Headscratchers / Alien

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     General Issues for the Whole Series 
  • Did it never occur to Weyland-Yutani to send a single small ship, manned only with synthetics and a pig, to the moon where the Aliens were discovered? Let's think—small ship (much less costly than, for example the Nostromo), no payload to lose, one potential host (the pig) & if that failed, try with one of the synthetics. The pig had no capacity to object, the synthetics would be programmed to do whatever it takes to achieve the mission & would not have tried to escape, kill the alien, or destroy the craft. And before anybody puts forward the idea 'Maybe the synthetics weren't suitable as hosts'—sure, maybe they weren't, but it was worth a try!
    • Except they didn't know anything about the alien in the first movie. Taking all of those precautions assumes that you know exactly what you're getting into.
    • That would probably have been more expensive than sending the Nostromo. You have to remember the Nostromo and her crew are roughly the equivalent of space truckers who were called up by their boss and told to make a minor detour and pick something up on the way back. They were entirely expendable to the company and had Ripley died like a good girl their plan would have worked out well within acceptable parameters.
    • They weren't even ordered by the boss. Standing order was to investigate any transmission indicating possible non-human intelligence, under penalty of total forfeiture of shares ("No money.") Nostromo was in the general area, so it didn't cost much at all to divert it. And as pointed out, the Company had no idea what was actually there, they just figured these idiots would stumble on something that might be worthwhile, then they could send a proper investigation team. Outfitting a full expedition to investigate something that might turn out to be completely worthless is just a waste of time and money, have the crew that's already going past that area check it out first. The Company was just cutting costs. And by the time the results of the "Nostromo expedition" were known, whoever gave that order in the first place was probably long dead.
    • If we count Prometheus as canon, Weyland-Yutani may have had a very faint clue of what they were looking for, that an effort had been made to contact something decades before and that it had failed miserably, or, if Shaw and David ever came back, that the rate of mortality was extremely high. So yeah, improvising with an ill-prepared crew who are kept out of the loop wouldn't have been very good idea.
    • It's quite possible that a robotic probe or synthetic-crewed scout vessel already had discovered the crashed Engineer ship, and reported back to Weyland-Yutani. Somebody had to have arranged to place Ash on the Nostromo and issued his secret orders, after all. It's likely that whomever set up Ripley's original crew had seen video of the Space Jockey with its imploded chest, suspected how it may have died, and intentionally sent a crew of expendable and unwitting cargo-haulers to "investigate the signal", specifically to find out if whatever killed the Jockey was still present, active, and lethal enough to humans to be marketable as a weapon.

  • According to Ridley Scott, the aliens were designed by the "Space Jockey" race to be the ultimate bioweapons. The derelict spaceship in the first film is a bomber used to carpet a planet with alien eggs, which would then wipe out all life on the planet. We can speculate this was a form of area denial, given the only way to clear a planet of aliens afterwards would be to glass the surface ... or some sort of hidden kill switch for the buggers.
    • No need for either. The Aliens have a limited life span, likely what drives them to be so aggressive. Once they've used up the finite resources all they'd have to do is wait until the aliens died off, which shouldn't take more than a few years.
      • Unlikely. I don't believe it's ever been demonstrated that the xenos have a short lifespan. In fact, other parts of the Alien franchise have demonstrated the opposite; that the xenos are capable of surviving quite a long time and can survive even longer by going into a hibernative state.
      • The alien in the first movie was supposed to be near death when Ripley blew it out the airlock (apparently its colouring changed and was moving much slower than it had before). It's also backed up in Aliens by the Hive going into hibernation, conserving themselves as there was no immediate threat or resources to be found. Perhaps the aliens can last indefinitely in hibernation but when active their lifespan seems limited. Also, the movies have never cared about information added by games, comics or novels.
      • This sounds like an observation from the novel, which are often based on much earlier versions of the script. There isn't any mention of the lifespan of the aliens in the films, and as mentioned above it should be the opposite considering how hardy the creatures are.
      • When left to their own devices, the xenomorphs form an ant-like social structure, with drones devoting all of their energy to servicing a queen and her eggs. Such a life form would have a short lifespan for the drones but a longer one for the queen, and much like insects that can enter hibernation for extended period of time, they still don't live past several months when fully active. Considering how fast xenomorphs grow once birthed, they must have extremely high metabolism and would force them to aggressively seek out food sources. This would make them ideal biological weapons since they would consume every life form in its vicinity and then die off either by the elements or by running out of things to kill.
      • Also speculation based on generic similarities to social insects. The xenomorphs grow fast, but they also appear to grow fast living on not very much (it's never addressed how the aliens that escape into more enclosed environments (like the Nostromo or the prison colony in Alien 3) put on so much mass in such a short space of time. There is next to nothing known about the lifespan of the aliens - the only real clue we have is the original film, where there is no trace of the alien that killed the space jockey/engineer. It's possible this alien went off and died somewhere in the ship or on the surface of the planet.
    • If the Jockeys designed them, then they already know everything about them they could ever need to know to design a virus, repellent, super weapon or whatever else you could devise to counter the things. Part of the horror presented in the films is that we have no idea how to fight them because they're so... Alien.
      • Alternatively, even the "Jockeys" didn't know enough about what they'd created to effectively control it, as evidenced by one of them having been chestbursted. They created a weapon so deadly it killed themselves. Whatever controls they assumed they had in place before are irrelevant now.

