According to the Hollywood Reporter, Scott explains, “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 van Daniken’s ideas of how did we humans come about.”
Von Daniken is known for his books like Chariots of the Gods? and Gods From Outer Space, which deliver his “ancient astronaut” theory — an idea that suggests extraterrestrials were in contact with ancient civilizations on Earth, and may perhaps be responsible for starting the first civilizations on Earth. Von Daniken frequently appears on the popular History channel program Ancient Aliens.
Prometheus was originally planned as a prequel to the Alien movie franchise. The screenplay was reworked though, and the movie will now reportedly occupy “the same general universe” as the Alien movies, but won’t be directly related to those films.
Prometheus is scheduled for a mid-2012 release.