The Pilot Alien was the extraterrestrial pilot of the spacecraft which brought the Thing to Earth. Planned for inclusion in the 2011 film The Thing, the creature was dropped after experiencing a poor reception with test audiences and financial constraints. Although it was replaced with a glowing, geometric hologram in the final cut, the creature can still be seen in pre-production artwork and a fully-functional animatronic puppet was created by Amalgamated Dynamics (ADI).
The Pilot Alien is a member of an Alien pilot race who collected specimens from different planets, a sort of planet zoological expedition, and stored them in containment pods. One of those creatures just happened to be The Thing in disguise, which broke free and killed all of the alien species in the ship, and probably assimilated one of them. The alien pilots have a bio-mechanical appearance, standing at around 12 to 16 feet tall. The head of the creature has three vertically placed eyes with a bio-mechanical breathing apparatus running back into the creature's chest. The pilot also has two massive elongated arms which bend backwards towards the creature's back. The pilot seems to control the spacecraft via tubes that are connect to 'bio-ports' on its back which transmit signals to operate the ship.
- The pilot species is somewhat a reference to the "Space Jockey" (or the "Engineer") from the 1979 film Alien.
- The plan was that there would be 3 versions of the Pilot in The Thing:
- The mummified Pilot, and the Thing having replicated itself as one of the alien crew members. In the story originally, the Thing needed to become one of these aliens in order to fly the ship buried under the ice.
- The scripted ending to The Thing prequel featured Kate inside the spacecraft, discovering the mummified remains of the pilot who first brought the craft to Earth, unleashing the Thing. A second pilot, still alive, attacks just as it mutates into a Thing version of itself.
- Another version is that Kate sees the dead pilot and Sander, now has taken the form of the pilot (he has the genetics because of his spaceship killing spree 100,000 years before), has started up the ship. Sander attacks Kate in pilot form and corners Kate, who pulls her last grenade and threatens to blow them both up. In that moment Carter runs in and sees what she is doing and blows up the Sander-Thing just to convince Kate that he is human. (he basically has no choice because if he kills Kate with his flamethrower everybody would be ignited). Howewer this version was scraped and replaced the pilot with the Tetris-like hologram and the Sander-Thing.
- Rob Fahey (3rd March 2013). Special: Why was the Pilot Creature fired from ‘The Thing’? (English). wordpress. Retrieved on 2015-06-28.