In 1981, the Thinking Cap Company followed up their bestselling replica of Harry Dean Stanton’s Nostromo cap from Alien with a limited edition portfolio of insignias and crew patches from the movie. These were pretty cool, but the real jackpot was the booklet included with the portfolio, featuring sketches by production artist Ron Cobb and costume designer John Mollo. It also contained a brief “future history” of the world of Alien, filling in the stories behind the patches worn by the crew, as well as a memo from “Weylan-Yutani” (as the Company was named back then — no “D”) to the Nostromo crew regarding corporate dress codes. The whole booklet, or most of it, at least, can be found here.
What’s interesting about the booklet is that it’s probably as close as Alien ever got to a “series bible,” and much of the text has been mined for canonical details in recent spinoffs like Prometheus, Alien Isolation, and the Titan Books novels. Back in the late ‘70s, nobody had any idea that Alien might evolve into a multimedia franchise spanning four decades. But Scott, Cobb, and Mollo came up with a wealth of background detail that was never referenced in the movie. It’s a real testament to the imaginative depth of the people who worked on Alien, and worth celebrating.