Out on the publicity rounds for The Martian, Ridley Scott has given a lengthy career-spanning interview to Deadline and confirmed what we pretty much already knew: his immediate next film will take him straight back to space. It's Prometheus 2 (happening well before Neill Blompkamp's Alien 5). He also confirms - no surprise here either - that Michael Fassbender is returning as the synthetic David, and gives some indication of, if not exactly plot specifics, the direction his thoughts are taking him.
"You [could] leave the first film alone and jump ahead," muses Sir Ridders, "but you can’t because it ends on too specific a plot sentence as she says, 'I want to go where they came from, I don’t want to go back to where I came from'. I thought the subtext of that film was a bit florid and grandiose, but it asks a good question: who created us?
"That raises the question to me," he continues, "same as was depicted in 2001 when... that ape that had been grubbing around in the water hole with all of them bickering at each other... has a bigger thought injected into his brain than Newton got sitting under a tree and seeing an apple fall. That is one gigantic, magnificent leap of a thousand years of evolution; that is where the world begins. It is pretty grand thinking, and that’s what I want to explore. You’ve got to go back and find those engineers and see what they are thinking. If engineers are the forerunners of us, and therefore were creators of life forms in places that were possible for biology to function, who created that? Where’s the big boy?"
Addressing the fact that he's delegating the directing of the also-developing Blade Runner sequel to Denis Villeneuve, Scott says "He has taken my script, from Hampton [Fancher] and Michael Green, and that’s what he’ll make. I can’t direct them all, and I have to do Prometheus."
Elsewhere in the extensive chat he touches on the disppointment of The Counselor, from Cormac McCarthy's original screenplay: "The actors were great, the writing was fantastic, it was a great narrative... the intellectual complexity of it was just brilliant... I am very proud of that film, but it didn't play. I think people were horrified, but I don't quite know why."
And he also touches on future projects Flashman (from the George MacDonald Fraser novels) and The Cartel, both of which were bought specifically for him by studio 20th Century Fox. "Cartel is, in a word, The Godfather," he says of the latter, "in the subtext of what makes that sick business tick. I’ve been getting to the heart of it all because you aren’t going to stop them. It’s becoming an army problem, and they have their own armies. It’s this melting pot of evil; you can’t call that business anything other than evil, and the idea a guy [who] trained special forces goes to work for the cartel is disgraceful."
There's plenty more in the original piece, but returning to the Prometheus sequel Scott says "It’s meant to start production in February. I’m in prep, now. I’ll either shoot in Aussie, or here [Toronto]."