The space jockey's story

Comparing Giger's derelict to a spiral
and a French curve

Leading from: 

a) Giger's original concept for the Derelict ship roughly shares features with shapes from a French curve set perhaps with the out outer spine broken leaving the semi stump like parts.

arm of Giger's derelict with elements of a french curve in its design

typical French curve set

b) From the above view of the derelict ship, one might take the right side of the hammer tip on the end of the left arm as a starting point for an anti-clockwise spiral centre and before where the arm ends as a stump, the body extends in another direction twice conforming to the rough outwards spiral

Add caption

clockwise spiral around the main dome of the derelict ship

Comparison between Giger's derelict
and Chris Foss' "lobster"

Leading from: 

Another point to note, if one takes a look at Foss' derelict design that resembles a  cross between a lobster and a train and compare it wth Giger's main design, work 374, it looks a lot as if the left half of Giger's ship is a biomechanised version of Foss' lobster like structure sticking out of the sand, and Giger had taken Foss' design as a starting point and had given the thing another half with a hammer shaped tip . The fin to the left side of Foss' derelict on Giger's derelict becomes a bulbous protuberance .  


One side of Giger's derelict in comparison to Chris Foss' derelict ship

Derelict concept sketches

Leading from:


Derelict exterior sketch from below from Giger's Alien Diaries
(note the additional arm extending around the other side of the vessel)

 
Derelict exterior sketch from below from Giger's Alien Diaries
(note the additional arm extending around the other side of the vessel)

derelict sketch 374a 25th February, 1978

derelict sketch 374b

derelict sketch 374c (resembling a lobster)
     
    a possible derelict sketch, from Giger's Alien Diaries


Battle between O'Bannon and Scott over derelict

Leading from:
On the 5th March, 1978 Giger had found himself in Scott's office on Lexington Street. There he was outlining his ideas for the derelict space ship built by non-humans, which the three astronauts come across on the strange planet. Ridley Scott thinks that it is absolutely great, but Dan O'Bannon who has just flown in from the USA doesn't think that it is technical enough. However Giger's certainty that Scott will win the argument and thus Giger's ideas will be adopted and that Scott can intepret them allows him to keep quiet. The war of words comes to an end and Scott then asks Giger to paint a picture of the entrance passage. The battle was won.

Source Quotes
  1. H. R. Giger: 5 March 1978, London.: In Scott's office on Lexington Street, I outline my ideas for the derelict (plate 374) The derelict is a space-ship built by non-humans which the three astronauts come across on the strange planet. Scott thinks its absolutely great. O'Bannon who has just flown over from the USA, doesn't think it's technical enough. A battle of pros and cons begin. I keep quiet; I know that Scott will win the argument.  (Giger's Alien, p22, )
  2.  H. R. Giger: 5 March 1978, London.: The certainty that my ideas will be adopted and that Scott can interpret them allows me to keep quiet. The war of words comes to an end and Scott asks me to paint a picture of the entrance passage. The battle is won. (Giger's Alien, p22, )

Alien: Designing the derelict ship exterior

Leading from:

a) Transition to being a spacecraft designer 
On Friday morning, 3rd March 1978, Giger had flown over from Switzerland to England. Once  it was certain that Giger knew what he was supposed to be doing with the alien beast, Ridley asked Giger if he could design a space ship that was not designed by human beings.  The sudden transition into being the designer of the derelict space craft was confusing for him because before hand, he had only been expected to design the title alien life form, and Dan O'Bannon had hoped to go ahead with Chris Foss' design for the derelict. (See Foss' derelict design)

b) Ridley's and the giant croissant
Giger wanted to do some research for the alien ship and Ridley Scott realised that he had too much to do as it was, so he took it onto himself to find something in Giger's Necronomicon that was going to serve as the basis for the design of a ship that he wanted, and so he studied one of the paintings and found something like a musical instrument such as a saxophone, he drew around it and as he recalls, said "What about this, it looks like a giant croissant" and then perhaps it looks like a boomerang.

This was to be the basis of derelict ship that Giger would further develop. 

