Alien: Ron Cobb's Derelict Ship Concepts

From:

a) O'Bannon's criticisms of Ron Cobb's derelicts
Dan O'Bannon admired the art of Ron Cobb but Ron's only problem as a designer was that he was a rationalist and it came to Dan's attention when they started designing the Alien picture back in Los Angeles. All the things that Ron was doing were coming out so well that Dan had him take a crack at the derelict ship, asking for an irrational shape, but Ron became very disturbed to the point of not being able to handle doing such a thing. And it went that Ron would continuously come up with convincing technology for a flying saucer or some other kind of UFO
  1. Dan O'Bannon: "The only problem was that he was a rationalist. I noticed this when we first started designing the picture. All these different things he as doing were coming out so well that I decided to have him  take a crack at the derelict spaceship. But when I asked him to come up with an irrational shape he got very disturbed. He couldn't handle that. He kept coming up with convincing technology for a flying saucer or some other kind of UFO." (Cinefex 1, p43)
b)  Two paintings by Ron that featured his designs for derelict space crafts.
b.i) An alien derelict:
A design for the alien derelict space craft made up from curved shapes that could easily contain the space jockey design that he created.

  1. Future life #23 in an article about Ron Cobb, it mentions briefly that craft was to be destroyed, without any further word about this. (this needs to be found to make sure it's documented properly)
Alien derelict


b. ii) Derelict ship references "The Adventures of Tintin and Red Rackam's Treasure"
Also it reveals the possibility that the design referenced the illustration for the shipwreck from "The Adventures of Tintin and Red Rackam's Treasure"

So, following my theory that Alien's plot used The Adventurs of Tintin and Red Rackham's Treasure as reference, I think discussion about it entered the Alien pre-production art rooms in LA and that Ron Cobb's early derelict ship design took some elements from the Unicorn shipwreck illustration as a starting point..

What we would be talking about here is that the windows on the back of the ship would become the underside grid of the ship.

Shipwreck from "The Adventures of Tintin and Red Rackam's Treasure"
A broken wooden yard that held a sail, intersects with the upper window and gives Cobb the idea of having some parts of the squares on derelict ship's grid underneath cut half diagonally.

The sea anemones become the puffs of cloud in the landscape.

The jelly fish perhaps helps to inspire possibilities about abstract round bulbous parts of the ship, mainly the one on the left of the ship.

The pale fish swimming up by the ship become transformed into torch lights.

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c) "Black Ship and Cylinder"
A concept painting showing the remains of a man made ship and a cylindrical tower with human explorers wandering around shining their torches.  This was for a version of the script in which the crew of the spaceship find a lost Earth base where previous travelers fought a losing battle with aliens
(See: The Cylinder script)

Manmade derelict -"Black Ship and Cylinder"
Sources
  1. The Book of Alien says about this picture that the searchers find a lost Earth base where previous travelers fought a losing battle with aliens.
  2. At the bottom of the painting as shown in the Alien from the Quadrilogy DVD set released in 2003, there is a copy of the picture and presents at the bottom of the picture the ominous words "Black ship and cylinder". This painting was a concept for a version of the Alien script known to some as the Cylinder script

2 comments:

  1. If you have a copy of the script, is it available to read or download?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think it is to be found on the internet unfortunately

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