a) Verbal references
Looking for a way to build an idea about how the galactic geography is formed in the film. We have very a small amount of information to play with.
- In the movie we have Parker's statement "We're way out in the boondocks here" This as a generalisation might suggest a remote area in the galactic area where they travel.
- a) In the movie we have Lambert talking about the fact that the Nostromo is "Just short of Zeta II Reticuli, not even reached the outer rim yet"
b) Zeta II Reticuli was known at the time to be 37 light years from Earth. There is the possibility that the outer rim means the outer rim of Zeta II Reticuli's solar system or they are on the outer rim of somewhere else, it could refer to the outer rim of a galaxy and if they had come from beyond the outer rim of the galaxy, it would be an unimaginably long journey to Earth. Another outer rim could be the Outer Rim human's territory. Is the Outer Rim before or after Zeta II Reticuli. Some might say that the Nostromo has almost reached Zeta II Reticuli and the Outer Rim is beyond that in the journey and others might acknowledge that.
c) Incidently the dialogue referring to Zeta II Reticuli here was written by Dan O'Bannon in his original Alien script, and given to a character named Broussard to say.
d) In Alan Dean Foster's Alien novelisation, a variation is found where Lambert says "Just short of Zeta II Reticuli. We haven't even reached the outer populated ring yet."(see Galactic Geography In The Alien Novelisation) (Alan Dean Foster novelisation, p22)
- Dallas tells the rest of the crew that they are only "half way to Earth"
- In the script, Lambert said "based on the time spent getting to and from the planet and the speed and which it's moving away from the other"
- However she reveals that it is "ten months" to Earth
- a) The mention of six weeks returns when Ripley states at the end of the movie. "I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck the network should pick me up"
b) Perhaps one might think "the frontier" is the "outer rim".
|Southern sky constellations, Carina, Volans & Chamaeleon|
b) Visual references
- As they attempt to find the position of the Nostromo, the computer begins to show charts of the Southern sky, and we see as blurs the names of the star systems Carina, Volans and Chamaeleon drifting past the screen, possibly because the lettering is curved, it's likely that they've used a popular southern planisphere from the 1970s as a basis for the star charts here and perhaps added other background elements. (Presently I assume that it must be the since they have also made use of Philip's Chart of the Stars in the production).
- Shortly Lambert looks at the navigation screen on the computer trying to work out where the Nostromo is. From a point marked possibly as N7117 to Sol, a curved line measures the amount of degrees to a point in the centre of the screen between the two positions and it turns out to be 106 degrees and it's right then that Lambert mentions that they're short of Zeta II Reticuli.
- N7117 on the map is at a higher longitude than Sol along this side of the galactic plane, Sol is quite a distance on the other side, and the long bar straight between them which the curve intersects appears to represent the horizontal path between the two points.
|Nostromo's navigation screen|
c) Film makers references
- Ron Cobb the concept designer knew much about O'Bannon's concepts in his script and as far as he knew, the film took place "in an uncharted or unknown part of the galaxy" (Fantastic Film, July 1979, p30). In fact he would have liked it to have been a binary star system himself, although with stars different to the the known Zeta Reticuli system and as far as he knew the binary star system idea never survived. In reference to his early concept painting of a planetoid which showed the surface as seen from above covered in cloud with its two stars in the background, he went to say as far as "I wanted it to be planet, part of a double star system. You can see a white dwarf and a red giant in the background" (Future Life #23 December 1980, p61)
- Dennis Lowe, who painted the scene with the planets had no idea that the star system was supposed to be part of a binary star system when he came to paint the rouge planet surrounded by it's moons was lit by its star (Alienexperience.com)
d) See: Prometheus and Planet Zeta 2 Reticuli