Scott's idea was that the derelict was a flying machine, and if one does enough something of that nature at some point, it will be so peculiar that it would be like nothing that human's would expect . He wanted to do something that would evoke a spark of gothic revulsion

Giger first came up with a design that resembled a saxophone and Ridley Scott's response was "No, this one goes a little too far in the unusual." So a second version of the design was accomplished which Ridley accepted.  

Giger had drawn something up that
looked almost like a musical instrument

( Work 280: Mordor IV)
c) Thinking about the idea
Giger asked himself "well how do you do that?" He thought it might look organic or something that's even grown like a plant, but he did not know exactly what it should look like. He would make it look biomechanical as with his well known style. The dead alien spaceship was not designed for function, and it should be different from the ones used on Earth and they did not want it to look as if it was made by human beings.

d) Carrying out the work
Across 3rd, 4th and 5th of March 1978, Giger worked on the drawing of the alien derelict space ship. In the early hours of a morning, while he was at the flat he was staying in Old Church Street in London,  he couldn't sleep, he had an idea and so he got up to work on it. He thought that maybe the ship could look like something planted, perhaps in the process of maturing.  It was a question of getting down on paper, and so he started painting and the derelict ship was born within a few hours.


  Giger's derelict painting (Work 374: Wreck) that bears qualities of an Escher drawing

e)  Resulting image
What he ended up with looked to him like an aerodynamic flying bone with a little technical stuff all over it with arms stretching out in front. actually he didn't know how it would look when flying, , but it wasn't something that he consciously planned, it just sort of ran out of his mind and through his airbrush. which was not an uncommon phenomena for Giger. He knew how the thing should appear in the movie, looking very aggressive and frightening. Often he would try to switch off his thoughts as much as possible and let the painting flow spontaneously from his subconscious mind. He had a good feeling coming with the ease that this picture was coming out. By the time Mia gets up, he had finished the picture.

f) Exploring Mordor IV 

If we look at the picture Mordor IV to the right, the central face at the top appears to be putting it's mouth to the opening of a croissant shaped thing, so I take this to be the picture and upon this structure are a series of four valves, which could easily be seen as the entrances to the derelict interior but the number of entrances was reduced to three (and then the number three appeared to come through as a repeating theme all over the alien pilot's chair and the body of the alien monster itself)

 Morder IV detail, 4 valves lower centre

detail from Giger's Mordor IV
detail from Giger's Wreck Entrance: work 375

 

