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|“||You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you...? The perfect organism... Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility...||„|
|~ Ash on the Xenomorph.
The Xenomorph XX121 species, more commonly known as Xenomorphs, are the titular main antagonists of the Alien film franchise, consisting of the films Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection and Alien: Covenant, as well as any comic, novel and game tie-ins or original products.
They also serve as the main antagonists of the 2014 game Alien Isolation and of the crossover films Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, and as minor characters in the 2012 spinoff Prometheus.
They are a hostile and parasitic extraterrestrial species that are known for their acidic blood, their pharyngeal jaw and their biological life cycle, in which their offspring are implanted inside living hosts before erupting violently from their chests, which is in many ways their most disturbing feature. Xenomorphs are asexual, with a fertile Queen producing Xenomorph eggs. The Xenomorphs are predators with the goal of expanding their own species and killing or infecting any life they encounter. They originate from Xenomorph Prime.
The original Alien in Alien was played by Bolaji Badejo, whereas the First Acheron Queen and her fellow aliens from Aliens were all portrayed by Carl Toop.
- 1 History
- 2 Origin Story Theories
- 3 Concept and creation
- 4 Characteristics
- 5 Life cycle
- 6 Alternative forms
- 6.1 Dog Alien
- 6.2 Newborn
- 6.3 Predalien
- 6.4 Deacon
- 6.5 Neomorphs
- 6.6 Praetomorphs
- 6.7 Praetorian Xenomorphs
- 6.8 Mutated Chestburster
- 6.9 Swimmer Xenomorphs
- 6.10 White Hybrids
- 6.11 Eloise
- 6.12 Queen Mother
- 6.13 Rogue Alien/"King"
- 6.14 Empress
- 6.15 Matriarch
- 6.16 Arachnoid
- 6.17 Chrysalis
- 6.18 Defender
- 6.19 Dogburster
- 6.20 Flying Xenomorphs
- 6.21 Infectoids
- 6.22 K-Series Xenomorphs
- 6.23 Tarkatan Xenomorphs
- 6.24 Individual
- 7 Weaknesses & Countermeasures
- 8 Cultural impact
- 9 In other media
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Navigation
Unlike many of the alien invaders that came before them, the Xenomorphs did not seek conquest or human slaves, instead Xenomorphs were depicted as animal-like killers of the highest order - extremely intelligent and cunning but guided by a desire to hunt, kill and breed rather than anything more complex. Unfortunately for any species that gets in their way the Xenomorphs cannot reproduce without a very gruesome method of parasitic infection in which alien "face-huggers" attach themselves to a victim and inject them with a Xenomorph seed that grows inside their stomach, eventually bursting out of the victim as a "chest-burster" - of course, this is fatal to the host - the "chest-burster" then proceeds to grow into a full-grown Xenomorph a short while after being "born".
Xenomorphs have several adaptations that make them even more terrifying - thick exoskeletons and amazing speed are only the start as their blood is highly acidic and they can use their tails as effective whips or stabbing implements plus they have an extendable tongue with a set of teeth on it that can be fired out with enough force to pierce a human's skull.
Xenomorphs also absorb a small amount of DNA from their host bodies before being born and this can result in unique breeds of Xenomorph being formed - such as the "dog xenomorph" or the powerful Predator/Alien hybrid the Predalien that served as the main villain of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. In Alien vs. Predator: Extinction, Xenomorph castes who born this way are referred as "Transbreeds", whereas those who not adopt characteristics of their hosts whatsover such as Queen referred as "Purebreeds".
Another creature known as the Deacon was also a cross of Engineer and Trilobite DNA born in the Alien prequel Prometheus. While it is possibly not a true Xenomorph, the Deacon, alongside Neomorphs introduced in Alien: Covenant, are arguably "beta" version of the creatures developed by David 8.
A final note on Xenomorphs is that they are usually portrayed as having a matriarchal system ruled by a single Queen, the Xenomorph Queen is gigantic and powerful - seen as the most powerful of all Xenomorphs, though there may be more than one Queen as several have appeared in the movies and associated media - all varying slightly in size and appearance. In comics, there are also Queen Mothers, who holds the sort of "goddess" role in Xenomorph race because of her vast telepathic powers which enable her to govern every single Xenomorph hives across the galaxy, if nit entire universe.
The Alien design is credited to late Swiss surrealist and artist H. R. Giger, originating in a lithograph called Necronom IV and refined for the series' first film, Alien. The species' design and life cycle have been extensively added to throughout each film.
Origin Story Theories
Xenomorphs' origins are a mystery. There are no solid facts as to the origins of these creatures; instead, there are many assumptions which cannot be confirmed. Based on the limited information we have so far, the most commonly accepted hypothesis is that they are an artificially created species, although another hypothesis says that they evolved naturally on a planet much different than our own. Another theory is the Deacon from Prometheus evolved into the first primitive Xenomorph, a theory which debunked yet confirming the prospect of their connection as bioweapon developed by Engineers.
In Prometheus, Xenomorphs are implied to be byproduct of Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 that found in one of the Engineers' spaceships, a similar spaceship where a batch of Xenomorph eggs was found by Ripley and her co. years later. To be specific, the android, David 8, infected Charlie Holloway with a drop of the mutagen and Charlie then impregnated Elizabeth Shaw, a process that created Trilobite. After Elizabeth painfully removed the creature via. automated surgery table on board Meredith Vicker's exclusive ship, Trilobite impregnated an Engineer in the same manner with Facehugger would as soon as she released it upon him, injecting Deacon embryo into his system which then gestated within him before tearing its way out.
The following are proofs of connection between Xenomorphs and creatures produced by A0-3959X.91 – 15 in Prometheus film:
- All of them are associated with Engineers, creator of A0-3959X.91 – 15 chemical.
- Hammerpede's acidic blood which is similar to that of Xenomorphs'.
- Trilobites' ability to impregnate a host with Deacon embryo which parallel that of Facehuggers and Chestbursters.
- Deacon's uncanny resemblance to typical Xenomorph built.
- Various Xenomorph-like monoliths and other reliefs in Engineer ships.
The creatures' connection with A0-3959X.91 – 15 is further explored in Alien: Covenant with the introduction of David's Planet 4 Xenomorph strain called Praetomorph and Neomorphs, another beta version of Xenomorph species which relation with common Xenomorph species much more defined. David's Xenomorph strain is much cruder than the original, yet still deadly through said strain's facehugger's ability to impregnate hosts within seconds of attachment as a fail-safe ability to make up their less potent caustic blood and slightly weaker grip in addition of accelerate growth while in chestburster state, both of which criticized by fans due to deviating from established lore much like Paul W.S. Anderson's Alien vs. Predator duology incarnation. The film's novelization rectified this by stating such traits being the result of David 8's partially successful attempt in recreating original Xenomorph strain based on Engineer's notes about the creature, a fact that was excluded in the film itself to establish him as the sole creator of his particular Xenomorph strain but nevertheless stressed their experimental nature compared to their well-known counterparts. Though this still leaves some questions and debates among fans that yet to be answered, one thing is clear: Xenomorphs are the product of Engineers' ill-biological experiments with A0-3959X.91 – 15.
Apex Predator Theory
Another theory, commonly accepted but only in expanded universe (including canon Alien vs. Predator series), is they were the alpha predator of their own ecosystem on a nightmarish and harsh planet (some assume it to be Xenomorph Prime, but there is no solid evidence). Without their native ecosystem to keep them in check, they have since infested their own kind, and developed into a separate dominate species.
Concept and creation
The script for the 1979 film Alien was initially drafted by the late Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Dan O'Bannon drafted an opening in which the crew of a mining ship are sent to investigate a mysterious message on an alien planet. He eventually settled on the threat being an alien creature; however, he could not conceive of an interesting way for it to get onto the ship. Inspired after waking from a dream, Shusett said, "I have an idea: the monster screws one of them," planting its seed in his body, and then bursting out of his chest. Both realized the idea had never been done before, and it subsequently became the core of the film. "This is a movie about alien interspecies rape," O'Bannon said on the documentary Alien Evolution, "That's scary because it hits all of our buttons." O'Bannon felt that the symbolism of "homosexual oral rape" was an effective means of discomforting male viewers.
