Created By: CyberXIII on September 18, 2017 Last Edited By: Abodos on February 1, 2018
Troped

Xenomorph Xerox

Expy of the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise.

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trope
Freeza: "So Namekian, what do you think of my third form?"
Piccolo: "I think Ridley Scott's gonna sue somebody."
Freeza: What are you talking about? [a second mouth pops out of his original]

This trope describes a creature partially or completely based on the eponymous Alien, also called the Xenomorph, from Ridley Scott's Alien. The creature might look completely different or just have a few obvious parallels.

Why? Because the Xenomorph is one of the most iconic horror monsters in cinema, and just looks wrong. It's weird, it's viscerally creepy, and its method of killing people was incredibly creative. Its reproduction method was memorable, the life cycle remains horrifying...so naturally once the Alien movies got popular everyone wanted one of their own. But this is not limited to film—-depictions show up in almost every medium, especially during the late 80s and early 90s. Nowadays it doesn't quite have the same impact.

Signs of a xerox include:

  1. Copious amounts of drool or slime.
  2. Rather than being unkillable Implacable Man style, the creature has some other defense mechanism
  3. Being able to secrete acid or poison
  4. Being a Metamorphosis Monster, either with a full insectoid life cycle or simply appearing in multiple forms, with the larval form in particular typically being a Face Hugger.
  5. Hyper aggressive predator. Carnivorous nature is optimal but the thing is a killing machine.
  6. Sharp, bladed tail.
  7. Elongated cranium or strange, inhuman mouthparts despite having a humanoid body plan—-two arms, two legs, upright stance and so forth.
  8. Loads of weird sexual imagery—-Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, anybody?
  9. Eyeless Face.

Many Bug War plots from older science fiction tend to feature Insectoid Aliens whose attributes often made them prototypes for Xenomorph Xeroxes.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Frieza's Third Form in Dragon Ball Z is a Shout-Out to the Xenomorph, with elongated head and blades in weird places.

Comic Books
  • The unnamed aliens in the Marshal Law story "Secret Tribunal" are virtually identical to the Aliens in their activities and behaviour, although they look very different. This is because the story was originally written as a crossover with the Alien franchise, but negotiations failed.

Film
  • Planet 51 has the xenomorph-like dogs kept by the aliens — they're eyeless, with big toothy grins, are gray, and have a prominent tail. One of them is even named "Ripley."

Live-Action Television

Tabletop Games
  • In Eclipse Phase the Exhuman clade known as "Defilers" engineered themselves deliberately into such creatures. There are a few differences, most notably the adults inject eggs into victims through their stinger-tails rather than using facehuggers, though their newly emerged larvae have a habit of latching onto people's faces (and clawing them off).
  • Warhammer 40K: The Tyranids as a whole are a Shout-Out to Xenomorphs (long cranium, invasive reproduction, utterly alien mindset), although they have many different forms, use biological weapon equivalents, and have eyes.

