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As the reviews hatch from their slimy clutch of eggs and #RidleyScott's #AlienCovenant gets a deathly facehug from the critics, the fog is finally starting to clear around the sixth film in the Alien series. Although shedding the slew of negativity that surrounded Prometheus, Covenant still finds itself as a mixed-bag affair that becomes more of a story about creationism than an intergalactic alien assault.
However, I think we can all agree that Scott upped the #horror ante with the new addition of his Neomorph subspecies. We saw the razor-toothed albinos attack the remnants of the Covenant crew and make light work of those who dared to go against them. However, with Billy Crudup's Oram shooting the last Neomorph right in the noggin, we aren't sure if the monsters will return for Scott's ongoing franchise — here's hoping.
You Look A Little Pale
For those who didn't get a close enough look at the biggest bad since the Alien Queen, Collider has unearthed some early concept art from the film. Showcasing a look at the design for the Neomorph, the article also explains a little more about them. Our chests are bursting with excitement to learn how the idea went from the twisted mind of Ridley Scott, to page, to screen.
The drawings come from Los Angeles-based MPC, whose previous work includes Guardians of the Galaxy and Kong: Skull Island. Prometheus sadly skimped on the "classic" alien look and went for giant squid-like facehuggers and the fan-favorite Deacon instead, while Covenant took it even further and unveiled several new versions of H.R. Giger's infamous designs. Over the decades, we have seen various civilians, marines, and even robots hunted through the bowels of desolate locations by the Xenomorph's acute hunting skills; however, when it came time to invent the Neomorph, it looks like Covenant turned to the animal kingdom for some inspiration:
"MPC’s artists also used real world references to bring the Neomorph to life, such as the goblin shark, praying mantis and the contorted and extreme motion studies given by actor Javier Botet, which were used to inspire the movement of the Neomorph’s hands and stomach. On top of this already difficult build, this new creature had to go through 4 stages of development from baby to toddler to teen to adult and each stage had to blend seamlessly together. So in essence MPC had to create 5 different aliens: An improved version of the original Xenomorph and 4 versions of the new Neomorph."
With its spindly legs and jumping movements, you can certainly see the mantis influence on the Neomorph. Designers were clearly keen to keep the movie fresh, which is a hard thing to do after 38 years of seeing the same monster rip through the flesh of the human race. It is here that MPC also inadvertently points out perhaps the film's biggest flaw (by accident) and the overuse of CGI instead of what made the franchise work in the past:
"For this movie, Scott wanted the freedom to move away from the ‘guy in a suit’ look of the Xenomorph from the original film and create a more unnatural version of the creature. The Xenomorph needed to have non-human proportions and its own physical signature but still be recognisable as the original Alien. H.R Giger’s original designs were continually referenced throughout the creation of this and there was a physical animatronic on set to match to, however a lot of work went into how this new version of the traditional Alien would move and a lot of different animal movements were incorporated into the animation."
Sadly, even the inclusion of the Neomorphs hasn't saved Alien: Covenant from being just another game of hide and seek from the acid-blooded hunters, while we slowly watched the human race lose out again. While the Neomorphs undoubtedly brought a terrifying new menace to the Scott's series, surely nothing will ever beat watching the late John Hurt have his chest split open over a bowl of Cheerios?
Check out the trailer for Alien: Covenant.