The title of the film was decided late in the script's development. O'Bannon had quickly dropped the film's original title, Star Beast, but could not think of a name to replace it. "I was running through titles, and they all stank", O'Bannon said in an interview, "when suddenly, that word alien just came out of the typewriter at me. Alien. It's a noun and it's an adjective.". The word alien subsequently became the title of the film and, by extension, the name of the creature itself.
Prior to writing the script to Alien, O'Bannon had been working in Paris, France for the late Chilean cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky's planned adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 classic science-fiction novel Dune. Also hired for the project was the late Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger. Giger showed O'Bannon his nightmarish and monochromatic artwork, which left O'Bannon deeply disturbed. "I had never seen anything that was quite as horrible and at the same time as beautiful as his work," he remembered later. The Dune film collapsed, but O'Bannon would remember Giger when Alien was greenlit, and suggested to the director Ridley Scott that he be brought on to design the Alien, saying that if he was to design a monster, it would be truly original.
Giger's Alien, was portrayed by the late Bolaji Badejo in Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien by 20th Century Fox. After O'Bannon handed him a copy of Giger's 1977 book Necronomicon, Scott immediately saw the potential for Giger's designs, and chose Necronom IV, a print that Giger completed in 1976, as the basis for the Alien's design, citing its beauty and strong sexual overtones. That the creature could just as easily have been male or female was also a strong factor in the decision to use it. "It could just as easily fuck you before it killed you", the said line producer Ivor Powell, "[which] made it all the more disconcerting.". 20th Century Fox was initially wary of allowing Giger onto the project, saying that his works would be too disturbing for audiences, but eventually relented. Giger initially offered to completely design the Alien from scratch, but Scott mandated that he base his work on Necronom IV, saying that to start over from the beginning would be too time-consuming. Giger signed on to design the adult, egg and chest-burster forms, but ultimately also designed the alien planetoid LV-426 and the Space Jockey alien vessel.
Giger conceived the Alien as being vaguely human but a human in full armor, protected from all outside forces. He mandated that the creature have no visible eyes, because he felt that it made them much more frightening if anyone could not tell they were looking at you. Giger also gave the Alien's mouth a second inner set of pharyngeal jaws located at the tip of a long, tongue-like proboscis which could extend rapidly for use as a dangerous weapon. His design for the creature was heavily influenced by an aesthetic that he had created and termed bio-mechanical, a fusion of the organic and the mechanic. His mock-up of the Alien was created using parts from an old Rolls Royce car, rib bones and the vertebrae from a snake, molded with plasticine. The Alien's animatronic head, which contained 900 moving parts, was designed and constructed by the late special effects designer Carlo Rambaldi. Giger and Rambaldi would both go on to win the 1980 Academy Award for Visual Effects for their design of the Alien.
Scott decided on the man-in-suit approach for creating the creature onscreen. initially, circus performers were tried, then multiple actors together in the same costume, but neither proved to be scary. Deciding that the creature would be scarier the closer it appeared to a human, Scott decided that a single, very tall, very thin man be used. Scott was inspired by a photograph of the late Leni Riefenstahl standing next to a 6'4" (1.93 m) Nubian. The casting director found 7'2" (2.18 m), the late rail-thin graphic designer Bolaji Badejo in a local pub. Badejo went to tai chi and mime classes to learn how to slow down his movements.
Giger's design for the Alien evoked many contradictory sexual images. As the critic Ximena Gallardo notes, the creature's combination of sexually evocative physical and behavioral characteristics creates, "a nightmare vision of sex and death. It subdues and opens the male body to make it pregnant, and then explodes it in birth. In its adult form, the alien strikes its victims with a rigid phallic tongue that breaks through skin and bone. More than a phallus, however, the retractable tongue has its own set of snapping, metallic teeth that connects it to the castrating vagina dentata.".
This creature has no specific name, and has been referred to most often onscreen, and in the credits of each film, simply as the Alien. It was called an alien, and an organism, in the first film. It has also been referred to as a creature, a serpent, a beast, a dragon, a monster, or simply a thing. The term xenomorph (lit. "alien form" — from Greek xeno- or "strange" and -morph, shape) was used by the character Lieutenant Gorman in Aliens and by Ellen Ripley in a deleted scene from Alien 3. This term has been adopted by fans and used in merchandising as a convenient name. The species' binomial names are given in Latin as either Internecivus raptus (meant as "murderous thief") in the Alien Quadrilogy DVD or Lingua foeda acheronsis (meant as "foul tongue from Acheron") in some comic books. The main Alien from Alien vs. Predator is listed in the credits as "Grid", after a grid-like wound received during the film from a Predator's razor net.
Continuing advancements made in the field of special effects technology as the series progressed have led to numerous variations in the creature's design, including varying numbers of fingers and limb joints and varying head design. Characteristics that explained in this section mainly focus on Drones or Warriors.
When standing upright, Xenomorphs are vaguely bipedal in form, though they adopt a more hunched, quadrupedal stance when walking or sprinting. They have a skeletal, biomechanical appearance and are usually colored in muted shades of black, blue or bronze. Xenomorphs do not radiate heat, as their body heat matches the ambient temperature of the environment in which they are found. In most of the films, adult Xenomorphs have the ability of running and crawling along ceilings and walls. They have great physical strength, having been shown to be capable of breaking through vent covers and welded steel doors, and even of breaking down reinforced pressurized doors.
The Xenomorphs' primary weapon is their inner pharyngeal jaw, which is capable of shooting from their mouth like a piston with sufficient power to smash through bone and metal. In fact, a common tactic used by the creatures to eliminate prey is to restrain the victim with their hands, immobilizing them, before killing them with a precision jaw strike to the head, piercing through the skull and penetrating the brain; this form of attack is colloquially known as a "Headbite". On several occasions, Xenomorphs have been seen to suspend those that they kill from the ceiling through unknown means.
Xenomorphs have segmented, blade-tipped tails. The sharp tip was initially a small, scorpion-like barb, but from Aliens onwards the blade design increased in size and changed in appearance to more closely resemble a slashing weapon. From Alien Resurrection onwards, the tails have a flat ridge of spines at the base of the blade. This was introduced to help them swim convincingly, and was left intact in the subsequent crossovers. The original shooting script for Aliens and the novelization both featured a scene in which Lieutenant Gorman is "stung" by the barb tail and rendered unconscious; in the final cut of the movie, Gorman is instead knocked out by falling crates. As a weapon, the strength of the tail is very effective, having been shown to be strong enough to impale and lift a Predator with seemingly little effort. They are also adept at using their tails as blunt weapons, sometimes to deadly effect, as seen in Alien.
They have elongated, cylindrical skulls, but possess no visible facial features other than their mouth, though in the original Alien film, the top of the creature's head was translucent, with a human skull forming the front, including empty eye sockets visible within (although this is hard to distinguish on-screen). This element was reused for the "Predalien" in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem 29 years later. In Aliens, the adult creatures have a more textured head rather than a smooth carapace. In the commentary for Aliens, James Cameron states that this change is a part of the maturation of the creatures, as the creatures in the film had been alive far longer than the original Alien. The smooth design of the carapace would be used again in Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. This design would be kept in Alien vs. Predator, and abandoned in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in favor of the ribbed design.
How the creatures see or otherwise rationalize their environment is uncertain due to lack of visible eyes; Giger mandated this in his original design, because he felt that it made the creatures much more frightening if one could not tell they were looking at them. In the novelization of the movie Alien, the creature is held mesmerized by a spinning green light for several minutes. Several theories regarding their ability to perceive their surroundings have been conducted such as echolocation, electro-reception in the same manner with Earth sharks, and via. pheromones. The most plausible theory, however, is that their eyes are behind their black carapace and they see through it, similar to a one sided mirror (except in this case no one can see in, but the Xenomorph can see out). Some species of terrestrial fish such as the Barreleyes see through a transparent layer of skin; it is possible Xenomorph vision is similar. This is supported by how a fisheye lens was used to illustrate the Xenomorph's point of view (which creates a perspective similar to that of a peephole) in Alien 3 and later, in Alien: Covenant.
