There is no director for whom I have more mixed feelings than Ridley Scott. On one hand, he is responsible for some of my favorite movies of all time such as Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. On the other, he is also responsible for several films on the rock bottom of my list such as Kingdom of Heaven, Exodus; Gods and Kings, and the two Alien prequels, Prometheus and Alien Covenant – neither of which I will likely ever forgive him for. I wish I could easily delineate and say as long as Scott sticks to science fiction, he’s generally good, but no joy.
So, it is with mixed feelings that I dig into his latest project, Raised by Wolves.
Originally created for Turner Network Television (TNT) the project was recently moved to the streaming service HBO Max as a 10-episode miniseries. This marks Scott’s debut on the American small screen as he is personally directing the first two episodes, while acting as executive producer for the rest.
Scott has done a fair job of keeping the plot of Raised by Wolves a secret. From what I’ve learned, you think you’re getting the gist from the trailer and the official synopsis, but from what I can piece together, the storyline goes much deeper and darker.
Here’s the official studio line:
Raised by Wolves centers around two androids — Father and Mother — tasked with raising human children on a mysterious new planet after the Earth was destroyed by a great war. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.
However, check out the trailer…
Not to be a killjoy or anything, but considering my two, passionately different feelings about Scott’s work, I had to try to find out more. For instance, what’s the deal with the creepy thing crawling across the kid’s sleeping pod? Who is busting in to attack Mother? What about her covered-in-blood howling, and WHAT is up with that Three Little Pigs story?
I found a quote from Scott on Deadline from when Raised by Wolves was originally headed to TNT. He said:
I’m always searching for new frontiers in the sci-fi genre and have found a true original in Raised by Wolves — a wholly distinct and imaginative world, full of characters struggling with existential questions. What makes us human? What constitutes a family? And what if we could start over again and erase the mess we’ve made of our planet? Would we survive? Would we do better?
Okay, but that’s still pretty generic. I found Den of Geek to be as curious as I was and they found out a bit more. They had some more details on Danish actor Amanda Collins who plays Mother:
(She’s) an android with a secret past who has been programmed to raise a brood of human children on a faraway planet. In addition to teaching her children to survive, Mother must also keep them from believing in the unreal; to ensure this virgin planet isn’t torn apart by the same religious differences that lead the Earth to its ultimate destruction. Mother hopes her family will serve as the nucleus for a peaceful, technocratic colony — a new beginning for humanity. But as she struggles to mold these growing humans, she also begins uncovering secrets hidden within her own programming, secrets that could help her protect her family, but could just as easily destroy them.
They also found out the great war which destroyed planet Earth was a religious one, which explains why Mother tries to stop the children believing in “the unreal.”
I also found out is that Scott purposely chose a cast who would be largely unknown to U.S. audiences, to make the story fresher and more believable. As Scott is known for his attention to detail, we might be able to draw some conclusions from the name of the series. According to a cultural dictionary, “raised by wolves” means socially inept and uncivilized. Perhaps this refers to how children are bound to turn out, when raised by an android who is created by humans.
Looks like we’ll just need to wait and see.
Raised by Wolves premieres on HBO Max on September 3.