The Neomorph was an endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species encountered by the crew of the USCSS Covenant. While they share some characteristics with the Xenomorph XX121, most notably their process of gestating inside a living host organism and their elongated heads, they are otherwise quite different .
Two of the creatures were encountered by the crew of the Covenant after landing on the planet where David conducted his biological experiments.
The Neomorphs were the result of the local ecosystem on the planet to which David travelled after leaving LV-223 becoming altered by the black liquid. Specifically, the liquid caused small, black, spherical, fungus-like egg sacks to form on the ground. When disturbed, these egg sacks would release a cloud of microscopic spores (motes) into the air that would then enter a host organism through any open orifice — such as the nostrils or ear canal. Once a host is infected with the airborne contagion, the spores would enter the bloodstream and proceed to cause a Bloodburster to grow inside of them until they violently puncture the skin and claws their way out of the host's body. This process is notably similar to the Xenomorph Chestburster, although the exact point of emergence varies depending on how the host was infected.
Initially, the creature is born with arms and legs and moves in a quadrupedal manner, reminiscent of a Runner, but as they grow, the Neomorph adopts a bipedal stance. The creature has pale, white-grey skin with a somewhat translucent appearance, attributes that resemble those of a Hammerpede. The Neomorph features a fleshy tail tipped with spikes, which can be used as a devastating slashing and battering weapon, and a large number of silvery fangs in their mouth, which appears circular when closed. Notably, individual Neomorphs appear to display physical variance. For instance, one of the creatures featured a pair of sharp, bony dorsal spikes on their back that assisted them in breaking out of their host, whereas the other individual encountered lacked these features. Their blood is thick and yellow in color, but notably not acidic.
In terms of behavior, the Neomorph is far more feral and animal-like than a typical Xenomorph, to the point that even their newborn form is highly aggressive and will attack anyone on sight. Their animalistic nature may suggest a lack of intelligence in comparison to their counterpart. Unlike the Xenomorphs, Neomorphs are more organic in appearance and lack biomechanical aspects. Neomorphs are notably seen consuming the flesh of humans they have killed, though Xenomorphs have not been depicted doing this.
Unlike a typical Xenomorph, Neomorphs do not possess an extendable inner jaw which can be used to attack. Also, while the teeth of a Xenomorph's outer jaws are usually visible, a Neomorph's jawline is nearly invisible when closed.
According to David 8, the Engineer's black liquid mutagen was intended to create hybrid creatures like the Neomorph that would instinctively hunt down and kill all non-botanical, animal life in an ecosystem - "the meat". Notably, when one Neomorph encountered David 8, it apparently recognized that he was a synthetic android - and thus instead of attacking him, simply stood still and regarded him in confusion. Xenomorphs, in contrast, have been observed attacking synthetics - possibly another example of their greater intelligence compared to Neomorphs, whose behavior seems to be based more on animal instinct.
The initial stage in the Neomorphs' life cycle is the egg sack, a fungal-like growth found in clusters throughout the Engineers' homeworld as a result of their contamination with the mutagenic Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 pathogen. If damaged or otherwise disturbed by a potential host, the egg sacs release a cluster of spore-like motes that conglomerate into an airborne mass and infect the nearest host organism through an orifice such as an auditory canal or nostril.
Once inside a host organism, the motes burrow into their body and inject eggs, instigating the growth of an amnionic sac within which the larval "Bloodburster" rapidly gestates in a matter of hours before violently emerging and killing the host organism. If the amnionic sac is located in a difficult-to-emerge-from location, the Bloodburster can use the sharp dorsal spines and pointed head to pierce and rip through flesh and bone. Voracious carnivores, the larval Neomorphs will attack and devour any prey, growing rapidly and reaching full maturity in a matter of hours. In their juvenile stage Neomorphs are small and quadrupedal, but upon reaching maturity are large and bipedal.
It is unknown if adult Neomorphs are capable of producing new egg sacks, and if so how this process occurs.
Following David 8's attack on the Engineer settlement with the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 pathogen, the Neomorphs were one of the hybridized parasitic organisms to arise from the mutagen contaminating the planet's ecosystem. David's laboratory in the lower levels of the Engineer temple contains several immature and embryonic Neomorph specimens, which he conducted biogenetic experiments on and used as the base to create the perfect organism. Two members of the Covenant's security detail, Ledward and Hallett, were infected by the spores, Ledward through his ear and Hallett through his nose. Both men were killed when the creatures emerged from them; the infant inside Ledward ripped out of the man's back while he was being treated aboard the Covenant's dropship, while the infant Neomorph inside Hallett erupted from the man's mouth. The Neomorph spawned from Ledward attacked and partially devoured Karine before attacking Faris, escaping when the latter accidentally destroyed the dropship in an attempt to kill it.
One of the adolescent Neomorphs was shot dead soon afterwards whilst attacking the surviving Covenant crew in a wheat field on the planet's surface. The second creature survived to maturity, infiltrating David's temple and killing Rosenthal by tearing off her head with its jaws. The Neomorph was discovered feeding on her corpse by David, who attempted to communicate with and tame it. Chris Oram arrived moments later and promptly shot it dead.
Behind the Scenes
The name "Neomorph" was first accidentally revealed by David 8 actor Michael Fassbender in an interview with Mark Goodier on BBC Radio 2, broadcast on October 20, 2016. Four days later, AvPGalaxy published an exclusive article revealing more about the creatures. The creature has been described by the production crew as a new, "natural" variation of the Xenomorph. The Neomorph's physical appearance has been noted as being similar to the Beluga-Xenomorph from the early Prometheus script Alien: Engineers. Moreover, the means by which hosts are infected through airborne contagion bears notable similarities to aspects of William Gibson's unproduced script for Alien3, in which the regular Xenomorph develops an ability to procreate via an airborne form.
- The Neomorph's physiology was inspired by the Goblin shark.
- In addition to this, its appearance seems to have been taken from the Beluga-morph from the early Prometheus concepts.
- ↑ "BBC Radio 2 - Mark Goodier Sits In". Retrieved on 2016-24-10.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "AVPGalaxy - AvPGalaxy Exclusive: The Neomorphs – Alien: Covenant's New Aliens!". Retrieved on 2016-24-10.