Theme Parks

Video Games
  • DragonFable's "Castle Nostromo" quest is a homage to Alien in general and featured monsters called Void Creatures as enemies. In particular, the Void Queen is visually a cut-and-paste of the Xenomorph Queen which sneaks about the map capturing people and has the same "Xenomorph vision". Symone even uses an exoskeleton to fight it just like Ellen Ripley did. The final scene also reveals the Queen laid Void eggs and they are hatching, once again like the Xenomorph Queen.
  • Two examples from the Metroid series:
    • The eponymous Metroids are heavily based on the Xenomorphs. Their iconic jellyfish-like larval forms are basically floating Face Huggers, their later metamorphosis stages introduced in Metroid II: Return of Samus get progressively more Xenomorph-like (with the redesigned Zeta Metroids in Metroid: Samus Returns being nearly identical to them), they have a hive queen, and they were created by the Chozo as bioweapons.
    • Ridley is a more downplayed example. Since Super Metroid, his design can be summed up as the Xenomorph with leathery wings and a more dragon-like head.
    • Metroid: Fusion introduces the X-Parasites, which the Metroids were created to wipe out. While they lack actual physical forms (although their free floating amoeba like true forms still serve as a sort of larval form to the constructed versions of their former hosts they can create), they're still parasitoids which assimilate the DNA and memories of their victims and have a hive mind (which also gains queens of sorts as they assimilate more intelligent lifeforms). The hybrids of various enemies (especially hybrid Space Pirates) they form also strongly resemble some of the various xenomorph variants from the Alien franchise.
  • In Starcraft:
    • The Zerg faction's 'Hydralisk' unit
      • The first game has the hydralisk as a Captain Ersatz to the Xenomorph: shooting acid spikes as its main form of attack, being fond of the *Drool* Hello, having an elongated head, and being a Metamorphosis Monster, and being one of the Zerg's primary attacking units. It is shown in cutscenes to be extremely fond of ambush tactics, with one cutscene being another obvious Shoutout to the Alien film.
      • By Starcraft II the hydralisk still carries obvious influences from the Alien, though Blizzard attempted to distance it from its original influence: removing the acid from its spine (instead making them armour-piercing and venomous), while making the elongated head more of a bony crest used to propel its spine-attacks. It's still an obvious Expy, however.
    • The Zerg faction as a whole draw inspiration from the Xenomorph as well, being extremely agressive Metamorphosis Monsters.
      • In Starcraft I Their eggs which spawn their units being almost identical in design to the Alien facehugger eggs, they also drool copiously
      • By Starcraft II, the Zerg have even gained Queens as a unit tending to their hives, responsible for birthing larva which forms the eggs that spawn their units.
      • Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm also features a mission in the singleplayer Zerg campaign where Kerrigan infects a Protoss with a living Zerg organism, causing it to burst from said Protoss after she is teleported to safety. The mission then plays out as a Whole Plot Reference to Aliens, with this one organism becoming the Queen of a hive that takes down the Protoss vessel she is on from the inside. Notable is that this way of using a creature as a host for a living organism is not the typical way for Zerg to parasitize other beings: Their method involves infesting them through what can only be described as an incredibly virulent Virus - but the Protoss are immune to this on the genetic level, necessitating this Loophole Abuse.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: The Reaper is a large predator animal that slightly resembles a queen alien. They also posses a acid attack, along with the same color blood and a similar reproductive cycle.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, the final boss is Heinrich, a monster that more or less looks exactly like a xenomorph with more cartoony proportions, engineered by Professor von Kriplespac to off the Panther King, Chest Burster style.
  • Insaniquarium: Sylvester, one of the enemy aliens, resembles a xenomorph with a little fish tail instead of legs. But despite its terrifying appearance, it's actually the first and weakest of the aliens encountered. Cyrax can also spawn miniature versions of Sylvester to aid him in battle.
  • In the game Fur Fighters you bump into a large alien, only for it to be removed by a copyright lawyer fox from 31st Century Films who insists it is breaking at least 35 copyrights. A debate between him and whatever character you're playing occurs, and then a debate quickly becomes a gunfight.

Western Animation
  • In Rick and Morty, Beth and Jerry go on alien marriage counseling where the way they see each other physically manifests in a creature, dubbed "Mytholog". The Beth Mytholog, created by Jerry's mind, is a gigantic monster resembling the Xenomorph Queen.
  • While chipmunk Dale of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers watches a horror movie in the episode "Dale Beside Himself," the Show Within a Show is an homage to Alien. The eyeless monster produces a series of nested mouths, the last of which bites the Action Girl on her nose. She responds by leveling her BFG at the camera and pulling the trigger.
  • The Garfield Show: In the episode "Virtualodeon" a alien expy is seen staking a Ripley Expy, before it attacks the main characters.
  • In Animaniacs, Dot counters a Xenomorph with her boxed pet, which appears to be a giant Jerry Lewis caricature who share the Xenomorph’s Nested Mouth trait by having a smaller head inside.
  • Code Lyoko: The episode "End Of Take" had as the Monster of the Week an animatronic suit possessed by XANA that was a virtual rip-off of the Xenomorph with Yautja-like head "dreadlock" tentacles (which it used as actual Combat Tentacles). This look-alikeness was actually lampshaded (although Ulrich couldn't recall the original film's name) before being told by the director of the In-Universe film (that was using the factory as a film set) to shut up because it was a totally original alien design, honest!
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • September 18, 2017
    Snowy66
    • Frieza's Third Form is a Shout Out to the Xenomorph, with elongated head and blades in weird places.

