Bengt Petter
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Fri 04 Jun 2021, 12:07

Ok, I’ll put it as a question instead: is the biomechanical vision from Giger’s art an important contribution to the Alien franchise? My answer: hell yes. And it’s not only visual.
 
S.M
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Sat 05 Jun 2021, 00:00

No one ever argued that Giger's vision isn't an important contribution. It's very important.

I fail to see how his contribution is anything other than visual though.
 
bull30075
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Thu 09 Sep 2021, 00:41

So I am apparently very late to this post (my bad) but had some thoughts to add. My short answer to lifespan is: Adaptive.

Someone mentioned in Alien Ash mentioning the chemical make up of the alien. Now those who operate or work with chemicals learn that glass is often used to hold acids as it doesn't react or dissolve when contact occurs. So that might just be the Aliens way of handling it's own caustic body.

So back to the biomechanical discussion: Not sure this is 100% accurate as I also thing bioengineering is also an aspect in the design concepts.

David hated humans and humanity (due to disappoint in his 'father' or even just learning and watching human history and films of his creators) and might have developed psychosis (or it was built in depending on how closely 'father' model him from himself) and because of this he would create a life form he thought was 'better' than humans. Also lets take into account that David probably was a hyperintelligent android capable of recalling information not only about humans but biology and anthropology (as he was given the task of understanding a alien language and you have to study that to give references to the symbols you study) so he could have based his designs on multiple creatures.

So lets look at an alien and what we know: aggressive, acid for blood, tough exoskeleton, two sets of mouths, secretes a resin like substance to create environment but also restrain prey/hosts within nest environment, heightened strength, speed, and probably some unknown sense used to find prey and pathing, has a hierarchy of some sort though not truly defined (it is sort of but I will return), and seems to not want to coexist with any other creature but plants may not be a problem. I also may be leaving some things off but will probably hit on them later.

So lets say David biomechanical multiple genes and abilities into his little monsters. He was operating with that chemical formula merely referred to as serial number substance in the rpg. And as cited in the description this substance causes mutations. So right out the gate the xx121 is adaptive and can 'mutate' as circumstance requires. Lets use bees as part of this (as they have a queen) when the queen gets old or sick the hive prepares a new queen to replace her. So perhaps the alien in the original movie was adapting it's environment to help it not only survive but also expand. Now Nostromo had a limited food source (very few crew members with one killed out the gate due to birthing) and the alien is right in the room with all of them right out the gate so it has a head count. If you go off the expanded cut of alien we know that Ripley finds Dallas in a cocoon in a level of the ship. My theory is that the alien is still evolving and is preparing itself for the evolutionary step from drone to queen but to be queen she wants servants (other drones) and thus the cocoon in Alien.
Aliens give us the different types of aliens (and so does fireteam) you have you classic cannon fodder aliens that just rush and often through sheer numbers will overwhelm and capture their prey.
When Ripley goes down in the nest for Newt we see a few beefier aliens (praetorian) that are close at hand to defend the queen and nest.
Alien 3 we see the Runner alien which seems more quad than bipedal (though to be honest it does seem an inclination of the aliens in all incarnation to be on all fours)
Alien Resurrection: We see the newborn but it seems to be more human than alien (though just as aggressive) and is a bit more fragile (sort of like the neomorph in covenant)
Finally we now have Aliens: Fire Team which Gaska apparently was tapped to consult on so we can use the aliens from it as well as they all seem to be from the xx121 line.

Now I also wanted to talk about how the aliens do behave as other biological creatures it not going to burn itself out. I got the feeling David was trying to create his 'vengeance' creature but also a self sustaining creature because after his encounter with Walter I think he realized he going to have to go for his end game soon as he may be literally losing his mind. Which may give us info from the future Covenant sequel rumored to have supposed to happen. I think he gave them evolutionary steps to give them more options and be better killers but also continue on regardless of location.

Now a question about the original Alien and all the things Giger did. I am not dismissing his contributions they are great. But like humans we tend to want labels and definitions so the Space Jockey and Derelict got that from Prometheus. So I follow up with a rumor I remember reading in the core I believe which makes mention that some Acheron (LV-426) colonists tried to escape the planet but failed to evade alien infiltration and things didn't end well for them. What if something similar happened with David in that last part of his saga. A Engineer gets off the planet in a derelict ship but he is trying to take away the 'contamination' alien eggs (which is why there that sensor like field over the eggs) but he dies from a chestburster and basically fails overall. Or it could have been David's last act before his 'end' sending the engineer asleep or unconscious infected and just sent off in a random direction to seed the planets as he knows that humans in their greed and stupidity will seek out the beacon he arms (despite it being a 'warning') to draw in humanity. There is a chance there are more 'derelicts' out there for humanity to find. David's final present.
 
