This is a page listing characters in Aliens.For recurring characters in the entire series, see the main characters page.Warning: here be heavy spoilerage.
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Crew of the USS Sulaco
The USS Sulaco is a Conestoga-class starship that transports Ripley and the Colonial Space Marines.
- Sgt. Al Apone
- Corp. Collette Ferro
- Corp. Dwayne Hicks
- Pvt. Timothy Crowe
- Pvt. Cynthia Dietrich
- Pvt. Mark Drake
- Pvt. Ricardo Frost
- Pvt. William Hudson
- Pvt. Jenette Vasquez
- Pvt. Daniel Spunkmeyer
- Pvt. Trevor Wierzbowski
- Ellen Ripley
- Lt. William Gorman
- Carter J. Burke
Lt. William Gorman
Played By: William Hope
Ripley: How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?
Gorman: Thirty eight. (Beat) Simulated.
Vasquez: How many combat drops?
Gorman: Uh, two. Including this one.'A lieutenant recruited by Burke to lead the mission. He was inexperienced, having gone through 38 simulated drops, but only one previous combat drop. He is also slow to understand situations and often needs things explained to him.
- Armchair Military: Gorman commands from a comfy chair, far away from the real danger.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Surrounded by Aliens, he and Vasquez blow themselves up instead.
- Dirty Coward: Subverted. While he is panicky and quick to freeze when acting as Mission Control, he shows no cowardice in actual combat which makes his fear having responsibility for others than his own self.
- The Ditherer: Gorman is indecisive and panicky, often freezing in difficult situations that call for leadership.
- Ensign Newbie: Only his second combat mission, and his greenness shows.
- Establishing Character Moment: One of Gorman's earliest scenes establish his poor commanding skill, when he confuses Hudson with Hicks, allows Apone to discipline the marines and tries to compensate by being needlessly harsh with his orders.
- General Failure: His entire command is basically a massive failure.
- Heroic BSOD: Has one briefly when it seems the most of the squad has been killed and no one left is listening to his orders.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He and Vasquez detonate a grenade, killing themselves with a score of aliens.
- Mission Control: And not a very helpful one. Even Burke seems better equipped to handle the situation than him.
- The Neidermeyer: He's not very competent, but it's more because he's in way over his head, rather than out of malice.
- The Peter Principle: Implied to be the case for Gorman, who is competent and brave when in personal danger like an ordinary soldier, yet can't handle the responsibility of being in a command position.
- Redemption Equals Death: Gorman is killed after his only display of valor and bravery.
- Weak-Willed: Contributes to his inability to effectively assert his authority over the Marines under his command. May be part of the reason why he was selected for the mission by Burke, who uses him to issue orders that further his own purposes.
- You Shall Not Pass: His final act is to stop the aliens from following Ripley and co. through the airshafts.
Sgt. Al Apone
Played By: Al MatthewsThe squad leader of the team that went to investigate LV-426. Apone was far more liked and respected than his C.O, Lieutenant Gorman.
"A day in the Corps is like a day on the farm: Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation's a parade! I love the Corps!"
- Boisterous Bruiser: A grunt at heart:There's some juicy colonists' daughters we have to rescue from their virginity.
- Cigar Chomper: He apparently keeps some in his hypersleep chamber, since he puts one in his mouth seconds after getting up.
- Fate Worse Than Death: APC readouts show he isn't killed in the attack, making it more likely he was cocooned by the xenomorphs. It's not revealed if he was parasitized prior to the reactor explosion.
- A Father to His Men: Loves his Marines to death. His falling in combat devastates his platoon.
- Nice Hat: As displayed to the right.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When Ripley asks if she could help them out with the Loaders, he allows her to do so and is impressed at how much of a natural she is with them.
- Sacrificial Lion: You'd be forgiven for thinking he was going to impact the story more than he did. Initially, Apone enjoys lots of screentime with memorable lines aided by a wonderfully hammy performance from Al Matthews...but during the first incursion, he's quickly taken out by an alien. Apone's demise serves to show that even lovable badasses are not immune to a horrible Fate Worse Than Death.
