A total of six films were produced — TED Conference, 2023, Happy Birthday, David, Quiet Eye: Elizabeth Shaw, Project Prometheus: Mission, Weyland Industries Testimonial and Prometheus Transmission. Three of the shorts were originally released as part of the film's viral marketing campaign, while the remainder were created to promote various tie-in media and merchandise following the film's release.
TED Conference, 2023
TED Conference, 2023 shows Peter Weyland giving his influential talk at the 2023 TED conference and laying out Weyland Corp's plans for the future. It was directed by Luke Scott, son of Ridley Scott, and features Guy Pearce playing a younger version of his character from Prometheus.
The short film was originally released in two parts — the bulk of the short (specifically Weyland's speech) was released on February 28, 2012 via the TED website, as part of the viral marketing campaign for Prometheus, accompanied by a fictional post in the site's blog about Weyland. The remainder of the film, in which Weyland is seen quoting Friedrich Nietzsche as he prepares himself backstage, was made available (under the title Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the name of the book from which Weyland is quoting) by following a website link given at the end of Prometheus' closing credits during the movie's theatrical run. The complete film was eventually released on the Prometheus Blu-ray.
After drinking a glass of whisky, Peter Weyland steps out into a huge arena packed with people attending the annual TED conference. After narrating a scene from Lawrence of Arabia, in which Corporal Potter asks Lawrence about his habit of extinguishing matches with his bare fingers, Weyland goes on to explain the myth of the Titan Prometheus, who gave the secret of fire to mankind and was punished by the Gods as a result. Considering fire to be man's first invention, he goes on to list various other breakthroughs throughout the course of human history, including the wheel, gunpowder, the automobile, television, spacecraft, terraforming and the curing of most cancers, before concluding that mankind's technological prowess now makes them akin to gods. However, he laments that the almost limitless potential of the technologies humanity possesses is currently being squandered by overbearing rules and regulations. Finally, Weyland introduces himself to his audience, before promising, "If you'll indulge me, I'd like to change the world."
The short film was conceived by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof, director and writer of Prometheus, respectively. It was produced in collaboration with the TED organization, and was first made available through their website. The project arose partly because Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof wished to introduce new audiences to the conference itself. Regarding its setting, Lindelof explained that the scene takes place in a futuristic stadium rather than the smaller locations of real TED conferences because "a guy like Peter Weyland — whose ego is just massive, and the ideas that he's advancing are nothing short of hubris — that he'd basically say to TED, 'If you want me to give a talk, I'm giving it in Wembley Stadium.'"
TED community director Tom Rielly helped gain approval for the use of the TED brand in the short film, which had not previously been used for promotional purposes. He was involved in designing the 2023 conference, preparing an "extensive briefing on all the visual and audio aspects of a TEDTalk circa 2012 and a corresponding speculation on how things would work in the future", that included flying video cameras and "live Twitteresque feedback". Rielly claimed that the association generated millions of new visitors to the TED website, many of which were from users who had never visited the site previously. The short film's release was accompanied by a fictional TED blog about the 2023 conference and a tie-in website for Weyland Corp. On March 6, 2012, the Weyland Corp website was updated to allow visitors to 'invest' in TED as part of a game to reveal new Prometheus media.
Happy Birthday, David
A shortened, teaser version of the video was made available exclusively to attendees of the Prometheus panel at the 2012 WonderCon event, held in Anaheim, California on March 17, as part of the viral marketing campaign for the film. The full video was given a general release online exactly one month later.
The film begins with a newly-manufactured, hairless David 8 android coming off of the production line, sealed inside a clear plastic bag. The advertisement then cuts to a completed, fully active David 8, who is questioned by an off-screen interviewer, asking what he can do, what he thinks about, what makes him sad (David begins to weep as he replies) and, finally, if there is anything David himself would like to say. Throughout, the interview is intercut with footage of various Davids going about their business or relaxing — this includes two Davids playing each other at chess, a David examining some flowers, a David undergoing a Rorschach test, a David examining a large-scale aerial urban plan he has just drawn, a David performing a response time test, and a David painting a model figurine of a man. Finally, the David being interviewed wishes himself a happy birthday, before pressing his finger to the screen, revealing the Weyland Corp logo laser-branded on his fingerprint, and reciting the David 8 slogan: "Technological. Intellectual. Physical. Emotional."
Quiet Eye: Elizabeth Shaw
Quiet Eye: Elizabeth Shaw is a video message from Elizabeth Shaw to Peter Weyland in which she requests a meeting to discuss her proposed mission to contact the Engineers. It was directed by Johnny Hardstaff.
After introducing herself and apologising for her persistent attempts at contacting Weyland, Dr. Shaw raises some of the grand unanswered questions facing humanity — including what happens after death, the purpose of man's existence, where we came from and whether we are alone in the universe. She goes on to explain that she believes she has found a place where these questions can be answered, but that she needs Weyland and his vast resources to get there. Finally, she politely requests a meeting in person so that they can discuss her findings.
The entire video is represented in split-screen — Shaw's original transmission can be seen on the right half of the screen, while on the left advanced facial recognition software is run on the footage to ascertain if Shaw's identity is legitimate. Notably, the video is marked with the logo of the Yutani Corporation.