Throughout their appearances, human-spawned Aliens have been shown to have a fluctuating number of fingers. In Alien, the creature has webbed, six fingered hands. In Aliens, the number of fingers is reduced to three (two "paired" and a single, opposable thumb), and they are shown to be much longer and more skeletal. In Alien: Resurrection, the number of digits is increased to four, with two long middle fingers and a pair of thumbs. This design is kept in the Alien vs. Predator films, though the hands were made bulkier in order to make the Aliens seem more formidable against the Predators.
The spines on the Xenomorph's back provide protection from attacks from the rear.
Aliens have been alternately portrayed as both plantigrade and digitigrade organisms, usually in accordance to their host. Human-spawned Aliens were usually portrayed as having humanoid hind limbs, while in Alien 3, the featured Alien sported double-jointed legs due to its quadrupedal host. This characteristic would be continued in Alien Resurrection for the human-spawned Aliens. Tom Woodruff, who had previously played the "dog-alien" in Alien 3, described the human-spawned Aliens in Resurrection as feeling more like a dog than the previous creature, despite having been born from human hosts. The human-spawned Alien warriors would revert to a plantigrade posture in Alien vs. Predator.
Blood and secretions
Xenomorph blood is an extremely potent molecular acid that can corrode on contact almost any substance with alarming speed. It is dull yellowish-green in color, and seems to be pressurized inside the body, so that it spurts out when punctured. Shusett suggested the idea that the creature have acid blood as a plausible means to make the creature "unkillable"; given the starship setting, if one were to use traditional firearms or explosives to attack it, its blood would eat through the hull of the ship. In later films in the series, the Xenomorphs are shown to be conscious of the effects of their acidic blood, and even use it to their advantage — in Alien Resurrection, two Xenomorphs escape a cage by killing a third so its acid melts through the cage floor; in Alien vs. Predator, a queen being held by chains apparently instructs several Xenomorphs to slash and cut her, thus corroding the chains. Had this tactic not her idea, it would have been Grid's, a Drone whom discovered the corrosive nature of his kind's blood.
Xenomorphs Drones can produce a thick, strong resin (vomited from their mouths) referred as Hive Webbing that they use to build the Hives and to cocoon their victims. Its non-uniform, bio-organic appearance allows adult Xenomorphs to camouflage themselves when at rest, to the extent that humans have stood directly beside hiding Warriors and had no idea of the imminent threat. In the case of Hives set up inside existing non-Xenomorph structures, webbing helps to disguise existing visual cues in the environment, turning the area into a disorientating maze and making escape from and/or assaults on the Hive all the more difficult. However, whether this is considered by the Xenomorphs during construction is unclear. The structure of a Hive also appears to have a disrupting effect on motion tracker operation, generating a host of false readings that imply the entire area is awash with sporadic movement, making genuine readings harder to spot. The exact cause of this is unclear. In Alien vs. Predator: Extinction, it's explained that each portion of Hive Webbings within a certain radius has a living core called Hive Nodes, comprising of small organisms secreted by the Drones. The node's presence also enables any injured Xenomorphs to regenerate to full health as long as they remain within its webbings' contact. Once deposited, the node uses up available organic materials from plants, carcasses, and even microorganisms to produce the hive's structure, cementing their hostility to all non-xenomorph lifeforms and has potential to corrode away an entire planet. While able to regenerate from damage, the nodes are susceptible to fire, and thus can only be effectively destroyed via complete incineration. Should a Hive Node is destroyed, the webbings it produced would wither away and rendered useless.
In the original Alien, the Facehugger is shown to be able to "spit" acid, melting the faceplate of Kane's helmet and allowing the creature immediate access to the inside. This ability is also exhibited by adult Xenomorphs in Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection; much like a spitting cobra, the creatures use this ability to blind and incapacitate their victims rather than kill them outright. This also serves as long range weapon as means to fight against foes/potential hosts that armed with guns and prefer to fight from distance.
Despite their own immunity to their blood, they are vulnerable to hydrofluoric acid which was used against them to great effect on LV178.
Intelligence and communication
During events in Aliens on the LV-426 colony and in Alien Resurrection on the USM Auriga, the species displayed observational learning and problem solving skills, and in both cases the Aliens learn how to operate machinery at a very basic level. On LV-426, they were able to cut power in a section of the complex to gain access to the humans, and the Alien Queen learns to board an elevator by observing Ripley and Newt escaping in the one beside it. The novelization of the film notes that the queen establishing her 'nest' at the base's main power plant could have been chosen either for the feral, animal reason of the warmth that it would provide or for the intellectual reason of selecting a location where any attackers would be unable to destroy her without destroying the entire facility. In the director's commentary for Aliens, James Cameron noted that the creatures in Aliens had been alive for far longer than the Alien in the original, and had more time to learn about their environment. On the USM Auriga, the Aliens kill one of their own, using its blood to melt through their enclosure and escape; in Alien vs. Predator, they use a similar strategy to free the queen from her chains. An Alien also uses acid spurting from its severed tail as an improvised weapon, indicating they are fully aware of the effects of their acid blood.
While the Xenomorphs are arguably carnivorous, they do not feed as frequent as other species thanks to their blood that provide substantially large amount of energy. In Aliens, majorities of corpses of Hadley's Hope's colonists used as hosts are left undisturbed despite being cocooned for quite some time, yet The Dragon, Xenomorph Runner in Alien 3 apparently consumed some of its human victims. Similarly, in the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows, a Xenomorph hive at New Galveston had used up hosts become its food supply after the birth of their respective chestburster. Through this, it can be inferred that Xenomorphs require sustenance to quickly replenish energy from demanding activities such as fighting, chasing, and hunting hosts.
Aliens are eusocial life-forms with a caste system ruled over by a queen. Their life cycle comprises several distinct stages: they begin their lives as an egg, which hatches a parasitoid larval form known as a facehugger, which then attaches itself to a living host by, as its name suggests, latching onto its face. In the Alien 3 novelization, Ripley commented that this parasitoid would likely be able to use a host as small as a cat, or as large as an elephant (like Oswocs in Alien vs. Predator: Extinction).
The facehugger then "impregnates" the host with an embryo known as a "chestburster", which, after a period of gestation, erupts violently from the host's chest resulting in the death of the host. Further studies as sown in Alien: The Cold Forge, revealed that the embryo initially administered in form of mutagenic fluid known as Plagiarus praepotens. Translated to "powerful mimic," it's capable of unzipping genetic material at lightning speed, and a masterpiece for accruing biomass from anything and everything around it. With the right chimeric blueprint and enough food, the substance develop into its proper chestburster form in matter of hours. Doctor Blue Marsalis proposed that facehuggers require, if not downright prefer their would-be host to be sufficiently frightened so they could in turn, able to produce proper amount of Plagiarus praepotens for optimal implantation. She even cited that the more frightened the host, the healthier the produced chestburster would be.
The chestburster then matures to an adult phase, shedding its skin (entering cocoon state in Alien vs. Predator: Extinction) and replacing its cells with polarized silicon. Due to Horizontal gene transfer during the gestation period, the Alien also takes on some of the basic physical attributes of the host from which it was born, allowing the individual alien to adapt to the host's environment.
The adult phase of the Alien is known by various different names. The adult Aliens have been referred to as "drones," "warriors," "workers," and sometimes "soldiers," similar to the way ants have been defined. The names of the adult phase have also been used to name different types of adult phases of the Alien in numerous sources including video games, comic books, novels, and, of course, the films, but only in the commentaries by the team who created the films. No official name has been given to the adult stage of the Alien in the films themselves.
Queen Aliens are significantly larger and stronger than the normal adults, approximately 4.5 meters (15 ft) tall. Their body structure differs also, having two pairs of arms, one large and one small. The queen's head is larger than other adult Aliens and is protected by a large, flat crest, like a crown, and they vary from queen to queen. In the second film Aliens, unlike other adults and queens, the queen had high-heel protrusions from its feet.