  • Why doesn't Weyland-Yutani just work up some way of killing the xenomorphs and just sell that for more profit. They've got the equivalent of giant cockroaches all over the galaxy. Anyone whose planet is infested with them would be willing to pay any price Weyland-Yutani deems fit for help. The military could just as easily use the threat of Aliens as an excuse for more funds as well.
    • Are the aliens really that far-spread? In the expanded universe they seem to be every six feet, but the General in Resurrection implies that the only known aliens in the galaxy were destroyed with Hadley's Hope. And even they are everywhere to the point of being profitable, the Company still needs live ones to tinker with and figure out how to efficiently kill them.
    • The Company is shown repeatedly in both the movies and EU to by myopic to the point of suicide. They want the Xenos to use as a bioweapon and repeatedly ignore the danger that poses. In the EU they partially explain it with the Queen having some degree of telepathy and mind control. That said, the Xenos are some of the heartiest motherfuckers in fiction. They are strong, fast, breed like crazy, can survive total vacuum, and have acid for blood. Aside from nuking them and calling it a day, there doesn't seem to be much that could actually reclaim a planet from them.

  • The Xenomorphs have no visible eyes (except for the hybrid in Resurrection). How do they find their prey? Listening? Feeling for vibrations? Some sort of weird psychic radar?
    • Alien 3 shows that the Xenomorphs do have eyes, or at the very least something functionally similar to eyes (a close look at the 1979 Alien suit from the first film also shows eye sockets in the front of the head, so there's that to), that allows them to see.
    • They could hunt via smell or sound, or maybe those smooth foreheads they've got are actually giant eyes.
    • According the EU, specifically Alien: Rogue it's explained that the xenos some how see the emotional state of their prey. They basically see fear as delicious and munch on this. The protagonist literally survives one scene because she's so pissed off the xenos simply walk away. It was supposed to tie in with the idea that xenos are some level of telepathic and that they truly are a hive mind. The concept of control the queen, control the hive is very common theme in the novels and comics.
    • Somehow I just always naturally assumed they worked off of some manner of pure spacial awareness. Like "blindsight" or "tremorsense" in D&D... they comprehend shapes and outlines but don't "see" by taking in light like we do.
    • My guess is that they have eyes inside their 'skull', with the part covering them being like a one-way reflective surface, as if they're looking out through a pair of built-in, heavily armoured sunglasses that blends seamlessly into the rest of their head.
    • Everything else about the Xenos is intentionally as alien as the writers could make them. Why wouldn't Bizarre Alien Senses be a part of the package? Their perceptions might be anything from keen hearing to electroreception to psychic powers, we just don't know. If we did get to see how they perceive the world, a la the Predator's thermographic POV-shots, it would probably make them less scary.
      • [1] shows some scenes from the Alien's point of view & yes, it does make them less scary.

  • After Alien, they all heard Ripley's testimony about eggs, face-huggers, throat breeding, and aliens ripping out of people's chests, wouldn't it have made some sense that while these things could be a touch unbelievable, that they would have prepared for these types of things, especially in Resurrection? To prevent the whole face-hugger bit, all you'd need is some sort of armored helmet, with a shirt or top that had a stiff metal collar (to prevent strangulation from their long tails). It is true they could try and use acid to burn through that stuff, so you could also have SCUBA-esque breathing equipment that takes in air from the environment. It is true the first person to get a face-hugger in Alien had a helmet, but it was a pure glass astronaut helmet which was easily punctured. Such would not be the case with a metal helmet, especially one that had a breathing apparatus in it, that only had glass for the eyes.
    • Any helmet would have been useless. Every metal we've seen come in contact with alien acid has been dissolved easily, including the cages in the fourth movie that were designed to hold them.
      • Plus the strangulation is only a small part of the problem. By the time a facehugger's attached itself to your face you're already screwed, since so far we've been proven that it's virtually impossible to remove a facehugger from someone's face without killing them.
      • A helmet wouldn't be any good to fight full xenos but a specially designed one to keep a facehugger from choking you and getting its thing down your throat could work. It wouldn't hold up against acid, but the aliens don't shoot acid on command (the facehuggers certainly don't, because OH MY GOD YOUR FACE). As long as it couldn't choke you or clamp to your head, the victim should still be able to pull it off.
      • The facehuggers apparently can release acid as that's how it got through Kane's helmet in the first movie and into Ripley's cryopod in the third, we even see acid splashing onto it in the third.