Tybalt
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Sun 26 Sep 2021, 12:57

I would guess the lifespan of lower caste xenomorphs to be closer to a month, but under a year without hibernation. If an entire hive was to die off except for the matriarch, there would not be a distribution system for eggs or collection of hosts, as face huggers seem to only live a few hours or a day at most. Cocoons would be able to extend the viability of a short lived species quite a bit, and perhaps a face hugger would also be able to attach itself to an already implanted host for feeding, or maybe there could be a different type of face hugger all together that is designed for longer term attachment with an internal yolk for sustaining the host for a longer period of time.

If native life is scarce on any chosen planet, this would allow for a skeleton crew of drones to continuously search for more hosts. Even if none were found before the remainder of the drones died off, the hive would be able to sustain itself until enough hosts are found, then any born past this threshold could hibernate to stockpile drones in case of emergency.
 
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Vader
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Mon 27 Sep 2021, 18:18

The concept that the Alien takes on characteristics of its host was how it was originally conceived for the first film (Ridley Scott spoke about it during production). It's always been official

Just to highlight that there are actually several interpretations to this piece of history, and which one chooses to believe is a somewhat up to individual preference.


Sir Ridley has in interviews contemporary to the production indeed mused around the speculation that "hey — seeing that Giger's design turned out to be more or less anthropomorphic — what if the creature actually takes on properties of its host?" or words to similar effect.

For instance, in Starlog's Official Movie Magazine from 1979 we can read:

FACT: There was much more to the Alien than met the eye. Since Ridley Scott used a painting by Giger as the basis for the adult Alien, he had to work backward to create the first two phases. During this process, the director came to understand the organism completely. "The nasty one," he says, "the thing that sprung out of the egg — the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it — is the father. All it does is plant the seed. And the next generation takes on characteristics of whatever form it landed on." This means that the ALIEN may not always be a biped! It could conceivably be a combination of the original Face Hugger and whatever host it uses!

To me, this would indicate that the Alien is not made bipedal in the movie because it takes on characteristics from its host. Instead, Sir Ridley is speculating that it might take on characteristics from its host because Giger's design is vaguely anthropomorphic, and Sir Ridley "works backward" from Giger's design. The interviewer also uses words like "may" and "conceivably"; hardly giving an impression that his subject had spoken in terms of definite intent.

Interpreting this instead as indicative of that this was the guiding intention behind the concept all along — let alone "proof" of it — would, to my mind at least, be reading a bit too much into it.

To wit, I have yet to see any contemporary material unequivocally stating that Giger was explicitly commissioned to design a creature that "carried traits of its host" in some way. Rather the other way around, if anything.
And this being the case, I find categorical statements to the effect that the Alien taking on characteristics of its host always was integral to the film's "original concept" ... very difficult to justify.
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ExileInParadise
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Mon 27 Sep 2021, 19:38

To wit, I have yet to see any contemporary material unequivocally stating that Giger was explicitly commissioned to design a creature that "carried traits of its host" in some way. Rather the other way around, if anything.
And this being the case, I find categorical statements to the effect that the Alien taking on characteristics of its host always was integral to the film's "original concept" ... very difficult to justify.
Giger wasn't commissioned to create a creature that carried traits of its host.

Scott picked the look for the "big chap" out of Giger's Necronomicon - it was already designed and Scott has mentioned in interviews how he had to keep Giger from re-redesigning that Necronom creature after he'd picked it.

Giger was commissioned with the concepts of the facehugger and chestburster already part of the lifecycle - starting with Dan O'Bannon and Ron Schusett's script and Dan's "flying omelet" sketch.

Ridley had already been sold on Giger's designs by O'Bannon by then ... those paintings are dated '78 in Giger's ALIEN and Necronom is even earlier.

The idea that the alien looks humanoid was a handwave to the fact it was a guy in a suit despite everything they tried (circus acrobats etc) to make it look otherwise that eventually became canon in Alien 3 with the Runner (thankfully not the Bambi-burster...)

