Describing the root of what he wanted with his aliens, McKay said he wanted a look for the creature that evoked what predators were feeling as they were spotting their victims in “The Tomorrow War.” “I wanted something that felt ancient. I wanted something that felt like it was hungry. Those were the words that we used when we first started talking about it, that it needed to feel like it had an insatiable hunger,” McKay described. “I wanted the texture to really come through so that you would feel that the surface texture was really hard, that it had lots of chips and chunks, and nicks and cuts; things like that because it had been around forever. I wanted you to feel the flakiness, I wanted the skin to feel like it would flake off. And then there were shoulders that almost felt like armor so it could repel attacks and that sort of thing.”
McKay also wanted the film’s aliens to have some “offensive weapons.” To aid him in his vision, McKay said he was inspired by the work of a legendary horror fiction writer who also fascinated the likes of Stephen King, John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro, and “Alien” designer H.R. Giger. “I came up with the tentacle and the spike and that kind of thing, and I’m also a big H.P. Lovecraft fan, so, that cosmic tentacle horror stuff was something on my mind at the time. Those are the notes that we talked about,” McKay said. “And, we had a bunch of great design teams working on stuff that came up with some really wonderful, interesting stuff that I hope if we get a chance to do another ‘Tomorrow War’ movie that we would use some of these other designs, sort of fill out the other worlds and things like that … it was really a lot of fun working with the team, and we came up with something that I hope is scary and hope works.”
Also starring Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson and Edwin Hodge, “The Tomorrow War” premieres on Amazon Prime Video July 2.