  • Not an issue with the films themselves, but rather fandom/critical response—why do so many people act like Ripley's mistrust of Bishop in Aliens, due to her betrayal by Ash in the first film, is tantamount to racism? Ash didn't betray her because of his own prejudices; he has none, he's just programmed to make him 100% loyal to the company. That's not even the same as a human with strong loyalties—he is literally made that way. It's that programming that makes him betray the crew in favor of bringing the specimen back; he had no choice, or very little. But no human, regardless of their circumstances, is pre-programmed to always, without variance, follow certain orders or behave in a certain manner on the basis of anything, let alone being from a certain ethnic background. Even what we'd recognize as a slavishly loyal human, or a brainwashed human, has at least the slim possibility that in different circumstances they could act differently; Ash never had that. (Even people who we'd recognize as sociopaths, who consistently act selfishly and without concern for others, are capable of seeming generosity, or not screwing someone over, for a change or to serve themselves less directly.) Ripley's fear of Bishop doing the same thing that Ash did, having pre-programmed priorities to place what Weyland-Yutani wants over the lives of innocents, is perfectly well-founded, and it's why Bishop stating that he's programmed never to harm humans (and his critical actions in the final fight to keep them from coming to harm) is so powerful for her and the viewer. But it's nothing like racism, Ripley isn't just making the association "Synthetic = bad", or even "a Synthetic did a bad thing to me once, so therefore all of them will", like a human racist who got bullied by a black girl in high school and now thinks that all black people are mean and horrible. She shows the same or similar mistrust for humans who are loyal to Weyland-Yutani before their fellow men and women.
    • Androids can be programmed, but they also seem to be fully sentient beings. The idea that they are physically incapable of disobeying their programming is... debatable. I'm not saying Ripley's distrust of Bishop isn't completely rational and justified, but I can see where those fans are probably coming from.
      • Her distrust is pretty justifiable given her experiences. Ash was a Company droid, Bishop is a Company droid - as far as Ripley knows, Bishop could've been programmed with/given orders to do exactly the same as Ash. It's fairly logical from a self-preservation POV. We don't actually have much information on the androids in the Alien universe - are they entirely synthetic or more artificial humans (they certainly have circulatory fluid, the function of which is unclear)?
      • Also, even if Bishop was originally programmed to be Three Laws Compliant, who's to say he couldn't be reprogrammed by somebody who's on the Company payroll, like Burke? Ripley doesn't know much about how androids have developed in recent decades, but she surely knows computers - presumably even computers that walk around and play Five-Finger Fillet - can be hacked.
    • Ripley's also pretty obviously in the throes of PTSD all throughout Aliens. Most of this is in regards to the Alien itself, but given how brutally Ash tried to murder her, it's perfectly understandable that androids would be a trigger for her, too.
    • And even though Ripley knows, intellectually, that Ash's actions weren't something he'd taken pleasure in or chosen independently, the fact remains that androids look human. They were built and programmed to interact with humans on humans' own social terms, so human psyches naturally tend to react to them as if they're people, not mechanisms. Emotionally, she's still going to feel like Ash was a malicious back-stabbing son of a bitch, not a computer carrying out instructions.

  • Why exactly does the company want those creatures? Using them as a bioweapon seems a bit ridiculous, after the events of the second movie it should be made clear that these things are the biological equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Any enemy they kill could be killed by humans and robots. Any terrain they took for you you'd have to send soldiers to retake from them, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell them not to target a workforce and just one of them getting loose could mean a galactic plague of these things. What exactly did they want to use them for? What could possibly be so problematic that it would ever make sense to use these creatures?
    • The creatures themselves are some of the deadliest ever seen. They are hardy and they are pervasive when allowed to nest. They would make the ultimate area denial weapons, or just slip one into a ship or space station and watch it slaughter the rest. At the very least, studying them and figuring out their biology would be great, and the ability to genetically engineer them in order to tailor them to weapons specifications would open up greater potentials for turning them into weapons. One of the EU novels comes close to realizing this: cyborg aliens capable of being controlled by computer, as well as aliens trained to use guns.
    • In Resurrection the military scientist guy said the plan was to train the xenos, presumably for warfare. Weyland-Yutani probably had the same idea.
    • The first time the Company apparently didn't know much about the alien. They sent an available ship with one of their androids to try to pick one up. When the Nostromo didn't come back they probably wrote the whole thing off and destroyed the records—which is why the Company doesn't believe Ripley in Aliens. The second time it seems to be just Burke deciding he wants the aliens after seeing them in action. He's basically acting independently of the rest of the company, and he's not thinking rationally, he's trying to save his backside by salvaging what he could from a mission he made a couple of big mistakes in setting up. In the third film they certainly want the alien, but what do they really know about how dangerous it is? They've still only got Ripley's testimony to go on. In the fourth film it's an isolated group working off of centuries-old records. Again, they might not know what they're getting into. If the Company ever got a true picture of just how dangerous these lifeforms are they might very well decide not to mess with them.
    • Resurrection also mentions that the scientists intend to use the aliens to develop "new alloys... new vaccines!". Presumably the aliens' weird biology is perceived by them as having numerous uses even when separate from the creatures per se.
      • ^This. One of the novels has a facehugger putting its victim into suspended animation that lets him survive on a ship with minimal life support, and the Company exec notes "That alone is worth a fortune if we can figure out how the hell it did it." The aliens' blood would have countless industrial and possibly even military applications, their exoskeletons could revolutionize materials science, their impossible growth rate could lead to all kinds of medical breatkthroughs, etc. Just one alien is a vertible treasure trove of biotech research just waiting to be mined. Leashing them and telling them to attack bad guys is absolutely the least profitable thing that could be done with them.

  • Is the Queen Alien really a female? What the first movie seemed to emphasize is that the Aliens didn't really have a definable gender. It's true that it laid eggs, but it was easily capable of detaching from its ovipositor when it wanted to take its revenge on Ripley in the second film. And as it's shown in later sequels, pretty much any alien in the hive can become a Queen if the current one is absent.
    • I don't see how anything in what you said makes the Queen less of a female. It's the reproductive member of the species. Creatures exist in real life that only manifest gender characteristics under selective pressures. You might as well say plants can't be female then.
    • While there are some plants that have unisex features (such as figs and marijuana), a majority of plants have both male and female reproductive organs in the form of stamens and stigma, with each maturing at different times to prevent self-pollination. It just struck me as odd because other than the Face Full of Alien Wing-wong thing, the aliens are never actually shown mating with anything. In insect colonies like ants and bees there are usually a select number of males that the queen mates with to allow the fertilization of eggs. Nothing in the wiki site for the franchise suggests the queen does any mating before laying eggs.
    • Well that's just the name they come up with for it. Hudson in the second movie compares them to an ant colony or a beehive. Those species have a Queen or an Alpha that reproduces. They refer to it as a Queen for this reason: because in most animal species, the female is the one that lays the eggs or gives birth. Regardless no one has ever had the chance to study the Queen or how she reproduces (until the fourth film that is).