    • Dragon Fable's "Castle Nostromo" quest is a homage to Alien in general and featured monsters called Void Creatures as enemies. In particular, the Void Queen is visually a cut-and-paste of the Xenomorph Queen which sneaks about the map capturing people and has the same "Xenomorph vision". Symone even uses an exoskeleton to fight it just like Ellen Ripley did. The final scene also reveals the Queen laid Void eggs and they are hatching, once again like the Xenomorph Queen.
  • September 18, 2017
    Snowy66
    Also question, do Facehugger expies count as this trope?
  • September 18, 2017
    zarpaulus
    • In Eclipse Phase the Exhuman clade known as "Defilers" engineered themselves deliberately into such creatures. There are a few differences, most notably the adults inject eggs into victims through their stinger-tails rather than using facehuggers, though their newly emerged larvae have a habit of latching onto people's faces (and clawing them off).
  • September 18, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    Would Miss Martian's true form count in Young Justice? She has the looks but not everything else. Iirc, the cartoon changed her design to be more xeno-ish.
  • September 18, 2017
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: The Tyranids as a whole are a Shout Out to Xenomorphs (long cranium, invasive reproduction, utterly alien mindset), although they have many different forms, use biological weapon equivalents, and have eyes.

  • September 19, 2017
    Diask
    • Flying Omelette's special "Switched at Birth?" has a whole page dedicated to (mostly) video game characters inspired by the xenomorph and other elements from Alien series.
  • September 19, 2017
    Theharbo
    Call it Xeroxmorph?
  • September 19, 2017
    Arivne
    In order to understand Xeroxmorph, the reader would have to not only be familiar with the term Xenomorph (from the Alien movies) but also realize that Xeroxmorph was based on it.

    That makes Xeroxmorph a Bad Trope Namer.
  • September 19, 2017
    Arivne
    • Changed * to # to auto-number a list.
    • Created Examples section.
  • September 19, 2017
    Theharbo
    ^^ Doesn't 'Xenomorph Xerox' need a reader to be familiar with the term Xenomorph, too?
  • September 19, 2017
    Snicka
    ^ It's not as much the matter of the reader's familiarity with the term Xenomorph (after all, the whole point of the trope is that the monster is a Shout Out to Alien), but the matter of clarity. "Xeroxmorph" is not an obvious wordplay on Xenomorph (it can be also misinterpreted as something that has the shape of a Xerox machine, for example), whereas "Xenomorph Xerox" clearly indicates that it's about a copy of the Xenomorph.

    • In Rick And Morty, Beth and Jerry go on alien marriage counseling where the way they see each other physically manifests in a creature, dubbed "Mytholog". The Beth Mytholog, created by Jerry's mind, is a gigantic monster resembling the Xenomorph Queen.
  • January 23, 2018
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • While chipmunk Dale of Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers watches a horror movie in the episode "Dale Beside Himself," the Show Within A Show is an homage to Alien. The eyeless monster produces a series of nested mouths, the last of which bites the Action Girl on her nose. She responds by leveling her BFG at the camera and pulling the trigger.
  • January 21, 2018
    Synchronicity
    • Planet 51 has the xenomorph-like dogs kept by the aliens — they're eyeless, with big toothy grins, are gray, and have a prominent tail. One of them is even named 'Ripley.'
  • January 22, 2018
    AnitaShower
    What is a Xenomorph exactly? I haven't watched Alien and I think this needs a better name.
  • January 22, 2018
    Chabal2
    ^ This happy critter.

    Yeah, needs a picture. Maybe a collage of the actual xenomorph and some of the more blatant versions.

  • January 22, 2018
    Snicka
    I don't think we should change the name from Xenomorph Xerox into something more clear because people who haven't seen Alien don't know what a Xenomorph is - Darth Vader Clone and King Koopa Copy require the reader to know Star Wars and Super Mario Bros; in case of a Fountain Of Expies, Trope Namer Syndrome does not qualify.
  • January 22, 2018
    LondonKdS
    The unnamed aliens in the Marshal Law story "Secret Tribunal" are virtually identical to the Aliens in their activities and behaviour, although they look very different. This is because the story was originally written as a crossover with the Alien franchise, but negotiations failed.
  • January 22, 2018
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Task Force Games, Pocket Game #6 Intruder. The title character is an alien that gets loose on a space station and hunts down the human crew aboard it. The alien can change its shape as it passes through its life stages, the scientists in the crew won't harm it, engineers in the crew can create weapons (like electric cattle prods and flamethrowers) to harm it, the crew can activate a Self Destruct Mechanism and escape in a shuttle, etc. Even the pictures of the alien look a lot like the xenomorph. In short, the game is clearly based on the film Alien and the alien in the game is an Expy of the xenomorph.
  • January 22, 2018
    Snicka
    • Starcraft: One of the three playable factions, the Zerg, are aliens that seems to be inspired by the xenomorph: they combine humanoid, reptilian and insectoid features, they drool a lot and some can spit acid, they form a swarm controlled by a Queen, they are capable of metamorphosis, and they have More Teeth Than The Osmond Family.

