Prometheus Secrets Revealed: What Did David Say to the Engineer?

Prometheus Spoilers Script

Of the many, many unexplained puzzles left untangled in Ridley Scott's Prometheus, one deliberately vague scene has had Prometheus-watchers scratching their heads and speculating for weeks — let's call it the "Lost in Translation" question. So what did Michael Fassbender's David say, in non-translated ancient alien-speak, to a certain you-know-who in Prometheus? Actual answers within!

Spoilers follow.

Over at The Bioscopist blog, Stu Holmes was wondering the same question when he managed to track down the real-life linguistics expert who served as consultant on the film, Dr. Anil Biltoo of London's SOAS Language Centre. Biltoo not only taught Fassbender how to speak in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language as the android David — seen studying ancient communication as the crew sleeps in the film's opening measures — he also appeared onscreen as the holographic linguistics teacher David learns from as he recites the real-life text Schleicher's Fable, a story created in 1868 in the reconstructed PIE language.

While Scott, Damon Lindelof, and Co. remain mum about Prometheus's many open-ended provocations, Biltoo revealed what it is that David whispers to the Engineer at the end of the film, setting off the being's violent rampage:

The line that David speaks to the Engineer (which is from a longer sequence that didn’t make the final edit) is as follows:

/ida hmanəm aɪ kja namṛtuh zdɛ:taha/…/ghʷɪvah-pjorn-ɪttham sas da:tṛ kredah/

A serviceable translation into English is:

‘This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life’.

Aha! So... according to Dr. Biltoo, David did as directed by Weyland, with no funny business involved. I'd entertained the thought that David had deliberately provoked the Engineer into attacking Weyland, but Biltoo sets the record, and David, straight: A loyal robot to the end. Kinda. The revelation also supports the idea that the Engineers were set on punishing humanity for their flaws and hubris, though why the Engineer then tore off David's head is still a mystery.

More intriguing is what Dr. Biltoo shares about that scene: There was a full conversation in the PIE language between David and the Engineer. "We’re all going to have to wait for the director’s cut to see if the conversation between the Engineer and David — and there was indeed originally a conversation, not merely an utterance from David — yields any fruit," he said.

How does the David revelation affect your thoughts on Prometheus? Sound off below.

[The Bioscopist via Rope of Silicon]


  • yngwieellis says:

    Can anyone explain how near the end David's head and body are laying 5 feet from the engineer in the cockpit of the huge alien ship. The alien ship takes off and gets blown up and then all of a sudden David's head is now back on the planet. It should have taken off with the ship and engineer and got blown up right?. How did the engineer survive the crash w/o a scratch? etc.

    • David Tru says:

      The huge alien ship was not blown up. It was knocked out of the sky and held together when it smashed into the ground, enough so to squash any fleeing humans caught under it. The engineer was fully encased in the pilot's chair apparatus, which apparently somehow must have protected him from the two impacts (two-ships-colliding, and ship-hitting-ground). We can only speculate as to the future-tech design capabilities of the cockpit control room and the pilots chair. David's head and his body apparently survived being tossed around the cockpit control room... with his facilities still aware enough to witness the engineer leaving to go after the last survivor(s). David's head was back on the planet after he contacted the last survivor and told her that there are other alien ships. She went back inside the downed alien ship and retrieved David's head and his body.

      • yngwieellis says:

        Hey , thank you, I feel so dumb now that you pointed it out. The ship crash landed basically intact. It slowly landed on top of (Charlize)Vickers and almost on Shaw.

    • Pro Metheus says:

      The ship has a powerful gravity drive, so they didn't get shaken around much inside the cockpit area. The Engineer, enraged after the crash, left the cockpit, ran out of the ship and saw the medpod and ran into it to bust some ass. David witnessed the Engineer run out of the cockpit room all angry like and warned Shaw over the radio.

  • i feel like the engineer killed david because it was intelligent enough to know that he was an android...being a creator he probably found it disrespectful for someone to mimmick his peoples work/creation(humans) in such a poor way(in his obviously advanced eyes)...also david might have screwed the language..sort of like ebonics to english which showed inferiority and lack of intellect. Kind of like having a field slave in the house."why are you in my presence" type of thing...**please excuse the typos**

    • Dave says:

      You have to watch the entire scene, especially the parts that didn't make it into theaters to see the larger picture.

      Weyland attempted to portray himself as an "equal" to the Engineers because of his having created David. But put yourself in the Engineer's shoes...after the events of long ago, and having no idea how long he's been asleep, he's awakened not by his own people but by one of their creations. There should be a certain sense of pride in knowing that humans figured out FTL travel, but that gets swept away when Weyland asks the Engineer to extend his life. It was all downhill from there!

      The Engineer asked "Why have you come here?" Perhaps if a philosopher, or physicist, had answered that question the result might have been different.