- Sergeant Rock: Practically the classic example.
Corp. Dwayne Hicks
Played By: Michael Biehn
"We're all in strung out shape, but stay frosty and alert. We can't afford to let one of those bastards in here."One of the Colonial Marines who took charge when the squad's Sergeant Apone was taken alive by the Aliens and commanding officer Lt. Gorman was knocked out. He was later wounded after a burst of acid from an alien encounter began to burn through his armor.While not comfortable taking over the role as squad leader, his demeanor, unlike the machismo bravado of other squad members showed a thoughtful intelligence. Sincere and impartial, he was open to any suggestions as to how to defeat the Alien invasion.Trope Namer for Stay Frosty.
- Ancestral Weapon: In the novelization of Aliens it is revealed that Hicks' shotgun ("I like to keep this handy for close encounters") is an heirloom that has been in his family for generations; Hicks' great-great-great-grandfather used it during the Vietnam War.
- Badass: Hicks is a solid badass, frequently showing his combat expertise. He's also the only Marine to survive the film.
- Let's not forget that he was the one that peered into the ceiling vents for xenomorphs, then immediately took point on top of a desk to defend the group. Badass indeed.
- Bandage Boy: After getting a face full of Xenomorph blood, he spends the remainder of the movie bandaged up.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Next to the other marines, he prefers not to make a show of his badassery and while he's not adverse to wisecracks, he tends to keep them to a minimum, preferring to get the job done and boy does he get it done!
- Chekhov's Skill: He teaches Ripley how to use a pulse rifle, which comes in handy later.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Not as much as Ripley, but still is one after the squad is decimated.
- The Lancer: To Apone and later Ripley.
- Nice Guy: Promises to protect Ripley should anything happen, but respects her strength and ability to take care of herself just the same. He even teaches her how to load and fire the rifles so as to better defend herself.
- Papa Wolf: To a degree, he is this towards Newt: he's certainly the most affectionate and protective towards her of all the Marines.
- Sole Survivor: Of the marines sent to LV-426. Ripley and Newt are both civilians, and Bishop is a navy android.
- Stay Frosty: Probably the most famous use of the phrase, and it fits Hicks very well. He even falls asleep during the drop ship ride!Apone: Somebody wake up Hicks!
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: He dies in the opening of Alien 3, unless you count Aliens: Colonial Marines as canon. Also, he will be returning in the yet-untitled fifth Alien film.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Ripley.
- You Are in Command Now: After Apone's death.
Pvt. William Hudson
Played By: Bill Paxton
"That's it, man. Game over, man! Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?"The squad's jokester and computer tech expert. He seemed arrogant and overconfident of his squad's firepower and abilities. However, he soon cracked under large amounts of stress after most of his Marine squad were taken during the Alien attack in the hive. Later on, he was able to pull himself together and regain his composure.
- Badass: While it may not seem like it, Hudson actually does back up his Badass Boast when push comes to shove. He eventually finds his bravery in the heat of battle.
"I'm ready, man. Check it out! I am the ultimate bad-ass! State of the bad-ass art! You do not want to fuck with me. Check it out! Hey, Ripley, don't worry. Me and my squad of ultimate bad-asses will protect you! Check it out. Independently targeting particle-beam phalanx. WHAP! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. We got sonic, electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks.""Come on! Come on! Come and get it, baby! Come on! I don't got all day! Come on! Come on! Come on you bastard! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? Fuck you!"
- Badass Boast: In the Special Edition Hudson attempts one that even uses the word "badass" as often as he can. He does not deal well with the loss of the high-tech gear that he describes in said boast. He does go down shooting while spitting out even more 'heat of battle' boasts, as well. An Alien has to ambush him from below to take him down.
- Bash Brothers: Following Drake's death, he settles into this with Vasquez.
- The Berserker: After recovering from his Heroic BSOD, Hudson is a beast in combat. He's firing and yelling and basically going a bit crazy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Hudson's a big guy with a bigger mouth.
- Cowardly Lion: Hudson spends a lot of time panicking in some snarky way or another, but eventually shows he's a capable elite soldier."How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?"