Source Quotes
  1. Ridley Scott:"Au départ, Giger voulait se lancer dans des recherches de designs pour le vaisseau étranger, mais je lui ai dit “Non, tu es déjà beaucoup trop occupé par tout ce que tu as à faire. Si tu ajoutes cela au rest, tu ne finirais jamais ton travail à temps!“ J’ai décidé d’y réfléchir de mon côté. J’ai repris son album Necronomicon , et je me suis attaché à scruter les détails de ses grands dessins pour y trouver une forme basique qui pourrait être celle du vaisseau. J’ai pensé que c’etait une démarche logique, car elle nous permettrait de rester dans son universe graphique. J’ai déniché un détail intéressant que j’ai soumis à Giger et à mon équipe de décorateurs, et au début, ils m’ont présenté quelque chose qui avait le form d’un saxophone! Je leur ai dit “Non, là on va un peu trop loin dans l’insolite“. Ce n’est que dans un second temps qu’ils ont conçu ce superbe objet courbe. Une fois que cet aspect a été finalisé, j’ai donné au vaisseau étranger le surnom de “cuirassé“, parce qu’il a l’aspect d’un bateau de guerre."(Ecran Fantastique Hors-Serie #29, p13)
    Translation
    Ridley Scott: "Initially, Giger wanted to go into research designs for the alien ship , but I told him "No, you're already too busy with all that you do. If you add this to the rest, you never finish your work on time "I decided to reflect on my side. I picked up the album Necronomicon, and I am attached to scrutinize the details of his large drawings to find a basic form which could be that of the vessel. I thought it was a logical step, as it would allow us to stay in his graphic universe. I found a interesting detail that I submitted to Giger and my team of designers, and at first they showed me something that had the form of a saxophone! I said "No, this one goes a little too far in the unusual."It is only in a second time they have designed this beautiful curved object. Once this has been finalized, I gave the foreign vessel the nickname "battleship", because it has the appearance of a warship"
  2. Ridley Scott : "I took the drawing of the space ship off a section of one of Giger's Necronomicon, and he'd drawn something up that almost looked like a musical instrument, so I kind of drew around that, and said "what about this? it looks like a giant croissant", but actually it worked, like a boomerang. paintings, 'cause we couldn't work out what the hell the spaceship was going to look like, and so I was staring at his book, the... " (Alien DVD commentary)
  3. H. R. Giger (16 March, Zurich) I've had a longish talk with my lawyer about my contract, and an hour and a half's telephone conversation with Beale, a production executive of Twentieth Century Fox. It all seems clear for the time being. I've made my concession and done two extra pictures for my Alien designs. I've finished the entrance passage (plate 375) as well as a view of the derelict showing the glass dome about the cockpit (plate 382). (Giger's Alien, p22,) 
  4. H. R. Giger: Well, it was decided that I would do the alien and only the alien. That's because Ron Cobb was working on the project in the early, early days. I don't remember whether they asked me or not, but I painted my version of the derelict in the morning and showed it to Ridley in the afternoon. He said, "That's it. We'll use it. Please do the entrance and the interior now." So I wound up doing more than we expected. (Warren's Alien Collector's edition, p33)
  5. HR Giger: I did the picture one morning when I couldn't get back to sleep. I was staying in a flat in Old Church Street in London at the time. The derelict is not strictly in my field of work. But I had this idea and simply had to get it down. By the time Mia gets up I have finished the picture. I also get a good feeling when pictures go so easily, and looking back,  I'm often not disappointed with my work. (H. R. Giger: 5 March 1978, London.Giger's Alien, p22, )
  6. H R Giger: I wanted it to look like something planted - perhaps in the process of maturing. (Warren's Alien Collector's edition , p32)   
  7. H. R. Giger: Once the alien was under control, Ridley asked me if I could design a spaceship not made by human beings. Well how do you do that? I thought maybe it might look organic - something that could grow even, like a plant *- but I didn't know exactly what it should look like. Then early one morning I couldn't sleep, I got up and started painting and the derelict ship was born in a few hours. It ended up like an aerodynamic bone with little technical stuff all over it, but it wasn't anything I had planned - it just sort of ran out of my mind and my airbrush, which is not uncommon for me. Often I try to switch off my thoughts as much as possible and let the painting flow spontaneously from my subconscious mind. (Cinefex 1)
    (* Giger often talks about creating the final image that looked as if it were something planted that was on the verge or maturing.  In Warren's Alien Collector's edition (p32) he mentions" I wanted it to look like something planted - perhaps in the process of maturing.)  
  8. HR Giger: Ridley asked me if I could design a spaceship not made by human beings. I thought maybe it might look organic - something that could grow, even, but I didn't know exactly what it should look like. Then, early one morning,  I couldn't sleep, I got up and started painting and the derelict ship was born within a few hours. It ended up like an aerodynamic bone with a little technical stuff all over it, but it wasn't really anything planned. (Alien The Archive, p49, repeated from Cinefex 1) 
  9. HR Giger: The dead, alien space ship was not designed for function. I knew the spacecraft should be different from the ones used on Earth. They did not want it to look as though it had been made by human beings. I decided it should look biomechanical - half mechanics, half biology. It's like a flying bone with arms stretching out in front. I don't know how it would look when flying. I just know how it should appear. It looks very aggressive, frightening. (Star Wars vs Alien, fall 1979, article: The Nightmare Maker) 
  10. Ron Shusett: He did the entire ship organically. We wanted it to look like it was built by something other than human, built by totally alien intelligence. (Future Life #11, July 1979, p32)
  11. Ridley Scott: The derelict is a flying machine and I think if one does encounter, you know, something at some point or other, I think it will be so peculiar that it would be er, it would be like nothing we would expect. I wanted to do something which would evoke, I think immediate spark of gothic revulsion, it's sort of spooky but it's sort of elegant but it's, there's something very worrying about it. (Alien Featurette from 1979 on the Alien Saga DVD)