  • Are the xenomorphs ever shown eating anything? One could say their sustenance comes from the hosts, but they're more like incubators than a food source (since the baby xenomorphs just leave the body rather than eating it). And since they have human-like teeth, can they eat plant matter or are they more omnivorous, or even carnivorous?
    • The first movie includes a scene where it's mentioned that the infant raided the food stores. We've only seen one infant xenomorph flee the scene of the body, which was mainly because it found itself surrounded by things that were probably going to kill it. Presumably in a normal hive-birth scenario, they wouldn't just let the dead body go to waste.
    • The original script for Prometheus describes an infant Xenomorph chowing down on the corpse of a mercenary to facilitate its metamorphosis, so....
    • If I recall correctly, Alien 3 does show a Xenomorph eating a human.
    • The Out of Shadows trilogy—which was overseen by Fox and acknowledged as canon—reveals that the Xenomorphs do indeed consume the bodies of their dead hosts.

  • Can a Facehugger Facehug an Alien?
    • Umm... you got me....
    • Facehuggers don't possess any sort of visible sensory organs, so a fan theory is that they navigate towards any potential host by sensing body heat. If that's the case, it's canon that the Xenomorphs don't show in infrared thermal imaging, so they would be invisible to the facehuggers.
    • What would be the benefit of parasitizing one of your own species? The aliens would just be trading a warrior for another warrior.
      • It could be useful if Xenomorphs' social-insect similarities include rival Queens' broods making war on one another for territory. Then they'd be trading an overpowered enemy warrior for one that'd fight on their side.
    • I think they could, but it would be a useless effort. When the cloned Ripley (who had Xenomorph DNA in her body) had a Facehugger attached to her, she was able to wrestle it off without being damaged or paralyzed. So I imagine that a facehugger wouldn't be able to do anything to an adult Xenomporph if it wanted to.

  • Why do characters in the second and third movies have such difficulty accepting the existence of Xenomorphs/Aliens until after they show up and start killing people? This is the distant future where Casual Space Travel and entire terraformed colonies on otherwise hostile worlds are commonplace. Even if Xenomorphs weren't as wide-spread as the expanded universe makes them out to be, the idea of hostile alien species (bestial or sapient), or at least space-borne parasites, showing up and causing havoc should be a widely-accepted possibility, especially when you as far out in deep space as "Fury" 161 or LV-426. Otherwise, what the hell would all the Colonial Marines' "bug hunts" be all about?
    • The implication is that the Xenomorphs are more vicious and capable than any other alien species encountered by humanity. So the idea of hostile alien species, parasites, etc. is not surprising to future humans, it's this particular species' viciousness and capability which is surprising when compared to other alien lifeforms encountered. None of the marines take the "bug hunt" seriously because past "bug hunts" were minor annoyances at best, easily dealt with.

  • If Facehuggers need a face to latch onto, then why don't people ever try pressing their faces against a wall, or simply look away from the little monsters when they're scurrying around?
    • The facehugger would probably just scurry up your back while you're keeping your face to a wall and wrap it's tail around your neck until you're unconscious. Or you might find out the hard way that it doesn't actually need your face, just an opening.
    • Those legs of theirs may not look like fingers by accident: they probably have the capacity to grapple with a tail-ensnared host's head and tilt it away from an obstructing surface, after which the creature would quickly slide around to the face.

     Alien 
  • Dallas is Captain and Kane is supposed to be the Second officer, with Ripley as Third. Who is first officer? It can't be Ash, Ripley says she's the ranking officer when Dallas and Kane are off ship, and she would have mentioned if Lambert was, also.
    • I think the Captain is the first officer.
      • Captains are Captains. First officer is the second in command on ships. On Star Trek, for example, Spock is first officer.
    • Kane's rank is never mentioned, and the script labels him "Executive Officer", which is another term for First Officer. The Mildly Military ranking system for merchant astronauts is obviously structured slightly differently from naval rank, but the chain of command is clear enough: Ripley outranks Brett, Parker & Lambert; Kane outranks Ripley; Dallas outranks everyone. For evidence see: Ripley takes charge after the deaths of Kane & Dallas, specifically pulling rank on Parker & Lambert; & Ripley's comment to Ash that she is ranking officer *when Dallas AND KANE are off the ship*. The real mystery is where the heck Science Officer fits in—when Ripley & Ash clash over Kane's medical treatment it's effectively Jurisdiction Friction.
      • Judging by the events of the film, Ash's role as science officer places him outside the chain of command proper, but the specialization gives him some weight in arguments related to it. He also, rather covertly, looks after W-Y's interests aboard ship, and insofar as he's able ensures that the crew doesn't act against them; in this way, his relationship with the crew resembles that between a political commissar and the military unit to which he's assigned.
      • Ash also seems to be the closest thing to a medical doctor on board, so if he's acting in that capacity he'd be accorded more authority over patient-care decisions than his nominal rank might entail, same as a Navy physician might instruct an obviously-exhausted Captain to hand over command to his First Officer and go get some sleep.

