- What the Nostromo Crew knew
- From Primitive Culture to Biological War Weapon
- Enigma of the Egg Silo and The Derelict Squeezed Into One
- Landscape with alien astronaut corpse
- Space Jockey fused to its chair
- Variations Of The Life Cycle Tableau
- Creation Of The Spores
- The Derelict's Interior
- The end of the line, and back to a connection in the distant past
- The doorway to the next chapter
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.
- 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)
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 tought, 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 millions of 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.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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)
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
Giger was brought in to design the pyramid and soon the derelict ships. The pyramid idea had given away 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.
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 anthill 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 layed inside as termites would do within the wall of a house.
|(detail ) Giger's sketch for the space jockey|
- 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 10)
- Dan O'Bannon: They combined these two elements, they squeezed them into one sort of uneasy
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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 eggsilo 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)
- 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)
- 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)
Ridley's Initial Idea
Giger's designb) Giger created the final image that looked as if it were something planted that was on the verge of maturing.
- 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)
- H R Giger: " I wanted it to look like something planted - perhaps in the process of maturing" (Warren's Alien Collector's edition , p32)
- Fantastic Films: "What are the criterian for credibility in the design of alien spacecraft?"
- Ridley was probably talking about George Adamski's photographs of flying saucers such as the Venusian Scoutship that were taken in the early 1950s.
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
For a detailed look at the development of the
derelict exterior design see Design of the Derelict
|HR Giger painting the Hieroglyphs, (image taken from Giger's Alien)|
The Space Jockey's history begins with the basic idea that O'Bannon had in mind, which Scott wanted to include evidence of in a prognosis scene, that involved the space jockey being an entity who landed on the planet in his ship and became infected by the spores in the pyramid. He at the time had no relationship with the film's Alien other than to become its victim.
|Original life cyle tableau|
b) Starting the Hierogylphs
On 5th April 1978 Giger began the hieroglyphs, a photographs shows him during the painting of the Facehugger's spring tail as it sleeps in the egg, in the painting and at the time the head would be a space helmet still and the image that we see of it in Giger's Alien, it is a humanoid astronaut wearing a costume with biomechanic patterns. Once he had designed both the derelict and the silo, both would have his biomechanic style and the astronaut in the hieroglyphs is also wearing a biomechanic suit.
|alteration made to astronaut figure, before and after|
In Giger's Alien diaries, it appears to be around March that the merger between the derelict and the silo becomes apparent but in the Giger's Alien book, it was not until June that the derelict and the silo are combined. The head of the anonymous astronaut victim in Alien Life Cycle Hieroglyphics had been changed to a space jockey at some point to resemble a member of the Space Jockey's race as it can be found in Scanlon and Gross 'The Book of Alien" and that is the way the painting is to be found today
d) Giger interview confuses the issue or adds another
In 2004, it has been a few years now that the difference had been brought to the public about the difference between the two paintings show, displayed a difference between the two painting, however Giger when asked about this by Dixieme Planete, and they reveal in the interview about how he started off with a victim that looked like the alien and transformed them into human like victims. It's not quite an answer that explains the paintings but then one might ask if Giger started off with an alien victim like the main one from the movie, then changed it to a human victim and then to a victim like the entity known as the Space Jockey. Had whoever translated Giger's words into French for the interview made an error?
- H R Giger (5th April 1978): I go on working and start on the design of the hieroglyphics.(Giger's Alien, p14)
- Dixieme Planete : Une dernière question : pourquoi existe-fil deux versions du tableau représentant le cycle de l'Alien ? (Ce tableau est reproduit avec des différences dans le magazine Métal Hurlant et dans le livre dans lequel Giger raconte son aventure cinématographique).
HR Giger : En fait, j'ai modifié l'apparence des victimes car ils ressemblaient trop à des extraterrestres ayant une tête de Alien. J'ai voulu les faire plus humains pour qu 'il n'y ait pas de confusion ! Mon travail sur Alien est loin, maintenant, mais je suis heureux d'avoir contribué à créer un monstre parfaitement crédible, malgré les contraintes imposées par le cinéma.