- Dare to Be Badass: He gets a roundabout one of these from Ripley.Ripley: Hudson! This little girl survived longer than that with no weapons and no training. [to Newt] Right?Hudson: Why don't you put her in charge?Ripley: You better just start dealing with it, Hudson! Listen to me! Hudson, just deal with it, because we need you and I'm sick of your bullshit.
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh, absolutely. Even more so when he's losing his shit. Hudson is probably the most quotable character in the entire film.Apone: What do you want me to do, fetch your slippers for you?Hudson: Gee, would you sir? I'd like that.Hudson: Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!Bishop: I'm afraid I have some bad news.Hudson: Well, that's a switch!
- Defiant to the End: He may have been something of a panicky, whiny bitch up 'til then, but when his time comes to buy it on that rock, he damn sure doesn't go out like one.
- Doomed Contrarian: Constantly questions the actions of his team-mates, and meets a grizzly (but brave) end.
- Friend to All Children: While the others were preoccupied with stopping the facehugger from getting Ripley, he himself killed the one that was going after Newt.
- He even effectively shields her with his own body, should the facehugger lunge at them.
- Heroic BSOD: Though Ripley snaps him out of it enough that he is still useful to the team.
- Large Ham: Bill Paxton decided to play the obnoxious team jokester by swallowing the scenery whole: "I am the ultimate badass! State of the badass art! You do NOT wanna fuck with me!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hudson might be an obnoxious, arrogant jerk but he's a good and loyal man at heart.
- Non-Action Snarker: Though, in this case, "Non-Action" refers more to not taking action or doing anything constructive, rather than not kicking ass, which he does do later.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Unlike with Drake, Vasquez and Hicks, Hudson recovered quickly after taking a spray of acid blood to his left arm.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Until about mid-way through the film when shit gets serious. He's still pretty funny.
- Punch Clock Hero: Points it out when Gorman asks him about the xenotunnels.You tell me, I only work here.
- Retirony: He was only four weeks away from being out.
- The Smart Guy: Surprisingly, yes. Hudson might seem like a dumb grunt, but he's responsible for the technical work in the squad, hacking open the main door on the marine's arrival, being the primary motion sensor operator (and the first to locate something with it, though it turned out to be hamsters), later tasked with pulling blueprints of the facility from the computer system (work that seemed to help him regain his composure) and is also the one seen setting up the emplaced sentry guns. In the Special Edition, he correctly theorises the nature of the Xenomorph's insect ecology as well.
- Took a Level in Badass: He's a whiny spaz for most of the movie. Then his unit starts dropping. And so do his balls.
Pvt. Jenette Vasquez
Played By: Jeannette Goldstein
Hudson: Hey, Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man?
Vasquez: No, have you?A smartgunner on the Sulaco, partnered with Drake. Vasquez survived the hive and helped seal off the complex from the aliens.Trope Namer for Vasquez Always Dies.
- Action Girl: Vasquez is a Blood Knight with a massive gun, always willing to throw herself into the action.
- Ambiguously Gay: Rather butch, and has a woman's name tattooed on her arm. Some of the looks she gives Ripley and Drake could be interpreted in certain ways.
- Badass: Vasquez kills scores of aliens, never shows any fear and enjoys combat. She's also one of the very few characters in the series to physically attack an alien, as seen when she slams a xenomorph's head into the wall of the air-duct with the heel of her boot and blasts the shit out of it with her hand-gun.
- Bash Brothers: With Drake, her fellow M56 Smart Gun operator. Later, she settles into a quieter Bash Brothers relationship with Hudson.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Along with Gorman, they blow themselves up instead of facing death by Xenomorph.
- The Big Guy: When the team gets whittled down. Vasquez always carries the BFG and provides most of the suppressing fire.
- Blood Knight: "I only need to know one thing: where they are."
- Boobs of Steel: Jeanette Goldstein had to strap herself down, and Vasquez still manages to look stacked. In real life Goldstein even went on to found a famous clothing company that makes bras in extra large cup sizes.
- Brownface: A badass Latina, played by a Jewish woman.