Egg-laying Alien queens possess an immense ovipositor attached to their lower torso, similar to a queen termite's. Unlike insect queens, there appears to be no need for drones to fertilize an Alien queen's eggs. When attached to its ovipositor, the queen is supported by a "biomechanical throne" that consists of a lattice of struts resembling massive insect legs.
In the original cut of Alien, the Alien possessed a complete lifecycle, with the still-living bodies of its victims converted into eggs. However, the scene showing the crew converted into eggs was cut for reasons of pacing, leaving the ultimate origin of the eggs obscure. This allowed Aliens director James Cameron to introduce a concept he had initially conceived for a spec script called Mother, a massive mother Alien which laid the eggs and formed the basis for the Aliens' life cycle. Cameron conceived the Queen as a monstrous analogue to Ripley's own maternal role in the film. In that vein, some critics have compared it to Grendel's mother.
The design of the queen was created by Cameron in collaboration with special effects artist Stan Winston, based upon an initial painting Cameron had done at the start of the project. The Winston Studio created a test foam core queen before constructing the full hydraulic puppet which was used for most of the scenes involving the large Alien. Two people were inside working the twin sets of arms and puppeteers off-screen worked its jaws and head. Although at the end of the film the queen was presented full-body fighting the power-loader, the audience never sees the legs of the queen, save those of the small-scale puppet that appears only briefly. In Aliens, Cameron used very selective camera-angles on the queen, using the 'less is more' style of photography. Subsequently, the movie won an Oscar for Visual Effects. An adult queen was to reappear in Alien Resurrection. The original mechanical head previously used in Aliens was provided by Bob Burns, and was an altered design. It was repainted with a blend of green and brown, giving it a shimmering, insect-like quality (due to the said queen are actual clone from the original version like her children). This color concept would be abandoned in Alien vs. Predator in favor of the original black color scheme.
In the climax of the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator the queen's basic design was altered to make it more "streamlined" in appearance and its overall size was increased to 6 meters (20 feet) tall. An additional reason for this was due to Queen in the movie are far older than the one in Aliens. Other changes include the removal of the "high-heel" protrusions on its legs, including additional spines on its head and making its waist thinner because there was no need for puppeteers inside its chest. The animatronic laying queen had 47 points of hydraulic motion.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) introduced a younger form of the full grown queen, albeit with traits inherited from its Predator host. Recalling the facehugger's method of embryo implantation, the Predalien uses its inner mouth to directly deposit multiple chestburster embryos into pregnant female hosts, also using its mandibles to latch on the faces of said hosts. This is explained by the Brothers Strause as a means of quickly building an army of Aliens before the young queen evolves into its sedentary, egg-laying state.
The eggs laid by the queen are ellipsoidal leathery objects between 2 feet (60.96 cm) to 3 feet (91.44 cm) high with a four-lobed opening at the top. As a potential host approaches, the egg's lobes unfold like flower petals, and the parasitic facehugger extracts itself from the egg and attaches itself to the potential host. Giger initially designed the eggs with a much more obviously vaginal appearance, complete with an "inner and outer vulva". The producers complained that Catholic countries would ban the film if the allusion was too strong, so Giger doubled the lobes to four, so that, in his words, "seen from above, they would form the cross that people in Catholic countries are so fond of looking at". The interior of the original egg was composed of "Nottingham lace", which is the lining of a cow's stomach. In the first film, the quick shot of the facehugger erupting from the egg was done with sheep's intestine. Initially, the egg remained totally stationary save for the hydraulic movement of the lobes; however, by Alien Resurrection the entire egg was made to ripple as it opened.
There is another method in creating egg without any need of Queen's presence which called eggmorphing. Though this method of reproduction was ignored by official sources after its early shots of the scene that shows how this method works were cut (though partially reinstated in Director's Cut version of Alien), the novelization of the Alien 3 states that both forms of reproduction are typical of the species, and that either can be used to create more Xenomorphs, dependent on the situation. For instance, had a drone arrived in foreign lands/planet where it was only one of its kind that present on that lands/planet, it would immediately use this method for creating a Queen.
The process was unclear, but it is obvious that the victim that would be turned into an egg did not need to morphed alive, but was rather killed first. Quotes from Ridley Scott seem to imply that Eggmorphing actually involves the human "host" serving simply as a source of nutrients or "yolk" for the growing Egg (which feeds on the host like a parasite), rather than physically becoming the Egg itself, as is typically assumed.
A facehugger is the second stage in the Alien's life cycle. It has eight long finger-like legs which allow it to crawl rapidly, and a long tail adapted for making great leaps. These particular appendages give it an appearance somewhat comparable to chelicerate arthropods such as arachnids and horseshoe crabs.
The facehugger is a parasitoid; its only purpose is to make contact with the host's mouth for the implantation process, by gripping its legs around the victim's head and wrapping its tail around the host's neck. Upon making contact, the facehugger tightens its tail around the host's neck in order to render it unconscious through oxygen deprivation. The facehugger then inserts a proboscis down the host's throat, supplying it with oxygen while simultaneously implanting an embryo. Attempts to remove facehuggers generally prove fatal, as the parasitoid will respond by tightening its tail around the host's neck, and its acidic blood prevents it from being safely cut away. In addition, its grip on the host's head is strong enough to tear the host's face off if it is forcibly removed.
Once the Alien embryo is safely implanted, the facehugger detaches and dies.
Giger's original design for the facehugger was a much larger creature with eyes and a spring-loaded tail. Later, in response to comments from the filmmakers, Giger reduced the creature's size substantially. At first, Giger assumed that the facehugger would wrap around the outside of the astronaut's helmet, but Scott decided that it would have far more impact if the facehugger were revealed once the helmet was removed. Scott and Giger realized that the facehugger should burn through the helmet's faceplate with its acid blood; subsequent redesigns of the space helmet included a far larger faceplate to allow for this. Dan O'Bannon initially conceived the facehugger as somewhat resembling an octopus, possessing tentacles. However, when he received H. R. Giger's designs, which substituted tentacles with fingerlike digits, he found Giger's design concept to be superior. Since no one was available at the time, O'Bannon decided to design the facehugger prop himself. The technical elements of the musculature and bone were added by Ron Cobb. Giger's initial design for the smaller facehugger had the fingers facing forward, but O'Bannon's redesign shifted the legs to the side. When the foam rubber sculpture of the facehugger was produced, O'Bannon asked that it should remain unpainted, believing the rubber (which resembled human skin) was more plausible.
In Aliens, the facehuggers were redesigned by the late Stan Winston so that they would be capable of movement. Unlike the creatures in the first film, the creatures would take a much more active role in impregnating their victims. When Ripley throws one off her, the facehugger was now capable of scuttling across the floor and leaping at its prey, wrapping its tail around the victim's throat. Due to the film's budget, only two fully working facehuggers were built.
In Alien 3, another addition, a "super-facehugger" that would carry the embryo of the queen Alien, was planned but ultimately dropped. The super-facehugger is briefly glimpsed in the Assembly cut of Alien 3, but not identified as such. This face-hugger's role in carrying the Queen embryo was equivalent with Praetorian Facehuggers, though instead of carrying an embryo that grows into the Queen straight away, said embryo would grow into Praetorians, the miniature version of the Queen.
After implantation, facehuggers die and the embryo's host wakes up afterwards showing no considerable outward negative symptoms. Symptoms build acutely after detachment of the facehugger, the most common being sore throat, slight nausea, increased congestion and moderate to extreme hunger. In later stages where the incubation period is extended in preparation of a queen birth, symptoms will include a shortness of breath, exhaustion, and hemorrhaging (detectable through biological scanners and present in nosebleeds or other seemingly random bleeding incidents), as well as chest pains inflicted either in lack of chest space due to the chestburster's presence, or even premature attempts to escape the host. The incubating embryo takes on some of the host's DNA or traits, such as bipedalism, quadrupedalism or possessing the mandibles of a Predator and other body structure changes. Over the course of 1 to 24 hours, indeterminable in some cases, and sometimes up to a week, in the case of some queens, the embryo develops into a chestburster, at which point it emerges, violently and fatally ripping open the chest of the host. There is no on-screen explanation of the reasons for the different incubation times.
