Alien: The end of the line and back to the distant past (Ridley further develops the space jockey scenario)

As Ridley Scott wrapped up the ideas within the streams of 1979 Alien interviews about the background information regarding the derelict ship.
Some had wondered if the cargo were the young of the Space Jockey's own kind. 
If the Space Jockey had died falling victim to a Face Hugger resulting in death by Chest Burster that would eventually grow up into a life form resembling this vast creature in the pilot seat

Ridley simply wished to present the fact that the Space Jockey was a victim of these spores, but would soon come to a somewhat different 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 the word "war-craft" as said in 2020 sounding like the name of Duncan Jones' 2016 fantasy movie based upon a computer game) or even a freighter that was carrying either its own kind or a weapon from A to B, and something went wrong.
We didn't find out exactly how it went wrong, or where it was supposed to travel to. 

b) Past associations with planet Earth 
12 years later, we find out something that would expand the alien mysteries a little, in the Alien Laserdisc collectors set interview conducted by Don Shay, 
Ridley would reveal to us the place where the demons of its cargo of spores had turned up once upon a time in history, and it was our planet Earth.

The demons that we think about that turn up in old drawings in China and Europe are perhaps somehow memories of this biological entity.

Chung Qai, chinese demon
c) Thoughts relating to Quatermass And The Pit Territory 
In 2012, Ridley Scott would talk in the commentary for his film Prometheus about the marvelos ideas in the 1967 film "Quatermass and the Pit"
It dealt with the concept of insect like aliens from Mars landing on Earth five million years ago and they had been perceived in human ancestral memories as demons.

This film's story was originally conceived by Nigel Kneale for the successful 1958 BBC TV series that 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

d) What is the derelict? 
To look at the derelic vessel as part of the film's scenario, one can not state too much about the logic of the
Although it was designed by Swiss Surrealist HR Giger during the production of the film, the idea was that it was not supposed to be designed by humans and so would not necessarily follow 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 either

It could as well be like another monolith out of 2001 A Space Odyssey left behind by an unknown civilisation to have no final word about.
e.i) Simplifying the derelict situation. 
While there are these curious questions about the vessel's dimensions and interior, Ridley would eventually put them aside to get to the new direction for his next part of the story
He decided that the vessel is a space ship with a cargo hold as confusing it might seem.
When James Cameron chose to use this idea when he made the sequel Aliens, thus terminating any further mysteries about the nature of its dimensions in the film.
e.ii) Towards a new scenario

The scenario evolved so that the Space Jockey was part of a military operation and it would drop its cargo of bioweapons on an alien planet, with the purpose of destroying it.
These monsters would be put down anywhere that was expected to be cleaned out and cleaned up.

e.iii) Method of integration

We had seen in Alien where the Face Hugger had impregnated Kane, resulting in a small creature known as the Chest Burster exploding out, and quickly it grew into a tall roughly humanoid creature that was dangerous.

The logic would go that if the facehugger landed on an ostrich,  from that a creature would grow to resemble an ostrich, the same would happen with a cat, a dog and so on.

By taking on its victim's general form in this way, the alien life form would fundamentally integrate in a very aggressive way into any society or place where it's dropped. 

See also: Alien: Life cycle of Alien

book cover for Childhood's End

f.i) Scenario of Bacteriological Warfare
Then the continuing discussion seemed to flow into thoughts about Saddam Hussain who we had a scare with in terms of biological and chemical weapons in the 1990s

However surely Saddam would have had the sense himself to realise that it would have been dangerous for him to use those because otherwise, where does it stop?

f.ii) Bringing the infection home 
Ridley's story turned into a scenario about what would happen if someone let a bacteriological weapon loose on some other part of the world and then eventually it gets brought back by airliner.

If one had it as an aerosol can in a subway in New York city, within a day there might be half a million people infected. 
Within a week of going home; schools, work, families, lovers, friends. a million people would be infected with an ebola type entity, there is no way to stop it and there is no plan. 

In the time that it was discovered that maybe 20% of the people got on an aircraft and maybe 5% traveled to Europe and 1% went to Africa, and the true irony would be that it would return to where it started. 

One would have to think twice about using such a thing.

f.iii) Requiring an antidote

Ultimately whoever is using the alien to take over a planet, would seed the eggs onto the surface and leave it alone as the planet is overrun by aliens. 

That person would need to have the antidote to kill all the aliens to then have the planet. 

If the aliens are not killed, they will come back and bite the person on the behind, and that appeared to have happened to the Space Jockey with his ship on the nameless planetoid in Alien

Source Quotes
  1. 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)
  2. 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 )
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. 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 ebola 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 bite you on the arse. (As reported from the Alien Evolution documentary interview, 2001)
  7. Ridley Scott: If you wanted a planet, you would seed the eggs onto the surface and leave it alone as the planet's population is overrun by aliens. If you've got the antidote in there, you kill the aliens and you've got the planet, it's like bacteriological warfare. ( Empire magazine, March 2011, p80. (Told to Empire back in 2005 )
  8. Ridley Scott:  I always figured it was in the hold of a ship, so that craft was always like a battlewagon for me carrying bacteriological bio bio biomechanoid, er, erm monsters that could be put down anywhere that they wanted to be cleaned out and cleaned up. (Ridley talking about Alien in "Behind Closed Doors with Ridley Scott ")
  9. Ridley Scott: I still think there’s a lot of mileage in ‘Alien,’ but I think you’ll have to now re-evolve, What I always thought when I was making it, the first one, why would a creature like this be made and why was it traveling in what I always thought was a kind of war-craft, which was carrying a cargo of these eggs. What was the purpose of the vehicle and what was the purpose of the eggs? That’s the thing to question — who, why, and for what purpose is the next idea, I think. ( LA Times: Ridley Scott Wants to Use a New Movie to Answer an Obvious Question Raised by Alien)


  1. Well, I am forever trying to make this into an essay that makes sense, because whenever i try to take it another, I always keep making more mistakes, or someone the shadow behind my back is making all the mistakes when I'm looking the other way. But I keep having a go at trying to make some sense to it, as if there is the possibility of an actual narrative somewhere to be discovered/

    1. This has been going for a number of years, and you might have wished to tell me some years ago to give up!