Alien Movie Universe

A Closer Look at the Bombing Sequence
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MemberChestbursterAug-14-2017 3:47 PM

OK, I know there are no actual bombs - but since we are all calling it a "bombing" - If you watch Bavari's bombing sequence from Alien Covenant, you see little black specs swarming all around the Engineers and attacking them, and Engineers vomiting black fluid, but there is much more to it than that.

Freeze frame or watch in slo mo and you will see moving black tendril shapes with curves and hooks erupt from the Engineers. These are forms are moving organisms, not just black fluid.

I assume this is the pathogen replicating itself, as David said,  then attempting to get to its next target. There is no trace at all of any of this stuff when the Covenant arrives, so it most have disintegrated over the years when there was no more fauna to infect.





179 Replies


MemberOvomorphAug-19-2017 8:53 PM

I just watched that scene again with the brightness turned up on my tv. All the urns are exactly the same size. I did notice the writing on them is different in one shot. The same shot in Kethol's first screen grab.

From what I can tell, the urns float off the vertical racks of urns stacked in the walls and float through the air to the center of the bomb bay. They line up in concentric circles over the hole in the floor until they drop and hit the shield barrier thing. I guess the urns don't really explode, they just break on the barrier, then the goo atomizes and the small particles slip through.


MemberFacehuggerAug-20-2017 12:59 AM

In the urn drop sequence, it does indeed look like they hit some kind of invisible barrier/shield, but I assume it's just a way of deploying the virus far away enough from the ship so it doesn't infect the crew.

It wouldn't make much sense to have a barrier over the city, if the juggernaut was going to land in the hangar bay below.

The hanger automatically opens as the docking ship and juggernaut approach each other, so I doubt there's any shield in place to protect the people below

And if there was, what a crappy shield it was! :P


MemberChestbursterAug-20-2017 9:09 AM

It was probably an automated defense that went up as soon as the pathogen was detected. It did seem to stop the urns, as they were solid and broke on it, but once the pathogen atomized into smaller particles, it just passed through.

Here is what Matt Hatton and Dane Hallett said about the shield on the AVP podcast when they were asked if there was anything in the script that they wished had made the final cut.

MATT - Dane, do you remember when there was the whole thing of the…

DANE - Quarantine. Oh yeah, the satellite.

MATT - Yeah, yeah. The quarantine sort of net over the planet.

DANE - yeah, I forgot that.

MATT - I think a touch of that is still in there, where he (David) drops the bombs and they seem to spread over an invisible sort of shield, but then they break through, and that sort of thing…There was this whole thing earlier on where they (Covenant crew) had to fix the satellite to try and take that thing down so that they could get through this electrical storm thing. It seems like there are just parts of that now.

DANE - Just in case anyone didn't know what that was, in the script originally there was… the Engineers had created  this satellite that would protect any foreign bodies coming in or out of the planet. That's what was preventing all of the transmissions from getting through and that's also what stopped David from getting out clear SOS's, or whatever it was.



MemberOvomorphAug-20-2017 4:21 PM

OK, another obsrvation about the black stuff.

In Prometheus we see it leak from some of the urns when the air is disturbed after 2000 years. David's sees the stuff is moving on top of the urn, forming into blob shapes. Just before David bags an urn to take back to the ship the black stuff is jumping off the top of the urn into the air, going crazy. Whatever it was doing, it seems to be able to move and shape change without needing any animal tissue to infect and mutate.

In the bombing scene the little black particles are swarming through the air in all directions before they even get to the Engineers. How? They have not infected the tissue of any animal to transmute into a flying organism, so how are they flying? Did they form into a flying or flapping shapes to move through the air?

This description of the motes got me thinking of this.

"Ever changing it its form--lurching and stabbing into new shapes - oily black and beautiful"

That is exactly how I would describe the goo on top of the Urn David was looking at.

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-20-2017 5:29 PM

@ Thombach

Well observed. Those urns are obviously designed to expel the goo when activated. When they start melting (for whatever reason), we see the goo basically squirting out slowly from the top of the urn, like ketchup, then running down the sides, onto those worms. Perhaps they were semi activated, which caused them to ooze out the goo, rather than explode totally.

Those black particals were not "flying". They were falling down from the sky and blowing in the wind like rain. Rain doesn't fall directly down, it is blown in all directions.

Motes are a different thing to goo. In the movie, we know they were tiny insects, that early script has them changing shape..but they are still different to the black goo. I've noticed a lot of differences between that script and the final movie as well, now that I've actually read it.


MemberOvomorphAug-20-2017 6:50 PM

Sothoth, what size tv are you watching Covenant on? Also, DVD or Blu Ray?


MemberChestbursterAug-20-2017 9:15 PM

Thombach, I thought the same thing when I saw that description of the mote from the script. The shape-change thing must have been an early idea of what they were supposed to look like.

The fact that the pathogen alone was able to move and form rough shapes on top of the leaking urns in Prometheus does give some clue as to how the black particles are able to fly and swarm in the Covenant urn-drop scene. They move incredibly fast though. It was like a swarm of locusts or bees they way they were attacking and coating the Engineers in a few of those shots.