Dixieme Planete: One last question: why are two versions of the tableau representing the cycle of the Alien? (This tableau is reproduced with differences in the magazine Screaming Metal and the book in which Giger describes his cinematographic adventure).
HR Giger: Well, I changed the appearance of the victims because they resembled too much the extra-terrestrials having a head of Alien. I wanted to make them more human so that there is no confusion! My work on Alien is far away now, but I am pleased to have helped create a perfectly credible monster, despite the constraints imposed by the cinema. (Dixieme Planete 31, October/November 2004 , p49)
|Final version of the Life Cycle Tableau|
a) There were debates going on about whether the hieroglyphs would be required or not. Giger was told at one point after he started working on them that they wouldn't be needed, and then he discovered that they would be needed. Ron Shusett was keen to include the hieroglyphs painting in the film and Giger talked to Ridley Scott about this. He said that the hallway leading to the cockpit in the derelict spacecraft would be a possible sight for the painting.
b) So Giger brought the painting in the following day for test shots. Once the test footage had been filmed, Ridley the following day saw the rushes and commented "It works". Giger wasn't satisfied with the hallway that was no longer based on his concept for the corridor, he thought that the place seemed too much like a mine shaft rather than a part of a space craft.
|egg silo designed to contain the hieroglyphs|
c) The next thought that came from Ridley that showing the picture in the film would show too much of the story of the alien life cycle and so it should go in the cockpit chamber, however Giger's view was that the average cinema goer wouldn't be able to read the story from the painting.
d) Giger hoped that he would be able to tackle the situation with Ron Shusett's help and get the painting in a place where it could be seen, but eventually let the whole matter go.
|detail from egg silo showing hieroglyphs area|
e) The test footage shot would later be found on the Alien Anthology Blu-Ray set.
- H R Giger (14th July 1978): They don't need my hieroglyphs anymore. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p249)
- H. R. Giger (Monday 14 August, 1978): Shusett wants to include my painting "Hieroglyphs" in the film. I talked to Ridley about this. He said that the hallway leading to the cockpit might be a possible sight for the painting. I'll bring the painting tomorrow for a film test. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p497)
- H. R. Giger (Monday 16 August, 1978):To my great suprise, they made film tests of the hieroglyph painting. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p501)
- H. R. Giger: "The previous days rushes are shown. A test is made of my hieroglyphics picture . Scott's comment "It works!". A place has been found for it in the "mineshaft" . I had originally meant the hieroglyphics to be the decor of the egg silo, where to my mind they still belong•. (Giger's Alien p32, Entry for August 17, 1978) (The "mineshaft" is Giger's name for the derelict's gangway given in dissatisfaction.)
- H. R. Giger (Thursday, August 17, 1978): At 1pm, I watched the rushes. They showed the film test of the hieroglyphs painting. Ridley's comment: "It works." Afterwards, there was discussion about where to place the images. To me the only option is the corridor of the Alien spacecraft, which has been brutally altered. It's supposed to be part of a flying object but looks more like a mine shaft. I try to make it clear to G. Carroll. No luck. In matters like this, he's always stubborn as hell. R. Scott thinks that the hieroglyph image would tell the story of the Alien directly so I should try to put it directly in the cockpit. I tried to explain to these blockheads that regular moviegoers, even if they had enough time, would never be able to read the story from the hieroglyph image. I would like to make an attempt in this direction. With the help of Ron Shusett, I might get there another time. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p501)
|the derelict corridor (referred to by Giger as the "mineshaft") where Ridley for a while would |
have placed he derelict
|The Space Jockey wrapped in his chair|
a) Where does biology end and technology begin?Ridley wondered if the fact it looks a part of its chair was a result of the ossification of the corpse and had transformed that way into something from Giger's mind which was where biology and technology fused together and one could not work out where one might begin and the other might end, It looked to him as if Giger had grafted the pilot into its seat.
