Check Out The Arrival Designs That Didn’t Make The Cut

Further cementing director Denis Villeneuve’s reputation as Canada’s most commercial filmmaker since James Cameron, Arrival offers a reflective, restrained take on the alien invasion movie, one that channels the sensibilities of Christopher Nolan. With so much emphasis on the human components of the story, the alien designs by Carlos Huante have received short shrift. However, that’s nothing compared to the design work that artist Peter Konig did for the film. While his ideas were greeted with some early enthusiasm from Villeneuve, these designs were ultimately abandoned.


Speaking to Cinemablend, Konig recently discussed his contribution to the film. “When they brought me on, they were in a stage where Villeneuve just wanted ideas, lots of ideas,” he said. “He didn’t want to stick to the short story or the script in terms of what they should look like. He wanted variety, and to just try stuff. He sent me photos of stuff he liked, real things he thought had elements that he thought were important—pictures of cuttlefish, squids, microscopic organisms, stuff like that.”


While you won’t see Konig’s designs in the finished film, you can see some samples of his work above—and on his official site. Villeneuve clearly went in another direction, but it’s not hard to see what he saw in these designs. “When I started kitbashing in Zbrush, I hit upon that purplish one with the tentacles and he really responded to that one and seemed really excited about it,” Konig explained. “I kinda thought that that was the one that would end up in the movie, but a lot of time went by and things changed.”

Now the biggest domestic hit of Villeneuve’s blossoming career, Arrival is still in theatres. For a brief glimpse of the aliens and other designs that the director settled on, check out the trailer below.