Friday, February 14, 2014

Unused ALIENS Concept Art by James Cameron and Stan Winston Reveal How the Queen Almost Looked

Friday, February 14, 2014 - by Maurice Mitchell 2


Check out Aliens concept art by James Cameron and Stan Winston!

Every Friday, I try and share artwork from a classic of science fiction movies or television. This week's "Flashback Friday" post is on Aliens (1986).

Before the Alien Queen became the "B*itch" she went through a ton of design changes. Here's a quick history of the designs starting with a little sketch in the 1980s to the final terrifying design.

Mother
Back in the 1980s, director James Cameron started working on a movie called Mother about  "a  female genetically engineered creature attempting to ensure the survival of its young." He had created a drawing of a six-limbed panther called a “Skraath,” or “Skraith,” for a movie called  Labyrinth and tried to reuse the design. Neither project happened, but the design went on to be used for the "Thanator" in  Avatar. The theme of two women fighting  was also a core concept behind the final scene in Aliens.

The basic design inspired the initial look of the six-limbed Alien Queen.


Stan Winston Collaboration
When Cameron started working on Aliens he brought several renderings of the Queen Alien to his preliminary design meetings at Stan Winston Studio. Winston said, "Right from the start, Jim had a concept of the Alien Queen in the back of his head. In fact, when we first began talking about the project he showed me the beautiful rendering he had done of it which I liked immediately."



The two began brainstorming ideas and Winston did some renderings of his own.


Inspiration by H.R. Giger
In the end, the team decided to stay closer to Cameron's original designs and began incorporating elements of the original Alien Xenomorph designs by H.R. Giger. The artist was not asked to return and help design the sequel. Cameron said they're designs are "mainly a reprise of Mr. Giger's design." He also said, they "tried to be consistent with Giger's motifs, but not necessarily enslaved to it."

The original design paintings inspired various items in the Queen's look from the hand...

 to the neck.



Here's the final look of the Alien Queen.


The result was well-received by audiences and even those who worked on the first film. Even Giger said, "It's all beautifully done, everything, the designs and the way they're executed. The Alien Queen is also nice. She's a bit smaller in the face than my alien but my basic design was very well studied. She was frighteningly well animated."

Click on the links if you want to see more of H.R. Giger, James Cameron or Stan Winston's work or Aliens artwork on my blog.

Some images taken from http://www.jamescamerononline.com

What do you think of the concept art? What did you think of the designs? Do you like any of them better than the final image?

Official Aliens Summary
In this action-packed sequel to Alien, Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley, the only survivor from mankind's first encounter with the monstrous Alien. Her account of the Alien and the fate of her crew are received with skepticism - until the mysterious disappearance of colonists on LV-426 leads her to join a team of high-tech colonial marines sent in to investigate.
Directed by James Cameron
Cinematography by Adrian Biddle
Production Design by Michael Seymour
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen
Release Dates: July 18, 1986

© Copyright 1986 Brandywine Productions, SLM Production Group, 20th Century Fox. All rights reserved



About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

2 comments:

  1. James Cameron is a great artist in his own right. His terminator sketches were stunning. They guy is good at everything. I loved the alien queen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm surprised they've never released a book containing his art....the man is amazing, he definitely has the skills.

    ReplyDelete

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