret of New Stills we see that the human in the ceiling mural is being attacked by a weaponized organism. And, Crouching Space Jockeys examines the relationship between SJ and mankind.
Now that that's out of the way let's look at the new poster:
I'm not a big fan of this imagery. It's stops you, no doubt, but there's something odd about that face and the space it occupies. Why is it there? I'll get back to this.
Now, the spoilers. The latest trailer has two very big ones. 1) A ship takes off and heads for Earth and 2) If it gets to Earth there 'won't be a home to return to'.
I said that bothered me, it was more than I wanted to know, and I was not going to watch anymore trailers. Well, good for me. However, this morning I was thinking (That's my habit. I think in the morning so I don't have to worry about it later) and it occurred to me this isn't just another spoiler. This isn't one of those simple 'the butler did it' things. It can't be. I was a fool to think so. In fact, these elements are not that important. Not in this story. And, so, they don't even qualify as spoilers.
We're talking Ridley Scott here. This man, at his age, at this point in his career, preparing the release a magnum opus follow-up to a seminal work of science fiction horror would not roll out a bald-faced spoiler and ruin his movie. No. No way.
Alright. Fine. Scott is a master craftsman. We know that. Scott has a lot of influence and would not allow the studio to 'spoil' his movie with absent-minded trailers. We knew that. So the above elements aren't spoilers and aren't that important. Why?
To answer that we should look at what we already know. Let's start with what Scott himself has said. From this interview at Empire Scott says:
- 1997, so I must have thought about it for three or four years and thought in all of the films nobody had asked a very simple question which was - who is the big guy in the chair, who was fondly after Alien called The Space Jockey. I don’t know how the hell he got that name; there was this big boned creature who seemed to be nine feet tall sitting in this chair and I went in to Fox with four questions. Who are they? Why are they there? Why that cargo and where were they going or had they in fact had a forced landing?
That's important. Scott doesn't want a by-the-numbers flick. He wants an examination, something with depth, something you can think about. Again, at his age, at this stage in his career, it makes sense he would want to create a movie with thematic weight that fans can debate for years to come. He wants a movie that will hold up and not be forgotten ten minutes after leaving the theater.
So, it's not so important that the ship took off for Earth. Nor is it necessarily shocking that, if the ship gets to Earth, there would be no home to return to. That's kind of a given. They wouldn't be stopping for tea, yes? What matters is why. Why do the Space Jockeys (SJ) want to destroy the human race?
Above image (and others like it) were featured in earlier trailers. They depict the SJ showing early mankind where their home was. I concluded the SJ had come to Earth to 'size us up' for extermination so they could make Earth their home. I don't think that anymore -- too simple for Scott. Too 'Take me to your leader'.
In the first full trailer the archaeologists (Noomi Rapace/Elizabeth Shaw and Logan Marshall-Green/Charlie Holloway) go on to explain that, using various pieces of artwork that depict star formations, it is possible to find a location in space and that, in fact, we are being 'invited' to come to this location.
So, here's what we know:
1) Ridley Scott wanted 'Prometheus' to examine who the SJ are. This means they have to be something special. They can't just be monsters that kill or who release chestbursters that kill. We already saw this stuff in 'Alien'. Those aspects are already known. We have to go deeper. The SJ must play an important role and must have intelligent reasons for what they do.
2) The SJ came to Earth thousands of years ago. Why? To take over the planet? Again, too simple. Scott would reject this. Besides, why didn't they just do that? They could have as we had nothing but rocks and sharp sticks to defend ourselves. No. Doesn't fit. Therefore, the SJ came here for another purpose: To determine what level of intellect and potential mankind had attained and what technology we would develop.
3) Thousands of years after the SJ visits we do, in fact, develop advanced technology and science and are able to A) determine a location in the galaxy from primitive star maps and B) travel to that location in a spaceship.
4) We go to the planet where the horseshoe ship is. Where, it turns out, it is awaiting our arrival and had been for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The horseshoe ship (HS) was waiting for us? Yes. It must be. If the map (the invitation) the scientists constructed led to a specific spot in all of space and, in that spot, there is a HS just floating there, it must have been there a long time. It must be waiting.
5) If, after we arrive and traipse about the planet in 'Prometheus', the HS takes off and, if it gets back to Earth, there 'won't be a home to return to', it follows that:
6) The invitation leads us to a trap. That, by entering the HS or by moving about the tunnel system, we tripped a mechanism which set things in motion.
This all fits. It fits with the story Scott wanted to create -- the necessity that the SJ be complex in nature and have motives which are compelling -- and it fits with the tagline that has been on all the posters and some trailers: The search for our beginning could lead to our end. The very fact that we search (the HS or tunnel system), or more correctly were able to get there in order to search, leads to our end.
