For Philippe, the thing that was known as The Space Jockey in Alien, the beauty about it is that one could see this thing ossified to the chair, and he didn't know what was bone and what was chair.
Every time he saw the Space Jockey, he would think about this one line from the original Star Wars movie where Obi Wan Kenobi says to Luke Skywalker "your father and I fought in the Clone Wars" and this line sent Philippe's mind out somewhere.
The George Lucas gave people the Clone Wars, and it wasn't quite what he dreamt of.
Those lines for him did so much more for those movies than any visual or narrative ever could.
As a keen Exorcist fan, he also compared it to the opening of The Exorcist in Iraq, it didn't seem to technically serve as a plot function but it set the tone and mood for the entire film.
So like that, the sight of the Space Jockey gave him a little window to glimpse a large universe, he didn't need to know more.
The moment that the members of the Nostromo crew entered the derelict and essentially cross the threshold into that Gigeresque ethereal landscape, that was the most extraordinary part of the film where everything changed in that moment, and so that included the space jockey, and the egg chamber and the face hugger
However he was disappointed with the film Prometheus, where this thing in the chair was revealed to be a suit that contained a humanoid being known as the Engineer.
- From Philippe’s perspective, the space jockey “does much more than any plot point can do because it creates an environment where your imagination can go places, and it’s very similar to the opening sequence in Iraq in The Exorcist. It doesn’t technically serve a plot function, but it sets the tone and mood for the entire film.”(https://lwlies.com/articles/memory-the-origins-of-alien-making-of-ridley-scott-hr-giger-xenomorph/)
- Alexandre O Philippe: "Those are very important cinema moments, and as far as Alien goes, to me it’s the moment they enter The Derelict and essentially cross the threshold into that Gigeresque, ethereal landscape. That’s the most extraordinary part of the film for me where everything changes in that moment, and it includes of course the space jockey and also the egg chamber and the face-hugger.” (https://lwlies.com/articles/memory-the-origins-of-alien-making-of-ridley-scott-hr-giger-xenomorph/)
- Austin Chronicles: And part of what allows that is that O'Bannon's
script is incredibly spartan. It's not just the alien ship, or the life
cycle of the alien; you never quite clear of what the Nostromo is doing.
Alexandre O Philippe: To me, another great moment that goes back to that is the Space Jockey - which now, of course, we know as the engineer. To me the beauty of the Space Jockey is that you see this thing, and it's ossified to the chair, and you don't know what is the bone and what is the chair.
Every time I see the Space Jockey, I think about this one line from the original Star Wars, from Obi Wan Kenobi, when he says, "Your father and I fought in the Clone Wars." It's one of those lines where your mind goes out - of course, George Lucas then gave us the Clone Wars and we know how that worked out. Those lines do so much more for those movies that any visual or any narrative possibly ever can. It's giving us a little window, a little glimpse of this larger universe. Leave it alone. We don't need more of it. https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/screens/2019-09-24/fantastic-fest-interview-recalling-a-memory-of-dan-o-bannon/