Ridley Scott has often discussed his ideas for the Prometheus sequel, which would require Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender to return to continue their space adventures. With Fassbender’s increasingly busy schedule, it was unclear if the actor would actually return for Prometheus 2, but now Scott himself has confirmed that Fassbender will indeed be back when the film begins shooting early next year.

Previously, Scott confirmed that Prometheus 2 will begin shooting in early 2016, making it his next project after The Martian — and two sci-fi films in a row, no less. Deadline caught up with the director at TIFF, and while promoting his latest space-centric film, he also took some time to discuss Prometheus 2. When asked if Fassbender would return for the sequel, Scott replied:

Oh, yes. He and I are friends, because we also did The Counselor. And, I love The Counselor. No one else seemed to.

Scott went on to defend The Counselor a bit before circling back to Prometheus 2 and some of the ideas he wants to explore in the film. He references Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and once again confirms that the sequel will pick up where Prometheus left off:

You can either say, leave the first film alone and jump ahead, 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? I don’t think we are here by accident. I find it otherwise hard to believe you and I are sitting here at this table, because the molecular miracles that would have had to occur were in the trillions, since the first sign of human life that crawled out of the mud with four fingers, would bloody well be impossible, unless there was some guidance system. Also, you have the sun approximately the same distance from earth as it is from maybe millions of planets and planetoids that are almost identical distance and therefore enjoy the value of sunlight on their soil. Are you telling me there are no other planets with human life? I simply don’t believe it.

That raises the question to me, same as was depicted in 2001 when that object comes hurtling through space, and lands in Ethiopia. And an ape that had been grubbing around in the water hole with all of them bickering at each other, goes up and touches it. He has a bigger thought injected into his brain than Newton got sitting under a tree and seeing an apple fall. Stanley then picks something metaphorically poetic in its violence, as the ape picks up a hip bone and brains the anteater so they can eat him. 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? You think this was all an accident? I don’t know. Even Stephen Hawking now says, I am not sure. He no longer believes in the big bang.

Those are a lot of ambitious ideas, but the first Prometheus was a rather ambitious film and Scott is a very ambitious director. Last we left Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw and Fassbender’s David, they were taking off in one of the Engineer’s ships to find where they came from — and David’s head was detached from his body. Scott has previously said that Shaw will inevitably have to re-attach his head if she wants to survive, which could lead to further meddling from the mischievous David.

Prometheus 2 will begin filming in February for a 2017 release.