    (Can somebody more familiar with both the Starcraft and the Alien franchises point out the similarities?)
  • January 22, 2018
    marcoasalazarm
    Code Lyoko: The episode "End Of Take" had as the Monster Of The Week an animatronic suit possessed by XANA that was a virtual rip-off of the Xenomorph with Yautja-like head "dreadlock" tentacles (which it used as actual Combat Tentacles). This look-alikeness was actually lampshaded (although Ulrich couldn't recall the original film's name) before being told by the director of the In Universe film (that was using the factory as a film set) to shut up because it was a totally original alien design, honest!
  • January 22, 2018
    Chabal2
    ^^ The closest appearance-wise would be the Hydralisk, a snakelike subspecies with an elongated armored skull that seem to relish popping up behind unsuspecting victims, though they only have two scythe-like limbs.
  • January 23, 2018
    Snicka
    The Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers example is incorrect; the Alien homage described there is watched by Dale in the episode "Dale Beside Himself", not in "Last Train to Cashville" (see at 16:56 in this clip).
  • January 23, 2018
    oneuglybunny
    ^ Yep, you're right, Chief. Got my episodes crossed. Fixed things accordingly. Good catch.
  • January 23, 2018
    Boston
    I'd argue that the Marvel Comics' Brood (first appearing in Uncanny X-Men #155) are a Xenomorph expy. They have very similar physiologies, they come in swarms, and infect their hosts.

    Mel Brooks' Spaceballs parodied the Aliens creature, who does a bit of a cakewalk and sings "Hello, Ma Baby!"
  • January 23, 2018
    Snicka
    ^ The Alien parody in Spaceballs is an homage to One Froggy Evening.
  • January 24, 2018
    Bisected8
    • In Star Craft, the Zerg are much like the xenomorphs, having hives with queens and become parasitoids to humans and other animals to reproduce and assimilate their DNA into their forms to grow stronger (as well as assimilating individuals directly to create specific units). Interestingly they're inspired by the Tyranids from Warhammer 40K (see Video Games above), rather than the xenomorphs themselves.

    • Also from the Metroid franchise:
      • Metroid Fusion introduces the X-Parasites, which the Metroids were created to wipe out. While they lack actual physical forms (although their free floating amoeba like true forms still serve as a sort of larval form to the constructed versions of their former hosts they can create), they're still parasitoids which assimilate the DNA and memories of their victims and have a hive mind (which also gains queens of sorts as they assimilate more intelligent lifeforms). The hybrids of various enemies (especially hybrid space pirates) they form also strongly resemble some of the various xenomorph variants from the Alien franchise.
  • January 28, 2018
    Theharbo
    ^ To think the Zerg are inspired by Warhammer 40 K 's Tyranids is very likely wrong:

    the Tyranids did not gain obvious insectoid characteristics until 3rd edition (2001), which was after Starcraft I came out (1997). Before then, they were like a flamboyant version of Xenomorphs. Secondly, the concept of a hive-minded insectoid species (who happen to be at war with "space marines") was first popularized in the novel Starship Troopers (1959). If anything, StarCraft pays obvious homage to:

    Starship Troopers. (e.g. Terran marines were called Marauders in the SC-1 beta).

    — and Aliens (1986). (e.g. One of the marine's unit responses is "How the hell do we get out of this chickenshit outfit?" a quote from the Aliens movie).

    There is, on the other hand, no clear reference to WH40K. It's doubtful whether the guys at Blizzard were even aware of a niche British table-top game at the time they were making StarCraft 1. As the idea of a parasitic species that assimilates the traits of creatures it has infested was also already present in the Xenomorphs from Aliens, as well as the eponymous organism from The Thing 1982. Again, given all these sources of inspiration, why do we need to connect them to another fictional alien species, from a table-top game originating in another country, which wasn't even that fully fleshed out at the time Starcraft I was published?

