In the opening scene of Prometheus, do we know why the alien eats the thing that kills him?

The alien looks at his spaceship and then eats the thing that modifies his DNA after killing him.


3 Answers 3


At this time, no.

There has been a lot of discussion and speculation regarding whether the scene was a depiction of an engineer seeding life on the planet - or initiating the destruction of life by introducing the alien/xenomorph DNA.

The bonus materials on the DVD/Blu-Ray may shed some more insight into this, but I believe it was intentionally vague.


The Lone Engineer at the beginning of Prometheus drank the black liquid in order to seed Earth with intelligent life. This is described on the Prometheus Blu-Ray's extras section, in the caption for one of the deleted scenes:

Scene 7: Arrival of the Engineers

The Engineers touch down on prehistoric Earth for a sacred ritual devoted to the seeding of Intelligent life. Whereas the Theatrical version of the scene is devoted to the Lone Sacrifice Engineer, this early cut features several of his comrades, including the Elder Engineer. The ceremony was filmed with dialogue but unsatisfied with the result, Ridley Scott removed the dialogue entirely.

Screen Capture of the above text


He was definitely seeding life. This has been stated clearly by Ridley himself and is quite obvious given that the planet appears to be in its formative stages with only minimal plant life.

A pre-vis on the blu-ray actually shows a very primitive amphibian creature crawl out of the water and onto land after the DNA sequence.

Our oldest ancestor, LOL.

My personal belief is that this is not the black goo, this was probably millions of years ago, and the effects are completely different than those of the black goo. It also looks different.

Another scene on the blu-ray shows Ridley designing the sacrificial goo with various berries and coloured honeycomb mashed into a bowl. If it was the black goo, he would have simply made it black. It's not even black, people.

  • Phase one: create people
  • Phase two: force evolutionary change with Xenomorph DNA or "black goo"

The only question remaining about Prometheus (originally titled Alien Engineers) is why they would want Xenomorphs. Weapon? Cleansing a planet like a Petri dish?

  • It was the same black goo. Apparently, the intentions of the users have a lot to do with the outcomes. An engineer uses it in a ceremonial case and seeds life. A human or worm is subjected to it under strife and you get some really icky results that lead to a xenomorph. So the black goo is both a way to seed a planet's ecosystem or destroy it. The engineers may have thought humans were a threat due to our unfitness to use black goo.
    – Warpstone
    Oct 25, 2012 at 20:56
  • 1
    What is any of that based on? Intentions of the user?! Pardon me? Tell me where that is referred to in the movie or even loosely implied!!? Fifield and Holloway had identical mutations, Holloway being oblivious to having ingested anything! So tell me where his "intentions" factor in. Black Goo is designed to produce Xenomorphs or xeno hybrids, this is indicated by the murals in the ampule room- moreover in the first Alien movie with the Space Jockey and a ship full of face-hugger eggs. The Engineers make Aliens! This is what they do-bottom line. The black Goo is Alien DNA and will ALWAYS resul Oct 25, 2012 at 22:12

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