Comparison the Alien Derelict ship to a
Record Insert Adapter and the Triskellion

 Leading from:
I asked myself if the strange form of the derelict with its two main limbs and extraneous parts had somehow been inspired by the triskelion symbol which is the symbol with three interlocking legs associated with places such as the Isle of Mann, or even something such as the Swaztika commonly associated with the Nazis of World War 2, however on the 16th of January, 2014 I found out about the Record Insert Adapters for old vinyl records. And noticing the arms sticking out with extraneous stumps etcetera , I had found my derelict ship as it would be seen from an aerial perspective

45rpm vinyl record insert adapters
A view of the derelict showing the glass dome about the cockpit. (work 382:Wreck Inspection) 
Like both a wishing bone and a boomerang

Small silver coin (drachma) from Syracuse, c. 317-310 BC.
(source: www.cabinetmagazine.org, issues 13)
The Triskelion of the Isle of Mann flag

Influence of was-sceptre
on the design of the tip
of the derelict's engine

leading from

  Giger's derelict painting (Work 374: Wreck) that bears qualities of an Escher drawing
detail from Giger's derelict painting (Work 374: Wreck) that bears qualities of an Escher drawing
Association made by me on 29th January 2015.  
I admit that I would have associated the engine 
design with a comical animal like thing some 
years ago as if it were some sort of a cute 
seahorse like thing looking smug.
This was-sceptre discovered in 1895 in  in the temple 
of set Ombos / Naqada, shown here on display at the 
Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Composition with alkaline glaze (faience).
Inscription naming pharaoh Amenhotep II 
(ruled 1427-1400 BC)


from "Naqada and Bellas", Petrie 
(https://archive.org/details/cu31924028748261)

What the Nostromo crew knew

leading from: The Space Jockey's Story

To introduce the world of alien organisms into terms of how the humans know of them in the universe of Alien. We find from what Harry Dean Stanton said, the reality of the Alien take place in a part of outer space where mysteries surrounding ancient cultures and strange organisms might prevail like we have heard of the yeti and the Loch Ness monster and UFOs, and perhaps a lot of strange things have been discovered and it still becomes strange for the Nostromo crew to wake up in the middle of outer space and have to deal with a strange alien spaceship on a remote planetoid somewhere.
  1. Harry Dean Stanton:"Well. we just figured the crew was more familiar, on a mundane level with alien creatures. We figured that they had been heard of and talked about. It wouldn't have been all that new to us. From my point of view anyway,aliens had been discussed in the world in which we worked. Probably a lot of weird things had been found, so it wasn't that big a deal. Of course it's strange, but I think the crew viewed aliens like we view the Yeti or the Loch Ness monster. And UFOs for example, look at the attitude we have towards that." (Alien collectors edition p45)

Primitive Alien Culture Becomes
A Biological War Weapon


a) Ron Shusett and Dan O'Bannon's Birth Pyramid
In the original Alien story, an alien traveler landed on the planetoid and had investigated an old pyramid there and the traveler had been infected and killed by the creature that had been dormant for thousands of years. It had planted an organism in the traveler's chest through his mouth, that grew and exploded from it's ribcage. Dan O'Bannon in the script, had an alien race involved in a complex bloody birth ritual. He saw them as tough, primitive, and with an extremely complicated sexual cycle. Reproductions was very difficult for them and had therefore become central to their religion, and so this pyramid was a temple to reproduction.

When the Nostromo crew were to come upon a crumbling structure covered with angular carvings, they begin to realise that they are in the presence of something of real antiquity. They can not find an entrance at the base, so they scale the pyramid and discover at the top a flue that goes straight down from the peak. This is where the character Kane sets up his tripod and winch and lowered himself down, way below ground level to the floor of the chamber. Using his suit lights he looks around in the darkness and in the middle of the room finds a stone plinth with blood drains in it. All over the walls are alien hieroglyphs, Also in there centrally located are these eggs that would be described as spores.