    Finally, the Tyranids don't seem to have any goal besides satisfying their collective hunger, whereas the Zerg, on the other hand, have more nuanced goals. The Overmind wanted the Zerg to become the ultimate life form by assimilating the Protoss (as much as a sentient but slave-bound creature can want anything). Kerrigan enjoyed dominating the Koprulu Sector through her control of the Swarm and later leads the Swarm to fight an evil god-like being. Abathur takes pride in his bio-tinkering, and Dehaka along with the primal Zerg sees constant evolution as vital to survival. All these Zerg leaders are not driven by the kind of insatiable hunger that pushes the Tyranids to keep consuming. This is reflected in their physiology as well. The Zerg thrive just fine in an originally barren habitat (e.g. Char, various space platforms etc), but the Tyranids starve if they cannot find a lush world to devour.

    Rant over. With that out of the way, here's a Starcraft example

    • In Starcraft:
      • The Zerg faction's 'Hydralisk' unit
        • The first game has the hydralisk as a Captain Ersatz to the Xenomorph: shooting acid spikes as its main form of attack, being fond of the Drool Hello, having an elongated head, and being a Metamorphosis Monster, and being one of the Zerg's primary attacking units. It is shown in cutscenes to be extremely fond of ambush tactics, with one cutscene being another obvious Shoutout to the Alien film.
        • By Starcraft II the hydralisk still carries obvious influences from the Alien, though Blizzard attempted to distance it from its original influence: removing the acid from its spine (instead making them armour-piercing and venomous), while making the elongated head more of a bony crest used to propel its spine-attacks. It's still an obvious Expy, however.
      • The Zerg faction as a whole draw inspiration from the Xenomorph as well, being extremely agressive Metamorphosis Monsters.
        • In Starcraft I Their eggs which spawn their units being almost identical in design to the Alien facehugger eggs, they also drool copiously
        • By Starcraft II, the Zerg have even gained Queens as a unit tending to their hives, responsible for birthing larva which forms the eggs that spawn their units.
        • Starcraft II Heart Of The Swarm also features a mission in the singleplayer Zerg campaign where Kerrigan infects a Protoss with a living Zerg organism, causing it to burst from said Protoss after she is teleported to safety. The mission then plays out as a Whole Plot Reference to Aliens, with this one organism becoming the Queen of a hive that takes down the Protoss vessel she is on from the inside. Notable is that this way of using a creature as a host for a living organism is not the typical way for Zerg to parasitize other beings: Their method involves infesting them through what can only be described as an incredibly virulent Virus - but the Protoss are immune to this on the genetic level, necessitating this Loophole Abuse.
  • January 27, 2018
    TorpidDrake
    • The alien in Alien Encounter. This is one is more solid than the Zerg since Word Of God long since confirmed that Alien Encounter was originally meant to be an Alien-themed ride.
  • January 27, 2018
    Generality
    Another important xerox feature: Nested Mouths.
  • January 27, 2018
    RonnieR15
    • Stargate Atlantis: The Bug People which are Iratus-Human Hybrids.
    • ARK Survival Evolved: The Reaper is a large predator animal that slightly resembles a queen alien. They also posses a acid attack, along with the same color blood and a similar reproductive cycle.
    • The Garfield Show: In the episode "Virtualodeon" a alien expy is seen staking a Ripley Expy, before it attacks the main characters.
  • January 31, 2018
    Snicka
    ^^ Good point, they should be included on the list of common features of the creature.
  • January 31, 2018
    NubianSatyress
    Possible page quote:

    Freeza: "So Namekian, what do you think of my third form?"
    Piccolo: "I think Ridley Scott's gonna sue somebody."
    Freeza: What are you talking about? [a second mouth pops out of his original]
  • January 31, 2018
    EdnaWalker
    • In Animaniacs, Dot counters a Xenomorph with her boxed pet, which appears to be a giant Jerry Lewis caricature who share the Xenomorph’s Nested Mouth trait by having a smaller head inside.
  • February 1, 2018
    Jallen
    • In the game Fur Fighters you bump into a large alien, only for it to be removed by a copyright lawyer fox from 31st Century Films who insists it is breaking at least 35 copyrights. A debate between him and whatever character you're playing occurs, and then a debate quickly becomes a gunfight.
  • February 1, 2018
    DrNoPuma
    • In Conkers Bad Fur Day, the final boss is Heinrich, a monster that more or less looks exactly like a xenomorph with more cartoony proportions, engineered by Professor von Kriplespac to off the Panther King, Chest Burster style.
    • Insaniquarium: Sylvester, one of the enemy aliens, resembles a xenomorph with a little fish tail instead of legs. But despite its terrifying appearance, it's actually the first and weakest of the aliens encountered. Cyrax can also spawn miniature versions of Sylvester to aid him in battle.
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