Excitement for Ridley Scott's latest alien movie, Prometheus, has been heating up. Fascinating new images were recently released and there has been news this week of a trailer being leaked. However, an exciting fact for those who believe extraterrestrials have already visited our humble planet is that Scott says his new movie is influenced by the theory that aliens have "helped" humanity advance to its current level of civilization. Dubbed the "ancient astronaut theory," this idea was made popular in the late 60s by Swiss author Erich von Daniken, and is currently the focus of the popular History channel television series Ancient Aliens.
Scott's new movie, Prometheus, started off as a prequel to the Alien series. However, as the project took shape it turned into something new and different. Scott told the Hollywood Reporter that it had changed from being an Alien prequel to exploring the "space jockey" aliens that were featured in the first Alien movie. They were the giant beings whose ship the humans explored, finding the giant pilot long dead. It was on this ship that the protagonists found the eggs of the aliens which would terrorize the humans in one of the most popular movie franchises in science fiction.
Scott also told the Hollywood Reporter that:
NASA and the Vatican agree that is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way... That's what we're looking at (in the film), at some of Eric von Daniken's ideas of how did we humans come about.
Von Daniken's ideas were an instant hit when he introduced them in his best-selling book Chariots of the Gods?, published in 1968. Von Daniken suggests that some of the world's ancient structures were too complicated to be created by mankind. Instead he believes they were created by advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that interacted with primitive human beings. One of the most popular examples is the pyramids of Giza; others are the monuments on Easter Island, and Stonehenge in England.
Scott's comment that NASA and the Vatican agree with these ideas is a bit dubious. Although, in 1974, NASA's chief of systems layout at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Josef Blumrich, published a book titled, The Spaceships of Ezekiel. In the book, Blumrich suggests that the famous biblical story of the prophet Ezekiel's vision of a wheel within a wheel, could have been describing advanced technology. Blumrich posits that because of the lack of technology in Ezekiel's time, Ezekiel was describing the technology of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization using the terminology of that era.
Several astronauts and retired NASA employees have gone on to investigate UFOs, or have been outspoken about their UFO sightings, but NASA has never given credence to the idea that extraterrestrials are currently, or ever have, visited the earth. The Vatican has also never made such a claim, although they have been showing interest in astrobiology, recently hosting a scientific conference on the subject. There have also been Roman Catholic priests who have shown an interest in UFOs, including Monsignor Corrado Balducci, who before his death in 2008, was the Vatican's expert in demonology.
The debate on whether ET helped build the pyramid continues, and the popularity of the Ancient Aliens television series demonstrates that there is interest in at least entertaining these ideas. The addition of the topic in Scott's Prometheus will likely help drive box office numbers for a movie that is already garnering a lot of interest. He'll get my $10.