Alien Movie Universe

The Pyramid in ALIEN (1979)

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MemberPraetorianFeb-19-2018 11:16 AM

Drawing credited to Dan O'Bannon:

'The pyramid is ancient, primitive and clearly of a different design to the derelict. We are dealing with a different alien here: the dead ship appears to be visitors from elsewhere, the pyramid seems indigenous. Walking around it they find no entrance, any entrance must have been buried in the shifting sands of time. So Kane uses his climbing gear to crawl to the top of the monolith where he finds an open shaft going straight down.'

Chris Foss' planetoid landscape:

'Meanwhile back at the Earthship, the computer has finally succeeded in translating the transmission. It means: 'DO NOT LAND'. But the explorers are cut off from radio contact and do not learn of this development, so Kane goes down to the shaft. At the bottom he finds a bizarre tomb or shrine filled with incomprehensible paintings and heiroglyphics, which appear to have a religious significance. In the centre of the tomb is an altar, surrounded by egg-like objects.'

Detail from the Foss painting above showing the Pyramid:

'From this point there only two differences in the original script worth mentioning. (After returning to the Earthship, the crew studies the films Kane shot in the tomb. The hieroglyphs describe the life cycle of the native Aliens. Reproduction for them is extraordinarily difficult and complex requiring a host and much supervision, as a result of which their life cycle has become central to the culture. The fatal flaw of this species appears to be the biological necessity of overexploitation of the biosphere; and the Earthmen speculate that this may be the reason for the lifelessness of the planet and the apparent disappearance of the species.'

Pyramid opening by Chris Foss:

'Expanding on this in the original conception of the Alien race, the inhabitants of the planetoid are seen as tough and primitive, and with an extremely complicated sexual cycle. Reproduction was very difficult for them and had therefore become central to their religion. And this pyramid was a temple to reproduction (1), the exterior was approximately twenty metres tall and was possibly the creation of an ancient, primitive and cruel culture. Inside the building is a room accessed through a vertical tunnel in the roof since the normal entrance has long since collapsed. The spore pods can be found around the alter in the centre of the room (2). The inhabitants of this world had three entirely different stages in it's life-cycle which are featured as very stylised hieroglyphs on the wall of the birthing temple. It features an oval design with markings as a spore casing, a star shape as a face-hugger, and the star shapes are shown in conjugation with other life forms perceived as freakish hybrids or Gargoyles, these hybrids were often part anthropoid and part octopus in another rewrite part insect and worm like things are then seen emerging from the hybrids, the image of the spore and face-hugger is followed by a creature with six legs and tentacles as the creature in its young form and then the larger form and the pattern repeats itself.'

Chris Foss' pyramid interior:

Old photo of Ron Cobb's birthing chamber with naturalistic colours but low in detail:

’Dan O'Bannon borrowed the idea of a tower on a planetoid through Clifford Simak's Junkyard, in the form of a primitive stone tower on an asteroid that contained instead of birth temple full of spores a creature at the bottom the size of a melon that stole the memories of creatures that touched it and the hypothesis was that the memories would occasionally be collected by an unknown alien race and they discover that this creature had pipes and wires leading into it from the ground that made the explorers wonder if it were a synthesis of animal and machine. (See scriptintroduction in Alien Quadrilogy DVD extras) Why it should have been built in such a primitive way was never discovered by the explorers in Junkyard. Likewise we never really work out how once thriving culture who built pyramids could have evolved on planetoid 120km wide in Alien. The life form inside the tower serves as inspiration for the spore found inside the pyramid, and just as people lose their memories when touching the life form, those who become victims of the facehugger can not remember anything about encountering the spore or being facehugged.’

Updated scan of Ron Cobb's birth temple with less natural looking brighter colours:

'A member of the Earth crew wonders if the pyramid contained fellows of the dead extra terrestrial pilot in a state of suspended animation waiting to be woken up again by their brethren which near enough mirrors an aspect of the ponderings of Erich Von Daniken when he wrote Chariot of the Gods, that he had about the purpose of the great pyramid of Egypt.'

Hieroglyphics detail:

Images and text are taken from:

10 Replies


MemberPraetorianFeb-19-2018 11:24 AM



MemberPraetorianFeb-19-2018 11:31 AM

'Alien Pyramid:

The search party from the Nostromo originally find a triangle that the Space Jockey had carved into its “dashboard,” apparently as its last act, when they investigate the Derelict Ship. After the planetoid’s endless dust storm has briefly settled, the crew can see a huge pyramid on the horizon. Another crew is sent to explore. They scale it, find an opening on top, and a volunteer lowers himself down the hatch. He finds a giant chamber that seems like a tomb, or maybe a place of worship. There are weird statues and some sort of hieroglyphics which are representative of Alien reproductive cycles.'

'The explorer then finds the Alien spores that had been waiting. This summary was taken from The Book of Alien which goes on to quote Ridley Scott who said, “The pyramid and the derelict-two different elements-were still the subject of a seesaw debate when I came on the project. I would love to have shot it, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it would have been wonderful in a three-hour version. What finally cracked it was the budget. We just had to get rid of it. And you know, sometimes financial practicalities force you to do a certain amount of editorial work, and I’m glad we simplified it.”'



MemberPraetorianFeb-19-2018 11:32 AM

Ingeniero - I have the feeling that we'll see a similar pyramid in the direct prequel to Alien.


MemberXenomorphFeb-21-2018 2:02 AM

Here's a leaked picture from Alien : Neverland story boarding, indeed showing a pyramid just like O'Bannon imagined it.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"


MemberPraetorianAug-06-2018 10:04 AM

I think you're correct daliens.

The pyramid-shaped mountain behind Peter Weyland is similar to the O'Bannon pyramid in the opening of the topic, see above and below comparisons.

We might see a pyramid shown before in obscurity, below.


MemberNeomorphAug-08-2018 4:23 AM

It would have been interesting to see how that would have worked out if they would have had it in the movie. There are probably a lot of things that you can wonder about but that is one of the things where I am thinking “what about if they would have replaced this with that?”. We could probably have had many interesting scenes if they would have kept it in the movie.

I think that I prefer the less natural looking colors since they look more alien.

Ingenireo: Thanks for pointing that out about the mountain behind Weyland. I never recognized it until you pointed that out. Sure it could be a coincidence but it looks interesting anyways.


MemberPraetorianAug-09-2018 12:55 PM

You're most welcome Thoughts_Dreams.


MemberPraetorianAug-09-2018 1:16 PM

Here is another comparison of pyramid-shaped mountains in between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.


MemberPraetorianAug-09-2018 1:36 PM

Here is also another comparison of the mountain shown in Prometheus and Planet 4.


MemberDeaconAug-09-2018 4:21 PM

I think we can see some similarities...

But i think its a Coincidence... I am 95% Certain the Landing Location in Alien Covenant and Opening Scene in Prometheus are shot in TWO different Locations..

As for the Back-Ground to the David/Weyland Prologue i think yes these could be the Same Location, but i think if we considered it meant Weyland had Seen/Been or had knowledge of Planet 4 many years prior to Prometheus it could be a Rabbit Hole we bet not go down.

Are they the same Location? I would say yes as far as Shooting, i dont think its meant to be Paradise, as in they have seen it before, i think the whole Scene is Symbolic to Reflect on CREATION and the Creation/Birth of a being who is Superior to Humans (David) but this links to the Nativity Painting.  Weyland is standing in that Room with his Creation, with for Symbolic Reasons the Location of our Creators in the Back Ground.

Thats just my take on it, which does-not mean thats correct at all ;)

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

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