The Derelict, Juggernaut and Elder Noobernaut-Pebble Ship: Built or Grown?17,794 Views52 RepliesAdd A Reply
I began writing this topic a long time ago. I never posted it because I thought most of it was probably now irrelevant, and the content has been discussed many times in the past. However I am posting it now because, at the very least, it revisits one of Ridley Scotts finest creations, The Noobernaut-Pebble ship from the opening scene of Prometheus! The three ships I am discussing here have not been built in the conventional sense of the word.
I am one of the members who has always subscribed to the Egg Morph theory. It just makes sense as a part of the strange and horrific Morb lifecycle. What could be more bizarre and alien? Further to that I have always believed that the strange Space Jockey craft is a living organic creation. The damn thing looks as if it has grown from the planet beneath it. Perhaps it lowers onto the underground egg silo to deposit/pick up dormant eggs, then after it leaves, the blue laser-mist device gets activated?
I know it’s supposed to have set down or crashed, but that is something Ridley came up with years after the event.
Gigers landscape panels and indeed the set itself, were filled with tubing, pipes and giant freakin' bones, all sculpted into a sinister, nightmare terrain. The Derelict has a similar feel, bones melded to biotechnology, with some type of organic muscle or tendon-like structures holding the whole thing together and perhaps allowing for movement during flight? When this thing starts up does it sigh, then breathe as it comes to life? How does it become activated? Does the Pilot merge in both mind and body with the ship? Or is he permanently attached to it? What does it look like in motion? I think it should be something we would have a hard time wrapping our minds around. But that’s how I want it to be.
On the other hand the Juggernaut looks more mechanical and less alive. Appearing more manufactured than grown, but who knows perhaps these ships are all formed out of silica? Amazing as it was to see a Juggernaut in flight, I was disappointed by its rather conventional motion. How would you convey some weird motion with special effects? Did the clone Engineers steal this tech from the SJ, and rework it to suit their physiology? In my dreams yes! Or was it given to them? Are there other types of Juggernauts?
Floating over the landscape during the opening scene, the Elder Mothership or Pebble, as concept artist Steve Messing nick-named it, is something wondrous. Gargantuan and ominous, does it float, hover or morph? It never appears totally still. The clouds appear to flow over its surface like water. As it rises through the clouds, it emits a kind of metal sound mixed with a giant horn-like groan. Perhaps someone can come up with a better description of the sound?
Next it changes orientation, going from horizontal saucer to an elongated vertical seed/pebble, and there’s the sound of air moving as it pierces upward through the clouds. The last shot of it behind the Engineer, it pivots left slightly and appears even more seed like, I’m sure there’s a rumble, like thunder, as it disappears into cloud cover. It’s scary, freaky but absolutely mind blowing and brilliant.
I have no idea how that ship is powered, but I take delight from the fact that it is probably beyond my imagination or logic! Could it use free energy, powering up from the energy created by a storm, or does its immense power somehow actually activate a storm? That could dovetail into the LV-223 storm which began after the Ampule room seal was broken by David.
Anyway, that remarkable Noobernaut, [as named by the member formerly known as Major Noob] must have some type of transformative or morphing capability. It’s not obvious in most of the stills, and barely so in the film, but the surface is not smooth or metallic, and it does have some type of marking. I still say it echoes The Old Man of Storr rock formation on Skye, whether intentional or not. Like a MOEBIUS inspired giant floating rock ship. I can’t decide if it was made or grown, perhaps a bit of both?
From the opening shot where we only hear it gliding over the primordial landscape, then we see it’s massive shadow, till it fills about half of the screen as it floats amongst a bed of cloud. It is so simply done, yet it leaves you agape. What did we just witness? Barely do we have time to process that trippy ship, when suddenly it’s gone. That’s the beauty of the Ridley Scott minds eye. I mean that was another of the greatest opening scenes in cinema history. I just love Ridley, how the hell does he do it?
I know the original Space Jockey would appear to be out of the picture, and many will not subscribe to my way of thinking, but I just can’t let go of that breathtaking Giger concept. Less of a theory, more what I choose to believe, this is my take on the creators of these wondrous vessels.
The giant Space Jockey beings are the creator-operators of the Derelict type Juggernaut. They are an ancient race. Perhaps they work alongside or beneath the Elder race. They may have been eradicated from existence.
The Engineers have either been given or have stolen and adapted the technologically advanced Juggernaut ships. There certainly appears to be a higher echelon for whom they are working. Evidence points to them now being at odds with their Masters.