- Butch Lesbian: Maybe. See Ambiguously Gay.
- Establishing Character Moment: Chin-ups and a demolishing comeback against Hudson immediately establish her tomboyish martial prowess, her sharp tongue and her comradeship with Drake.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Slips into her native tongue when angered, but also in general conversation — "Hey, mira (look), who's Snow White?"
- Heroic Sacrifice: Her and Gorman.
- It Has Been an Honor: In her cantankerous style, her Last Words "You always were an asshole, Gorman" also carry the implication of such an acknowledgment. She also gives Gorman the "power grip", her ritual for greeting and departure she only shared with the chosen few like Drake.
- The Lad-ette: She's noticeably the butchest female in the film.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice Job Shooting that Alien With Exploding Rounds and Killing Your Boyfriend, Vasquez.
- Of course, if she hadn't shot the alien probably would have gotten him anyway.
- This leads to a minor Heroic BSOD where she wants to go back for him, but circumstances prevent her from doing so.
- Spicy Latina: Through a Fake Nationality. Jennette Goldstein is actually Jewish.
- Survivors Guilt: She was the one who shot the alien attacking Drake, spraying his face with acid.
- Tank-Top Tomboy: The quintessential butch chick in the franchise, and first depicted in a tank top doing chin-ups.
- You Shall Not Pass: Achieved through a Heroic Sacrifice.
Pvt. Mark Drake
Played By: Mark RolstonThe smartgunning partner of Vasquez. The two marines shared a special bond. During the first encounter with the xenomorphs he is fatally wounded after being splashed by the creatures' acid blood.
- Badass: Everything about his general demeanour and look.
- Bash Brothers: With Vasquez — the two smart-gunners both take point when infiltrating the LV-426 compound, effectively leading the charge.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Also with Vasquez.
- BFG: Like Vasquez, he wields a massive smart-gun.
- The Big Guy: Don't mess with Drake...or he'll mess you up.
- Sacrificial Lion: With his intimidating appearance, BFG and Bash Brothers relationship with Vasquez, Drake seems like he'll be pretty tough. He goes down like the other marines, proving just how dangerous the aliens are.
Played By: Lance HenriksenThe android executive officer assigned to the Sulaco, primarily responsible for planetary maneuvering. Unlike Ash, he was loyal to his seniors, colleagues and especially Ripley. Although Bishop tried to be friendly to Ripley, she did not trust him until he had proved himself.
"Not bad for a...human."
- Action Survivor: Despite having literally no offensive capabilities whatsoever, Bishop is one of the four people to survive the events of the film.
- Alien Blood: White, in a Call Back to the first film, as shown in his Robotic Reveal.
- Artificial Human: He's even gooey inside.
- Badass Baritone: It's Lance Henriksen. Of course he has this.
- Badass Pacifist: Possibly an Actual Pacifist, to the extent that his programming may restrict him from being able to commit any violent acts whatsoever. That being said, he volunteers for the extremely dangerous task of reprogramming the outside antenna to call down a dropship from the Sulaco, waited for Ripley to return from her near-suicidal mission to retrieve Newt from the Alien hive while the Atmosphere Processor Reactor exploded around him, and saved Newt from being sucked out into space when Ripley depressurized the cargo bay to eject the Alien Queen.
- Big Damn Heroes: Bishop swoops in to save Ripley and Newt when the Queen corners them.
- Casting Gag: Lance Henriksen was James Cameron's first choice for the role of the T-800 in The Terminator, which may have impacted his decision to cast Henriksen as a friendly cyborg in this movie.
- The Cavalry: For Ripley and Hicks.
- Deadpan Snarker: Bishop has his moments. Given their situation, it borders on Gallows Humor.Bishop: "Believe me, I'd prefer not to. I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid."Bishop: "In nineteen minutes, this area's gonna be a cloud of vapor the size of Nebraska."
- Doesn't Like Guns: Refuses to take along a pistol when he leaves to summon the dropship. It's explained in outside sources that he has no directives for combat, but even in the extenuating circumstances the film presents, it wouldn't have done him much good if he encountered any aliens en route.
- Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Part of the job of military synthetics is to be a "generic expert" in a wide variety of fields, and such are programmed with a wide array of knowledge. This allows them to be consulted when the unit has need of specialized information (as they might when fighting on exo-planets they may know nothing about) that a typical grunt would not be expected to know.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Is torn clear in two by the alien queen. He lives.
- Hidden Depths: Bishop is a talented Five-Finger Filet player.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Immediately followed up by Half the Man He Used to Be.
- Made of Plasticine: The alien queen quite literally rips him in half. Good thing androids aren't susceptible to shock. Or blood loss. However, The Colonial Marines Technical Manual notes that androids are in many ways more delicate than humans, especially their artificial musculature, justifying the trope.
- Nice Guy: Military synthetics are built for it, as their appearance and manner have been calculated to make them approachable, trustworthy, and non-threatening as a means of fostering unit cohesion.
- Non-Action Guy: He hands back the pistol that Hudson gives him do to his non-hostile programing while getting ready to crawl into the conduit to the relay station. Supplemental materials note that combat androids are forbidden by international treaty, so military synthetics are restricted to non-action support roles, like medics, pilots, or general information experts to consult.
- Red Herring Mole: Ripley (and by extension the audience) are very suspicious of Bishop due to the previous experience with Ash, not to mention his somewhat creepy mannerisms.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Not only does he look like a perfectly average human, but he's one of the most genuinely likable characters in the film. Justified by his design criteria: most military androids are built to seem non-threatening, calm, and trustworthy in order to integrate better with their unit and help foster squad cohesion.
- Robotic Reveal: Played with. He cuts himself with his knife trick, and the white fluid reveals to Ripley (and the audience) that he's a robot. Everyone else already knew though.
- The Smart Guy: Just part of the territory when you're an android.
- Three-Laws Compliant: He quotes the First Law almost verbatim.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Bishop is part of a series of androids who are programmed to easily integrate with human society and is obliged to help his human companions, whether he wants to or not. However, he is undoubtedly self-aware and capable of formulating his own decisions. It is ambiguous whether or not Bishop's courageous actions throughout the film are entirely the result of his programming or his own conscious decisions.
Corp. Colette Ferro
Played By: Colette HillerThe dropship pilot. She stayed with the craft during the alien ambush.
"Rough air ahead, we're in for some chop."
- Ace Pilot: Her official role in the marine unit.
- Asshole Victim: A minor case, but she was kind of a dick to Spunkmeyer.
- Badass: When she turns around and sees an alien in the cockpit of the dropship, she doesn't scream or panic. Instead, she immediately reaches for her sidearm. Unfortunately, it doesn't help her.
- Cool Shades: She wears nifty reflective aviator shades while flying.
- Danger Deadpan: An excellent example thereof.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: An alien pops up behind her while she's flying.
- Ice Queen: She's pretty cool and collected to the point of being rude to Spunkmeyer.
- Jerkass: Mildly, due to her Ice Queen persona.
- Not Now, Kiddo: She really should have listened to Spunkmeyer...
Corp. Cynthia Dietrich
Played By: Cynthia Dale ScottThe marines' medic.
"Maybe they don't show up on infra red at all."
- Fate Worse Than Death: Dietrich's vital signs show she's still alive after the fight - which means she was facehugger bait.
- Kill It with Fire: One of the team's flamethrower operators. Later manages to kill it - unfortunately, "it" in this case is Frost.
- Mauve Shirt: Killed during the fist encounter with the aliens.
- The Medic: For the marines.
- The Smart Guy: Makes some intelligent observations (Such as speculating that the Aliens don't show up on infrared).
Pvt. Ricco Frost
Played By: Ricco RossA trooper and rifleman. Frost was the driver of the unit's APC and seemed to have a good friendship with some of the marines, especially Hicks.
"Man, I'm telling you, I got a bad feeling about this drop."
- Ambiguously Bi: It's incredibly subtle, but he seemingly had sex with a male 'Arcturian'. He also has a heart-and-arrow decoration on his armour with the name "Heath", although that isn't necessarily a romantic implication.