  • Why did it seemingly not occur to anyone in Alien to try killing the creature by just gathering everybody into one room and taking all the air out of the rest of the ship, or otherwise adjusting the life support to make conditions in the rest of the ship lethal? Even if we assume the creature doesn't need air it's clearly wet inside, so unless it has some sort of biological heat pump turning up the heat past 100°C should kill it eventually. Yes, the alien in Alien 3 survived immersion in molten metal, but it was only in there for a few seconds and judging by the way it jumped out it didn't exactly seem to like it (plus the chestbuster in Aliens shrieked in pain when it got hit with a flamethrower). The easiest explanation is that the exoskeleton is a good insulator, so there's every reason to think sustained excess heat will kill it eventually. Even if it wouldn't have worked it would have been nice to see "we control the life support system, why don't we use that against it" brought up and shot down so we wouldn't get the impression the movie might have been dependent on an Idiot Plot.
    • Maybe they could have blown out all the air of the ship but that would leave them with one room full of breathable air to last them the long trip home. The ship itself is shielded to protect it from temperature changes so anything that would affect the Alien would affect them too. That was the whole point of the situation, they had almost no viable options to fight it. They could have shot it but they would have melted a hole through the ship, which is why they created the shorkers.
      • You may also want to consider that in a deleted scene, the crew were thinking about decompressing certain areas of the ship, however they couldn't know exactly where the damn thing was because the landing procedure on the planet disabled all of their camera systems. And that's the same scene when Brett thought up the cattle prod idea, but also called Ash out in the process for letting it on board.
      • They go into in more the novel, but even in the movie they mention that the planet had a very thin atmosphere, so they thought that it might need very little to breathe. Turns out it doesn't need to breathe at all.
      • Also in the novel it's suggested by Brett that they go into hypersleep and decompress the entire ship (as the ship doesn't have enough air for them to decompress the ship and stay awake) but this is met with distaste as the rest of the crew are unsure if this will work and feel that being in hypersleep would leave them trapped and at the mercy of the alien so wanted it off the ship before they went into hypersleep.
      • Besides, who's to say that they even have the ability to empty whatever ship sections they want? Also, original poster... why would anyone create a life support system for humans that reaches 100°C? That would be pointless, useless, and dangerously stupid.
      • Even if it were possible, creating such conditions on board would involve serious tampering with the life support system to turn the environment hot/cold enough to both endanger life and cause damage to the internal systems (too far either way and you start damaging ducting, electronics, pipework...everything you need to keep the interior of the ship inhabitable. Attacking the alien in such a manner would likely destroy irreplaceable systems across the interior of the ship, without even guaranteeing that it would die.
      • In O'Bannon's original script, THE STAR BEAST, alien acid eats a tiny hole in the hull and one of the crew members is sucked out into space (in little bits, like they did with the baby alien in the last movie), leaving very little atmosphere in that section of the ship. Evidently they Did The Research and decided it was impossible to suck a human body through a little hole.
    • Also, remember that most of the suggestions for dealing with the alien are either filtered through or outright suggested by Ash, who is The Mole and protecting the alien. He carefully steered the crew away from anything that might actually be successful at killing the alien.

  • What was the purpose of the shuttle-like craft in Alien? If it was a lifeboat why didn't it have enough cryotubes for the entire crew, and if it was a shuttle why did it have cryotubes at all?
    • The Narcissus was most likely Dallas's personal shuttle. The two cryotubes are there because there's no light speed system in the series, and it was most likely a design feature for any craft going into deep space.
    • Actually there would HAVE to be light speed capable ships to make interstellar HUMAN space travel a realistic proposition. It would be simpler (and cheaper from a legal standpoint) to use robotic ships, especially for cargo runs like the Nostromo was doing. In fact, until light speed or FTL ships are invented, it would take unnecessarily large and expensive generational ships to make any extra-solar excursions. Ships sailing on the oceans today are required by law to carry enough lifeboats for the entire crew and passenger complement. It's doubtful that those regulations would be eased in the future.
      • In the Alien universe there is no FTL. It's an unwarranted assumption that FTL will be "invented" sometime. The society is a corporate dystopia where the biggest, most rapacious monster is the company itself, and laws are framed for the company's benefit, not the individual. The Nostromo essentially is a robotic ship, with the crew along for contingencies outside Mother's parameters. Why humans rather than mech robots under Mother's control? Humans are more adaptable. Why humans rather than Artificial Persons? Humans are probably cheaper.
      • There is FTL travel, it's just slow. Lambert quotes a travel time of 10 months from Zeta Reticuli to Earth. That's impossible without FTL.
      • Personally, I wouldn't call covering 39 light-years in 10 months "slow".
      • It's far slower than the faster than light travel depicted in almost every other series that features it.
      • It's 46.83c. Almost 50 times faster than light. 1.404×10^7 km/s. Tachyonic speed.
      • For the record, until Prometheus it's been both heavily implied and widely regarded as true by the fans that some form of undescribed FTL travel exists in the universe, for the simple reason that many plot points make no sense otherwise. Later on, Prometheus (which is a prologue to the series and explicitly canon) specifically pointed out that FTL travel exists, sealing the discussion for good (in fact, Prometheus itself is humanity's second FTL capable ship, not including the unmanned and manned prototypes).
    • The Nostromo carried two shuttles (in fact there are two on the model). It's just that only one was working at the time of the movie (see the DVD extras). The two shuttles together carry enough hypersleep chambers for the whole crew.
    • I believe (from memory of reading the novel) that the shuttle was used only as an in system transport and only as a life boat in a dire emergency. As for FTL etc. it's stated in the novel that the Nostromo can reach near light speeds and is mostly automated with limited life support for the crew whose only job it is to wake up in order to park the ship, respond to emergencies that Mother can not handle and other such tasks.

