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I worked on "Prometheus" as a concept artist, and now that the movie is out I can show some of the images.

I will eventually post stuff here on DA, but I felt the format of my blog lent itself better to an overview of the process, and to acknowledge some of the others involved. So I decided to begin with that out of consideration to the talented people I feel privileged to have worked with! :)

Feel free to have a look: steveburg.blogspot.com/

There is an "Art of" book, which I just got - and it's quite nice! But it contains only a fraction of the art generated for the project by myself and the other artists on the team.

I worked with a small group here in the US that included Steven Messing, David Levy, Ben Procter, Carlos Huante, Neville Page & Daniel Simon. And there are other artists who worked over in the UK when the film went into full production. So you can imagine quite a lot of artwork was generated!
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:iconoliverwolfson:
oliverwolfson Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hi steve, We are developing a short animation with some mechs. Would love for you to do some concept art. Please contact me on Facebook or email. 

Oliver Wolfson
oliverwolfson@gmail.com
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:iconrobby-robert:
Robby-Robert Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012
Just finished watching the making of Prometheus blu-ray. Awesome work man! Good to see you getting some recognition in person!
Well, in video anyways.
It would have been nice to have seen more of that backstory aboard the orbital habitats filmed, along with more of your design elements, and maybe less "god" stuff.
Congrats!
Robert.
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:iconjamesmargerum:
JamesMargerum Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was interested to read that the original title for this film (and the possible sequel) was 'Paradise'. A reference to Paradise Lost perhaps?: “Unless the almighty maker them ordain His dark materials to create more worlds”.
Dark gooey materials in strange vases.
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:iconmlopezart:
mlopezart Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
Hi Steve
I just saw this post (I'm a bit slow--sorry). Excellent work on this ship---it's great to see your style being implemented and still have the Steve Burg feel to it. Personally I felt (and loved) your initial models which looked more Ridley Scott/1st Alien than the final representation, but I suppose the revisions were necessary to complete the feel for the whole flick. If you ever have any advice on my work it would be great to see if I have what it takes to work on movies. Great and inspiring, like always!
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:iconrkainne:
rkainne Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
wow- great stuff.
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:icongatocasero:
GatoCasero Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012
wow, you're just genius doing ships, just love it.
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:iconwrshredder:
wrshredder Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You did what!
Oh man, that's beyond awesome. Im going to see Prometheus this wednesday so i just took a quick peek to your blog, but it looked like a
inspiration goldmine, thanks for sharing this all! You're a wizard!
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
Steve, can you tell what was the process of designing the ship at the very start ? I mean, what were the initial requests ? Did Ridley (or someone else) gave you a sketch or an idea of shape he especially wanted, or did you started it all from zero, absolutely free ?
And finally, was there some kind of request on a symbolical aspect ? (like imitating the shape of a mythological symbol, or something like that, considering the very religious/mythological approach of the story itself).
Don't know if you have read that, but here is a fascinating analysis of the movie on its symbolism : [link]
My curiosity on possible symbolism of the ship is directly influenced by this read ! :)
Oh, and you might enjoy this page where a fan compares the ship to an eagle. And that works pretty well ! [link]
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Hi! I put a little bit of the development process on my blog: [link]
The request was for a "large ship, landing capability". From there, it was wide open. Finding the shape is really the main challenge of my job in something like this. I did very impressionistic sketches at first, to capture an image. Once one of these suited Ridley Scott and Arthur Max (director and production designer) I began to make simple 3D studies. From there, the shapes became more detailed. There were many adjustments and changes leading to the image you see.

The ship was not really meant to have a symbolic shape - at least not consciously. The main challenge was that it had to look fast and powerful when flying, and then appear to be a sturdy work platform (like an oil rig) when on the ground.

I have read that article, and it presents some very interesting ideas about the mysteries in the film. Why did the Engineers decide - after all the effort - to destroy us? Were they evil? Or were they actually good, but in an unusual way we might find difficult to understand? I found the scene where they wake the Engineer very interesting. Here a young woman pleads for answers, and the Engineer seems sympathetic to her somehow. Then she is subdued, and 100 year old selfish rich guy demands more life, using an artificial human as his interpreter. Perhaps this was absolute horror to the Engineer? What would he think of discovering that humans were now making "fake" copies of themselves? It seemed to trigger rage in him - but he did not kill the woman (just killed everyone else).