The Elders have been around as long as the Space Jockeys. They are the creators of the Noobernaut-Pebble ship. Thousands of years ago they were that technologically advanced. What stage would that technology have reached by now? Have they also been wiped out?
Now I have to find a way to tie all of them together. They are all related in some way, there has to be a common creator-source. I have always felt that mankind, whilst having the capacity for greatness, compassion and empathy, also has the capability to destroy not only itself, but everything in its path. In the ALIEN-PROMETHEUS universe I think it is mankind, who by way of its evolution and invention will be the harbringer of death. After all, man created David 8 and it may be by way of his actions that each of the races, Space Jockey, Engineer, Elder and Man could be destroyed.
LONE - Hahaha! Thank you! I am honored to be a part of this community, my friend. There is just so much to see, learn and share! :)
@Lone; I've just read your OP again and come to the conclusion that You and i have a very similar mindset when it comes to the ALiEN universe. Every single word gets me nodding my head and thinking, 'If Only!'
especially this part -"I have always believed that the strange Space Jockey craft is a living organic creation. The damn thing looks as if it has grown from the planet beneath it."
What a very fitting and thought provoking thing that is!
I can imagine that's what Giger himself imagined when creating that whole environment.
The poster was good though!
NECRONOM 4 - Exactly! :)
Giger on the Derelict:
“Once the Alien was under control,” said Giger, “Ridley asked me if I could design a spaceship not made by human beings. Well how do you do that? I thought maybe it might look organic -something that could grow even, like a plant- but I didn’t know exactly what it should look like. Then early one morning I couldn’t sleep, I got up and started painting and the derelict ship was born in a few hours. It ended up like an aerodynamic bone with little technical stuff all over it, but it wasn’t anything I had planned – it just sort of ran out of my mind and my airbrush.”
The grounded derelict. Image copyright HR Giger.
Like the other artists, Giger brought his own style to the concepts, and his proved to be the most provocative. His Jockey ship rests atop a landscape of twisted metal and bone. “I wanted it to look planted,” Giger told Famous Monsters, “perhaps in the process of maturing, a mixture of organic and mechanical stuff.”
Giger’s concept for the derelict’s interior corridors. The design is akin to a long, wormy sternum threading its way through the ship.
Thanks go to Strange Shapes for the pics and quotes!
In William Gibson's Virtual Light there's a corporation called Sunflower that proposes to rebuild an earthquake devastated San Francisco with self-growing skyscrapers that eat their own sewage. This is of course against the will of the people and backed by the tech elite. It's weirdly threatening and diabolical, but also a giant step forward in technological evolution. Like a lot of his stuff, it's oddly prescient. Gibson is a modern day Jules Verne.
I love the idea of technology being grown, and the idea that the Derelict and it's brethren were truly bio mechanical, not really alive but not really dead, not grown from a seed but still perhaps via some sacrificial scenario similar to the beginning of Prometheus? Maybe the initiation of any life creating process begins with the liquification of a living thing, from Egg to Juggernaut. Imagine that on an industrial scale.
What I love about the SJ in Alien is that it's fused to the vehicle, and maybe as a life form it's a CPU, more complex plant than being, but still inhabiting this cruel, dark reality. Maybe that particular iteration was devised solely to transport the eggs, prior to refinement in the form of ampules.
While anything that could create a vehicle like that would likely have the tech for energy barriers to seal the craft, I always loved the idea that it was open to the vacuum of space, a dark, cold flying basement with no door. Indeed, with a few exceptions there are no light sources ever shown for these beings, and Spaights' script seemed to bear that out, with their sensitivity to spectral wavelengths seeming to make mechanical illumination unnecessary.
You can see in the command area of the Juggernaut what appears to be a huge brain embedded in the desk (the pink thing to either side of the chair). To me, this is further evidence that the vehicle is on some level alive.
The seed vehicle is another story, I would love to see a detailed schematic of that thing, at least along the lines of the hologram of the Juggernaut on view in Prometheus. Maybe not, then the mystery of it is diluted. I don't know, such is the plight of the geek! But yes, although it has a more conventional shape, I imagine it would be grown too. Maybe in a huge, terrible facility like the one Gavin posted in his Zeta Reticuli thread.
This is a dangerous topic, given that probably at least some answers will be provided to these mysteries. But then again, if not, some will cry foul! Ridley has a tricky rope to walk here, and I think we should all get comfy with the idea that as much will be left to our imagination as not. That's his gift to us! It was all along, lo these 30+ years. It'll be his outgoing legacy, too. Like it or not, Ridley Scott will inhabit our minds for many years to come. Crafty devil.