  • The Space Jockeys send a transmission to warn people away from their ship, and make the transmission powerful enough that it can apparently be picked up over interstellar distances. But this would make their ship highly conspicuous and more likely to be found. The ship might have avoided discovery for a lot longer if they just relied on the sheer vastness of the galaxy to keep hapless explorers from stumbling into it. Why don't they make the transmission just strong enough to be picked up in the immediate vicinity of the planet, so that the only people who pick it up would have been exploring the system anyway? And then there are the problems of trying to come up with a warning that could be transmitted by radio that would be interpretable to alien beings they know nothing about. It might also have been a good idea to surround the crashed ship with rock carvings of xenomorphs and their life cycle and habits. That would probably be pretty universally understandable since almost any imaginable intelligence would need to be able to perceive basic shapes in order to navigate its surroundings, and it would have the bonus of not relying on having a transmitter continuing to work for thousands of years.
    • The previous point assumes that the Space Jockeys had time to think it through, but maybe things got to shit really fast on their ship, just like on the Nostromo—no time to carve warnings or stuff. Yeah, the powerful signal wasn't necessarily a good idea, but still. Maybe the last survivor had prepared it as he felt a xenomorph was digging its way through his chest. Considering the situation, they did a decent effort of trying to save the asses of other space travellers.
    • For all we know, the Jockey's warning could've simply been meant to warn other Jockeys. It might not've given a damn if pitiful hoo-mans stumbled across its cargo full of alien eggs.
    • Based on all the associated fiction in the expanded universe, the jockeys were massive tools. They might have intended for their ship to be conspicuous. Either to lure their enemies to their deaths, or to alert their allies that a ship full of extremely valuable weaponry was sitting there unused.
    • The novel states that the signal was picked up as the Nostromo flew close to the system and given the length of time the signal had been broadcasting it could probably be picked up many thousands of light years away. Also it's stated in the novel (and I believe in the original script) that the jockeys left simple hieroglyphs around the ship (H.R. Giger drew the design) displaying a jockey being attacked by a facehugger, then collapsing and a facehugger bursting forth before the images are repeated, it's taken by the crew to indicate a virus which they believe has died out given the time that has passed.
    • What's got me stumped is why the Space Jockey pilot didn't simply aim its ship at the nearest sun when it woke up and realized it'd been infested. Destroy the ship, and there's no need for a warning signal, comprehensible or not.
      • Who says the Space Jockey was infested first? Maybe the ship was forced down for completely unrelated reasons, and while the pilot was assessing the damage he screwed up and got himself face-hugged. Then he set up the beacon to warn other ships away and resigned himself to death.
    • Perhaps the recurrent inability to commit suicide shown in hosts throughout the franchise is a biological defense mechanism built into the Chestbursters. Once they get inside you, you can't do anything to engineer the destruction of your parasite. Beyond begging for a mercy kill, of course.
    • Sorry, but do you know when that comes up? I don't remember anything like that. Unless it's in Resurrection.
      • It actually comes up in Alien 3. When Ripley is impregnated with the Queen, she keeps putting herself in dangerous circumstances and basically has to beg Dillon to kill her. I think at some point she says that she can't do it herself.
      • She asks Dillon to kill her (as he's already a convicted murderer) after deliberately confronting the alien in an attempt to get it to kill her. The alien however knows full well she is incubating another one and won't lay a finger on her (later on it gets extremely aggressive and agitated when it believes Ripley is being attacked). There's nothing in Alien 3 that suggests she can't do it herself - she's understandably reluctant to. So she goes to someone she thinks won't have a problem with killing, but even putting aside Dillon's post-conviction faith, he correctly guesses that having someone the alien won't kill is actually a useable advantage. He eventually agrees to kill her IF they kill the alien first, to spare her dying the way Kane did.
    • The Space Jockey's ship was filled with xenomorph eggs. More than likely he was transporting them somewhere and landed the ship hoping another Space Jockey would come along and use the eggs for their intended purpose.
      • Indeed, the fact that the Jockey was transporting a freakin' bioweapon en masse rather implies that the Jockey in question was involved in a war of some kind. In which case, it might've deliberately set up a distress signal that its allies would recognize as a veiled "Watch out, Xenos got loose!" warning, but its enemies might unwittingly investigate and thus get themselves killed.

