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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Tue 21 Jan 2020, 13:45
by sathyr
Again, besides the point.  The fact is it was something the people who made the first film had taken into consideration when they were making the first film.  It wasn't created for the third film.

Whether you think the concept is present in the first film or not doesn't mean they didn't create it at the time.
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Again, it is the whole point.

What may or may not have been going on in the heads of the people while making the film is irrelevant -- indeed, often you'll find there may be several diverging, even mutually contradictory, ideas and visions in the minds of different people in any given production. None of it matters.

The only thing that actually counts is what actually can be seen on-screen. And as we know that the whole idea of inherited traits was merely a retcon from the fact that Giger's design is bipedal, pointing at the bipedal Alien as "proof" is nothing but circular logic.
And Ash's line about "Kane's son" is ambiguous at best. It may be used as an argument by the literally minded, but is a far cry from anything like "proof".
You can't retcon concept art. That's... not how continuity works.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Wed 22 Jan 2020, 01:20
by S.M
Agreed.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Wed 22 Jan 2020, 13:33
by Diego
Agreed.
Agreed, and also double agreed when it comes to Alien Isolation and its continuity of Alien. (Spoiler warning onward) A shame though no one on sevestapol kept pets, would have loved a mid game twist with different aliens to change up the cat and mouse dynamic. Get some Aliens with those dog traits.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Thu 23 Jan 2020, 00:48
by Vader
Agreed.
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Call it what you will -- the simple fact remains: SRS came up with the idea only as a possible rationalisation after-the-fact for Giger's bipedal design. Therefore, referring to the bipedal Alien as "evidence that the concept made it to the screen" amounts to nothing more than circular logic.

If that's the way your logic swings, fine -- have a ball. Mine doesn't.


And now I'm beginning to be a little surprised that this thread is still alive...!
 (Don't come complainin' to me, 's all I'm sayin'...   :P  )

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Thu 23 Jan 2020, 13:27
by sathyr
No, that's not how circular logic works, either. Giger created the design. Scott interpreted that design to bring it to film. The concept art - and Giger's intent - are irrelevant to canon, because Giger didn't make the movie. Scott did.

There are two possible conclusions to this. If we go the full "death of the author" route, that only on-screen material is canon (and authorial intent is irrelevant), then Giger's intent and Scott's interpretation are both irrelevant and we can judge only what made it to the movie. The result? It's inconclusive: we simply do not have enough data, in ALIEN alone, to judge whether or not the creature inherits traits from the host. We do not see a non-bipepedal creature borne from a biped, nor do we see a bipedal creature borne from a non-biped, nor do we receive any narrative exposition one way or the other. So at the very most we can argue that it's inconclusive (which, incidentally, does not make Alien3 a retcon in the common sense; though it is "retroactively" introducing an idea into the "continuity" it is not contradicting the earlier films, which is generally what defines a retcon versus a traditional explanation.)

The second possible inclusion is if we allow authorial intent, in which case... Scott's intent is the only relevant one. I don't mean to diminish the man's influence, but Giger drew pictures. He did not create a narrative. He did not write the movie. If anything we should be deferring to the script and screenplay writers - O'Bannon, Shusett, Hill, & Giler (though Scott himself made substantial contributions) - to the best of my knowledge none of them have weighed in on this subject. As the man with final creative control over the project, if we are to take anyone's interpretation as the "true canon", it should be Scott's.

Scott saw what Giger created and decided to interpret it as an alien creature that inherits traits of the host, and he created the movie with that interpretation in mind. You cannot apply "death of the author" to one without also applying it to the other. And whichever way you'd like it, neither way is a retcon as neither approach contradicts the finished film.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Thu 23 Jan 2020, 19:28
by Vader
If we go the full "death of the author" route, that only on-screen material is canon (and authorial intent is irrelevant), then Giger's intent and Scott's interpretation are both irrelevant and we can judge only what made it to the movie. The result? It's inconclusive: we simply do not have enough data, in ALIEN alone, to judge whether or not the creature inherits traits from the host. We do not see a non-bipepedal creature borne from a biped, nor do we see a bipedal creature borne from a non-biped, nor do we receive any narrative exposition one way or the other. So at the very most we can argue that it's inconclusive (which, incidentally, does not make Alien3 a retcon in the common sense; though it is "retroactively" introducing an idea into the "continuity" it is not contradicting the earlier films, which is generally what defines a retcon versus a traditional explanation.)

