Prometheus is set in the same universe as Alien. However, the upcoming film is neither a sequel nor prequel, but rather, a different story which takes place before the events of the Alien franchise.
Of course, we have the official synopsis from the studio:
Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define. With Prometheus, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
But in an recent interview with MTV, Damon Lindorf, the writer/producer of Prometheus, provides additional details about the film’s characters.
Lindorf confirms that Michael Fassbender will be playing an android and discusses the role of the character in the film. He then goes on to talk about the cast as a whole, as well as the philosophy behind the character development.
"I think one of the really cool things about the first Alien, if you watch it cold, Ripley is kind in the background like one of the crew members, and you're like, 'Skerrit's the hero of the movie,' and he's one of the first to go." Lindorf says.
"And then you're like, 'It's Harry Dean Stanton.' And, no, he's gone … and suddenly Sigourney Weaver, in the last 40 minutes of the movie, is the only one left alive. I think the idea of building a really cool ensemble and again presenting the audience with like, 'Who's going to be left standing at the end of this movie? Maybe all of them.’ - probably not - is part of the fun of what we set out to do."
MTV also quoted Lindorf on what it is like to work with Ridley Scott:
"Having done Lost for six years, I felt this tremendous responsibility because I'm one of the visionaries behind the show, so there's no safety net below you. When I got the call [from Ridley] I had this tremendous amount of relief and comfort that Ridley Scott is going to be the safety net. What ensued was a series of conversations where I was kind of interviewing Ridley to get a sense of the movie he wanted to make.
"Once I got a sense of that, then it was really about channeling that idea so that I was realizing his vision, as opposed to imposing my vision on it. That was my perspective. His perspective was more kind and generous in terms of ideas that I brought to the movie. But really, everything I was coming up with was just a different spin on what he was saying to me."
And a bit about the role Charlize Theron will be playing in the film:
"Her character's name is Meredith Vickers and she's sort of a corporate entity. That's another one of the familiar things from the Alien movies - that there are corporate interests in play. I feel like Charlize brought a new spin on that old variation. It's a remix …. I don't think she's slimy.
"She's not the fast-talking, snake-oil face of the company. By the way, ‘What company is she a face of?’ I think is a big part of the fun. As we were developing the script, [Theron] had some really cool ideas that made it not the ‘suit’ you're used to."
These latter quotes do not appear in the video, probably due to time constraints.
Prometheus is currently planned to hit theaters in June 2012.