The alien race had two sexes of their own, but needed a third host animal to reproduce. They would bring in an animal, put it on a plinth with a spore and suddenly the creature we come to know as the facehugger comes out to deposit its seed within the animal. They would lead the inseminated creature to an enclosure where it would await the birth. However over the years, the planets has become dead and the civilisation has died out a million years ago. All that remained was the pyramid and the spores that were life forms that were about to survive dormant for incredible lengths of time even under the most adverse conditions. And this was his vision of the alien life form before the blurring of this alien culture and the Space Jockey's took place.

Source quote
  1. O'Bannon:"I saw the inhabitants of the planet as tough and primitive, and with an extremely complicated sexual cycle. Reproduction was very difficult for them and had therefore become central to their religion. And this pyramid was an temple to reproduction. When the astronauts came upon this crumbling structure covered with ugly angular carvings, they begin to realize that they are in the presence of real antiquity. They're unable to find an entrance at the base, so they scale the pyramid and discover at the top a flue that goes straight down from the peak. This is where the character Kane sets up his tripod and winch and lowered himself down - way below ground level - to the floor of this chamber. Using his suit lights, he looks around in the darkness and in the middle of the room finds a stone plinth with blood drains in it. all over the walls are alien hieroglyphs. Also in there centrally located are these eggs - spores really. So these beings had two sexes of their own, but they needed a third host animal to reproduce. So they'd bring in an animal , put it on a plinth with a spore, and whammo! Then they'd lead the inseminated animal off to an enclosure somewhere to await the birth. But the planetoid was now dead and this civilisation had been gone for a million years. All that remained of it was this pyramid and these spores - which can survive dormant for incredible lengths of time even under the most adverse conditions. That's what I originally saw. And since I made it up, naturally I'm going to like it better: but to me that's a lot more sinister sequence of events and a lot more ingenious than blurring the two cultures together." (Cinefex 1, p48)
b.) Ridley's begins to think about warfare
Since the blurring of the cultures had taken place, there were still questions about how long they had been down there, and why they're down there. Ridley talked about thought that these things had been down their waiting for thousands of years for some other life form to come by, because its only trigger was another another life form, a biological presence that enabled it to move on and develop. He perceived an abstract kind of purity as if it was a weapon. However we are left asking if he already saw it being a product biological warfare or simply a product of natural biological processes, and well Ridley brought the subject of warfare into the statement. In the final film it seemed as if there could not have been any natural life on the planetoid, so one wonders what the spores were doing there as it seemed that they could not have been natural to the place and so Scott made the assumption that perhaps it was developed as a weapon and got out of control. If one imagined a few thousand of these creatures, that would be quite an impression. His thoughts about exploring what happened with two different civilisations in a sequel never received any further exposure.

Source quote
  1. Interviewer:"So the alien of the film's title was the dominant life form?"
    Ridley Scott:"On that rock, yes,. It may have waited thousands of years for some other life form to come near. It's only trigger you see is another life form. Another biological presence enable it to move on and develop. It truly does have an abstract kind of purity. And almost like a weapon, a product of biological, rather than bacteriological warfare. We never went into any of this but perhaps it was developed as a weapon and got out of control. Imagine a few thousand of those things,  " (Cinefantastique 9:1, p14)
c.) Giger's idea about a biomechanic landscape
If we assumed a former civilisation here had an ability to use space travel, life forms could have found there way here through one way or another.  Giger designed a landscape for the planetoid to be biomechanic, as a mixture of technology and some kind of magma, so as to create the feeling that maybe a technical civilisation that existed there once had been destroyed.

Source quote
  1. HR Giger: I don't appreciate that kind of science fiction where every element is invented. That's why I wanted the landscape to be biomechanic, a mixture of technology and some kind of magma, so as to create the feeling that maybe something has happened on that planet, maybe a technical civilisation has been destroyed. Unfortunately, as most of the landscape footage has been cut by Ridley Scott, I doubt whether all that can be felt any more. (Cinfefantastque vol 9, no 1, p37)

Egg Silo and the Derelict
squeezed into one


a.) Wrecked Construction Of Non Human Manufacture 
Originally in the alien script, the men discover a crashed derelict spacecraft and they enter it and discover that the alien occupants are all dead. They return to their own ship to contemplate what may have killed the alien crew and then they discover a pyramid on the plant which appears to be indigenous and it's primitive. 