- Badass: By virtue of being a marine and someone who can keep up with Hicks.
- Black Best Friend: To Hicks; they're usually seen together and exchange banter.
- Black Dude Dies First: He's the second marine to die, burned alive by Dietrich when an alien grabs her from behind.
- Cassandra Truth: "I got a bad feeling about this drop." Frost, you have no idea how right your are.
- Deadpan Snarker: Every other line of Frost's dialogue is this.[after Ripley blows up at Bishop in the cafeteria] "Guess she don't like the cornbread either."[upon being told he can't use his weapon] "What do you expect us to use man, harsh language?"
- Kill It with Fire: How he goes down.
- Mauve Shirt: Frost gets slightly more characterisation than the other Red Shirt marines, but still dies very quickly during the first encounter with the aliens.
- The Lancer: To his pal Hicks. He doesn't last long, however.
Pvt. Daniel Spunkmeyer
Played By: Daniel KashThe dropship chief weapons officer who worked often with Ferro.
"What's this crap supposed to be?"
- American Accents: Has a broad "Noo Yawk" accent.
- Danger Deadpan: He has moments of this in the cockpit.
- The Load: How Ferro seems to view him.
- Mauve Shirt: Killed (off-screen) when an alien manages to board the drop-ship.
- Too Dumb to Live: You see evidence of an Alien in your ship, you do not seal yourself in. Granted, he wasn't with the team that first went in, so it doesn't seem very likely he knew what the secretion in the dropship actually was.
Pvt. Tim Crowe
Played By: Tip Tipping
"You always say that Frost, you always say, I got a bad feeling about this drop..."Rifleman in the Marine squad.
- Curse Cut Short: Averted, he actually has enough time to swear before the ammo blows.
- The Quiet One: Only speaks twice, the first time he's off-screen and is inaudible the second time.
- Red Shirt: Exists basically to fill space and then go down.
Pvt. Trevor Wierzbowski
Played By: Trevor SteedmanFlamethrower operator in the Marine squad.
- The Big Guy: Seriously, he's pretty darn big. Apone even sends him off alone when in the colony.
- Kill It with Fire: Wields a flamethrower as his weapon of choice.
- Red Shirt: Exists basically to fill space and then go down.
- The Voiceless: Doesn't talk, only screams.
Rebecca "Newt" Jorden
Played By: Carrie HennThe only survivor amongst the colonists of LV-426. She had been living in the air ducts within the compound and was discovered by the marines after they picked her up on the motion tracker.
"They mostly come at night. Mostly..."
- Action Survivor: At the age of 8, she manages to be the only survivor of an alien incursion that otherwise decimates a community of 70 families.
- Broken Bird: She's thoroughly scarred from her experiences. Newt didn't just lose her entire family, she lost her entire community and the trauma weighs heavily on her. She's often silent and pessimistic.
- Cute Mute: At first, when she doesn't say anything.
- Damsel in Distress: Arguably. Justified since, hey, 8-year-old.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: "My name's Newt. Nobody calls me Rebecca."
- Fragile Speedster: Being an 8-year-old girl, she's no fighter, but the reason she survived so long (and what keeps her alive throughout the film) is her ability to quickly weave her way through air ducts and underneath grates.
- Genre Savvy: She has to be in order to survive. She knows from personal experience what the Aliens are capable of and correctly predicts that the presence of the Colonial Marines "won't make any difference."
- Little Miss Badass: She managed to survive the Xenomorph threat for weeks.
- Morality Pet: Helps Ripley shed her cynical shell to reveal her gooey Mama Bear center.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Only her brother called her Rebecca.
- Say My Name: "Ripley!" "Hudson!" "Bishop!"
- Sole Survivor: The only survivor amongst the colonists of LV-426.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Poor kid doesn't make it through the dropship crash in Alien 3. It's massively jarring, to say the least.