The second possible inclusion is if we allow authorial intent, in which case... Scott's intent is the only relevant one. I don't mean to diminish the man's influence, but Giger drew pictures. He did not create a narrative. He did not write the movie. If anything we should be deferring to the script and screenplay writers - O'Bannon, Shusett, Hill, & Giler (though Scott himself made substantial contributions) - to the best of my knowledge none of them have weighed in on this subject. As the man with final creative control over the project, if we are to take anyone's interpretation as the "true canon", it should be Scott's.

Scott saw what Giger created and decided to interpret it as an alien creature that inherits traits of the host, and he created the movie with that interpretation in mind. You cannot apply "death of the author" to one without also applying it to the other. And whichever way you'd like it, neither way is a retcon as neither approach contradicts the finished film.
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My viewpoint follows the "death of the author" philosophy, always has -- I only follow what is on-screen (you'll find the exact same philosophy permeating my Nostromo thread ... and, incidentally, annoying pretty much the same people there  ;) ).

Thus, Giger's intent is just as irrelevant to me as is Sir Ridley's.

I only brought Giger up in the first place because someone used a partial quote out of context as an argument in favour of the circular logic at an earlier point on this thread, and the full quote I responded with mentioned Giger. The gist of the full quote being that his design preceded the idea of inherited traits. So, call it rationalisation or interpretation, but Sir Ridley's musings stemmed from the design already being bipedal (which, strictly speaking, also makes it into a "retroactive construction", i.e. retcon).
For fans in this discussion then to point to the bipedal Alien as proof that the "inherited traits concept made it on-screen" IS circular logic: (1 -- historical fact) the design is bipedal, ergo Sir Ridley speculates that traits might be inherited, and (2 -- according to these fans) the traits are meant to be inherited, ergo the design is bipedal. The circle is now complete...

My point is that the whole idea is caused by what already is on-screen (or at least, on its way there); it does not cause what is on-screen. In this regard, what is seen on-screen proves nothing.
What, at the time, went through Sir Ridley's head -- or Giger's -- is inconsequential.

And yes, there is too little data in ALIEN to draw any absolute conclusions, I wholly agree. But the way I see it -- the creature is bipedal, and balance of probability suggests that this is because the creature is bipedal. As in, always.
And in my game, this is the route I'm going -- as I've explained earlier: I draw the line after ALIENS. I do not incorporate any lore established in Alien3 or Resurrection in my interpretation. And as for those "prequel" ... abominations ... I will not even deign to mention them by name.

I do not in any way argue that others should do likewise. I do however maintain that others can -- that cherry-picking elements from the lore as fits the individual GM's tastes and preferences is a valid choice. I merely offer my ideas as a source for inspiration to the like-minded. Others are free to ignore them.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Thu 23 Jan 2020, 22:13
by Diego
No, that's not how circular logic works, either. Giger created the design. Scott interpreted that design to bring it to film. The concept art - and Giger's intent - are irrelevant to canon, because Giger didn't make the movie. Scott did.

There are two possible conclusions to this. If we go the full "death of the author" route, that only on-screen material is canon (and authorial intent is irrelevant), then Giger's intent and Scott's interpretation are both irrelevant and we can judge only what made it to the movie. The result? It's inconclusive: we simply do not have enough data, in ALIEN alone, to judge whether or not the creature inherits traits from the host. We do not see a non-bipepedal creature borne from a biped, nor do we see a bipedal creature borne from a non-biped, nor do we receive any narrative exposition one way or the other. So at the very most we can argue that it's inconclusive (which, incidentally, does not make Alien3 a retcon in the common sense; though it is "retroactively" introducing an idea into the "continuity" it is not contradicting the earlier films, which is generally what defines a retcon versus a traditional explanation.)