  • How was Mother even able to (even partially) translate the message? You'd need some Rosetta Stone or something, but since this alien ship has been there for quite some time (as evidenced by the Space Jockey being fossilized), I don't think that this exists.
    • Weyland-Yutani (somehow) knew the ship was there. I assume that they knew some details about the ship beforehand.
    • Depending on which non-movies source you adhere to, the Jockeys were "good guys" and really wanted to warn people. It wouldn't be hard to convey danger through simple math. (Transmit, in a regular sequence several times, NOTHING, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then transmit 6 / 3 = 2 (division), 6 / 2 = 3, 4 / 2 = 2 (to reinforce / is division, = is equals), then repeat 6 / NOTHING, 5 / NOTHING, 4 / NOTHING, and repeat the whole series several times to emphasize. In simple arithmetic dividing by zero is very bad, so the idea would get across.) Once you emphasize the danger, you can get around to the more abstract discussion of the danger.
      • I'm sorry, what?
      • In mathematics, there are certain equations that are either inelegant, unwieldy, or impossible. The mathematical troper above was suggesting using one of these equations as a metaphor for an unsavory (or in this case, dangerous) situation. One of the most basic unwieldy equations is dividing by zero, because dividing by zero yields no meaningful expression. The sequence above is a basic primer to establish universally translatable numerals and symbols, and then to communicate the dangerous situation by repeating division by zero equations to indicate bad conditions. It would be a very vague warning, but a conspicuous one as long as you have a mathematician or a semi-intelligent supercomputer on board.
      • Mathematics is universal. In particular, any race which knows enough physics to build a starship must also be pretty good at math. The above troper is suggesting that information be transmitted that can be identified as numbers, then use the numbers to identify another specific bit of information as the operation of division, and then sending a bunch of divisions by zero to convey the idea that something very, very wrong is going on. I'm not sure it would work, though... I can easily imagine an intended recipient interpreting the message as implying that something impossible is happening rather than something horrible and becoming curious to investigate it rather than scared away. Still, it's a decent effort at cross species communication.
      • Until you realize that none of the Nostromo's human crew would've interpreted that. They're the future equivalent of truck drivers or sailors. Sure, there must be a lot of truck drivers or sailors who get your idea, but I'm guessing the average blue-collar worker doesn't. I know I don't get the idea that dividing by 0 is a way to communicate something is bad, and I presume we're both the same species... I don't see the average alien understanding you either, much less an alien without an above average education in mathematics.
      • Space truckers need math to do their job, and Ripley had the help of a sophisticated computer.
      • This. Your average Earth-bound blue-collar worker doesn't need much more than high school math, but remember that at least one of these blue-collar workers IN SPACE is a navigator dealing with orbital mechanics, a very difficult, very precise branch of physics and mathematics. If you want to get to where you're going in space, you need to know about Kepler, Newton and Einstein or you're toast. Just look at what they had to do around that ship; they act more like a commercial or military aircraft crew than truckers. They'd have to be better educated, especially if you're going to trust seven people with an expensive, gigantic spaceship. Then there's the supercomputer, one that is apparently programmed to deal with possible encounters with alien signals, since they have to investigate any they encounter. Plus, the Company is trying to keep the crew in the dark about the true nature of the mission—Ripley may have had to do some prodding to get Mother to admit that the signal looked like a warning, since she had to prod it into admitting that the Company didn't care whether they lived or died.
      • This makes the massive assumption that a) the space jockey that set up the original warning thought of the suggestion; b) that the space jockey race uses the same kind of mathematics in the exact same way as we do, using the same base 10 number system (even some human cultures don't use base 10, or at least didn't in different periods in history); c) that their own mathematical concepts weren't part of the original warning, which is what Mother was actually deciphering. It's a well-known problem that warnings across divisions of culture/language/time are a big issue. If they weren't, we wouldn't be worrying about how to warn future generations of humans from opening nuclear waste containment areas.
    • Also at least one of the crew could and probably did interpret that accurately—the Robotic Psychopath who was after the creature in the first place.

  • If the Nostromo only found the Space Jockey ship due to picking up the interstellar warning signal, why didn't the colonists ever find it?
    • They did, but didn't have the manpower/resources to investigate (or have directives not to investigate anomalies, wait for backup). So they pass along the signal, some brain at WY sorts it out, tell Paul Reiser, who promptly shaves off his Snidely Whiplash mustache so he can convincingly mount a "rescue."
      • They did go and investigate, but that wasn't until Ripley had reported what was found. Burke also brought up the fact that the colonists had been living there for years and hadn't found anything to explain everybody's hesitance to believe her story.
    • Could be a possibility that the ship's power source ran out by the time of colonizing LV-426. The jockey in the pilot's seat had been fossilized, not to mention how long it had been left there after the fact. If it had a nuclear power source, after enough time there would not be enough material for fission or fusion to sustain itself. If it were still transmitting, the colony would have found it sooner and the outbreak probably occur long before anyone would have found Ripley floating in space.
    • According to the script (or so I heard) the unfilmed scene where the colonists visit the ship called for it to have broken in two as a result of an earthquake. Presumably, the ship stopped transmitting as a result of the damage.
      • Something similar was filmed, and appears in the Special Edition. The derelict is found by Newt's family, who were prospectors sent to investigate following Burke's message. The environment is now volcanic and the derelict is badly damaged, with one arm collapsed leaving a big hole through which Newt's parents gain access. Presumably the damage also knocked out the transmitter. Newt's father ends up with a facehugger attached, and hilarity ensues....
      • It wasn't collapsed but was split open, and it's stated in the novel (to the best of my memory) that the ship was behind a ridge of rock thus the signal was blocked from the colony, and without any orbital assets to assist in mapping and exploring the world (a job that would have been left for later colonists) it's basically a needle in a haystack job, unlike the Nostromo which was in space with an unblocked line of sight between the ship and the derelict (also given the time for radio signals to travel through space they could have intercepted an earlier signal and followed them in).
      • A message beamed into space is, somewhat obviously, not designed to be read from the ground. Think about it, it's much easier to hear someone talking to your face than it is when they're standing with their back turned to you. The ship in Alien landed within 2 kilometers of the crash site and knew what it was looking for. In Aliens, they just landed on a random part of the planet (it's suggested it's quite a great deal further than the original landing) and possibly weren't looking for a signal in the first place. If there was a company conspiracy to infect everyone, it's not entirely unlikely they had an Ash-like infiltrator to cover up the signal until it was too late.
    • A little late to the party, but it's revealed in Alien: Isolation that Marlow and his team shut the beacon off when they found the derelict, so that they could claim sole rights to the haul.