They enter the pyramid and there they find the eggs. In the movie, the Earthmen discover what Dan O'Bannon would refer to as a "wrecked construction of non-human manufacture" that we might assume is the remains of a space craft, and inside they find the eggs of the monster. but following Dan's point of view, it was no long easy to say what it was
Concept for egg silo exterior

b.) Two Elements Squeezed Into One Sort Of Uneasy Entity.
Giger was brought in to design the pyramid and soon the derelict ships. The pyramid idea had given way to an extraordinary biomechanic breast shaped silo, still with the exterior and interior designed by Giger. Since the derelict and the silo both followed the biomechanic design of Giger, and budget cuts were necessary,  further budget cuts took place and the two elements were merged together as if the silo were connected to the space jockey chamber from below the space jockey platform.


Giger's sketch for the space jockey with silo entrance and  silo
c.) Derelict Ship Infested By An Insect Nest Alien
The derelict that was once a space ship seems no longer to be a space ship, we can't say what it is, no one can make a direct claim. However Giger conformed to the ideas of the initial story though about the derelict having been infested by aliens. It was as if the derelict space ship had landed on an ant hill and the ants had eaten their way through the spacecraft like parasites in order to use the pilot at a host. And soon the eggs would also be considered something laid inside as termites would do within the wall of a house.

(detail ) Giger's sketch for the space jockey

d.) Theories from the Alien special effects team
So what was it now, a space ship that landed on the surface or was it something else a major part of it somehow buried beneath the ground? Special effects technician Jon Sorensen and Dennis Lowe had thoughts about it. 

Jon recalled that on the set , they felt that there was more of the Derelict buried under what was seen, it was just an opinion but Kane being lowered down to the egg chamber showed that. 

Dennis Lowe thought that the egg chamber was underneath the Derelict as well, especially in view of the scale ratio from the model of the derelict built at the Bray studios workshop, so he thought that it had probably grown from the biomechanical ship.

Source Quotes
  1. Dan O'Bannon: In the movie, the Earthmen discover a wrecked, derelict spacecraft, actually no, that's not correct. In the movie, the men discover a wrecked construction of non human manufacture and inside of it they find eggs of the monster. In the original script, the men find the crashed derelict spacecraft and they enter it, they discover that the aliens are all dead. They return to their own ship to contemplate what may have killed the alien crew and then they discover a pyramid on the planet which appears to be indigenous and it's primitive. They enter the pyramid and there they find the eggs. (Fantastic Films 1o, p29) 
  2. Dan O'Bannon: They combined these two elements, they squeezed them into one sort of uneasy entity.
    Fantastic Film: The idea behind that, I would assume, being that the dangerous aliens were coming back to spawn.
    O'Bannon: No, they were two different races. In my script, it was a space going race that landed on this planet and had been wiped out by whatever was there, And now the Earthmen come and endanger themselves in the same way. In the new version, it's just a sort of a surrealist mystery.  (Fantastic Films 10 p29-30) 
  3. FX: What is the relationship between the Space Jockey and the Alien Eggs?
    HR Giger: They always told me that the Space Jockey was another alien race, so he is not part of the Alien or the Eggs. To save money, the Egg Chamber and the Space of the Egg Silo were the same . The inside of the Egg Silo were elements of my painting, and was actually the entrance to a round silo which ended up in another set. (FX, 7, 1999 (spanish magazine0 
  4. H R Giger: The egg silo and the space craft are now joined together, i.e. the astronauts enter through one of the three sewers, wind their way through the snail corridor, and find the corpse of the pilot which is twice as big as a human. Next to the seat of the pilot, there's a hole that leads into the depths of the silo.(The whole thing has been changed because the exterior views of the silo would have been too expensive!) So the silo was placed under the spacecraft, as if a mini UFO had landed on an anthill, and the ants had eaten their way through the spacecraft, like parasites, in order to use the pilot as a host. (Undated, perhaps around March 1978, Giger's Alien Diaries, p155, translation of p11, published 2013)
  5. H R Giger: Since the producers have now decided that the eggsilo is to be an integral part of the derelict, the shaft now forms a direct passage from the cockpit to the eggsilo.(27th June, 1978, Giger's Alien, p34)
  6. H R Giger: The broken floorboard, which looks like a turntable, is some 1.50 metres (five feet) above the floor. In the original script the egg silo was immediately below the cockpit , so that one of these holes in the floorboard acts as a way down for the astronaut unto the regions below him. (25th July, 1978, Giger's Alien, p34)
  7. H R Giger: We decided that it would be a good idea to have these eggs inside the derelict like termites within the wall of a house. (CFQ vol 9, no 1)
  8. H R Giger: So we designed another silo but then the budget wasn't big enough to include this structure so we decided it would be a good idea to have these eggs inside the derelict like termites inside the walls of the house. ( Warren Presents Alien collectors edition, p 31)
  9. kjohnson26: The things that kind of bugged me had more to do with stuff coming out of the changes in the script by different contributors over the long development time. It always seemed to me the egg chamber was too large and deep under the floor to be part of the derelict, instead it seemed to me to be in a cavern underneath the alien ship.
    Dennis Lowe:
    I thought the egg chamber was underneath the Derelict too, especially when you see the scale ratio from the model that was built at the Bray workshop and had probably grown from the bio mechanical ship.
    (http://www.prometheusforum.net/ May 2012 )
  10. Jon Sorenson: we always felt that there was more of the Derelict buried under what you saw...Kane being lowered down to the egg chamber showed you that. Just our opinion at the time. (Facebook , June 12th 2014)