The SJ are an extremely advanced race. They came to Earth because they knew it would support intelligent life. They mingled with early humans knowing that different cultures would create works of art depicting the encounters and that these works of art would contain elements of a crude star map. This was done so that, once mankind reached a certain point in scientific advancement, we would be able to determine where in space the maps led. And, once we became able to travel great distances through space (once we developed stasis chambers), we would go to the place indicated on the maps. And, once we reached this point in space, we would find the HS. When we did, some action we took would start the ship and it would head to Earth to eliminate the human race.
The map leads us to our demise. It's not an invitation but a trap. The SJ wait for us to become able to use the map and travel to where the HS awaits, then they kill us.
The reason I came up with is, once humankind is able to travel great distances through space, we would be a threat to our neighbors. Not that the SJ were worried about us attacking them. That, of course, would be silly. They'd wipe the floor with us. Nor, really, were they worried about us attacking a planet which was home to another advanced race, although this would be conceivable. On a practical level the SJ were concerned we would mine other planets for natural resources because we had depleted those of Earth. This, in fact, is central to 'Alien' which takes place on the Nostromo, a freighter returning to Earth with a cargo of rare ore.
It would have been clear to the SJ that mankind would develop into an intelligent, belligerent race of people who would wage war and deplete every natural resource until we would need to strip other planets in other solar systems in order to maintain livable conditions on Earth. If such planets were lifeless it would not be a problem. But, if the planet had potential to harbor life in the future, especially intelligent life, our mining its resources would certainly threaten such development. And, if we happened upon another Earth-like planet we would certainly seize it, colonize it, and eradicate any indigenous life that would compete for space and food.
The SJ took steps to stop this. Space Jockeys are galactic police. They exterminate any and all species once they become a threat to their neighbors.
When the crew of the Prometheus goes aboard the HS or into the tunnel system in the mountain, they somehow trip a sensor and the HS launches for Earth to deliver its payload of weaponized organisms in order to kill all the humans on Earth. They do this simply because we were able to get to the HS. Had we not been able to travel great distances through space we would not have been a threat to life in another solar system, and there would not be a reason to exterminate us.
The very technology needed to travel great distances through space enabled us to walk into the SJ trap.
So, back to the poster. What is a huge human face doing in a pod room if the pods contain weaponized organisms designed to kill humans? This could be a basic (and appropriate) way of identifying which pod room you're in. This room is for humans, the room down the hall is for Zyybins (or whatever they would be called) and it has a huge Zyybin face on the wall, and the room down the hall from it...etc. The tunnel system in the mountain might contain dozens of such rooms. One pod room for every race of intelligent being in the sector of the galaxy which is scheduled for extermination once it becomes a threat to innocent neighbors who are, or would be, unable to defend themselves from an attack or invasion by the more advanced species.
So, once the SJ get word the "Human" HS (the HS headed to Earth to exterminate us) has left they would know our time had come. They would then send another HS which would wait until the next species, perhaps the Zyybins, arrived. The Zyybins, like us, would have decoded maps left by SJ during scouting trips to the Zyybin home planet thousands of years ago and traveled in spaceships (only possible because they had developed stasis technology needed for the long trip) to the HS which will be waiting for them when they arrive. The Zyybins would then enter the HS and trip sensors which would initiate the 'Exterminate Zyybins' sequence. The "Zyybin" HS would then launch and go to the Zyybin home planet to release the weaponized organisms and exterminate the Zyybin race.
The SJ would get word the 'Zyybin HS' had launched and send the next HS to wait for the next developed race.
The only question left is: How do the SJ represent our beginning? That's a good one. It may be the SJ go from planet to planet searching for ones that can support intelligent life and seeding those which can with the genetic material needed to develop such life. (I realize this has been batted around a lot and I'm by no means the author of this idea). Then, the SJ wait until, inevitably, as with all intelligent life forms, that life form multiplies (until their planet's ecosystem is stressed beyond repair) and develops the technology needed to travel to other planets to mine resources and/or to exterminate any indigenous people and take over their planet. And, when this time comes, the SJ exterminate the advancing species. Only in this way can one species be kept from dominating another, or an entire solar system or systems.
The spoilers continue to roll out, but as they do the 'Prometheus' story becomes stronger, more complex, and more entertaining.
ADDED 5/18: There's some fairly good discussion below. Here's the latest, which expands and clarifies the above and is, in my opinion, the ultimate spoiler. If correct, the entire 'Prometheus' plot is now laid bare. I don't think there's much better science fiction out there