EXCLUSIVE: Damon Lindelof has taken his first big solo screenwriting job since concluding the ABC series Lost. I’m been told that he closed a deal to do rewrite work on 20th Century Fox’s Alien prequel, which the studio hopes Ridley Scott will direct as his next assignment.

In a development as vexing as a Lost plotline, studio insiders said that while Lindelof indeed met with Scott and the studio for that rewrite job, the exchange of ideas between them sparked a take that could well turn out to be a free-standing science fiction film. The studio will decide when Lindelof turns it in. Scott Free is producing and Lindelof’s CAA reps closed his deal last night.

Lindeloff is currently writing with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Paramount’s Star Trek sequel, on which Lindelof is a producer. He also teamed with Kurtzman and Orci to write the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys and Aliens, which is shooting now with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

That’s plenty of action, but I’m told that Lindelof jumped at this opportunity because Scott’s 1979 space thriller Alien was such a seminal influence on him. Resuscitating the Alien franchise has been a big priority for Fox, which has a script by Jon Spaihts, who wrote the Gabriele Muccino-directed Keanu Reeves-starrer  Passengers for Morgan Creek, and whose drafts on the Alien film persuaded Scott to move from producing the film to directing it.

Scott has several possibilities for his next slot. That includes the Fox 2000 film Gucci, which has Angelina Jolie circling the femme fatale role of Patrizia Reggiani, who drew a 29-year prison sentence after being convicted of plotting the murder of her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci, after he’d taken control of the family dynasty. There is also an adaptation of the Justin Cronin bestseller The Passage that John Logan is scripting for Fox 2000, and Scott recently come aboard as director on The Wolf of Wall Street, which Leo DiCaprio plans to star in and produce with Martin Scorsese and Scott Free. That project has yet to land, but it has a solid script by Boardwalk Empire’s Terry Winter.

Ridley Scott Eyeing Reteam With Leo DiCaprio On ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’