The chestburster was designed by Alien director Ridley Scott and constructed by special effects artist Roger Dicken. Giger had produced a model of a chestburster that resembled a "degenerate plucked turkey" and was far too large to fit inside a ribcage. Much to Giger's dismay, his model reduced the production team to fits of laughter on sight. Scott drafted a series of alternative designs for the chestburster based on the philosophy of working "back from the adult to the child" and ultimately produced "something phallic." The chestburster in the original Alien was armless but arms were added in Aliens to facilitate the creature crawling its way out of its host's corpse. This concept would be abandoned in Alien Resurrection and subsequent films.
Growth and Maturity
When a chestburster erupts from the body of its host, it is less than 1 foot (30 cm) tall. However, it soon undergoes a dramatic growth spurt, reaching adult size in a matter of hours; in Alien the chestburster had grown to 2 meters (6.6 ft) in height by the time the Nostromo crew located it again. The chestburster is shown to have molted before reaching maturity. In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Alien warriors are shown who are still growing, showing shedding skin. In the unrated cut, the Predalien is shown actively wiping off its final molted skin at the film's start.
Aliens take on various forms depending on the characteristics of their hosts. Most of the Aliens seen to date have been human-spawned, but a number of Aliens born from other hosts and newly created variants have also been seen. This also includes those that exclusively seen in video games and comic book series of both the main franchise or AVP franchise.
- Main article: Xenomorph Runner
The quadrupedal Alien variant from Alien 3. The "Dog Alien" (also jokingly referred to as the "Bambi burster", or "Runner Alien" in the expanded universe stories), was introduced in Alien 3. The creature itself shares the same basic physical conformation and instincts as the other Aliens shown in the previous films, although there are several differences due to the host it was spawned from (a dog in the theatrical cut, an ox in the DVD assembly cut). The Dog Alien in its Chestburster form is a miniature version of the adult, unlike the larva-like human spawned chestbursters. The adult is primarily quadrupedal, has digitigrade hind legs and lacks the dorsal tubes of the human-spawned variety.
In Alien Resurrection, due to significant genetic tampering in an attempt to recover DNA from the deceased Ellen Ripley and the Alien Queen within her, the resulting cloned Aliens show a number of minor human traits. The cloned Queen inherits a womb, and as a result it ceases to lay eggs and gives birth to a humanoid mutant. Physically, the human-Alien Newborn is very different from its brethren, being larger, with pale, translucent skin, a skull-shaped face with eyes, a human tongue and complete absence of a tail. The Newborn fails to bond with its Alien Queen mother, and kills it. Instead, the Newborn sees the Ripley clone as a surrogate parent.
The Newborn creature was originally scripted by Joss Whedon as being an eyeless, ivory-white quadruped with red veins running along the sides of its head. It had an inner jaw, with the addition of a pair of pincers on the sides of its head. These pincers would have been used to immobilize its prey as it drained it of blood through the inner jaw. The creature was also meant to rival the Queen in size. Jean-Pierre Jeunet later asked ADI to lean towards making the human-Alien hybrid, known as the Newborn, more human than Alien. The Newborn's eyes and nose were added to improve its expressions to make it a character, rather than just a "killing machine", and give it depth as a character. Jeunet was adamant about the Newborn having genitalia, a mix of both sexes. However, Fox was uncomfortable and even Jeunet felt "even for a Frenchman, it's too much." The genitalia were digitally removed in post-production. The Newborn animatronic required nine puppeteers and was the most complex animatronic in the film.
This variation is the result of a facehugger impregnating a Predator. The "Predalien" was first depicted in a painting by Dave Dorman, and subsequently featured in the Aliens vs. Predator comics and games. A Predalien chestburster debuts in the final scene of Alien vs. Predator, but it is not seen until Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem that an adult hybrid makes its first movie appearance.
The Predalien shares many characteristics with its host, such as long hair-like appendages, mandibles, skin color and similar vocalizations. It is a large, bulky creature, and possesses physical strength greater than that of human-spawned Aliens. Like human-born Aliens, it is also shown to be stronger than its host species, as evidenced by its ability to pin, push, and knock a Predator away with ease.
The Predalien seen in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem was also a Queen, as it also possessed the ability to impregnate human hosts with multiple Alien embryos before molt into a true Queen.
The more canonical versions of predaliens however, are portrayed as heavy shock troopers of the Xenomorph hive, utilizing their brute strength for dealing the heavy blow upon their enemies. Examples include the Abomination and Predalien in AVP: Extinction.
Ridley Scott's 2012 film Prometheus, originally conceived as a direct prequel to Alien, ends with the birth of a creature noted for its similarity to those in the Alien franchise. Scott christened the creature the "Deacon" in reference to its oblong head, which resembles a bishop's miter. Designer Neal Scanlan said that the Deacon's appearance had to reflect its complex genetic heritage: "It came from Shaw and Holloway, which then produced the Trilobite, which impregnated the Engineer, which then mixed its DNA with the Trilobite. We tried to hold on to some of Shaw, some femininity since it was born of a female before being born of a male.". According to Scanlan, the Deacon "represented the beginning of Giger's Alien, although it did not directly resemble that creature". The designers based the Deacon's skin on horse placenta, in an effort to give it an iridescent quality "between horrific and beautiful". Its pharyngeal jaw was inspired by that of the goblin shark.
When discussing the film's connection to Alien, the cowriter named Damon Lindelof asked: "Do you need to see a xenomorph bursting out of the human body? And how do we do it in a way that you haven't seen before?" Lindelof stated that whether the creature is a queen Alien, or the progenitor of the eggs found by the crew in the original Alien, is open to interpretation, but said, "I felt that the punchline of Prometheus was going to be that there is human DNA in what we have come to know as the human xenomorph."
Neomorphs are creatures which unlike Deacon, are true siblings of both Protomorphs and original Xenomorph race. They are indirectly created by David 8 when polluted Engineers' settlement on Paradise, and had an important role in his experiments for Protomorph creation.
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 dangerous when they 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 unlike Xenomorphs who more concerned in expanding their hive and amassing an army of their brethren while rarely eating their enemies' flesh.
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.
Pollution by black liquid produced a number of Neomorph Eggsacks on the ground. These Eggsacks looked like small, black, spherical, fungus-like growths on the ground that when disturbed would release a cloud of microscopic spores (motes) into the air.
Neomorph motes are microscopic spore-like embryo that came out from an eggsack in response of it being disturbed. Once came out, they flew and entered nearby host organism through any open orifice — such as the nostrils or ear canal.
Bloodbursters and Adulthood
Once a host is infected with the airborne contagion, the spores would enter the bloodstream and proceed to develop into 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. For instance, should the spore entered the ear, it will bursts out of the host's head.
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 whitish-gray 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.
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.
David's Prateomorphs are strains of Xenomorphs he personally created, which confirmed the fact that Xenomorphs are products of Engineers' black liquid with a parasitic wasp as genetic material to create his first Xenomorphs. While virtually identical to original Xenomorph strain featured so far, this Xenomorph strain possesses notable differences that set it apart from its mainstream cousins, due to their more crude appearance than another. Notably, they lack biomechanical features and their limbs are longer, thinner and muscular, with gaps appearing in their arm pits. The shoulders and dorsal tubes are noticeably different, being smaller and thinner. They also possessed thinner, sleeker tails that ended with a small barb or stinger.
Even with these differences, these Xenomorph strains still as deadly as their cousins since they share same powers and abilities, including their armor-piercing inner jaws.
Pretomorph Eggs looked similar with mainstream strains', but had more crude appearance.