Dan O'Bannon had already said his screenplay was inspired by a Giger monster to begin with.

A lot of this ground is covered in Giger's ALIEN, and The Book of Alien.

The "Scott had to work backward" is fluff added by Starlog - not something Scott said.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Mon 27 Sep 2021, 19:47

Interpreting this instead as indicative of that this was the guiding intention behind the concept all along — let alone "proof" of it — would, to my mind at least, be reading a bit too much into it.
Dan O'Bannon has said a lot over the years about the "intention" for ALIEN:
* make a serious version of DARK STAR
* have a Giger monster instead of a beach ball
* the Aliens are intelligent and can learn and speak or mimic English (and operate shuttle controls...)
* the Aliens had a violent childhood stage that adults would wean them out of - which didn't happen with our guy on the Nostromo
* they sacrificed cow-like creatures in their temples like farmers for the facehuggers

Yeah nothing from O'Bannon that I've seen or heard said "human form because intentional"

That would be borrowing a bit too much from The Thing from Another World rather than It, The Terror From Beyond Space
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
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Vader
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Tue 28 Sep 2021, 09:48

The "Scott had to work backward" is fluff added by Starlog - not something Scott said.

Not really fundamentally disagreeing with anything you say, as it seems you are pretty much underscoring the points I already made. There is no basis for categorically stating that the Alien inheriting traits from its host in fact was in any way part of an "original concept" that predates the shooting. Full stop.

Just correcting the above statement a bit by pointing out that when writing out an interview based article, it is not necessary to write everything as "question-answer" direct quotes. It is quite common to employ a looser style, contracting some information given by the interview subject into free text while putting other bits into quotations.
That doesn't make the information not actually inside quotation marks "fluff". In fact, it would be highly remarkable indeed if the interviewer had invented facts of his own to put into Sir Ridley's mouth.
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pfarland
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Re: XX121 lifespan.

Sun 10 Oct 2021, 21:28

Considering that the XX121 is a Biomechanical Weapon designed to wipe out all higher life, from a military standpoint you either want a "control unit", an off switch, some sort of IFF "system", or an inbuilt time limit. This is all assuming that the designer wasn't willing to either make Hell Planets or do the dirty work of cleaning out hives themselves.

If the Designer didn't care that the result of using this weapon was utter destruction and chaos, the goal would be to have XX121 live as long as possible, even go into hibernation. For this the Designer either just has to hate all life that can't handle the coming fight or the Designer just hates all life. This version, the Xenomorph is the biological version of a strategic nuclear weapon. Either the Designer just don't care about the result or the Designer is willing to cause this much chaos and destruction to achieve their goals. This still makes cleanup a potential issue.

Having some sort of built in control unit does make a lot of tactical sense. This way after the main wave of xenomorph infestation has settled down and most every is dead, the Designer can come in and take control of the weapons and turn them off, or even use some in clean up operations. There is the theory that the Queen is highly intelligent, possibly even sentient. Along with that is the theory that there is a psychic link between members of a hive. If this is the case, that leaves the possibility that the Designer can also use that same psychic link. Possibly those biological suits are the psychic link and/or the Designer is naturally psychic. If suits are the source of the psychic link, the chance for mishaps increases dramatically and also proportionally with the lifetime of XX121.

Some sort of "Off Switch" makes extreme sense when using the XX121 as a WMD. This could also be psychic as well so this could easily be part of a "control unit" in that psychic sense.

There is some minor evidence for the equivalent of an IFF (Identification Friend, Foe) system built into the XX121. This system is most likely not psychic. The XX121's tend to ignore synthetics unless provoked. If this is a system that is built in, it would lean the argument for the lifespan slightly longer by the Designer. It's very possible that the biomechanical nature of the Engineers suits also utilize that same IFF system. If this is the only control system, it would lean much lower, whereas if it is a backup system by the Designer, it would lean towards a longer life span.

An in built time limit makes the most sense if XX121 is used as a WMD and the Designer has no control over it. This makes sense only if the Designer is willing to wait past the absolute limit past where the XX121 can survive and the Designer is willing to commence clean up operations. The key things to ask is "How long is the Designer willing to wait?" The answer might even be hundreds of years or more. It might even be entertainment.

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