David also says the later stages of the pathogen produced the insects, so the swarming things were definitely not those. I know you did not say that. Just pointing it out. "The original black liquid turned to lethal particles when exposed to air. Later stages produced parasites and invasive insects. From their eggs came, well..."



Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-21-2017 12:32 AM

@ Thombach, Blu-ray, standard HD TV. I don't think there's anything more to this scene really. Just drops of black goo falling and hitting.

Drop a bucket of water from the top of a won't fall straight down, some will blow back up slightly. *Shrugs* maybe our eyes see different things in the same movie.

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-21-2017 12:38 AM

@ Kethol

Correct, by "later stages" it means later effects within the victim. The goo causes a life form to spawn parasites, tiny insects in the mold's case, which then infect another host, creating our friend the neomorph.

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-21-2017 12:51 AM

Slightly off topic, but I find it interesting how that script has the xenomorph eggs coming from those fungal egg sacs. David specifically says he nurtured them, somehow adding different DNA to them, to create the xenomorph eggs.

I don't see how this can be canon. In the "Advent" material, David says that the local life forms didn't prove to be "very fruitful" in creating his "Wolf" (the Xenomorph). Then he says that he used Shaw as the main source for the xenomorph, while "tweaking" her mutated DNA, showing that he used various neomorph's DNA in this tweak, possibly using black goo as a catalyst.

The differences from this script are very interesting, in this and other areas.


MemberDeaconAug-21-2017 5:42 AM

Interesting notes about the Shield... so this could very well be the case, and i guess it would maybe give us a reason for why the Cathedral Dome has those Devices on top?  I assumed prior to AC that they was some kind of Device that left of a Energy Weapon that simply killed off all Life in the Plaza to Prevent the Black Goo Spreading and so would answer why the Bodies are like Mummified and we dont see any Engineers suffering the effects as shown in Prometheus.

Maybe instead this Technology is what produces the Shield?  The draft mentions like Satellites well something in Space, but we clearly dont see any proof of this in Alien Covenant.

Then again it could be just some kind of Solar Panel to produce Energy needed for the City.

As far as the Black Goo, it can appear at bit confusing and i still stand by that if we look at it as intended by Jon Spaights, then its straight forwards and fits with the whole Engineers Purpose which is Genetic Engineering.

The Sacrificial Goo is thus a Creation Tool, the Question now would be is it a Viral/Pathogen, a Mutagen, or a Parasite?  I would say it has all 3 Elements.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-21-2017 7:09 AM

It's a viral pathogenic mutagen, which causes parasites to happen.


MemberChestbursterAug-21-2017 9:01 AM

BigDave, I think that device on the cathedral dome was intended to be a solar collector. In the leaked script draft Daniels notices it has solar energy panels and asks David if he has power. David says it only gave him some erratic power, but he has tried to keep it going.

The two satellites in the script draft were what generated the energy field/quarantine shield. That is in the ionosphere, so it can't be the same thing we see in the sky over the Engineer city.

Hatton and Hallet talk about it like it IS the same as the satellite shield, so it must have been written differently in the draft of the script they had. The script we have makes no mention of the urns breaking on a shield in the sky. They just drop to the ground and break open.

" Question now would be is it a Viral/Pathogen, a Mutagen, or a Parasite?  I would say it has all 3 Elements."

A mutagen is something that causes changes in genetic material. Mutagens that cause diseases viruses are pathogens, which are parasites, so it is all three.


MemberOvomorphAug-21-2017 4:21 PM

@ Sothoth - I think our eyes are definitely seeing something different, unless your screen is just too small to see the details. I am watching the Blu Ray on a 55' HD lcd and I can see everything I describe easily.

@BigDave - Not just a creation tool. In order to create one must first destroy, as a mad synthetic once said.

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 6:12 AM

@ Thombach

I doubt having different screen sizes changes what is intended by the production team. Drops of black goo are not insects.


MemberOvomorphAug-22-2017 6:54 AM

I'm glad you doubt that, but why was it directed at me? I did not say either.

Screen size makes a huge difference in the level of detail you can see, which is why I asked.

Cerulean Blue

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:20 AM

The tentacled-looking black-bursters kind of look like face-huggers, do they not?  I keep thinking they may have something to do with the eggs?  What do you all think?

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:22 AM

@ Thombach

Ok, take a super high resolution screen cap for me. Let me zoom in and see if I see any insects in the bombing scene. If I see any, I'll admit you are right.

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:25 AM

@ Cerulean Blue

Those black-bursters are the engineer version of trilobites. That's my best guess. I think Holloway would have suffered a similar effect if he didn't have sex. So would Fifield, if he didn't die.


MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:33 AM

I don't think the black "tendrils" shooting out of the bodies are creatures.  They seem to be just the reaction from a large amount of black goo being ingested or however it entered the bodies.  That amount seems to just cause a violent eruption from the host, then hardens into a charred looking material.

Cerulean Blue

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:35 AM

@Yog Sothoth - I kind of wish Holloway had been allowed to explode!!  HAHA!!!

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 7:54 AM


Do you have photo evidence of those tendrils being still on the engineer corpses after they died? If so, I will admit you're right.


MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 8:03 AM

I've been reading all your debate, guys, very interesting one. 

Concerning the black goo bombing: I do think that it being "drops of black goo" raining down on the Engineers would make much more sense, BUT - when I watch the scene, it seems clear to me that it's something more like an insectoid form or whatever, kind of flying towards that poor bald citizens. I say that not only because of the way the black goo behaves towards them, but also because of the reaction of the Engineers, the way they try to "take it off" of them, the way they run... 


"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."

Cerulean Blue

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 8:08 AM

So this is how we know what happened on LV-223, right?  Not chest-bursters & Xenomorphs, just the exploding black goo?


MemberOvomorphAug-22-2017 8:12 AM

@ Sothoth, again why are you directing that question at me? I never said there were any insects in the bombing scene.


MemberDeaconAug-22-2017 8:14 AM

Indeed Kethol...

i came across those in the draft too, i had always pondered what purpose the Cathedral Dome Device was when we saw the Trailers, to me i wondered if it was some kind of Safety Device that Activated to Prevent the Black Goo infection and resulted in those bodies looking the way they did...

And also would explain maybe the crashing of the Juggernaught.

But alas after the movie was out it appeared this may not have been the case and with the draft and comments by Hatton/Hallet etc then its clear this is not the case.

As far as Solar Power goes we can see a number of other objects in the city that are  Reflective and Gold and so i would assume there are a number of these over the City, but that does not mean the Central Cathedral cant be some kind of Power Station.

So when having to ignore the effects of those Burnt like Bodies being caused by a Safety Device (unless the Scorpion Docking Ship activated something).   Then we have to accept the Urns either are activated differently and so the effects are different or coming into contact with the Protective Shield changed the effects of the Bombardment.

@Cerulean Blue

The Tentacle like things, i would have to assume (until September the 18th) that this is the Black Goo Replicating itself inside the Hosts and then escaping from the Host and Forming together to then seek out another Target.

It appears the Black Goo Nano Particles (well just how its made up) seems to be able to move/swarm together to create what look like Shapes...  The Motes did the same when Ledwood Stood on the Spore,  they seemed to look like having some kind of Shape as it appeared to swim through the air and zone in onto its Target.

Some there is some kind of Intelligent/Instinctive design in how the Bio-Weapon seems to Swarm together, and i think this is why we see those Shapes.

Very similar to how the Water is Manipulated to Form Shapes in the movie The Abyss

Its still all pretty confusing to some due to the way AC handled the Black Goo, because Prometheus and if we also look at Alien Engineers Draft would have gave us these Options.

1) Engineers are mutated and evolve into Hybrid Organisms.

*which latter may cause the Engineers to break down/turn into Black Liquid/Nothing.

2) The Engineers simply start to break down and turn into Black Liquid/Nothing.

3) The Engineers start to Produce Tiny Worm-like Organisms that then maybe consume the Engineers to Black Liquid/Nothing.

It appears Alien Covenant has simply added that the Black Goo under certain circumstances just appears to infect a Targets DNA and instead of breaking down their DNA or Mutating it, the Black Goo simply Atomizes the Molecules turning them into some kind of Crystalline/Siliconized solid molecules.

Yet it also replicates itself inside and then escapes/leaves the infected Hosts Body.

So a different effect to what Prometheus showed us..  I can only assume the Neomorphs and related infected Life are the result of maybe some of the Replicated Black Goo from the Targets ending up infecting the Planet.

Or more likely some Urns leaking after the Crash and contaminating the Water, which in turn contaminated growing Mold/Fungi that grew near by the Water Stream running down the Mountain and under the Juggernaught.

Where there is Moss/Algae by the side of the areas this water runs trough, we end up with Infected Black Goo Mold/Fungi which then gives rise to the Spore Sacks.

I would assume Davids other experiments also included using the Substance stored within the Glass Vials within the Urns too.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Yog Sothoth

MemberFacehuggerAug-22-2017 11:52 AM

@ Thombach

Ok, what is your actual argument? If those are not blobs of black goo.. what are they, on your Ultra HD screen of ultraness? lol.


MemberChestbursterAug-29-2017 7:17 AM

Thombach, I finally got around to grabbing some HD closeups of the individual particles flying in the swarm. The image upload size here is really small, so you can't see much, but in slo-mo on my 7' HD projection screen, the detail is easy to see. This is about as clear as they get.

When they fly the shapes seem to be jagged edged, almost like big flakes of ash. They do move and "flap", but I can't make out any specific wing shapes. The "lurching and stabbing into new shapes" line form the script is actually a pretty good description of how they move.

There are a few shots where they swarm and attack a couple of Engineers, almost like a bee swarm attacking a person, covering the mouth and eyes. What lands on them are just jagged and blobby shapes though, nothing specific. The film makers probably never intended them to have a specific shape, just to apply some logic to how they displace air and fly.



MemberOvomorphAug-29-2017 11:19 AM

Thanks. Those are incredible. I have no way to capture freeze frames in HD, so I had no idea there was that much detail. Based on those last four images the special effects people must have been patterning the swarm and attack on a bee swarm attack.

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