I will be thinking about these questions for a long time - I can tell! :)
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hi!
Ok for the design of the ship. I think the aim "fast and powerful in flying mode - oil-platform-like when landed" is reached perfectly. The Prometheus indeed looks powerful in space and stands like a scientific/industrial base when engines are rotated down. This is really one of the best spaceship ever design for a movie... You can be proud ! ;)

I like that you point that scene of the wake of the Engineer. Yes, that's a key moment, and like you, I noticed the Engineer seems somehow sympathetic to Elizabeth. But actually, I think again considering that in the end, after the fall of his ship, he comes to kill her... So, was he really ready to listen and answer to Elizabeth's questions, or was he just confused he couldn't understand the language...?
I've thought about something in term of symbolism, something that the guy of the article didn't talk about, but which could be another mythological symbol :
What if the ship "Prometheus" is the eagle, and the Engineer's juggernaut is Prometheus ? The eagle comes and burst into the belly of Prometheus as a "punition". Well, that's not very clear symbol here, but somehow it works if one say the Engineer could be the stealer of fire among his race of gods... I'm influenced by this comparison between the ship you designed and the eagle. :)
Ah ah, the sure thing is that this movie makes us think and wonder afterwards !
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
It's very rare that a movie causes people to think about it afterwards :nod:

I think the moment when they woke him up, there was a chance to communicate - but that chance was lost due to Weyland's selfish insistence on getting what he wanted. He just wanted a "fountain of youth" for himself. So the humans blew it!

Once the Engineer's ship was destroyed, he was probably not thinking about the discussion at that point. To him, Elizabeth was just another human, one of the ones who had just destroyed his chance of carrying out the mission. And to her, he was no longer a "creator" who she desperately wanted to speak to. They were simply enemies at that point.

It's an interesting notion, the ship "Prometheus" being the eagle to destroy the Engineer by impaling his ship. Maybe that was unplanned - but maybe it was deliberate. The gold and black stripes on the ship were somehow like an eagle - which was perhaps meant to connect to the classical mythology of Prometheus and his punishment. Knowing Ridley Scott, whatever symbolism one might discover is probably not accidental. Certainly the nose of the spaceship is pointed like a spear or the head of an eagle.

I never knew about such considerations, but that might be why he responded to this shape for the design :D
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
Ah ah!! I love this discussion !
Yes, who knows, maybe you haven't been told about everything that was expected in term of shape in the design to match mythological comparisons ! ;)
Ah, Ridley Scott is really an inspiring spirit. I'm sooo glad we have him back to SF after so long! He really seems to enjoy working on that again, so, maybe we're really on for a series of big SF pieces from him !
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I sure hope so. And I hope we generally see more quality films that don't just present a barrage of CG effects and cartoonish action and explosions. That would be nice! :nod:
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
Steve, you're going to like that : they have just released a short video about the FX of the Prometheus ship landing and crash : [link]
Damn, the landing sequence shows your design in full glory ! With the smoke, lights ands sounds, this is gorgeous !
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
The Prometheus made from LEGO bricks ! ;)
[link]
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:icondaftcherub:
DaftCherub Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012
Awesome work, the speedpaints are really nice.
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:iconsmiling-demon:
Smiling-Demon Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Man that is so cool. Not seen it yet, but all the styling and cinematography looks outstanding! (I have been told there are a few plot holes unfortunately :( )
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Ah, I think people are way overreacting to the plot holes. I found them annoying, but minor. Sometimes it seems like people are too eager to jump to the "I can not go forward, because there is a pebble in my path". Honestly, I am not at all sure what people want - if indeed they even have a clue themselves. But I really liked the movie, and am not about to dismiss it over a couple of awkward scenes. I still remember clearly that no one - not a soul - had anything good to say about "Blade Runner" until several years after it was first released. I hated the movie for years - now it's on my "top 5" list!

By comparison: I just saw "Battleship" - nothing happens for 30 minutes, and from there, the entire movie is a plot hole!

I feel that "Prometheus" will be talked about for quite some time, much like Ridley Scott's other science fiction films - which it seems very much aligned with in terms of its style and the ideas (especially with regard to the nature of life in different forms, and the nature of intelligence whether artificial or natural).

Those who expect perfection in all things will go unsatisfied and empty-handed...
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:iconsmiling-demon:
Smiling-Demon Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hope you don't feel too old, but well I wasn't born when Blade Runner was released... XD (Great film, massive fan of it).

I think the expectation thing is the major play here, no one really ever expected Battleship to be a good film. Whereas everyone thought Prometheus was going to be outstanding, and then just got a good film. People probably need to manage their expectations more.

Personally I wont make my mind up on it until I go to see it myself. Hey how knows, I'll probably enjoy it more for having my expectations dampened.
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
No worries - some days I feel no different, other days I feel ancient LOL! Time is strange...

"Blade Runner" comes to mind because were talking about "Prometheus" at work and I said "Well, it's a lot more satisfying than "Blade Runner" was when I first saw it. This came as kind of a shock to people (most of them younger). "But... Blade Runner is a classic, one of the best!" And I pointed out that they had only known a world where it had already been determined that "Blade Runner" was a sci-fi classic.

