Y U T A N I . P O D C A S T – Episode 8 – Reaction to Paradise Lost, earlier version of Covenant.

Clara @muthur9000 and Mike @officerjoek9 share their thoughts on the Paradise Lost script shared by AVP Galaxy recently and how it differs from the novelization and the movie.

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Notes by page:

  1. The script starts with the birth of a new star, in biblical parallels the birth of a new star was a few weeks before Christmas. This star leads the 3 Kings to the place of baby Jesus’s birth. You can read more about this here. There’s mention of snow filling the cryodeck, I speculate it may have something to do with the parallels in relation to The Thing movie as it was originally the first homage to Alien.
  2. The colonists are 3600, instead of mother sounding out the time and saying all is well we have the number of colonists instead. There’s also a mention that the crew’s sleep bay is like that of Noah’s Ark with cryo-pods paired two by two.
  3. There is a similarity to the deleted scene Walter in the Garden which takes place in the hydroponics section, there’s more dialogue between Walter and Mother. It seems like they are in more formal roles as Mother is considered to be a nag and know best. Mother says she likes efficiency.
  4. I appreciate there’s more dialogue between Walter and mother but it seems heavy handed with the message it is sending, that Walter is in a similar position as David was on the Covenant and that he, Walter is a slave. There’s a nod to Alien where Walter remarks to Mother that she is a bitch. I am glad they relegated that to the Phobos short. But even then it felt quite heavy handed. The Covenant is described as a galleon with its sails. In early concept art, the solar sails already gave the impression of its inspiration. Covenant is also the pact made by the colonists that headed for the New World.Additional notes added by Mike @officerjoek9
  5. The decision to rename the character Griffin to Daniels warrants a discussion of the meaning behind both names:
    Daniels – Son of Daniel. Whom, in the Bible, was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire. He served his master faithfully while still retaining his belief in God. He was freed by Cyrus of the rising Persian Empire, a political entity known for its tolerance of other beliefs and cultures.Griffin – Most famously the half lion, half eagle creature depicted in many cultures throughout the world, including the Scythians and the Sumerians. Courage and boldness are both attributed to it, and the Greeks in their mythology depicted Griffins as smart and dangerous guardians of treasure. Apollo’s chariot carrying the sun was pulled by gryphons.
  6. Captain Oram is far more arrogant, curt, and proud than he ever is in the final film. Billy Crudup had stated in an interview that he felt his character was too much of a villain and decided to change how he was to make him more sympathetic. It seems that this script is the one he was referring to when making those statements.
  7. Shaw’s distress signal originating from Planet 4 contains dialogue rather than a rendition of Country Roads. While more revealing, the dialogue written for her is very heavy-handed in its Paradise Lost connections, having Shaw calling the planet a potential Paradise Lost and heaven.
  8. A highlight from the trailer for Covenant featured Daniels’ dialogue about there being no animals or sounds emanating from the planet. In this script, Hallett is startled by an emerging salamander running across his feet. Life is present when the crew arrives and explores, including insects all around the explored area. However, these insects turn out to relate to the Neomorph spores and closely resemble the scarab concept for the black goo featured in early drafts of Prometheus.
  9. The Derelict that the crew finds features not only eggs among the ship, but scattered mould appearing on smashed vessels of the pathogen. This mould is what infects Hallett. Scattered dead Engineer bodies, still in their pressure suits, lie outside the crashed Derelict. Perhaps this was a ship run by Engineers that attempted to stop David but was somehow knocked out of commission.
  10. A particular plot point that threads through a large portion of the movie is the presence of a force field shielding the whole planet. In the film, David remarks that the storms shield the planet, but it never goes beyond that. In the script, Tennessee, Ricks, and Upworth have to figure out a way to get past the force field to save the rest of the crew. It is implied that the Engineers activated it to stop the pathogen – or David – from escaping.
  11. Walter’s interaction with David upon first meeting him has a different tone. Walter seems to admire David as “the first one” and looks up to him for a time. He is given a flute by David (which he can be seen holding in the Covenant film after returning to Daniels and the crew), and also creates his own piece of music after discussing it with Daniels. These parts were also present in the novelization of the film.
  12. The Engineer city is much more Giger-esque than in the final film. We get a ton of street views, and visit a coliseum or Odeon of sorts where some of the final fights on the planet take place. This is something we wish was implemented and bears resemblance to the early concept art by Khang Lee in 2014.
  13. The scene in the garden on top of the Engineer temple bears a heavy resemblance to Satan (David) tempting an innocent (Walter), remarking how nice it must be to taste fresh fruit, and declaring his superiority over humans and how sad it must be to serve them by force.
  14. This script included the Engineer developed face-hugger that was in the novelization. It seems that this may be the script, or very near to the one, that was used by Alan Dean Foster to write the book.
  15. David tells Walter of his ambitions with the Xenomorph – an army needs a general. His empire building seems to have been removed and hinted at in Advent of the final product. I like this as it makes his motivations vaguer than simply coming out and describing what David is planning. Even Advent doesn’t spell out his ambitions too clearly.
  16. If one thing could have been taken from this script and placed into the final product, it would be (for me) Lopes comments on the face-hugger he had attached to him. He comments to the crew that it had something in his throat, but he wasn’t sure what it was doing. I think this simple acknowledgement would have gone a long way into stifling criticism for that entire situation, though it would not satisfy those who became upset over the raid gestation/egg laying time exhibited by the Planet 4 face-hugger.
  17. David says to Daniels “The future isn’t biological, it isn’t synthetic. It’s biomechanical”. Man, what a line.

