Genetic Memory – Influencing the Neomorphs

Posted by Corporal Hicks on March 20, 2017 (Updated: 20-Mar-2017)

Jon Spaihts’ Proto-Aliens

Before Prometheus became Prometheus, it was a more straight-forward Alien prequel being written by Jon Spaihts. Damon Lindelof eventually joined the film and reworked it to become more focused on the Space Jockeys, or Engineers as they were renamed. Much of the narrative structure remained the same though.

Jon Spaihts worked on 5 major drafts of the Alien prequel before Lindelof took over as scribe. While much of the core story remained the same, many of the more direct connections to the Aliens were removed. Only two of Spaihts’ drafts have made it online but both of those scripts’ Aliens remained the same.

They featured a proto-Alien, a progenitor species that shared the same lifecycle and many traits. Spaihts would imply that the Engineers were responsible for experimenting on and weaponizing these proto-Aliens, creating eight different variations of which the Alien that the Nostromo would eventually encounter was just one. The proto-Aliens would appear as the primary adversary within Spaihts’ script with the traditional Alien making an appearance in the last third of the scripts.

 Genetic Memory - Influencing the Neomorphs

Prometheus concept art showing the proto-Alien.

The Neomorphs in Alien: Covenant don’t seem to be playing the role of proto-Aliens, rather a variation of, but it would appear they play the same role in terms of being the primary antagonists for the majority of the film with the “traditional” Alien showing up later.

I say “traditional” as there are some noticeable design differences between the Alien (and egg) we’ve seen in the trailers and the Alien as portrayed in the original film. Though these designs were only referred to as the Aliens behind the scenes on Alien: Covenant, this new design of Aliens appear to be serving as a design in-between the Neomorphs and the bio-mechanical design that H.R Giger designed for the original Alien.  Though this is a subject for another article.

Aside from structural narrative similarities with Jon Spaihts’ proto-Aliens, the big influence they seem to have on the Neomorph is in terms of appearance.

“Behind them, from an eight-inch diameter pipe, a WHITE MASS oozes, almost gelatinous. Silently as a liquid it pours itself into the stagnant water – and stands up.

It is a humanoid demon, spindly limbs and bony back. Boneless and flexible and monstrously strong. A threshing eel’s tail. Its blunt head dolphin-like and elongated.”

As well as being described in the script, the proto-Aliens were conceptualized quite extensively. Some of these designs would later influence the appearance of the Deacon but they started out as being for Spaihts’ proto-Aliens.

While we don’t get a good look at the Neomorph in the trailer, here’s what Alien vs. Predator Galaxy previously learned about the creature’s appearance in Alien: Covenant –

“The births are preceded by the eruption of two small dorsal spikes. These spikes and a pointed skull are also used to break out of an embryonic sack (similar to the Deacon in Prometheus). The Neomorph resembles some of the older concept art of the proto-Aliens from Prometheus (see below), specifically the white colouration, with a pointed head and two dorsal spines. Upon birth, the Neomorphs move on all fours similar to the Bambi-burster from Alien 3.”

 Genetic Memory - Influencing the Neomorphs

A Neomorph glimpsed in second Alien: Covenant trailer.

We had a brief glimpse at the younger Neomorphs in both of the trailer where it appears, as described above, on all fours and white in colour with a pointed head. It’s a brief glimpse but in stills you can clearly see it. The trailers don’t show us the adult form of the Neomorph just yet but here’s the description we provided last year:

“When they mature, they [the Neomorphs] grow significantly larger and walk on their back legs. They were more animal-like in behaviour with fang-like teeth. Unlike the earlier Prometheus concepts, the Neomorphs also have tails. In addition, the adult Neomorphs also developed a slightly translucent appearance (harkening back to unused concepts from Alien and Prometheus) as previously rumored.”

While we can’t confirm as of yet how close the adult Neomorphs are going to be to the Prometheus concept art, we have seen in some of the leaked set pictures from Alien: Covenant that many of the deformed creatures found in David’s laboratory in Alien: Covenant also share a striking resemblance to older Prometheus concept art by Carlos Huante and Ivan Manzella.

We’re unable to share the leaked pictures (you’ll find them with a quick Google search) but here are some of the concepts that we saw in the leaked images.

Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield
Mutant Fifield

When Alien: Covenant is released, we’ll no doubt find out more about the various influences that played a part in shaping the film and where Ridley Scott plans to take the narrative with the later films in his prequel trilogy.

Keep a close eye on Alien vs. Predator Galaxy for the latest on Alien: Covenant! You can follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get the latest on your social media walls. You can also join in with fellow Alien fans on our forums!

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Comments: 11
  1. The spores I wonder if they have anything to do with the engineer from Prometheus when he started to particlize after consuming the cup of elements.

  2. Great read.The moment I saw the airborne black goo I immediately thought of Gibson. I have always been a fan of the original Alien 3. It had a more dark/gothic tone that was similar to the first film, and it had the gritty feel that only Fincher can pull off. That being said, Gibson’s script is (merely in my personal opinion) the most faithful sequel to Aliens. I’m not surprised Ridley may be incorporating some ideas from it. If I remember correctly, there are 1 or 2 ideas in David Twohy’s Alien 3 script that appear to have been later incorporated into his film “The Chronicles of Riddick”.

    Twohy and Ward both really brought some amazing ideas to the table in their own right. Ried kind of lost me at the Alien chickens thing. Although to be fair, Gibson also showed that animals could be infected in his script. Regardless, I think it’s great if Ridley chooses to bring some of the cool ideas these guys had to the screen finally. I can only hope that if Neil’s Alien 5 truly gets the boot, he leaks the script. Weaver really talked it up there for awhile and I’d love to see where they were planning on taking the series.

  3. I like how ideas being reused from previous drafts in later sequels even 30 years later.

    The way Bishop was infected in Gibson’s draft could be an explanation in the final movie why we had the queen eggs on Sulaco.
    “-Was there alien on the board?
    The Queen spread her spore on the dropship before ejected out of the airlock.The spore growns into an egg.

    Very interesting and good post.

  4. very interesting post , really enjoyed reading about the unused alien 3 concept involving the spore pods at the base of the trees .
    I think it’s a very interesting concept and love that Scott and Co are giving obvious nods to those ideas , it would have raised questions and it now seems obvious to me that prometheus was made to establish 1 fact within this universe

    the black goo can make the beast from anything …..

    we can see those spore pods in the trailer and we all know exactly how they were made , no explination required .

    I’m fookin PREYING the thing that attacks them in the grass looks just like the deacon model on page 186 of the prometheus art book ….. seems very similar 😊😊

    a little off topic ….. but I’ve been wondering , we know the stuff in those urns is genetic material , did the lv223 engineers get something to drink the same substance as the sacrifice engineer to break it down into what we see in those urns ?

  5. “Neill Blomkamp may have been poised to retcon Alien 3, but it would appear that Sir Ridley Scott isn’t as willing to let the third film fade into the ether just yet. ”

    This seems a little click-baity, has Scott ever said anything about Alien 3? Are you just referring to the ideas in the unused A3 scripts?

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