- Ridley Scott: This space jockey is, I've always thought was the driver of the craft who is now after many ages, of course it would be dustless but has started to look like a perfect example of Giger's mind which is 'where does biology end and technology begin?' because he seems to have grafted the creature into what was essentially was let's say a pilot's seat. (alien-20th-anniversary-dvd)
- Scanlon & Gross: The space jockey skeleton is, of course, all bones, but it's not so much a skeleton sitting in a chair as a skeleton that has become a part of the chair. It's not clear if the space jockey has ossified with time or was always an organic part of its craft . (Book of Alien)
b) Giger's AnswerWith Giger's biomechanics style, the Space Jockey turned out to be biomechanical to the extent that it looks as if he has physically grown into his seat or maybe he has grown out the seat, However Giger thought of the entity being totally integrated into the function that he performs and with his seat he forms a single unit.
- HR Giger : "The creature we finally ended up building is biomechanical to the extent that he has physically grown into, or maybe even out of, his seat, - he's integrated totally into the function he performs." (Cinefex 1, p64)
- HR Giger "The pilot is conceived as one of my biomechanoids, attached to the seat so as to form a single unit" (Giger's Alien p34, 25 July, 1978, )
- Brian Muir: "I have fond memories
of working with Giger. He explained to me and my colleague Peter Voysey
that the pilot and cockpit were to be as one, as if merged together.
The jockey was modeled in clay, and then cast in clear resin. (Scifi Now #52 2011, p115)
5th May 1961, Alan Shepard aboard the Freedom 7
c) Astronaut sunken into his vehicle and instruments.
- Fritz Billitzer: astronaut is literally sunk into his vehicle and instruments. He simultaneously studies them while being studied by them."( Giger's Necronomicon)
|The Space Jockey's skull with small teeth|
d) Innocence of the space jockey
- Dan O'Bannon: imagine it as some totally non violent herbivorous creature sailing around space," (Cinefex 1, p64)
- Scanlan & Gross: Sitting in repose in its doomed spaceship, the jockey somehow appears to have been a benign creature. People involved in the film tend to agree on this. But they can't explain why. (Book of Alien)
a) The Laser Placenta: In the silo, below the jockey's chamber, there are thousands of spores that must be as old as the Jockey's remains. They are covered over by a film of blue light that is a laserbeam spread like a thin sheet, and there is a sound as the astronaut penetrates the laser beam's field. It represented the placenta of the eggs
- Ridley Scott: The sheet as I call it of the laser beam, this is a laser beam spread thin like a thin sheet, but it worked great here and I never thought it would photograph because it's pretty low key, but you know, with the wizardry of, of Derek, we got it. So this is all just handheld lay the sound on as you go through the laser beam, you can here, there's a sound to the laser beam, you can here it now, like a seal. I always thought of the laser beam as the placenta wall for the, erm, eggs.(Alien 30th Anniversary Edition DVD)
- Ridley Scott:"Loose on the ship, this new alien, begins to lay eggs in the bowels of the ship. It lives to propagate and must find food for it's offspring - in this case, the crew members of the Nostromo upon whom the young aliens can feed in their eggs until a new host comes along prodding the eggs. The the cycle begins all over again" (S&S v48.n.1 Winter 78/79, p26)
When Giger came to design the cocooned victims, he imagined it to be the way a spider wraps its victim and sticks it to the wall
- H R Giger: "Like the way a spider wraps its victim and sticks it to the wall" (Giger's Alien Diaries p545)
So it does seem to me that explanation behind the idea of the human to spore "transformation", even without Ridley Scott's explanation, the victim inside the cocoon was being eaten away and indeed the silk cocoon turns into the spore shell. And so following this, Scott actually went with the idea of showing human bodies being eaten away alive by the cocoon material putting Dallas in a state of agony, as the spore shell grew around the humans' remains.
- Dan O'Bannon "Ripley finds Captain Dallas spun into a web in the hold of the Earthship. Brett and Parker have also been spun into cocoons which are in the process of metamorphosing into the very same type of egg found in the pyramid"(Starburst 15, p41)
James Cameron wanted an egg layer because he was not convinced by the idea that human victims could genetically transform into spores, where he actually got the idea that victims were doing this, I have not found. He saw no evidence in this regarding Kane's corpse for instance. Cameron must have jumped on this just as a vague assumption that was too hard for him to find further information about, or maybe the producers mislead him not feeling bothered to address the issue precisely.
