Monday, January 21, 2013
Ask JKM a Question #62: The Xenomorphs in Prometheus?
A reader, Skeptical Gnostic, writes:
“Hi Mr. Muir, I wanted to know your thoughts on a Prometheus theory I have.”
“Now, the evolution of the xenomorph still hasn’t been explicitly explained (yet), but really, to retain a sense of mystery that was robbed in sequels, all we needed to know was that it evolved from simple beginnings at one point in time; the crew in Prometheus merely set off a chain of events that the engineers already experimented with thousands perhaps millions of years prior and the parasite evolved over time to be the perfect weapon. All we saw were some missing links in the early beginnings of the xenomorph so there was more than enough to suggest that this is how they began and obviously they evolved.
Now, It’s quite clear to me and many others I've spoken to that the xenomorph evolved from worms; worms are hermaphroditic, they shed skin, they lay eggs, they have no eyes, they sense light and will move away from light...Newborn xenos are worm-like in morphology indicating their worm/hammerpede ancestry (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny), they have no eyes, they shed skin, they appear hermaphroditic and xenos are well known to be afraid of fire. Notice how the hammerpede had acid for blood? Notice how it strengthened its constriction around Milburn’s arms when it was touched? Quite obvious clues there. Over time the hammerpedes mate and lay eggs (remember there were a few swimming around in the ampule chamber) and every generation evolves; growing fingers and more efficient ways of depositing embryos inside hosts.”
“So now we know what came first; The Queen or the Egg? Neither; it was the black-goo, worms and hammerpedes. The worms and the hammerpedes are an example of the Chekhov’s Gun trope and I think the uber-facehugger (Trilobite) and the deacon are red herrings. It’s all implied right there in the film, and we see an indirect route of the process with the black goo used on human intermediaries that resulted in an uber-facehugger and a deacon xenomorph. What we see there is just common descent; in evolution may organisms share common descent if they have a common ancestor, which in the film is revealed to be the black goo. And since there are several temples on LV-223 this implies several versions of the xenomorph bioweapon.”
“Also, notice how the deacon infant wasn’t worm-like? It had no tail...Another clue was a deleted scene showing Milburn finding the shed skin of the hammerpede...Scott and co probably thought it was too obvious a clue! Worms as the ancestors of the xenomorph corresponds directly with H.R. Giger's life-cycle.”
“What do you think?”
Hi, Skeptical Gnostic. Very intriguing stuff. I noted the presence of worms in the film with avid interest, and wondered about them, so your theory definitely dovetails nicely with the details of the text.
Truly, you have struck on the thing about Prometheus I love so very much: it is open-ended enough to inspire speculation on the part of the audience. Where I have read some people complain about the fact that the film doesn’t tie up every loose end, or spoon-feed us ALL the information, I feel that many folks -- yourself included -- are absolutely inspired by the film to think about all it has to say…and all it is trying to tell us. Who are the Engineers? Is that Earth in the first scene? How does the xenomorph develop in terms of a life cycle? These are questions the film raises, but doesn’t definitively answer.
In my opinion, Prometheus is a great work of art precisely because it doesn’t fill in all the gaps, and thus leaves us the possibility (and glory) for multiple interpretations. I certainly see no reason, right off, why your theory doesn’t fit with what we see on screen, or learn from the filmmakers.
I last watched the film about two months ago, for the fifth time. But rest assured, when I watch it again next (and I will…) I’ll have your thesis close at hand, and be actively considering it!
Thanks for giving me something to think about, and obsess upon, regarding one of my favorite films.
Don’t forget to ask me your questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com