The second possible inclusion is if we allow authorial intent, in which case... Scott's intent is the only relevant one. I don't mean to diminish the man's influence, but Giger drew pictures. He did not create a narrative. He did not write the movie. If anything we should be deferring to the script and screenplay writers - O'Bannon, Shusett, Hill, & Giler (though Scott himself made substantial contributions) - to the best of my knowledge none of them have weighed in on this subject. As the man with final creative control over the project, if we are to take anyone's interpretation as the "true canon", it should be Scott's.

Scott saw what Giger created and decided to interpret it as an alien creature that inherits traits of the host, and he created the movie with that interpretation in mind. You cannot apply "death of the author" to one without also applying it to the other. And whichever way you'd like it, neither way is a retcon as neither approach contradicts the finished film.
A very good post mate that got to the point. A shame that the point of the thread has been lost. Discussing the xenomorph would actually be interesting but it seems instead it has been derailed to the point of been a discussion on what is canon. Either way thanks for trying to bring some sense.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Fri 24 Jan 2020, 19:47
by Riggswolfe
I would posit that the intent of this thread as conveyed in the OP and the title is more or less impossible under these conditions for most of us. What do I mean? Well, simply put, Vader seems to want to figure out how to classify the Xenomorph and such but only accepts what is on-screen in two of the movies and nothing else. This narrows down the range of the alien to "bipedal monsters that have a queen and form a hive and are birthed from a human victim's chest."

Actually, guess it's not impossible. I summed it up in one sentence. Go me! We could've saved a lot of pages of back and forth. 

A little less tongue in cheek, I think we've settled the "why is the titular Alien called a Xenomorph?" at this point. Though ironically, most of the answers come from off-screen stuff like supplementary novels and reference guides.
At the time Alien3 was made, the clearly stated "production intent" was that the morphology of the creature would inherit traits from the host life from; hence, this creature was smaller, had digitigrade hind legs, etc. But this has now been dropped in the game, making that morphology a unique subclass, not merely a "dog-ified" version of the same creature? (If so - good; I'm just looking for confirmation.)
(I was never comfortable with the idea anyway - if the emerging creature lends traits from the host life form, where did the Big Chap's dorsal tubes, barbed tail, six fingers, etc., etc., etc., come from? Or is there something about Kane we don't know...?)

<snip>

The difference between the "soldier" and the "sentry" ... the warrior costumes and props used on-set on ALIENS differed in details, but with no particular intent from the production. Is this an attempt to rationalise these differences into different subcategories, or where does this stem from?
I think you're taking the morphology thing a bit literally in the first part I quoted here Vader. The alien has some traits from the host creature. It also has some traits of its own clearly, like the head shape, the tail, the inner jaw, etc. 

In the last part, this is exactly where the drone and soldier stuff came from. An attempt to describe the differences. If memory serves they eventually settled on the soldier appearance being the result of a drone aging and/or joining a hive.

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Sun 26 Jan 2020, 07:05
by S.M
Cameron had his own take the Aliens.  The big black ones were effectively the same thing as on the Nostromo (sans dome and a couple of other minor differences) and referred to as 'warriors'.  He scripted smaller albino drones that tended the Queen, but they were cut.

I don't really get the myriad varieties in the game (other than the fact they provide variety for the players).

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Posted: Mon 27 Jan 2020, 12:40
by Diego
Cameron had his own take the Aliens.  The big black ones were effectively the same thing as on the Nostromo (sans dome and a couple of other minor differences) and referred to as 'warriors'.  He scripted smaller albino drones that tended the Queen, but they were cut.

I don't really get the myriad varieties in the game (other than the fact they provide variety for the players).
They provide variety and serve as a homage to the comics which some people will want to include in their games. I mean earth war serves as an amazing backdrop for a campaign and would make the xeno more present.