Praetomorph Facehuggers had more crude appearance than regular Facehuggers because area where reddish wrinkled area between forelegs had flat smooth surface with the same coloration as the rest of its body instead of reddish wrinkled look. The digits are notably different as they are thinner and while their actual span may be the same as typical Facehuggers, the size in between knuckles is different, notably the size of the digits from body to the first knuckles is smaller. Praetomorph Facehugger is also weaker than regular facehuggers due to easily removed from the victim's face and being slow in strangling the victim with the tail, but makes up of this weakness with their incredible speed and agility and ability to impregnate its host within seconds of attachment that made their ability to a host alive and in a coma redundant, otherwise optional as they would only need to remain attached long enough to implant the Chestburster. Though sharing the same recklessness with regular Facehuggers, Praetomorph Facehuggers were intelligent enough to analyze its situation: One of these Facehuggers shown quickly retreating when the targeted host was too aggressive, but upon seeing another viable host, it immediately sprang from its cover and attacked.
All in all, Praetomorph Facehuggers' physiology is more designed for speed and hasty infestation instead of incapacitating.
The differences in the Drone of this Xenomorph race extend to its Chestburster form (which had more developed limbs like Dragon the Runner Xenomorph in Alien 3).
- Main article: Praetorian Xenomorphs
A mutated Alien variant incapable of maturing past its larval stage, the mutated chestburster resembles a large black Chestburster. Hatched from a pink egg among an ordinary clutch, the mutated chestburster's egg was smuggled to the pleasure planet Celeste, where the resulting hatchling, after escaping from a human host, caused havoc among the population with its diseased slime trail, which caused people to go delirious and detonate.
In Aliens Colonial Mariness story published by Dark Horse Comics, a group of marines ends up on a colony planet known as 'Bracken's World', a primarily oceanic planet that grows large amounts of sea kelp. Having become stranded on one of the kelp beds following an APC breakdown, the group is attacked from the water by large xenomorphs resembling queen aliens from the top half, and a more whale-like structure below the waist with a lateral tail fin and several trailing tentacles.
The hybrids are a race of Aliens created by a corrupted computer system called "Toy". The hybrids possess the traits of Aliens, Predators and humans. Like Aliens, they are an eusocial species with acid for blood (though it is less acidic than that of the ordinary strain) and like humans, they are capable of speech and can use firearms. They are led by a hybrid king which generates facehuggers capable of impregnating ordinary Aliens.
Eloise is a vat grown prototype Alien/humanoid android hybrid created using Queen DNA on Sybaris 503, who escapes from the destruction of the facility after an attempted "hostile" take over. She later settles on the planet LK176 with her group of "implanted" lepers (whose condition prevents their chestbursters from maturing) and a pack of Alien warriors. She and her army successfully beat back both Predator and human forces (at the cost of most of her leper friends), and she gives the latter an ultimatum to leave her people alone, or be destroyed.
Queen Mothers are the supreme rulers of the Xenomorph species, and even Queens are subordinate to them. They appear in Dark Horse's extended universe, albeit only on the Hiveworld, where they are protected by enlarged, elite drones. Queen Mother's nests consist of six orbs arranged around a central orb, in which they reside. These orbs are interconnected and contain the prized royal jelly, which molts a drone or warrior into a new Queen Mother when one becomes absent. Queen Mothers have acute telepathic and emphatic abilities, thus they are able to call to their hive over vast distances. In fact, the Queen Mother was capable of melding to the minds of humans during the Earth infestation. What makes a Queen Mother similar to a Queen is that they are both capable of laying eggs. The first Queen Mother was kidnapped by Ripley in Steve and Stephanie Perry's novel The Female War, leading to anarchy and chaos on the Hiveworld. While a drone was morphing to take the previous Mother's place, several deviant, drones, designated as "red drones" by the humans due to their dull, burgundy color, were born that rebelled against the primary hive, and a countering red hive, led by a red Queen Mother, was created. In Aliens: Genocide, massive warfare has broken out between the two subspecies over rule of the planet as the dominant xenomorph species. A fleet of Colonial Marines (financed by the Grant Corporation, Weyland-Yutani's competition in the Aliens novels) were sent on a mission to retrieve the deceased Mother's royal jelly, located in the "black" hive, in order to synthesize a highly addictive drug called Xeno-Zip, also known as Fire (which the government felt was a "highly useful" combat drug). The crew decided to destroy the red Mother's hive to distract the drones of the original nest while the jelly was being extracted. The new Queen Mother was shot after killing a scientist during the extraction.
In the comic Aliens: Rogue, a mad scientist engineered the Rogue Alien: a male alien designed as a weapon to rival the queen caste and thus help rid the Earth of its alien infestation (see Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum, Female War, and Genocide). However, the engineered Alien King escapes and wreaks havoc until it is killed by the Queen that had been nesting in a separate and secured section of the installation.
In the book of the same name, the Rogue is believed to be more powerful than the Queen, but Dr. Ernst Kleist, the scientist who created the Rogue, is shocked to find the Queen is in fact the superior specimen. While the Rogue is larger and stronger, the Queen's superior speed and intellect enable her to easily dodge the Rogue's brutish attacks while she slowly wears it down and finally slaughters it. Kleist is subsequently killed when he uses a sound cannon (a sound device he designed to [and that did] instantly freeze the movements of xenomorphs) on the Queen until it goes critical, destroying the asteroid-base he is on. The Rogue is seemingly much more aggressive and mercilessly attacks the smaller castes of Aliens. This is illustrated when Professor Kleist finds the crushed corpses of the elite Praetorian guard of the queen. The Rogue's recklessness is shown when it destroys the barrier that separates the Alien sector and the Human sector, thus allowing any Alien drones that escaped the Rogue's notice to pour into the Human sector, and when it confronts the queen by crushing the eggs in its way while the queen carefully steps around them to outmaneuver the Rogue.
The Empress is a later stage in the Xenomorph life cycle not specifically stated. When a hive expands to the point of having multiple queens that dwell in it, the "Empress" is the queen that the subsequent queens had spawned from, making the Empress the "queen of queens." The Empress is somewhat larger than most other queens and boasts a larger crest than the rest. The crest of an Empress has an addition pair of straight spines that flank the three spires of its crest, and there appears to be not as many curves to the crest as there are with the crests of other queens; there are much more geometric lines and angles.
The queen dubbed the "Matriarch" is the oldest known alien queen. It is unknown how old the Matriarch is specifically, but many speculate that she could be thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of years old. The Matriarch's flesh has yellowed and wrinkled with age, giving the creature a subtle softness to its exterior. The crest of the Matriarch has also expanded with age: two pairs of spires fan out to the sides of the crest in addition to the three that all queens seem to have at maturity, and a bony ridge of spines runs down the center of the crest sweeping towards the end of it. The face of the Matriarch is extensively scarred as well and missing chunks of flesh from around the mouth and the carapace that protects the face when it is retracted has holes in it that resemble being eaten away by acid.
A strong purple and black brood that uses powerful jump attacks. They are assumed to be special variants of the Warrior and Stalker aliens created through experimentation, much like the Chrysalis and Razor Claws minibosses. They are sometimes seen curled up on the ground as they wait for enemies.
A very large (around the same size as a Praetorian) Xenomorph with a grayish-green exoskeleton and a hard, tan carapace on its head, back, and forearms. It sometimes moves/attacks by rolling itself along the ground in a ball. It gets its name from the chrysalis that it is seen gestating in when it first appears. The Chrysalis' head can actually extend a short distance from underneath the carapace over its head when biting its prey, in addition to the extension of the inner mouth. More Chrysalis are also seen defending the Queen during the final battle. These have a reddish or blue coloring.
A variation of the Chrysalis appears in the second level of the Konami "Aliens" arcade game, but it looks considerably different and has a different attack pattern.
A bluish brood with an apparently hardened carapace on its arms and head that can defend itself against most projectiles and hand-to-hand attacks.
A lighter colored variation of the Runner from Alien 3; a "Super" Dogburster also appears as a much tougher version that launches purple balls of acid from its mouth.
