There has been some speculation as to how the new The Thing movie is intended to fit into the mythology of John Carpenter's 1982 film.
From many of the previews and synopses so far, it seems like it’s an unconnected story, taking place before the events of the Carpenter film, but not directly connected, as it appears to have reinterpreted some elements. For example, the monster is a bit different in nature, and some of the plot details are somewhat incongruent.
However, now we have an official, indisputable answer. The film is intended to be a direct prequel to the Carpenter film, and will attempt to explain the series of events that lead up to that film’s opening.
Indeed, this recently released featurette includes interviews with cast members explaining the way the two movies tie together.
We also have this new extended synopsis:
"Antarctica: an extraordinary continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. The shape-shifting creature, accidentally unleashed at this marooned colony, has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being. It can look just like you or me, but inside, it remains inhuman. In the thriller The Thing, paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers as they’re infected, one by one, by a mystery from another planet. Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime.
"Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish. The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name."
The Thing stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Ulrich Thomsen. It hits theaters on October 14 , 2011.