Chris Foss' Derelict

Leading From
The Derelict,
Chris Foss' art

black and white image of Foss' derelict from Skeleton Crew August, 1990

a) Chris Foss's Derelict Ship. Foss possessed a colorful and flamboyant style O'Bannon considered ideal for the derelict ship and its benign aliens. His design actually bears a resemblance to the description given in Dan O'Bannon's original script which was something comparable to a titanic lobster and happened to be the one that Dan approved of the most.

concept for derelict by Chris Foss, no.1

"Through billowing dust-clouds, a huge SHAPE appears. The dust clears, and THEY SEE:
A GROTESQUE  CRAFT, nose down in the sand like some titanic lobster"

(1)Dan O'Bannon's DVD version of the early Alien script.
concept for derelict by Chris Foss no.2
concept for derelict by Chris Foss no.2

with a few millimetres more image either side from Charles Lippincott's Facebook page

b). Pictures number 1 and 2 both have the same front, one can see nearly the whole body of the 1st resting upon the sand,  and the 2nd like the 3rd is half buried in the sand, (perhaps both would come across as concepts easier to put on screen than the 1st.)  The 2nd also has a fin like structure poking out of the sand behind it roughly similar to the third one. The 3rd one can also be seen to be a reinterpretation of Chris Foss' design for a Harkonnen Flagship from Jodorowsky's Dune ill fated Dune project in 1975. Both ships have a main central body vertical with arms branching to down the side ending vast bauble like engines

1) Visit Chriss Foss's website:
2) Read about the Unseen Dune at the the Dune Info website:

derelict no.3

Quote sources

  1. Foss possessed a colorful and flamboyant style O'Bannon considered ideal for the derelict ship and its benign aliens. (Cinefex 1, p36)
  2. Dan O'Bannon "I conceptualised the derelict as a gnome's castle - colorful and interesting and bizarre as hell, but not morbid. Chris Foss did a wonderful painting of the ship, which is still my favourite, bronzed lobster like thing sitting in the sand, very technological, very odd looking, very difficult to work out how it would fly" (Cinefex 1, p64)

Foss's unused 1975. Harkonnen Flagship design
earlier sketch of unused 1975 
Harkonnen Flagship design


  1. Amazing similarities between derelict 1 and the design of Serenity's Firefly...

  2. Yes, indeed, you've got that right. I can't claim to be a Firefly fan but I'll make a section showing that and credit you for telling me. Thanks very much