space jockey suit
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b) However Ridley asked the question and out of that came the answer that it must have been a suit and for Ridley this happened around 1995, or near enough twenty six years after Alien going by Ridley's memory.
c) What ideas were these floating around in Hollywood at the time? My own explorations about the matter brought me to think about the alien space suits seen in the movie Fire In The Sky back in 1993, but this movie was preceded by the film Communion which featured the idea
|engineer sets the controls from his seat|
- (37:35) Simon Mayo: Now as we have
people spalling back in their minds to this character that you're
talking about, this is the, there's a mysterious being this giant
creature, I know it became known as the space jockey, but erm, could
you, could you just
engineer as his helmet is being put on
(37.53) Ridley Scott: "He was perceived, the giant was perceived as skeletal and erm, I kept staring at the skeleton which was kind of a wonderful drawing by H R Giger, and erm, then I thought, twenty, thirty, twenty, actually twenty six years on (1995?), I thought what if this is not a skeleton, but, because we only see it as a skeleton, because of our own, the way we see things in our own indoctrination, and er now I thought, what happens if its another form of protection or a suit? If its a suit then what's inside the suit" ( Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film reviews, BBCRadio 5 live, 01 June 2012.)
engineer with head encased in helmet
- Often Scott will have a trigger image in mind when he begins prepping a film. With Prometheus it was the Space Jockey. "The big guy sitting in the seat, " he recalls.
'Somebody said it's a skeleton and I said it doesn't have to be, it could be a degraded suit. It's only you saying that because you think you're looking at bone structure and a rib cage. Why isn't that a suit? It's been lying there disintegrating for two or three thousands of years in deep cold, that could be a suit. The suit works great as a kind of organic, very sophisticated spacesuit." (Prometheus: the art of the film, p20))
The subject of extra-terrestrial abduction called Communion which was about the experiences of the writer Whitley Strieber and it displayed the idea that the ETs that he was seeing were somehow unspecifically just outside skins for something else within. In the movie the Grey's face opens up to reveal something reptilian inside.
- Philippe Mora: There's a fourth alien figure that we reveal in the film. It's a figure that Whitley saw once - a version of the Communion figure that actually showed the face was a kind of mask and there was something underneath, ("Report on Communion" by Ed Conroy, p186)
|Scene from "Communion" exploring|
the idea of the alien creature's heads as masks
|Image of a Grey's face with a reptile|
face within, from Communion
c) Fire In The Sky (1993)
|videotape cover for |
Fire In The Sky, (1993)
This idea came about because the film was based on the ET abduction experiences of Travis Walton and what he wrote about as his extra terrestrial abduction experience had already been seen on the screen before so they decided to replace it with something else and Tracy Tormé came up with a visceral interpretation of Walton's abduction that in a clever way became an idea about a perception regarding these alien beings, that what we saw as typical greys were space suits and maybe there was something else inside them and here there were some strange almost humanoid aliens. Perhaps is was a very interesting idea.
|Head of an extra-terrestrials space suit that resembles a stereotypical 'Grey' from |
Fire In The Sky. Click here to see more shots
- Tracy Tormé: I've heard many abductees say if they could just find the zipper on these little grey guys and pull it down, they could see what's really underneath because there is a sense amongst a lot of them there is something very artificial about them... (Coast To Coast Am, April 9th, 2008)
- See: Just like "Fire in the Sky" for more photos from the film
d) Independence Day (1996)
|Independence Day poster|
See images of and read more about the development of the "Independence Day" biomechanical suit
|alien biomechanical suit|