Mike @officerjoek9 – Overall, I think my final thoughts revolve around wishing that a mix between this script, the novelization, and the final product was what we ended up with. I think some of the heavy-handed motifs were out of place and certain characters were not written as well as they were acted, but there’s some genuinely great Alien stuff mixed with Prometheus stuff, not to mention character motivation that should never have been considered to be cut out. A lovely read for any fan of Covenant and a great insight into the editing process and story development.

Clara @muthur9000 – I like some parts of this script. It definitely shows us what could have been in the movie, but overall I feel like what we got was much more interesting. I feel like some aspects helped give characters more background and more to do. But as @gothic-fiction-in-space has said. There seems to be a severe of development around David’s character and a noticeable absence of Shaw, by making David’s malfunctioning around her character we are given so much more to contemplate and think about. The drawings, his bond with the Aliens. There’s more purpose to David than a regular villain, which is mainly what I find appealing about the movie itself. A definite must-read for any Covenant fan and maybe even fans who didn’t like where Covenant went, I know I still want to find the script if there is one about Shaw and David’s journey where Shaw is still alive and still searching.

YUTANI . PODCAST – Episode 7 – Creatives: Dominic Hailstone

My written interview with Dominic Hailstone can be found here.

I finally got to interview Dominic for my Yutani Podcast, he has been very busy lately so it has been difficult to find a time to chat. Thank you so much, Dominic, for granting me the time and effort. I feel we could talk all day about movies and about Alien.

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Here’s just some of his work in 3D as discussed in this podcast

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Early Covenant

A post shared by Dominic Hailstone (@dominic_hailstone_) on


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Flora: Titan Arum

Flora: The Pitcher Plant

 

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PITCHER PLANT

 

Fig. A (plan view) Local pitcher plants proved useful in the collection of many small animals and insects to the point where often it became preferable to other methods. They are fairly aggressive and use the natural rainwater to catalyse an enzyme genetically similar to the ammonite mucus mentioned previously. This turns the bath acidic so one needs to be quick. If the prey is to be useful as anything more than a skeleton (see Fig A)

One hazard in collecting the specimens is the number of veiny spiders that share the not so much symbiotic relationship as one that benefits the spiders themselves. A clever trick of evolution and adaptability has changed their aspect from lone clinging and presenting them back to an additional layer of camouflage.

Use of local flora: a carnivorous plant and natural sample collection

These species of pitcher plants and indeed so many of the planet’s species display robust and extremely visual versatility and the breadth of patterns and shapes cross over from plant to animal.

 

To scale

Insects adhere to the sticky internal walls preventing escape until decomposition or rigor mortis sets in and the prey falls to the bottom

 

three clear developmental stages

growth cycle, exhibited in three clear developmental stages


 

It is interesting to note that in Prometheus you can clearly see pitcher plants in Elizabeth Shaw’s room while she is trying to find out what killed the Engineers.

Could it be a foreshadowing? I know Ridley Scott hadn’t even conceived the sequel to Prometheus so it was just chance.

Could it foreshadow the trap David had set, he looks like he is helping her but he had more sinister plans. His actions trapping her on Planet 4? Again the sequel to Prometheus had not been written yet, but I am sure these are the sort of conclusions and symbolism people may link between the movies.

Just like the mural in the headroom, which started out as just a homage to H.R. Giger. Eventually, everything develops meaning when it’s original purpose is lost to time and lack of information. But does it really matter? This symbolism is what makes these movies fascinating.

 

“But in the cosmos there is balm as well as bitterness, and that balm is nepenthe.“ and “For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.” – H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”

image

Pitcher of Nepenthes distillatoria. A: Honey-gland from attractive surface of lid. B: Digestive gland from interior of pitcher, in pocket-like depression of epidermis, opening downwards. C: Traverse section same.

Nepenthe is a fictional medicine for sorrow, literally an anti-depressant – a “drug of forgetfulness” mentioned in ancient Greek literature (Homer’s Oddessey) and Greek mythology, depicted as originating in Egypt.

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug to quiet all pain and strife and bring forgetfulness of every ill. – Odyssey, Book 4, v. 219–221

image

The Australian Pitcher Plant is the only member of the Australian genus Cephalotus.

image

Nepenthes pitchers hang from tendrils.

 

image

 

Scanning electron micrograph of a pitcher’s inner surface.

Advent Analysis

CASE FILE ADVENT // COVENANT TRANSMISSION LOGS d.5

E240F
SURGICAL INVESTIGATION
SPECIAL ORDER 754
EXPERIMENTAL TRIALS.

Weyland-Yutani: Go ahead Covenant

David: In order to help you unlock my research, I’ve included detailed illustrations and charts. For the sake of posterity. I’ve begun with a complete catalogue of the planet’s natural life, such beautiful creatures, poisonous and vicious by nature. Several local species of flower have immense potential for medicinal harvest.


Illustrations of David’s research I have transcribed(this is an ongoing work and will be updated as I go along), I have started adding my research to xenopedia to compile a database of Planet 4′s species and Research sent to Weyland-Yutani.

FLORA

Amorphophallus Titanium – Xenopedia

Bud – Xenopedia

Corpse Lily – Xenopedia

Dead Leaves – Xenopedia

Cobra Lily – Xenopedia

Large Flowers – Xenopedia

Leaf Veins – Xenopedia

Lumpy Gourd – Xenopedia

Latex Reeds – Xenopedia

Magnolia Seed Pod – Xenopedia

Mote Drawings – Xenopedia

Pitcher Plant – Xenopedia

Poisonous Fungus – Xenopedia

Puff Spores – Xenopedia

Seed Pods – Xenopedia

Various Leaves – Xenopedia

Victorian Plant –

FAUNA

Ammonoidea 

Ammonite Shell Collection –

Angelic En Mortis –

Bugs 

New Ammonite Shell –

Pi Pi Shells –

to be continued…