- Scott :"So he's being lowered in to the hold really, this would be argued as the hold of the ship". (Alien Thirtieth Anniversary Edition commentary )
But to follow Giger's viewpoint that the silo is below the ship, we might wish to take notice of what are possibly volcanic gases coming through the floor of the ground of the silo, as if the silo has decided to use this as a continuous heating system.
The derelict was designed to be separate from the rock of the planetoid while the silo design had always be viewed as built into the surface of the rock.
In the sketches by Giger of the entrance tunnel to the pilot's chamber (Giger's Alien, p33, images 376a-c, sketches for corridor) shows that he did not design it with the silo as the cargo hold, the gangway leading from the entrance portals remained at the base of the ship.
However the final gangway in the movie was nothing more than a man sized tunnel in comparison to the intended cavernous gangway, the alterations were made due to budget restrictions and Giger himself wasn't impressed with the final corridor
The continuing theory
As Scott wraps up the ideas within the streams of 1979 Alien interviews about the background information regarding the derelict, some had wondered if the cargo were the young of the space jockey's own kind and so the chestburster would eventually grow up into a Space Jockey, but Scott simply wished to present the fact that the Jockey was a victim of these spores, but would soon come to a conclusion that he kept for a number of years, expressed in the small amount of words that the derelict spaceship was a battlewagon or even a freighter that was carrying either it's own kind of a weapon from A to B and something went wrong.
We never find out exactly how it went wrong, or where it intended to go, but 12 years later, we find out a little something more, that would expand the alien mysteries a little more. In an interview for the Alien Laserdisc collectors set, Scott revealed to us a place where the demons of it's cargo of spores had been once upon a time in history, and it's our planet Earth, and the demons that we think about and turn up in old drawings in China and Europe are perhaps somehow memories of this biological entity.
In 2012, Ridley Scott would talk in the commentary for his film Prometheus about the marveled at the ideas of the 1967 film "Quatermass and the Pit" that dealt with the concept of insect like aliens on Mars landing on Earth five million years ago and they had been perceived in human ancestral memories as demons, and this film was originally conceived for the 1958 TV series that was and most likely borrowed from Arthur C Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End which dealt with a similar concept.
|A martian corpse from Quatermas And The Pit|
|book cover for Childhood's End|
To look at the vessel as part of the film's scenario, we can not state too much about the logic of the
design of the derelict because it was not designed by humans, the derelict does not necessarily follow a human rationality. What we assume are engines at the end of each side arm of the vessel might not be engines at all. To be honest, while it's assumed that this was a space worthy method of transport, it's possibly nothing of the sort. It may as well be another monolith out of 2001 A Space Odyssey left behind by an unknown civilisation to have no final word about.
However while there are these curious questions about the vessel's dimensions and interior, Ridley would eventually put them aside to pursue a story
Simplifying the derelict situation.
Ridley has decided that the vessel is a space vessel with a cargo hold, and this is what James Cameron chose to have it believed to be within the sequel Aliens, thus terminating any further mysteries about the nature of it's dimensions in the Alien series. The only thing now was a scenario in which the space jockey could use its cargo of bioweapons which it would possibly drop on an alien planet, and fundamentally integrate in a very aggressively way into any society or place it's dropped, by taking on its victim's general form through the way we had seen in Alien where a humanoid alien came out of Kane and so if the facehugger landed on an ostrich, one would get a creature erupting that would grow into something like an ostrich.
A Scenario of Bacteriological Warfare
What this turns into though is another situation. Ridley wondered if the Space Jockeys had destroyed a planet, and the discussion seems to flow into thoughts about Saddam Hussain who we had a scare with in terms of chemical weapons, but he wasn't someone who used bacteriological weapons because he would have had the sense himself to realise it would have been dangerous for him to use those because where does it stop.