Castes of Xenomorphs that born with ability to flight by the wings. They can be seen in Konami's Aliens, the arcade game Aliens: Extermination as a boss under the name Alien Dragon, in the Super Nintendo game Alien vs. Predator as an end-level boss (this one having gestated in a giant species of bat and taken on the arm-wings and overall appearance of a bat), as well as a Flying Queen in the Kenner toy line.
A human implanted by a type of facehugger altered as a bioweapon. Instead of being sedated, they are put in a zombie-like state, and move around the nesting area, attacking any intruders (presumably either hypnotized by facehugger that implanted them through chemical secretions or possessed by chestburster inside them). If the same type of facehugger implants a Predator, the Predator is instead driven into a berserk state, and will attack anything that moves. Similar zombie-like humans controlled by aliens are found in the Female War comic book, the Aliens arcade game and Alien trilogy for Playstation.
In Aliens Verses Predator: Extinction, a variation of the original Xenomorphs are created by Dr. Samuel Kadinsky. This group is called "The K-Series". They are almost identical to normal Xenomorphs in ability but have white and yellow pigmentations to their exoskeleton rather than the dark colors usually seen. They were eventually wiped out in a hive war to keep the species of xenomorphs "pure" (being that they were not naturally created, but were instead clones).
This unique Xenomorph breed is from Mortal Kombat X and it started it's life as one of the eggs that left behind by members of it's kind on Outworld long ago, until a Tarkatan Patrol leader disturb one of them. This egg hatch in response, releasing the facehugger inside that immediately latches on his face. Later, after the facehugger had fallen off, the Alien progeny burst from the unfortunate Tarkatan's chest, bearing characteristics of both Xenomorph and host.
It eluded the rest of the Tarkatan soldiers and eventually killed them with both of it's inherent powers and the newfound one, retractable blades that it gained from its Tarkatan host. The creature now roams Outworld, looking for more hosts to build the hive and amasses more powerful Xenomorph breeds to take over Outworld.
Xenomorph individuals are Xenomorphs given names or something similar making them their own being compared to their caste
- Nostromo Drone
- First Acheron Queen
- Second Acheron Queen
- The Cloned Queen
- Sevastopol Drone
- Antarctic Queen Xenomorph
- The Matriarch
- Lead Alien
- The Dragon
- Gunnison Predalien
- The Abomination
- Ryushi Queen
- Ryushi Predalien
- Ol' Blue
Weaknesses & Countermeasures
Despite their deadly capabilities, Xenomorphs are by no means invulnerable:
- Reliance to Hosts: The Xenomorphs' gruesome life-cycle demands active castes to work hard in gathering up readily available hosts to either build and expand the hive (which includes spawning a Queen to command everyone within) or amassing enough army to combat threats. If a hive falls behind in its growth, it may become unable to win further battles and therefore unable to recover from losses.
- Extreme Temperatures: Xenomorphs are greatly susceptible to extreme heat as much as with extreme cold. In fact, flame often so thoroughly bakes them that even heavily armored castes such as Queen or Praetorian will eventually crippled with sufficient & continuous exposure to fire-based attacks/weaponry. Caution must be taken when dealing these creatures with fire-based weapons, however, as Predalien castes developed some form of resistance to heat owing to its host species' arid death world (ex. LV-742 Predalien's fire retardant secretions) and Runner caste will likely let themselves burnt alive so as to superheat its cartilaginous framework and release razor-edges biological shrapnel that strikes everything nearby upon exploding like frag grenade. On BG-386, Xenomorph warriors who were exposed to enough fire would immediately begin bleeding out at a rapid rate and would be reduced to crawling on all fours for a few seconds before exploding. Even nonlethal versions of heat such as boiling steam is shown to be enough to spook or outright injure them, as Ellen Ripley defeated the Xenomorph who infiltrated the Nostromo by forcing it to show itself by hitting with large doses of hot steam and Corporal Tequila saved Rooke from one of the creatures by unleashing a large amount of boiling steam right next to the warrior. Extreme cold, on the other hand, could also seriously injure or kill Xenomorphs albeit not to the same extent as heat since it required larger and concentrated doses in order to subdue them. As shown in Alien Resurrection, liquid nitrogen was used to repeatedly intimidate the Xenomorphs to prevent them from getting any ideas on trying to escape.
- Rival Xenomorph Hive: As shown in expanded universe medias such as Aliens versus Predator: Extinction, Xenomorphs cannot use their acidic blood against other members of their kind, forcing them to fight with other means (i.e. claws, inner jaws, and bladed tail).
- Reliance on ambush and/or mob tactics: To get around the fact that Xenomorphs barely have long-range fighting castes and thus requires combating foes in close-quarters, Xenomorphs often relied on ambush tactics or adversaries being unaware to be effective at fighting with minimal losses. Alternatively, they can simply rush adversaries head on with overwhelming numbers. Either tactics have its disadvantages however; whereas the former being less effective against adversaries who were familiar with their tactics or had weapons that could see them in the shadows, the latter can be countered with an entrenched and well-prepared force with the losses potentially being fatal to a hive if they lost the majority of their soldiers.
- Daylight & limited camouflage options: As a result of their dark armored plating, the Xenomorphs were most effective fighting in buildings, their hives, or at night. They suffered severely when fighting in the open daylight, as it was much easier for adversaries to see them, making their ambush tactics impossible or more difficult to carry out, as shown in the war on BG-386.
- Gas: As shown by Specimen 6 during her time in Weyland Yutani's captivity, unleashing a large dose of airborne gas to a single Xenomorph had the ability to render the creature temporarily unconscious, allowing them to be moved without the risk of attack. It is implied however that multiple Xenomorphs required considerably more gas, thus making gassing multiple Xenomorphs at once unproductive.
- Neural Shock: In the event of the violent or sudden death of a high-profile caste member, the ensuing shock to the hivemind would immediately cripple all lower caste members of the hive, rendering them immobile or at the very least badly disoriented. How severe the shock was depended on the height of the caste and how violent the ending was, as shown during the war on BG-386. The Matriarch's death, being killed suddenly in a violent explosion, immediately caused Specimen 6 to completely collapse and being rendered utterly immobile on the ground, and she would have been executed by Weyland's combat androids had Weyland not ordered her to be spared. Similarly, the deaths of the four Praetorians at the hands of Dark and Rookie immediately caused all remaining Xenomorph warriors to disengage and flee from the two combatants, as they had been killed in combat and still had a few seconds of life left, therefore making the shock less direct.
- Vital castes: A Xenomorph hive can be severely crippled by killing its Queen first before decimating other castes that would likely molt into another Queen to replace the slain one such as Praetorian and eggs that may produce either Praetorian Facehugger or Royal Facehugger.
- Vulnerability of young castes: While the Xenomorph warrior castes and higher could survive many things, the facehuggers, chestbursters, and to a lesser degree, the eggs were extremely vulnerable. Multiple encounters with the Xenomorphs showed that just one shot from weapons ranging from the pulse rifle to the bolt gun was enough to kill a facehugger, and chestbursters, while initially fast, became so slow that they were killed easily if they were spotted. Furthermore, if an egg was opened and a host was a considerable distance away, the facehugger would just wonder around aimlessly in the egg's immediate vicinity leaving it extremely vulnerable if someone noticed it and shot it. Furthermore, while the eggs would open if it was shot repeatedly, a single shot from a high-powered weapon like a sniper rifle would destroy the egg and kill the facehugger within.
- Decompression and air pressure: Xenomorphs were repeatedly shown to be extremely vulnerable to the decompression and air pressure, regardless of the caste from warriors to Queens. Both of Ellen Ripley's encounters with the Aliens on LV426 ended with her ejecting the creatures through the airlock. Although the Acheron Queen attempted to fight the air pressure, she was still sucked out. During the war on BG-386, Specimen 6 saw a Warrior get pulled towards the fans and carved to pieces by the air pressure and it was only due to her precise jumping and holding onto the vents that she was able to avoid the same fate.