A mythos enables the creative mind and the recipient to set itself free to try and come to know what we are in from an unorthodox perspective.
Giger and Scott are men of imagery. Both are/were happy with visions which are unsettling and unorthodox.
Scott's vision for A L I E N was earthbound in an important sense, what he could afford and what worked at the time. P R O M E T H E U S enabled him more room because the opportunities were greater.
As a result the visions of Giger though no less important in 1979 were less realisable but will continue to inform all that Ridley does . One of Giger's key themes was the notion that you break the distinction down between the mechanical and the organic. That theme was hinted at in A and made clearer in P and will inform A.C. indeed its the core question why Bio Mechanical.
The Engineers in the opening shot are gardeners they sacrifice themselves break down their DNA attach it to the building blocks of life and create civilisation.
The destroyer engineers, through a fall, began their own sub creation but the thread of organic (artistic) and non organic (function) is blended into their culture. The fresco's, the control mechanisms of the Juggernaut, the use of music to stimulate the star map these represent a fusing of artistic and functional characteristics.
I am confident that BD is correct Paradise is not the core, it is where the Engineers come from. The ultimate creation myth may remain enigmatic, I hope it does, but all the signposts are that creation is not random but ordered by a great creative act. The acolyte who sacrificed himself was sponsored to effect the catalysing that was not a random act. The teardrop ship was originally perceived as a Juggernaut but we have been offered something which could be powered and move at the behest of minds moulded into the fabric of the ship. In other words something which is even more fused than the Engineer in his jockey station. Even so the jockey may transmit the destination to the Juggernaut instinctively. He has conjured up the star map that is now impregnated in his mind. Attached to the guidance system (The telescopic rig) it aligns itself with its destination which then talks to the Juggernaut which then "sets off" for its destination. Put simply this maybe mind over matter.
So everything in Ridleys breath taking visuals and Gigers visions suggest we should give ourselves permission to rethink what we are seeing breaking down the distinction between mind/nature and mechanical function.
I believe A C will explain more of that relationship in the discovering act of the movie and the subtext will be how the David's and Shaw have and are reacting to this connectivity. The Covenant crew will act as a point of reference so we can see this through innocent and not so innocent eyes.
So Yes Lone I think we are seeing some thing which harnesses all the wonders of creation Mind, matter and mechanical invention.
@Lone this is a great post! :) and @BigDave i love the cactus ref
"Must be something we haven't seen yet.."__Bishop
Hey Lone, when seeing the preview of Prometheus coming soon it showed the Juggernaught's prongs facing upwards toward the sky and Shaw is looking up at it, the camera tilting upwards with her as she does so. We know now this was the result of the huge thing crashing down and wheel-e-ing down the hill towards Shaw and Vickers before slowing to a halt and thats where we tilt up with the camera it appeared in the original trailer to me that the Juggernaught was rising up out of the ground for a vertical take-off. This wasn't the case in the end and due to the unconventional confuguration of the gigantic thing in the first place its hard to tell what is truely up and down, left or right. I thought maybe the entire piloting seat/area was upon some sort of advanced magneto-gimble that could orient itself in any direction to counter the occilations of the rest of the hull if it so-choosed. Or act as a shock obsorber should the hull encounter a massive structural shock due to a collision or attack of some sort which is exactly what happened in the film. It would have been so cool to see the ship lifting off "vertically" almost similar to the ship at the beginning of Prometheus re-orienting itself from hovering horizontally like the Destroyers in Independence Day to the manuervering "vertical" ascending position as it approaches the upper atmosphere.
HyperNova- I would love to have seen the Juggernaut move in a totally trippy, unconventional way, propelling itself from upright to horizontal, and moving forward in the process!
Like a giant flying bone, as Giger describes the derelict- "an aerodynamic bone with technical detail all over it. It's like a flying bone with arms stretching out in front. I don't know how it would look when flying. I just know how it should appear. It looks very aggressive, frightening."
Ridley Scott- "The derelict is a flying machine and I think if one does encounter, you know, something at some point or other, I think it will be so peculiar that it would be er, it would be like nothing we would expect. I wanted to do something which would evoke, I think an immediate spark of gothic revulsion, it's sort of spooky but it's sort of elegant but it's, there's something very worrying about it."