But that took about 9 years to kick in, and wasn't really generally accepted until 1991 when the film was re-released with a director's cut (in itself a very unusual occurrence). When "Blade Runner" first came out, it was similar in that the trailers had shown spectacle, action, and superior visuals. But it was so different than what people expected it to be that the backlash was extreme. I thought it was one of the worst movies I'd ever seen! Very nice looking, but... a disaster!

At a certain point, I realized I was completely wrong. I just had an idea of what "Blade Runner" was going to be, and never allowed the film a chance to be what it actually was. At least not for a few years afterwards. I wasn't alone in that either. That was the general consensus. I watched it just to see the special effects. And it kind of won me over without my realizing it! :D

I guess my point is that "Prometheus" is probably quite a bit better than some of the more vehement critics are giving it credit for. It has a few awkward scenes, and it doesn't explain everything. Neither did "Alien", but in hindsight some of the unexplained stuff has allowed "Alien" a very long life-span (like what was that ship and its' dead alien pilot?).

Speaking of "Battleship", it far exceeded my expectation that it would be bad. It was monumentally abysmal, almost "Green Lantern" bad! I kind of hope "Prometheus" eventually makes more money than "Battleship" or "Green Lantern", but the public seems to lend its support to some truly diabolical garbage sometimes - stuff so bad it feels like it's done permanent damage :stupidme: :eyepopping:
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:iconsmiling-demon:
Smiling-Demon Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah I would never have thought that Blade Runner would have had such a lukewarm reception, especially coming from source material like "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", fantastic writer Philip K Dick.

Personally I have nothing against not everything being explained, sometimes it is best to leave the audience thinking. What I have problems with is plot contradiction style holes (obv not seen Prometheus yet, so this is a more general comment than on it itself). Fingers crossed the awkward moments aren't of that nature! Probably going to go see it on Wednesday I think.

I also hope that, regardless of plot holes or other minor deficiencies, that Prometheus does significantly better than Battleship, both money wise and in longevity, as there is nothing worse than utterly mindless junk like it. But hey, unfortunately there is no accounting for the utterly mindless nature of the masses :(
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Re: the mindless masses... I agree. We're totally outnumbered! :(
And it's strange, but true, as far as "Blade Runner" is concerned.
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:iconsmiling-demon:
Smiling-Demon Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Just out of interest, sticking with Philip K. Dick sourced films, what do you think of the decision to remake Total Recall? Personally I'm always a bit sceptical of remakes.
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I believe the new "Total Recall" is a remake of the movie. I'm not sure if it sources the original story by Phillip K. Dick at all. I know a few people who worked on it, and the vibe I get from them is that it will be another action/action/action CG effects mess. But who knows? Actually, on Friday I asked one of these folks if they had read the script. The reply was a derisive snort and a laugh. So make of that what you will...
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(1 Reply)
:icontekanako-the-first:
tekanako-the-first Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Student General Artist
Reminds me, I've got to go check out David's site and see if he's posted anything. He did an amazing job on Tron Legacy :D.
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I agree - I wish they had just filmed his paintings! The movie is unwatchable :D
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:iconlilithrealm:
LilithRealm Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
Prometheus vs. Giger's "tree branch" alien ship tee-hee, we all knows who wins =D
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
It's best to go out with a *BANG*! :nod:
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:iconlilithrealm:
LilithRealm Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hihih.. Like the Nostromo;P. Well I love the visual effects & everythin' except the story & the huge monolith head! I just hope the sequel with be directed by J. Cameron.. heheh impossible!
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:iconshanesemler:
shanesemler Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Great stuff, as always. There is a down side to this movie - it reinforces the grey, monochromatic look that scifi movies have been suffering for the last 40 years. Maybe more colour wouldn't work with this movie but even so, I think it's unfortunate. We're in for another few decades of grey spaceship designs. It's not your fault, I'm sure. But yeah. :/
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Actually, the ship wound up with some fairly bold color accents on it - this is only the first pass, where the main focus is on developing the forms.

It's actually more likely this might be one of the last spaceships in a movie for years to come; the only thing happening now is superheros and superheroes. Science fiction has always been a hard sell, and when the Avengers makes 2 billion dollars in 3 weeks and the Batman movie grosses 200 million dollars on advance ticket sales alone, the studios would be foolish not to continue giving the public what they clearly want :nod:
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:iconshanesemler:
shanesemler Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
:(

