Amalgamated Dynamics (ADI), the team behind the practical effects and creature design on the Thing Prequel, have recently released a youtube video that sheds some new light on the infamous Pilot ending that was cut from the film. Not only that, ADI have shared some never-before-seen exclusive images with us too!
We already knew a bit about the Pilot Thing that attacks Kate (and that Carter burns) but this new video gives us a closer look at this alien (note the bio-mechanical connections implanted in the creature’s back). We also see some more footage of the dead pilot or what ADI calls the mummified pilot. Apparently, there were also plans to create a third digital Thing as well but this was axed when the ending was reshot and replaced with the Sander-Thing ending.
Check out ADI’s new video on youtube here.
In addition to the new video, the lovely folks at ADI have also sent us a bunch of never-before-seen behind the scenes images. We’ve split them into two galleries:
Practical effects maestro’s Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr have also been kind enough to walk us through the Pilot scenes in a short exclusive interview below where we also find out a bit more about the lead up to the original ending:
How was this entire scene meant to play out?
Alec: As in the final released versions, the two characters chase Sanders into the alien ship. Inside, they find mummified remains of aliens that have been killed by the Thing, or killed themselves to avoid being taken by the Thing. While she’s distracted by the mummified Pilot, a living version “awakens” behind her. This is the Thing, first having perfectly replicated Sanders, now replicating the Pilot alien. She torches it before it can really attack.
What interactions were there between these puppets and Kate and Carter’s characters?
Alec: Not much, they just walked past them, in awe.
Who was the character that Tom played when he was lit on fire? The Pilot or the Mummy or different?
Alec: He was performing fire reference for the Thing having replicated the Pilot. The mummy was never burned.
Tom: Alec and I are big believers in establishing the performance of our creatures. We believed the performance of the proposed Pilot/Thing was important enough to establish basic movements that would help guide animation of the digital creature later. That was accomplished by my performing on short stilts with arm extensions, wearing a neutral grey bodysuit. When the Pilot/Thing was to be engulfed in flames, it was planned to use a stuntman in a burn suit. But I wanted to bring some specific performance into the fire elements since they would also shape the movement of the final creature.
Director Matthijs van Heijiningen and Stunt Coordinator Rick Forsayeth OK’d my doing the burn and there was a lot of safety back-up in place. I’m wearing several layers of safety gel-soaked body suits that go on cold. That includes several saturated hoods and a pair of thick Pyrex goggles. On top of that is a jumpsuit that holds a proprietary fuel developed by the Fire for Hire experts. They also fitted me with a small, 2-minute air tank so I didn’t have to hold my breath.
It was a crazy viewpoint, looking down the barrel of a flame thrower as a jet of flames touch off the stunt. Looking through the goggles is like looking through a dirty glass and when the fire is touched off, everything goes white for an instant. Then the trick was trying to make the right moves to show the creature obviously in pain but also turning back to Kate to acknowledge some pathos in realizing she had set him up to be destroyed. I thought it made for a very warm moment… But then I realized, no, that’s the fire creating the warm moment.
Did ADI produce any other practical effects for the lead up to this final scene?
Alec: We did create 6 or so “Pod Creatures”. These were weird silhouettes meant to show a variety of aliens that had been collected throughout the universe. They were in frozen pods, one of which had burst open from the inside.
Were there any other rooms in the ship that we never or only partially saw?
Alec: The was a hallway one of the characters walks through, where a mummified Pilot alien was collapsed on the ground. Supposedly killed by the Thing.
Did ADI ever see any final footage of these scenes?
Check out ADI’s new video on youtube and see the exclusive behind-the-scenes image galleries here. For more info on the Pilot ending see our deleted scenes page.