      Since the Engineers, like the Predators, vanish from the "Alien" narrative and timeline it's not a stretch to believe that they wish no further contact with our species.

      • Slick says:

        Well The Engineers last orders before he was frozen was to deliver the death plague(black goo) to Earth and kill all humanity with the xenomorphs. I think when he was awaken by the same humans that he was supposed to destroy it probably put him in a state of confusion & rage. He was obviously enraged even more when asked that smug question by the android David the Engineer's mission was to kill the humans and now he has one asking him for more life....But it seems like the ones who stopped the Engineers or "Nephilim" aka "fallen angels" have something to do with Christ they hinted to it quite a bit. The "good" aliens I guess theology would refer to them as angels took down those evil ones that wanted to destroy us.

        • hannibalektr says:

          That's right slick! You are the first one to get the real answer.

          • Dave says:

            No matter what, Weyland doomed everyone by his impatience and arrogance. Nobody thought "Hey, these guys were on a mission to destroy us! Maybe waking him up is a bad idea?" Even so, this is a textbook "what NOT to do" in a First Contact situation. Granted, the events were scripted, but in the real world what would YOU have said and done after the Engineer asked "Why have you come here?"

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  • pallab k.b. says:

    the engineer who drank the black goo at the begining must be 3.5 billion years ago. they may have changed their spaceship design since then. it could have been an experiment to see the effects of the black goo on any ecosystem which they probably created accidentaly. and later they thought to put down the resulting viral guinea pigs after the experiment was over. that's what we do? don't we?

    • Sunjae says:

      If that were the case, then why make an armada, a whole fleet of ships possibly all carrying the black goo to other planets? If you remember, as they were landing, there were a line of pyramids like the one they entered, identical to one another? I'm sure you do, seeing as how they left in another engineer ship. It doesn't seem like a failed experiment, but a oops, let the black goo out!

      • pallab k.b. says:

        I didn't said failed exp, the exp was over. Maybe they do this again and again, just because they can, in numerous planets, just create and destroy over and over again. It makes them feel like God.

        • Sunjae says:

          I find it hard to believe that they think they are gods. There was no indication that they created humans anywhere in the movie. Even the crew was only speculating at best, as to their connection to the engineers. Makes me curious though, if it were in fact a military installation, why wasn't it guarded? And, were there more engineers in hyper sleep on the other ships? Guess, we're all going to get the answers, or at least some, in the sequel!

          • David Tru says:

            They didn't have a whole armada. They had a few ships and a few launch bays. When we built atlas rockets, we built several and could launch them from more than one site. When we built space shuttles, we built several and could launch then from more than one site.

            They might have had several missions each requiring a ship or two, or perhaps only one mission at a time but with spare ships much like how we managed the space shuttles. From the visuals we only know they had multiple ships... not an armada!!!

          • Sunjae says:

            Hmm, multiple ships is the very definition of armada, minus the moving lol. But, honestly, I'm just trying to share my thoughts on the storyline, whereas you must have written the script and have it in hand to assume you're right on every aspect and everyone else is wrong. I would like to come down to your level and say everything you said is wrong, but I agree with you than they might know something we don't. I also agree with Hannibal, that there may very well be good engineers and not just the ones hell bent on destroying us. And the amount of black goo on those ships, the big scene where David brings up the star map, earth was just one location and I doubt all of those ships parked behind the first one, had plans for just earth. The topic of time and all that other irrelevant stuff you mentioned is well...irrelevant. Time and lives recycling, goes a little deep, but on the wrong track. It's a very human thing, god, time, reincarnation, etc. So if that's really the platform for your argument, then it would make the engineers no better than we are. And the guy who drank the goo, did not know he drank the goo, otherwise David would have had no need to be sneaky about it.

          • hannibalektr says:

            looks to me like the aliens were divided (not unlike us) on idealism. I am betting there were the bad guys who wanted to destroy every living planet they put life on and the other side fighting to stop them.

            I don't think the bio-weapon got out accidentally. I think it was released on purpose by someone on the opposing side. From the snippets of video you see of them running down the corridor that has to be the case. Or maybe divine intervention is suggested here?

          • Sunjae says:

            That, my friend, has been the most sensible thing I have read so far! No assumptions of fact and you don't seem to have a copy of the original script as most people seem to have on this site lol, so thank you. I would have to agree with you on the idea that the engineers may have been divided. Why? Because they are human! Look at how far our technology has advanced and evolved, while we have not. So, you may be on to something. I believe that there may be good engineers. And, it's possible that the ships video log that played back, is in fact the good guys releasing the goo. All I know is I can't wait to find out what happened next!