Project Prometheus: Mission
Project Prometheus: Mission features Weyland Corp employee Andrea Bishop (a character who does not appear in Prometheus itself) discussing the Prometheus mission and its goals.
The film consists of a short video briefing, in which Weyland Corp training specialist Andrea Bishop reveals several details about the impending USCSS Prometheus mission, including the inspiration behind the name of the ship itself, the involvement of Dr. Shaw and Dr. Holloway, and the general purpose of the expedition. Finally, Andrea invites anyone interested in joining the mission to apply.
The video includes clips from previous short films TED Conference, 2023 and Happy Birthday, David.
Weyland Industries Testimonial
Weyland Industries Testimonial features Weyland Corp employee Jamie Rossi (a character who does not appear in Prometheus itself) talking about her time working for the company, including her work on revolutionary nanotechnologies.
The video was originally released on June 27, 2012 through YouTube, to promote the film's stand at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.
The video features Weyland Corp nanotechnologist Jamie Rossi discussing her work at Weyland Corp, in particular the revolutionary artificial muscles she has been developing with her team. She is highly complimentary of her employers, praising Weyland Corp's ability to recognise new ideas and their willingness to fund the development of such concepts expediently.
Throughout the video, the image occasionally breaks up and brief, distorted images from Prometheus can be seen, accompanied by disturbing sounds, including what appear to be human screams.
Prometheus Transmission is a "greeting" transmission prepared for the Prometheus mission, designed to be transmitted ahead of the ship's arrival at LV-223 in order to prepare any potential alien life forms inhabiting the moon for first contact with the ship's human crew. It was directed by Johnny Hardstaff.
A shortened, teaser version of the video was released on September 6, 2012 through the HeyUGuy website, to promote the film's then-imminent home video release. The full video was included on the Prometheus Blu-ray.
The transmission consists primarily of examples of human culture and knowledge, including geometric renderings, language data, mathematical formulae, footage of various Earth environments and examples of music, art, fashion, technology, dance and social cultures from around the planet and across human history. Interspersed with these more abstract clips is footage of several members of the Prometheus crew preparing for their mission into deep space, either being fitted for their space suits or undergoing rigorous physical training. Among the crew featured are Captain Janek, who is generally disinterested and belligerent, Charlie Holloway, who is cocky and eager to get underway, and David, who is efficient and brief. The video also includes a message from Elizabeth Shaw, who extends a personal greeting the Engineers she hopes will be receiving the transmission and shares her desire to establish contact with extraterrestrial life.
- Elizabeth Shaw .... Noomi Rapace
- Janek .... Idris Elba
- Holloway .... Logan Marshall-Green
- David .... Michael Fassbender
The short films Project Prometheus: Mission and Weyland Industries Testimonial have only ever been released through YouTube. However, the remaining four videos created for Prometheus were included on the film's Blu-ray, as well as in the Collector's Edition Blu-ray set. These same four shorts were later also released as part of the Prometheus to Alien: The Evolution Blu-ray box set.
- Each of the short films found on the Prometheus Blu-ray releases is accompanied by a transcripted message from Peter Weyland discussing the video and its content. One of these — the note accompanying Happy Birthday, David — contains an oblique reference to the events of the film Blade Runner. Although no names are mentioned, the message clearly refers to the character Eldon Tyrell from the film, as well as the "replicants" manufactured by his company and his death at the hands of Roy Batty, one such replicant. The general aesthetic similarities between Blade Runner and the Alien franchise have long been noted by fans, with some suggesting that the two could quite easily co-exist in a shared fictional universe; while the reference on the Blu-ray is seemingly intended as nothing more than an in-joke, the way it links the two series is nonetheless worthy of note.
- Alien: Covenant short films — A similar series of promotional short films for the film Alien: Covenant.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "RSA Films - Prometheus". Retrieved on 2018-09-22.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "TED Blog - Writing a TED Talk from the future: Q&A with Damon Lindelof". Retrieved on 2016-01-05.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "TED Blog - Peter Weyland at TED2023: I will change the world". Retrieved on 2018-09-21.
- ↑ "CinemaBlend - New Prometheus Viral Site Ties Peter Weyland To Nietzsche". Retrieved on 2018-10-04.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Bloomberg Business - TED Goes to the Movies with 'Prometheus' Promotion". Retrieved on 2016-01-05.
- ↑ "Collider - PROMETHEUS Viral Continues with Android-Unboxing Video from Weyland Corp Featuring Michael Fassbender". Retrieved on 2018-09-21.
- ↑ "Collider - Excellent PROMETHEUS Viral Campaign Continues with an Ad and Poster for Michael Fassbender’s Android, "David 8"". Retrieved on 2018-09-21.
- ↑ "Mashable UK - 'Prometheus' Social Campaign Expands With Live Red Carpet and More". Retrieved on 2018-09-21.
- ↑ "YouTube - Project Prometheus: Mission". Retrieved on 2018-10-15.
- ↑ "Hollywood Video - What is Prometheus Recruiting for at San Diego Comic Con 2012?". Retrieved on 2018-10-04.
- ↑ "Vimeo - Prometheus ‘Transmission’". Retrieved on 2018-09-22.
- ↑ "HeyUGuys - Exclusive New Stills and Mysterious Video Reveals Idris Elba Prepping for Prometheus". Retrieved on 2018-09-21.