a) Set a hundred years into the future?
The general year that the Nostromo is travelling around the depths of space is 2080 in Ridley Scott's imagination, but Dan O'Bannon and Ron Cobb had been planning out an implied future that had a setting a few decades further into the future that Ridley imagined.
Giving some idea about time in relation to the now in Alien , we have an earlier loose character sketch for the character Dallas in Sigourney Weaver's test shoot. We find that he had started in lower deck employment in a super refinery for a German company and working his way up was bought up by a Japanese (Weyland-Yutani) company that offered him a super-tanker which he has been operating for ten years. Presumably all this time he has been running the Nostromo.
- Ron Cobb: I designed these patches with the same thing in mind as when I designed the Nostromo's interior, to help sketch in a background as to where and when the story takes place. I wanted to imply that this ship was from "The United Americas," instead of the United States. The Earth might have become the inner-city of planets, with almost everyone from the planet either Black, Chicano or Oriental. All the caucasians would have moved out to the suburbs of Mars. Whether its sociolog-ically sound or not, people can relate to that and it's funny. That's where "implied history" comes through. Its not necessary to pinpoint a time or place. this is fantasy and doesn't need a super-rational context. However, in this case I thought it would contribute to the picture. Ridley was very keen on the "heavy metal" fantasy aspect of ALIEN, but I found it an interesting challenge to show what an actual commer-cial spaceship of this time would look like. Kubrick did that very well in 2001 and I wanted to try it here without losing any of the values Ridley was looking for, try to create a believable projection of the future. Its the real or possible elements of science fiction that make it a delightful and relevant way to comment satirically on the present. (The Authorized Portfolio of Crew Insignias)
- Secondary education drifted into lower deck employment on Super-Tanker refinery for German company. Became interested to see the other-side-of-the-hill. Worked his way up by doing everything by the book. Without being dull. Became company man, reliability personified. Japanese company bought him by offering a supertanker. Ten years doing it. Now philosophical manner, - could be construed as disappointed (But his "laid" back sense of humour" dourness, (Texan?) could be interpreted that he really enjoys it all.) Seen it all attitude. Possibly jaded by many of these trips into space, is married but only seen her total of three years in fifteen years. Divorce imminent. No big deal. Accepts it. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Will miss kids (Character notes, May 8th 1978)
b.i) The End of the 21st century
During the last quarter of the 21st century, UK joined forces with Japan
and dozens of developing countries to form the Three World Empire.
The United states celebrates it's tricenennial anniversary
Outer" space with a rim extending 54 light years from the Earth contains 1650 star systems with 46 stars like our sun and over 20,000 planets
commerce and the mining of deep space flourished
The United Kingdon which would come to pioneer the establishment of settlements on Mars and Saturn's moon Titan.