- Old age: As Xenomorphs are biologically immortal, they do not have a risk of dying naturally. However this carries a risk, as while it is extremely rare for a Xenomorph to live to an advanced age, a Xenomorph that lives long enough will become considerably weaker. This was highlighted with the Matriarch, who was 10,000 years old, as she had considerable trouble ripping out of her ovipositor when escaping from Weyland Yutani, and when she battled Rookie, was unable to repeat the same feat. Furthermore, the Matriarch was badly injured by the flames by the furnace and the canisters around her exploding when Rookie shot them, before burning to death in a massive explosion that caused the refinery's collapse, while it is indicated that a younger Queen would have been able to survive all of these events, along with having little trouble ripping out of her oviposter.
In the years since the release of Alien, the Alien has become one of the world's most recognized movie monsters and a pop-cultural icon. A memorial to the Alien was made in Vladivostok, Russian Far East. In June 4, 2003, the Alien was voted as the 14th most memorable screen villain by the American Film Institute. The Blondie co-founder Chris Stein, who is a friend of Giger, pondered in an interview:
|“||I'd like to see someone even vaguely compile how many versions of the Alien are floating around the world in models and stuff; there must be close to 100,000–little toys, things. All the Japanese horror comics just plunder his style.||„|
|~ H.R Giger|
Examples of Alien-inspired works include the classic video games Contra and Metroid.
- The Aliens have appeared in many crossovers (including a large number of intercompany crossovers) in comic books and other media such as novels, toys, and videogames. Crossovers include encounters with Terminators, Judge Dredd, Green Lanterns, Batman, and Superman. The largest of these crossovers is the Alien vs. Predator franchise, in which the Aliens battle the Predators. This was an idea that came to the comic book artist Chris Warner in early 1989. He and other people at Dark Horse Comics were trying to come up with a good character combo for a new comics series. Dark Horse had been publishing Aliens comic book under license from 20th Century Fox since 1987. In November 21, 1990, the first depiction of the idea in film appeared in Predator 2, when an Alien skull, sculpted by Kevin Hudson, appeared as one of the trophies in the Predator spacecraft. Because Dark Horse possessed the rights to the franchise in comics, it has been able to feature likenesses of the alien in its other licensed comic books. For example, it did this in a mini-issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine which was billed in the media as an Alien crossover.
- Giger's Alien was iconic enough to have an audio-animatronic version of it appear in The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Alien appeared with the attraction's opening in May 1, 1989 and remained there until its closing in August 13, 2017. An Alien-based attraction at the Magic Kingdom entered early development stages before being reworked into ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter until its closing in October 12, 2003.
- In the Red Dwarf episode Polymorph, the Polymorph turns into a form that looks similar to the Xenomorph in one scene.
In other media
A Xenomorph appears in the episode Space Probed. It attempts to attack Dot Warner, but Dot released her pet (red monster with horns) from her box to protect her. A Xenomorph and Dot's pet monster fell in love with each other and leaves Dot.
During a cutaway in the episode Peter's Daughter, Ellen Ripley is attempting to run for her life but is stopped by the Xenomorph Queen. The alien speaks in an overly flamboyant and soft-spoken voice while threatening Ripley.
A Xenomorph appears in South Park's Imaginationland Trilogy, among with the other evil imaginary characters who break through the barrier which is destroyed by the terrorists using Rockety Rocket causing the evil imaginary characters to be free. The Xenomorph kill the Mayor of Imaginationland and later join up with the other evil imaginary characters in the war against the good imaginary characters.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
A Xenomorph appears as the final boss of the game. Heinrich is the final boss in the game. After Berri gets shot by Don Weaso, the Panther King starts to have stomach pains. He is oblivious to what is going on, but all of a sudden, his breath cuts short, starts coughing weakly and, after seconds passed, he gets a horrible surprise. A black, reptilian figure with a tail bursts out of the Panther King's chest, instantly killing him. Professor von Kriplespac starts to call the creature "Heinrich" and then orders him to kill Conker. Conker then runs over to a nearby lever and pulls it, opening up the air vault, where Berri's body, The Panther King and Von Kripplesac get sucked into space (Don Weaso's fate is unknown) and Conker runs out the room to don a heavy Spacesuit to battle Heinrich.
Conker then tries to defeat him by throwing him into space, but to no avail does he get sucked in. After throwing him out two more times, Heinrich gets his grip and is climbing back up and powerfully pounces at him like a panther, where the game then freezes up. Conker contacts a game programmer and agrees to keep the lockup a secret in exchange for help beating Heinrich. Conker is transported to the Panther King's throne room and allowed to choose any weapon he wants to defeat him. After grabbing and storing a Shotgun and a crossbow, he chooses a katana and decapitates Heinrich before the dangerous weapon can kill him, causing acidic green blood to burn up part of the floor. After that, Franky comes out of nowhere, looks at a dead Heinrich on the floor and says that Conker is now king and was never seen again.
Kill la Kill
A Xenomorph makes a cameo appearance in Episode 16 of the anime series, Kill la Kill as one of Mako Mankanshoku's "transformation" sequences.
One of the Aliens called Sylvester appears to be inspired by the Xenomorph. Unlike the Xenomorphs in the Alien franchise which are hard to kill, Sylvesters are very easy to kill (most likely due to being the first enemy encountered in that game).
The queen of the Puchuu resembles the Alien Queen.
A Xenomorph makes a cameo appearance in an episode of the Cartoon Network and Ai Animation Studios mini-series Villainous, "The Lost Cases of Boxmore".
- The Metroid video game franchise was highly inspired by the Alien franchise, and the villain Ridley from those games was supposedly based on the Xenomorphs, his design is very similar to a regular Xenomorph and his close combat attacks are quite similar to that of the Xenomorphs. Interestingly, the name "Ridley" is the same name that the creator of the Alien franchise has, which is Ridley Scott.
- Another villain from the Metroid series that could have been inspired by the Xenomorphs is the Queen Metroid, but more specifically the Queen Xenomorph, as both are the queens over a species, and have similar appearances and traits.
- A skull of Xenomorph can be seen in Predator 2 aboard the City Hunter ship, which included at the suggestion of effects artists John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan, both of whom had worked on both the film and Aliens. They proposed the idea as something of a joke, and also as a nod to the original Aliens vs. Predator comic book story, which had been published earlier in the year.
- Given the dialogue in Aliens vs Predator (2010) from humans indicating that they have fought multiple Xenomorph infestations, and the Predators stating that they have multiple hunting grounds across the galaxy, along with the fact that the Xenomorphs have a natural homeworld in the ending of the Marine campaign, it is heavily implied that there are naturally occurring species of Xenomorphs out in the galaxy.
- In the 2018 TV series called Yo-Kai Watch Shadowside, a shadowside yo-kai known as Filmlin/Eigalien is designed from a Xenomorph.
- Although the Xenomorphs have often portrayed as horrible monsters, the Xenomorphs commit all of their actions out of either animal instinct or self-defense, and they are often portrayed as victims of humans, primarily Weyland-Yutani, or the Predators, who use them as sport trophies. Some media, such as Aliens vs. Predator have especially painted the Xenomorphs in deeply sympathetic lights, with Weyland-Yutani torturing them to learn more about their society, and then abandoning the Matriarch to stasis followed by the Colonial Marines trying to kill them all. This doesn't helped by the fact that Predators using their species as part of their blood sport.
- Despite the claim that Xenomorphs are unable to show emotion, there are a few times where the Xenomorphs displayed it;
- The The Cloned Queen in Alien Resurrection coos at the Newborn, seeing it as a child before it is killed by it.
- Grid snarls angrily when his brethren was slain by the Predators.
- Specimen 6 clearly wept when she realized the Matriarch was burning to death, in addition to the Matriarch clearly showing fear and agony during her death.
- A Xenomorph Hive was upset by the creation of K-Series, a modified strain of their species Weyland-Yutani specifically designed to wipe their original counterparts, that they put on destroying said strain as the utmost priority in Alien versus Predator: Extinction.
- Despite the claim that Xenomorphs are unable to show emotion, there are a few times where the Xenomorphs displayed it;
- In episode 6 of Heaven's Design Team a Xenomorph made a cameo appearance during the work vacation for our design team.