I want more space opera (that isn't Star Wars).
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Yes, me too! You're preaching to the choir on that subject :D
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:icon1stladyquick:
1STLADYQUICK Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012
That is sooooooooooooooooooo cool :D
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
:D
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:iconsintar:
sintar Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Now I wanna see this movie EVEN more knowing you had something to do with it, I have always loved your work! So awesome! Now to find a babysitter lol!
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Good luck with that - my sister also has to find a babysitter before she can see the film (I have a 5 year old niece).
It's definitely not for children :nod:
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:iconsintar:
sintar Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That is exactly how old my daughter is. My husband and I are seeing it this Friday (his parents were nice enough to babysit) so I am very excited, Ive wanted to see it for awhile! I love these types of movies!
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:iconcaptricosakara:
CaptRicoSakara Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish I had enough lego bricks to build a lego-fig size model of the ship. I was planing too build it, but sadly, I discovered that despite having $5000 worth of lego bricks, it's not enough. -__-;;; I was planning to the ships to be two story like the actual ship, plus have actual VTOL engines, and it would just be a Technique-style skelliton model, with no hull, showcasing all of the inside and inner workings. Sadly, though, I don't have enough lego bricks to make it the right size skelliton frame that I want.

I might just build a small model, though, but I'm not sure yet.
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
$5000 worth of Lego bricks? :eyepopping:
Wow! Well, even a smaller model would probably be cool. I love seeing all the Lego creations people put together! :D
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:iconcaptricosakara:
CaptRicoSakara Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you should see some of mods I built over the years:

[link]

and

[link]

I've done actual transforming mecha, like the veritechs and valkyries from Macross & Robotech, and I've done Star Trek mods as well, including the Enterprise J from the Azenti Prime episode of Star Trek Enterprise. I've done main bridge mods for star trek ships as well. (I currently have a mod of the Odyssey-Class Enterprise-F from Star Trek Online, just haven't taken pictures yet.) I even did the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren from Gurren Lagann. And the Battle Fairy Yukikaze and a FA-37 Talon from the movie Stealth, with actual landing gear and wing flaps.

Just take a look at all those mods I made, and you'll see what I mean. =3
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:iconpoor-e-thics:
Poor-e-thics Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Student General Artist
great to hear from you the ship looked absolutly amazing you did very well with the details lighting and the scene itself
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
That was MPC, the company who did all the scenes with the ship and the planet. They did an amazing job! :nod:
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:iconpoor-e-thics:
Poor-e-thics Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student General Artist
agreed!
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
Steve, you've done a wonderful work on this ship. It's already a classic... Amazing!
The variable geometry engines are one of its best features. Their bulky design makes the ship look very boss, very powerful, and great how they change position and rotate from different modes. That's an excellent show of future technology !
In propulsion mode, to me, it looks like a "Formula One of Space", particulary with the great texture work made by your colleagues of the prod (the yellow and white fit to hit perfectly).
I love the final look of the cockpit in the film (it's different on your pictures), and love how you placed it, under the huge "nose" That work very well with the scenes in the film, the way the crew overlook the land. That gave Ridley Scott a rich architectural set. ;)

Thanks Steve for sharing these rare pictures of pre-production and for discussing details here. That's a pleasure to get that close to top-class SF movie design. I wish I will contribute to such project someday...

Oh, and by the way, may you be hired on the next Prometheus films !
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I like the final ship as well. The yellow striping was done by Ben Procter, who took what I had done and continued to develop the ship. That actually happened almost a year later (there were a lot of starts and stops, pretty standard for movies these days).

Unfortunately, I doubt there will be any more films to follow "Prometheus". The box office has been good, but not fantastic. And people seem to really not give it a good word-of-mouth. So I think we're in for another decade of comic book superheroes and no new sci-fi for a long long time :(

I wish I liked superheroes, but it's just not my cup of tea. Ah well... :D
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
Really ? You opinion is that the chances are few to see sequels to Prometheus ?..
I think other Prometheus films are still very possible. There are still enough good reactions and if the box office ends pretty good, Scott will surely go for what he's thinking to tell next in this universe. There's a need for a trilogy !
Yes, superheroes movies are over-present these years and probably still for a moment, but we do have some exciting SF coming for the theatres! Maybe you heard about it, but Douglas Trumbull wants to direct a very ambitious space movie, something that would change cinema, it seems... Knowing Trumbull, I can believe that. It's just not sure if he will get enough support to complete this ambition.
Oh, and there are also the next Avatars, the new Blade Runner that Scott is planning, and all the fresh SF ideas that will spring from the new generation of directors (such as Duncan Jones or Neill Blomkamp).
Yeah... there are good times to come! :)
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:iconsteve-burg:
steve-burg Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I hope so. It really does come down to the box office.

I would really like to find out what happens next - it is like an epic science fiction story - a new one. Which I like more than just another Alien sequel. So I hope one day they will continue the tale!
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:iconc-reative:
c-reative Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012
brilliant... congrats !!
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:icongene-therapy:
gene-therapy Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012
I saw the movie and all the time I was thinking "this ship (Prometheus) has so familiar design, yet I can't quite put my finger on it..." - and now I know it was your job... mindblowing work!
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