His story went into the scenario about what would happen if you let a bacteriological weapon loose on some other part of the world and then eventually it gets brought back to you by airliner. If you have it in an aerosol can in a subway in New York city, within a day you may have half a million people infected. Within a week going home, schools, work, families, lovers, friends. Okay you have a million people infected with an ebolar type entity, you never stop it. There is no plan. In that time that it was undiscovered maybe 20% of the people got on aircraft and maybe 5% traveled to Europe and 1% went to Africa. And the true irony would be that it went back to where it started, you know. So if you really think it through about that kind of use of a weapon, you've to think about it. It'll come back and bight you on the arse and somehow that appeared to happen to the space jockey in the planetoid in Alien
- Ridley Scott:The derelict ship was a battlewagon or a freighter, that was carrying, either it's own kind or a weapon from A to B and something went wrong." (The Book of Alien, p87)
- Ridley Scott: Well I had to look into it, I mean I had to look into it myself, and say, oh yeh, you know, what frightens me, erm, and erm. So I started looking at a lot of, er, films, horror films which were good ones. I think one of the great horror movies is the Exorcist, yuh. So , and I always talked and played with the idea of, uh, you know, the absolutes of good and evil, right and if the alien is really, what was it? Was it just, um, was it the face of the devil, right, was it the face of the demon, because if you look at historical you know , manuscripts and engravings, pictures, er, i... erm, from wherever they come from, whether it's China, whether it's Europe, whether it's, you know whatever the nationality, there's a kind of continuity of the idea of the perception of the dem, demon, as there is about the dragon, right, so it's like taking off the mystical aspects of it and saying "it's nothing to do with that. It's a Mar..., no, Martian, Mars is not far away enough. It's, it's a...a biological fact, it's a biological creature, and it's been here before. Exorcist for me was the biggest lesson, I just kept looking at and looking at it, and, erm, looking at the class that you've got involved in making the movie, you know. (Raw Alien Laserdisc Don Shay interview with Ridley Scott )
- Scott: I always wanted to go back and make an alien five or six. er,where we find out where they came from and go there, and answer the question 'who are they?' Mars, Mars is too close,so they can't be, they can't be gods of War, but the theory was, in my head was, this was, a... an aircraft carrier, a battle wagon, of a civilisation and the eggs were a cargo which were essentially weapons, (sorry) like a large form of bacteriological stroke biomechanoid warfare. (Alien 20th Anniversary Edition)
- Ridley Scott:There's room for it to grow. Like who was the jockey? He wasn't an Alien, he was another race. I think it was a battleship carrying biomechanoid weapons, the weapons were eggs. You drop a lot of aliens on an enemy planet, it's like bacteriological warfare, ( The Times, An Alien Invasion, The Times, Interview with Ian Nathan, Saturday, November 29, 2003)
- Ridley Scott: (31:46) I think that Space Jockey is actually somehow the pilot, and he's part of a military operation, if that's the word that you want to apply to his world, and therefore this is probably some kind of carrier, a weapon carrier, a (32:00) biological or biomechanoid carrier of er... lethal eggs, inside of which are these er... small creatures that will actually fundamentally integrate in a very aggressive way into any society or any place it dropped. So if you land on a human being, you have a... a resemblance to a human being. If it dropped on an ostrich, it would look like an ostrich. (Alien Anthology Blu-Ray Alien, commentary)
- Ridley Scott: I always thought you go or you visit the.... and find out what and why and who is the space jockey. What nationality, what nationality in space, what being was this space jockey and what was he carrying. Was it a battle ship of like, bit like, bacteriological warfare. except he's got a hold full of eggs. Right. And where was he going, could there have been, well we know enough about Mars to know that Mars is a more of a romantic idea of the god of War than being far too close to Earth to you know, where we know now that there isn't a civilisation on Mars right? But the idea that we always love to think that there are civilisations out there? And it seems to be entirely logical that there has to be. Must be. Why is it only us? That doesn't make sense right? And therefore elements out there that we have no weapons, again who? Had they destroyed a planet? By putting it down letting it loose. A little bit like our scare with Saddam. The only reason I think that people like that don't use bacteria is because where does it stop? And suddenly you get it to being brought back to you from an airliner. You have it in an aerosol can in a subway in New York city, within a day you may have half a million people infected. Within a week going home, schools, work, families, lovers, friends. Okay you have a million people infected with an ebolar type entity, you never stop it. There is no plan. In that time that it was undiscovered maybe 20% of the people got on aircraft and maybe 5% travelled to Europe and 1% went to Africa. And the true irony would be that it went back to where it started, you know. So if you really think it through about that kind of use of a weapon, you've to think about it. It'll come back and bight you on the arse. (As reported from the Alien Evolution documentary interview)