Carter J. Burke
Played By: Paul ReiserCorporate executive and the Special Projects Director for Weyland-Yutani who befriended Ripley at the Gateway Station following her return from hypersleep. When contact is lost with the colony on LV-426, Burke persuades a reluctant Ripley to join the military expedition as an advisor, in return for him helping her regain her flight license. She finally agrees when he assures her that the mission is to destroy, not study, the aliens. He accompanies the squad aboard Sulaco, presumably to safeguard the company's investment in the terraforming colony.
"I'm Burke. Carter Burke. I work for the company. But don't let that fool you, I'm really an okay guy."
- Asshole Victim: Burke is killed by an alien when they break through. Nobody mourns.
- Big Bad: Carter is the main human antagonist of Aliens. By sending the colonists to investigate the crashed Engineer ship without any warning or basic information, he becomes responsible for the aliens overrunning the colony and the subsequent events of the film. And then he goes even further, plotting to kill the marines and smuggle the alien back for the company.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He pretends to be a Reasonable Authority Figure at first, showing sympathy to Ripley and generally being pretty polite. However, he gradually reveals himself to be a greedy opportunist.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Burke is very interested in making it to the executive washroom and will do anything to ensure his rise... even if it playing with other people's lives.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's fond of patronizing sarcasm during dire situations."Maybe we could build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don't we try that?"
- Dirty Coward: When the aliens break into the colony, Burke makes a run for it. He even locks the door behind him, either out of cowardice or just because it was a nice opportunity to get rid of the witnesses to his attempted crime.
- Faux Affably Evil: He actually does a good job of acting like a benevolent figure, before the magnitude of what he's done (and tries to do) comes to light. At its earliest, it's seen when he protests the decision to nuke the site from orbit.Burke: This is a multi-million dollar installation, okay? He can't make that kind of decision, he's just a grunt! [to Hicks] Ah, no offense.Hicks: None taken.
- Gratuitous Spanish: When explaining the issue with the primary heat exchangers to Gorman."Look, this whole station is basically a big fusion reactor...right? So you're talkin' about a thermonuclear explosion and "Adiós, muchachos.""
- Greed: His motivation for pretty much every move he makes. Ripley calls him out on it.Ripley: You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.
- Hate Sink: Once Burke's true slimy colors are revealed, even Reiser's own parents cheered when Burke gets exactly what he deserves.
- Just Think of the Potential: Averted, actually. The company certainly holds this view in regard to the alien, but Burke is strictly a money-orientated individual who thinks of the aliens only in terms of what they can profit him, never showing any interest in what the company would use the alien for.
- Karmic Death: Burke is killed by one of the aliens on the Colony; fitting, considering he's responsible for the alien outbreak to begin with.
- Lack of Empathy: His response to Ripley's accusation of murdering 157 colonists? Administration complications and profit margins.
- Never My Fault: He tries to escape blame for the alien outbreak at the Colony when Ripley confronts him."Okay, look. What if that ship didn't even exist, huh? Did you ever think about that? I didn't know! So now, if I went in and made a major security issue out of it, everybody steps in. Administration steps in, and there are no exclusive rights for anybody; nobody wins. So I made a decision and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley, it was a bad call."
- Suit with Vested Interests: He's there with the hidden agenda of getting a sample of the creature and won't let the safety of the crew distract him from that.
Played By: Paul MaxwellThe chairman of the Interstellar Commerce Commission board that reviewed Ripley's case concerning the destruction of the Nostromo. He dismissed her claims, revoked her flight license and submitted her for psychological evaluations.
"Thank you, that will be all."
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: While Ripley's story is certainly pretty unprecedented, he refuses to entertain the possibility that it was not something she just hallucinated or made up.
- Jerkass: Is less than understanding of what Ripley has been through and pretty much disbelieves everything she says about the xenomorph.
- Karma Houdini: If he had any involvement in having the colonists investigate the derelict ship, we don't see him get any comeuppance.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Strips Ripley of her flight license because she showed "questionable judgement" in destroying the ore shipment in order to kill the xenomorph, which he thinks is made up anyway.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In a way. It's hard to blame him for disbelieving Ripley's tale, considering that she had no proof to back up her claims. When she talks to Van Leuwen after the hearing, he seems like a pretty nice and reasonable guy.