The Alien: Cylinder Script

 leading from

Manmade derelict -"Black Ship and Cylinder"

a) Man made ship and cylindrical tower
A concept painting showing the remains of a man made ship and a cylindrical tower with human explorers wandering around shining their torches.

This was for a version of the script in which the crew of the spaceship find a lost Earth base where previous travelers fought a losing battle with aliens

b) Eggs part of genetic experiment
There the eggs are revealed to be a part of a genetic engineering experiment being carried out by the same Earth company that employs the crew of the Nostromo.

The company are involved in a project to create a perfect killing machine, which was the alien of the title.

c) Nostromo crew as guineau pigs
In that script, the crew find that the Nostromo has been programmed to pick up one of the eggs, activate it and return the resulting creature to the company headquarters.

The crew themselves are expendable guineau pigs used to see just how effective the company's deadly creation is.

But members of the crew learn the truth that one of their number is actually a robot working under the direct orders of the company.

d) B-52 transformed into an L-52
The derelict ship that would seem to be alien in origin in O'Bannon's original script as also in the final film.

However this Earthly derelict, The Black Ship as it is known is a new version of an L-52 craft, perhaps named after the B-52 bomber.

In this scenario, the old L-52 craft is known to generally go with a compliment of seven people.

The disfigured remains of one dead human astronaut are discovered.

e) Description of the concrete cylinder
So it is revealed that in this script, the egg silo is replaced by a concrete cylinder, is said in the script to be a government model 503, with the silo beneath the ground.

When Dallas arrives at the top, he discovers a wheel recessed into contiguous pillbox with spokes shaped to accept clutching hands.

When turned, a few meters away an opening appears in the Cylinder's surface.

Down below he finds the egg silo, with a plinth on the ground upon which are rows of the leathery urns, the spores.

f) The Bunker
Ron Shusett wasn't happy about this idea of a bunker, he recalled the futuristic bunker just made out of concrete and futuristic plastic.

It would be as if some advance civilisation had a war there and there was also the discussion about it being a steel bunker that seemed like something from the 20th century.

A bunker of whatever kind seemed to be the cheaper alternative that the studio bosses and the producers were often wishing to use to replace the idea of an alien other worldly derelict and egg silo.

g) Later Echoes of the bunker
The idea of building a bunker in place of the derelict ship and silo returned for a while during the production as the cheaper option when the studio bosses were going to do away with the space jockey but have an impression of it to be found in the rock on the landscape.

It would be a bunker or something constructed at weird angles (See : landscape with alien astronaut corpse)

Sources
  1. The Book of Alien says about this picture that the searchers find a lost Earth base where previous travelers fought a losing battle with aliens. 
  2. Ron Shusett: For example, instead of the space jockey, they one time thought it would be, it looked like a futuristic bunker just made out of concrete and plastic and futuristic plastic and it looked like some advanced race had a war there. That was one idea they had. And so that you wouldn’t have that, replace that scene. ( report from what was additionally said in the interview for "Alien Evolution", 2001)  
  3. Ron Shusett: They wanted that to be an army bunker for some reason, I guess they just, "okay this will give it realism", and that's boring, you can't, you know, once you're committed to that, you can't go back to a steel, you know, twentieth century army bunker. It's, it's, it's, it's er... that goes backwards in imagination where as that Giger design which he hand painted, airbrushed that whole wall himself personally, like he did his artwork, and that's why it looks so eerie, and and er the creature inside it too, the crew called Space Jockey. So that was one thing where they wanted realism, and then they said, "okay".  Ridley said, "no no, they can't use space things with realism like that, okay." (http://www.askmrkern.com/page3.php October 27, 2012)
  4. In Starburst 14, 1979,  John Brosnan was handed a script by the publisher of the Alien novelisation and he mistakingly believed it was the original script but it was instead was a rewrite by Giler and Hill . His words about it were:"The original script reveals that the eggs are a part of a genetic engineering experiment being carried out by the same Earth company that employs the crew of the Nostromo. The company is illegally involved in a project to create a perfect killing machine - the "alien" of the title. Unknown to the crew of the Nostromo the ship has been programmed to pick up one of the eggs, activate it and return the resulting creature to the company headquarters. The crew themselves  are merely expendable guineau pigs being used to see just how effective the company's deadly creation is. But the crew or some of them, learn the truth when they discover that one of their number is actually a robot working under the direct orders of the company."
  5. At the bottom of the painting as shown in the Alien from the Quadrilogy DVD set released in 2003, there is a copy of the picture and presents at the bottom of the picture the ominous words "Black ship and cylinder". This painting was a concept for a different version of the script than the final one.
  6. A copy of a script featuring the black ship and the cylinder enters my hands on 31st January, 2011 (many thanks to Valaquen of Strange Shapes). The description of the alien derelict has been made much simpler, into the form of a human built space craft. The black ship is a new version of an L-52 craft, perhaps named after the B-52 bomber. In this scenario, the old L-52 craft is known to generally go with a compliment of seven people. The disfigured remains of one dead human astronaut are discovered. So it is revealed that in this script, the egg silo is replaced by a concrete cylinder, is said in the script to be a government model 503, with the silo beneath the ground. When Dallas arrives at the top, he discovers a wheel recessed into contiguous pillbox with spokes shaped to accept clutching hands. When turned, a few meters away an opening appears in the Cylinder's surface. Down below he finds the egg silo, with a plinth on the ground upon which are rows of the leathery urns, the spores.
  7. Ron Shusett: They said ''This is not your main set.''
    ''You're just gonna have to walk by and see a skeletal imprint in the mud of this 15-foot creature, and then you'll walk into this strange-looking building.''
    ''lt'll be a bunker or something that's constructed at angles.
    ''
    (Alien Quadrilogy Documentary)

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