The design team was amazing. I had worked with them on both Tron and Avatar, so we all knew one another quite well, which is always a huge help when you are working on such an iconic franchise. The original creature designer (from my perspective, THE creature designer) HR Giger, has one of the most amazing aesthetics and to think that I was allowed to play in his world was such a treat. But Ridley was not sure if that was exactly how he was going to play this one out. Some of the designs you see here are early explorations of some of the creatures. The first task was the baby alien or, the first infected. My attempt was to channel Giger a little and infuse this critter with Ridleys brief. In the end, it was too far down that path and we slowly reigned it back in to something more human. Ultimately, as with anything in film design, the story dictates what you do. And in this case, we needed this particular character, Fifield, to still be a bit recognizable when infected. The Engineers were an exercise in classic human beauty. Ridley was quite specific about his references of Roman and Grecian sculpture. “God like, classical, powerful, with skin like that of stone”. In some ways, it was the easiest to design as there was little to do in terms of invention. In other ways, it was very difficult as the pursuit of human beauty is quite subjective. Where the engineer became a real delight was when doing his costume. This was the one time I really got to put on my Giger hat and go to town!
One of the reasons I do what I do was because of the inspiration I got from the original Ridley Scott movie “Alien”. So, as I am sure that you can imagine, getting to sit in a room with Ridley and have him discuss the prequel with me was disorientingly fantastic!
The last of the critters to be dealt with was the “Troglodyte”. The name...well, that one is a bit of a mystery, so I shall move on. The design, however, was clearly to be something reminiscent of the original “face hugger”. It was not really the goal, but it ended up having the same vibe, just bigger and with more provocative organs than its predecessor. This creature, for me, was a real delight as it was so much about sculpture and form development. I searched for flowing lines and rhythm and really did quite a bit of form development. All the while, I kept in mind, that even though this was to be a hideous and off putting beast, there also needed to be a sense of beauty in it. One interesting note was the choice in number of limbs. If I went with 8, it would already punctuate it’s similarities to an octopus (something that I did not want). So, after some thought, I went with 7. Not arbitrary at all. The rationale was that 7 is not a number you find in terrestrial radial symmetry. One of the reasons why is that nature works within some very stringent and consistent mathematical rules. Octagons, hexagons and pentagons all have math within them that add up to the golden mean, a proportion of perfection as well as are constructible and can be divided into 360º. Since I was shooting for an alien abomination and mutation, I went with a heptagon as a layout. Indivisible in angles, alien in nature, it seemed like a viable choice. My point with this is that, when you design anything, or any component of something, having a reason behind it gives the design rationale, purpose, intellect and most of all, when asked by your director, you have an answer that sounds well thought out (as it should be).