The Design Of The Derelict


Ridley's Initial Idea
a) Ridley Scott : " I took the drawing of the space ship off a section of one of Giger'spaintings, 'cause we couldn't work out what the hell the spaceship was going to look like,  and so I was staring at his book, the Necronomicon, and he'd drawn something up that almost looked like a musical instrument, so I kind of drew around that, and said "what about this, it looks like a giant croissant, but actually it worked, like a boomerang." (Alien DVD commentary)


Giger's design
b) Giger created the final image that looked as if it were something planted that was on the verge of maturing.



  1. H. R. Giger: "Once the alien was under control, Ridley asked me if I could design a spaceship not made by human beings. Well how do you do that? I thought maybe it might look organic - something that could grow even, like a plant *- but I didn't know exactly what it should look like. Then early one morning I couldn't sleep, I got up and started painting and the derelict ship was born in a few hours. It ended up like an aerodynamic bone with little technical stuff all over it, but it wasn't anything I had planned - it just sort of ran out of my mind and my airbrush, which is not uncommon for me. Often I try to switch off my thoughts as much as possible and let the painting flow spontaneously from my subconscious mind.(Cinefex 1)  
  2. H R Giger: " I wanted it to look like something planted - perhaps in the process of maturing" (Warren's Alien Collector's edition , p32) 

Ridley's Critera
c) In regards to what we assume to be engines sticking out like arms either side of the main hull of the vessel, they might not be engines at all. Scott didn't want this to be obvious, because he had seen some photos of what seemed to be UFOs and he was mystified because he had no idea how these things could be powered.




  1. Fantastic Films: "What are the criterian for credibility in the design of alien spacecraft?" 

  2. Ridley Scott : "I have come to accept a wide variety of possibilities. And strangely enough, the more mundane something is, the more it can sometimes stagger people. Simplicity can be more powerful than you think. Take a UFO for example. How do you design it so people believe it? One of the best UFO shots is one from the thirties with the portholes. It looks like an inverted plate with a sort of cap on it *. And oddly enough it's rather archaic, it appeals to me as a solution, rather than an incredibly refined, sleek spacecraft. I like the idea of a spaceship where you've got no idea what kind of energy drives it and you've never seen anything quite like it before. " (Fantastic Films (UK)# 3, (US) No.12, p27) 
    Adamski's Venusian Scoutship
  3. Ridley was probably talking about George Adamski's photographs of flying saucers such as the Venusian Scoutship that were taken in the early 1950s.

For a detailed look at the development of the 
derelict exterior design see Design of the Derelict