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StarBeast — Alien: Covenant, the Alien

“No one understands the lonely perfection of my dreams. I found perfection here. I’ve created it. A perfect organism.”

“They want Aliens, I’ll give them fucking Aliens,” said Ridley Scott of the eponymous creature’s return in Alien: Covenant. Previously, the director had said that “the beast is done. Cooked,” something that resulted in the complete excision of the Alien from the final script for Prometheus. However, the lack of actual Aliens in the prequel film backfired and became a widespread complaint among enthusiasts of the series; as such, Twentieth Century Fox pushed for the inclusion of the original creature in the sequel. “It went straight up there, and we discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated,” Scott said. “They wanted to see more of the original [Alien] and I thought he was definitely cooked, with an orange in his mouth. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong.'”

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StarBeast — Alien: Covenant, the Neomorph

From the start of Alien: Covenant‘s production, it was known that the monsters in the film would be mostly digital effects. “We knew from the outset that we were going to do fully CG versions of all the creatures,” said visual effects supervisor Charles Henley, “but Ridley also wanted to have something there on set that he could frame on and direct, and that could interact with the actors. We started with the idea of reference puppets; later, this evolved into high-quality creature suits.” Scott said: “sometimes the physicality of an actor doing something odd that you haven’t thought of or you don’t want to do digitally, is useful; so whenever you can, always shoot the monster.”

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Monster Gallery: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Exclusive: Interview with Adam Johansen

Monster Legacy had the privilege and honour to interview Adam Johansen, head of Odd Studio, about their work on Alien: Covenant. For the film, Odd Studio merged with Conor O’Sullivan’s Creatures Inc. to create a series of practical creatures that would serve both as onscreen effects and as reference for the digital effects.

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Monster Gallery: Independence Day (1996)

Invaders on the Fourth of July

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The question of
whether or not
we are alone
in the universe
has been answered
.

The Alien invaders of Independence Day are not seen up close in the film until Hiller knocks one down after its craft crashed. The creature is subsequently seen within a laboratory where the film recreates a key sequence concept common to science-fiction classics it homages — a close encounter with one of the invaders. Patrick Tatopoulos, production designer of the film, designed the entirety of the extraterrestrial elements of Independence Day, including the Aliens themselves.

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StarBeast — Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, the Predalien

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Whilst Alien Vs. Predator marked the first film appearance of an Alien birthed from a Predator host — abbreviated in ‘Predalien’ — the concept had already been explored in the eponymous comics and video games, starting from the 1995 run Aliens Vs. Predator: Duel. Shortly after the publication of that series, freelance concept artist and illustrator David Dorman was approached for the very first attempt at making a film version Alien Vs. Predator. Dorman was assigned the design of the Predalien — which he produced over the course of a few months.

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StarBeast — Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

With the worldwide success of Alien Vs. Predator, a sequel was greenlit by Twentieth Century Fox. Due to their familiarity with both the Alien series and the first AvP film, the special effects artists of Amalgamated Dynamics were again hired to bring the creature effects of the new film to the screen. Accompanying them in the task was Hydraulx — directors Greg and Colin Strause’s own visual effects company, which provided digital counterparts for all the Alien creatures. Requiem would feature the least stages of the Alien lifecycle — with a script devoid of both Eggs or a Queen; despite that, it would introduce to the screen the so-called ‘Predalien’, an Alien born from a Predator host, which only had been portrayed in the AvP comics up until the film’s release.

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StarBeast — Alien Vs. Predator

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Alien Vs. Predator was born as a successful comic book series by Dark Horse, which pitted the two iconic film Monsters against each other within an organic backstory. When the film version was being written, Dan O’Bannon, the original writer of Alien, suggested to the filmmakers a new twist on the relationship between the two titular creatures. The idea was — for perhaps obvious reasons — discarded. O’Bannon told Fangoria: “the most obvious creative thing you have to solve on a movie like this is: what’s the connection between the species? What they came up with was that Predators bred Aliens as part of a complicated ritual. But my idea was, what if the Predators are the Aliens? In the first Alien movie, there’s a part in the end when they blow up the ship. And it still has one stage left, and my idea was that if it metamorphosed one more time it would have become the Predator, but they didn’t use it. It was good, though! My one great idea for them and they didn’t use it.” Despite that, O’Bannon still ultimately enjoyed the final product.

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H.R. Giger’s letters to Twentieth Century Fox on the lack of credit for Alien: Resurrection

Necronom IV.

Necronom IV.

When Alien: Resurrection was theatrically released, there was no actual credit given to H.R. Giger — neither in the opening credits nor in the end credits. The omission, allegedly “a genuine oversight,” was corrected in home video releases — especially after the following letters, sent by Giger to Twentieth Century Fox.

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