  • hannibalektr says:

    They guy who drank the cup of bio knew exactly what he was drinking and that he would be transformed. Maybe you find it hard to believe because you don't think that way, but maybe advanced beings will know the truth about death, about energy that makes everything up and how it doesn't just end, it recycles. Between lives you don't even know the difference. Like closing your eyes and opening them again in a new life, starting over. So they don't fear death.

    Maybe there is no such thing as time, it's just a measurement of change in an equation.. Entropy.

    • EliEli says:

      I am trying to understand that scene and understood why the engineer acted so aggressively. I think that we may need have a wider context and find the connection between the dialog and the opening scene.

      Lets think: what if Engineers believed that In order to create a new life a one must sacrifice himself. We may just assume this sacrifice is a primary element of their faith, very strong faith. The life goes on within a new form.

      So eventually the engineer meets one of his creation - a human like Weyland. Then he realizes that his "child" - his work - was trying to imitate the creator ( Weyland in some way "created" David ).
      The main sin of Weyland was that he broke a sacred rule: he did not sacrifice himself. And he also demanded more life for himself.

      This is what that scene is telling me: Wayland was just a sinner in the eyes of the engineer. And he must be punished...

      (Apologies for gramma - english is not my mother language)

  • atermon olethros says:

    The movie maker did not have the balls to make this scene with "david" that should talk the "superior maker" in ancient Greek language which is the most accurate.
    Then the superior maker got mad by the request of the "Lacerta reptilian" in human form and kick his ass !!!!
    The decayed human race deserve annihilation and restart

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  • RS says:

    To me, this is an amazing movie. It also shows how "First Contact" is a moment that we should all have an understanding of what to say as a collective. The Engineer may have acted very differently if his first constant wasn't with a greedy soulless p.o.s. etc... "Hey you created us! Now give me more! ", or " I created this robot! I'm like you, we are gods! Now I deserve more!".
    When the greedy old man said I created him (David a robot) and he will never die... approachable rds the Engineer, lifting David up and snapping his head off, as to say.. hmmm .. nope, he can die too....
    As to killing everyone in the room, they show up... demanding eternal life, arguing, beating on a lady, with weapons aimed at him... yes ... kill them.. but at first he showed calm interest to them... Also in the added scene, the fight in the emergency escape ship/life raft .. the engineer was intrigued with the decor and very captured by the girl playing violin. When he continues his search and finds Shaw hiding behind the counter, at first he looks like he is approachable and would be open to talk with a "good" human or at least a person with any tact, respect, honor, etc. Not.. "Welcome back to the land of the living! , Now pick up a shovel and start digging!".
    As far as the "Earth" being targeted"??? While David was being Awed by the Galactic Holographical mapping.... he did find the Earth and grabbed its virtual image out of the scenario, once he let go of it, that is when it also showed up on the control panel , onto a little pyramid. Seems as if David one way or another triggered it as the destination. Which the Engineer may not have not have intended.
    Looks as if 2000 years ago, there was a containment breach and as the Engineers ran for their lives, from the creatures, I don't think they were conserned with "Destroying Earth".
    That planet seems as if it was a "Buffer" for other civilizations to eventually find. If the life forms were good then maybe they would take them under their wing. If the civilization was evil then their main population location is protected by being elsweher as well as they seem to have the fire power and possibly little creatures they can send back to the evil civilizations to conquer or wipe them out. Maybe they would conquer good ones as well.. But they left maps to find that planet so I do think "The Buffer Planet" seems a good idea.
    As to the Engineers taste little drink in the beginning, the little cup looked like it had a coat of ice that melted quickly revealing a honey comb contained with different fluids in each comb, once the coved melted the fluids mixed, he drank it and it was an honorable death. Knowing he would be broken down into base DNA and such, and he was to be the seeds of creating what they hoped would be a beautiful being or even many be proud of...
    Over time they seem to have been creating life and may have stumbled into a dark side not intended or uncontrollable.
    Too much to say to keep it all in time...
    Ridley Scott has been one my favorite story tellers for many years, deffinetly stays at the top of the list. He really isnt far off of reality.

    If you ever meet one who works in a place or industry that "doesn't exist". And you wish to know what they do. A. They can't tell you. And B. You don't want to know. ... But if you wish to push the envelope... don't ask where they work, what they do, is this real, etc... Ask what did they goto school for?, what are their interests? Have they ever been successful? Etc...
    If you wish to be in certain industries, be the best at what you do. Keep to yourself. And plan on never being seen again.

  • vizjian says:

    In the opening scene, the engineer was creating life. After he drank the black too his DNA began to break apart and he fell off the water fall and dissolved into the water where his DNA reacted with it and began to reassemble creating new DNA and the last part of the scene shows NEW cellular division taking place. He wasn't killing anything and it had nothing to do with their understanding of death and life that we don't have. Its about using DNA to create DNA. Its painfully obvious that this is whats taking place.

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