Lone, with regard to the Juggernaught and The Derilicts long and winding corridors I've always wondered why they are the shape of a heart or kidneys. Next time you get a chance watch when the giant hologram is activated by David or when Fifield activates his remote "Pups" and they fly off down the long and winding corridors, they are clearly out of proportion for an Engineer to walk down or make practical use of the narrower space on the inner track of the corridor configuration. In Alien when Dallas and Co. are navigating the Derilct the corridors have that left/right kidney, or heart, configuration. Again, unless it plays into the notion that the ship, if at both "horizontal" and "vertical" angles can be in use while moving through these acute manuvers then perhaps in lower gravity fields the corridors are traversed while occupants are hovering. Or, while in the temple there is lower gravity in there for what-ever reason as compared to that outside so the getting from A-to-B is more of a fluidic experience.
HyperNova, I have always wondered about that strange offset kidney shape, ever since A L I E N. I have searched through many print and video interviews with Giger, to try and find any comments he made about this. So far I have found nothing.
That shape is very unsettling, because of course it makes you ask the question, what nature of being made that? Why the odd shape? Could it connect to how the ship flies, the ribcage corridor undulating as it moves?
I like to think that Giger intended for the Space Jockey race to carry their cargo along those bony rib corridors. Perhaps moving in a peculiar fashion, a weird sideways gait, where their large bony backpack fills the larger part of the offset?
Perhaps they have no legs as such, just a large upper torso, and the backpack was a propulsion system, gliding them to the pilot chair?
I just love the weirdness of it all!
"Next time you get a chance watch when the giant hologram is activated by David or when Fifield activates his remote "Pups" and they fly off down the long and winding corridors, they are clearly out of proportion for an Engineer to walk down or make practical use of the narrower space on the inner track of the corridor configuration."
The Engineer hologram has them running down the corridor. The Nostromo and Hadley have corridors with areas you can't access without ducking.
They are large and they look like they can take a height of 10ft but in reality i think they are about 9.5ft tall. The Cave Passageways also about the same.
its Alien where they are smaller and definitely impossible unless maybe crawling for the Space Jockey to movie along them.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Perhaps the ships even reproduce asexually. Heck, maybe the ships produce Engineers!
Giger's designs for the planet and derelict back up that idea. If you study them closely you can see creatures faces and limbs within them!
HR Giger did have it that the ship maybe actually produced the Eggs themselves, his Mural seems to show this and also he said that the Egg Silo Walls contained like Pregnant Belly Bio-Mechanical Apparatus that performed the task of giving birth.
Had Cameron followed Gigers ideas or involved him more when making Aliens and gone that route that the ship produced the Eggs it would have made following the Origins i.e Prometheus a movie that would have been more simple to tell.
As far as the landscape thats just Giger's surreal touch, but a way to explain it all could be...
The Derelict did not have Eggs and it was sent out first, maybe it was meant to punish the Engineers? and not Earth!
The Cargo was Black Goo maybe?
Something else happened to the Engineer, that indeed resulted in him being Chest Busted.... one of his Cargo had got infected and something had got to him.
He crash landed on LV-223 the Black Goo got everywhere and evolved Cargo to Eggs, it seapped out and infected the Landscape, and over time even the Ship to all take on a more Bio-Mechanical Organic look than the Juggernaughts.
Something along these lines could explain a lot of things...
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Yeah I have heard that before (that the ship made the Eggs) and I can accept that people prefer it to be like that for a matter of fiction but I disagree. I think that it would just be too weird to have it like that but I guess that it is a Giger thing.
To me it would make more sense that the Engineers develop them to use them as bio-weapons but that doesn't say anything about where the Eggs come from. Maybe it would be better to have it that they come from a monster that is at the top of the hierarchy that we will never see hence we can continue to speculate how the eggs are made. I think that this would be the best explanation about the eggs.
Its pretty much still open...
I think Prometheus was trying to tease the answers... maybe its a case of Chicken or the Egg.
Camerons idea was of some creature that laid Eggs and so it would be again Chicken or Egg, and so we are left with was the Xeno something created by the Engineers, or something they or their creators had never created but found and experimented on to re-engineer something else?
Gigers idea was very very strange and Alien, much like the Egg Morph Scene...
O'Bannons was that the Eggs/Spores where the way a Ancient quite Advanced Alien Race Procreated but when all the Adults had died out... their Eggs/Spores had remained dormant.
Maybe they could give us the explanation as someway to mix all those ideas together?
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
I like your ideas Dave!
It'll be interesting to see what is covered and explained in Covenant. Though I would be content with some mystery remaining!
Big Dave: I like the explanation that O'Bannon gave but as you say a mix of them would be really interesting.
Lone: Yeah I don't think that they need to explain everything for the reason that you give.
Bumped this thread as someone mentioned this topic on another thread! :)