  • Parker and Brett can repair SPACE SHIPS and they are the lowest paid members of the crew? Really?
    • Repairing "SPACE SHIPS" is made out to be a blue-collar job in this version of the future. They're analogous to auto mechanics, not rocket scientists.
    • I can see where they might be considered that way. But if you own ship worth millions (as they state in Aliens) wouldn't you put the best people you can on it to keep it running. And pay them well. Space isn't like the ocean. Being adrift would not be a "good thing."
    • And what's wrong w/ being an "auto mechanic?"
      • Nothing wrong with it; they just don't get paid as much as the scientists and such on board.
    • How highly paid are maintenance personnel in modern day freighters?
    • "Lowest paid" doesn't necessarily mean "badly paid", it just means that the other crew members get paid even more. Given that serving on a space freighter entails spending long periods in hypersleep while life goes on back home, living in confined vessels not designed for comfort with lousy food and little privacy, and a fair amount of danger, it's unlikely that any of them are paid peanuts: we just don't get to see them enjoying the fruits of their labor, because they don't have anything to splurge on until they get home again.

  • In Alien, how did the company know that the Xenomorphs were on the planet? I read the novelization right after the film came out, but it's been 30 years....
    • The ship was sending out a signal; possibly, another company ship heard it, but for whatever reason couldn't investigate on its own, so they sent the next available ship full of expendables to check it out.
    • Ok. But that doesn't explain the orders that Mother had nor does it explain Ash and his actions. Was the company just waiting for an opportunity to kill a crew and potentially lose a ship? If they had shown that other humans had been to the planet or that company had sent a robotic probe earlier, then I could believe it.
      • There's a standing order about reporting scientific discoveries, that's not so odd. Ash was posted on the Nostromo not long ago, so presumably the company had some suspicions about what could be found out there. He just took his orders to the extreme.
    • Ash was specifically placed on the ship for this trip—Dallas mentions that he had a different science officer on his last run. The Company apparently placed him to make sure they got a sample of whatever was on LV-426.
    • A popular theory among fans is that the whole thing was concocted by some company higher-up acting on his own, much like Burke does in the sequel. This person came up with the info concerning the alien signal, saw the opportunity for profit and to advance within the company, most likely hid well said info from others, and arranged for the reprogrammed Ash to board a vessel that would be rerouted to LV-426.

  • If Ash is an android, wouldn't the fact that he isn't human be apparent by the fact he's not breathing? And why would he have needed to consume food? Or liquids?
    • He must have been a deep-cover operative. Ash was only recently transferred to the Nostromo, so presumably the company expected trouble.
    • It appears that, according to Mother and Ash's later actions, the company knew about the Xenomorphs in advance somehow and maneuvered the Nostromo into position to receive the distress signal. But that still doesn't explain how they didn't notice him not breathing.
      • He faked it? For whatever reason he's supposed to appear human, so that's what he did.
    • How much time do you spend watching other people breathe? That's not exactly on top of most "pay close attention to" lists. Plus they spent most of their trip sleeping, and he's the science guy who spends his time off in his lab.... As for eating, he wouldn't need to survival-wise, but if he's meant to be human, he could just flush his system after "eating". Ironic, consider what the food is made of....
    • Perhaps him being an android designed specifically to pass for a human his creators would have thought of something as obvious as "humans breathe" and "humans eat" and made sure he could at least simulate those rather obvious and crucial behaviors? Just a thought.
    • Maybe he does breathe. His components look at least partially organic. He might have to eat too, though we don't see him eating very much in the dinner scene.
    • Well, put it this way—Ian Holm is human, so therefore he can probably be seen breathing on-screen, which would indicate that androids are equipped with a fake breathing function (not too hard—just make the chest inflate every couple of seconds). However, on the off chance Ian Holm was so dedicated he decided not to breathe on-screen, it only indicates how unnoticeable such a thing is, since none of us picked it up.
    • We actually do see him drink what looks like milk after one of his arguments with Ripley. As she's no longer in the room when he does so, it's not just something he did for appearances' sake, so it's likely that his android body has some use for ingested organic materials, even if they're processed very differently from human digestion.
    • In the Aliens: Colonial Marines DLC Stasis Interrupted, a supposedly human character is revealed as an android since he doesn't breathe. However, given the many conflicts with established continuity in that game, feel free to disregard that detail.

  • Why didn't somebody from Weyland-Yutani disable the self-destruct mechanism(s) on the ship? Didn't they think that the crew might utilize it, thus costing them both the Xenomorph AND the Nostromo? For that matter, why would there be a self-destruct mechanism on a civilian cargo ship, anyway? Other than the plot?
    • It's not a mechanism specifically designed for self-destruct and no other purpose, like the scuttle charges you might find installed aboard a modern warship, which could probably be made unusable with relative ease. Instead, the self-destruct procedure involves disabling the coolant systems of the ship's reactor, which will cause it eventually to destroy itself and take the ship with it, and which can't really be prevented short of totally automating the ship and entirely removing the crew. (While the procedure was performed with Mother's assistance in the film, there's no reason to assume the crew couldn't have manually wrecked the cooling system if such assistance weren't forthcoming.)
      This is plainly inspired by the workings of modern power-generating fission reactors, which can also, if deprived of coolant and otherwise abused, be coerced into self-destruction, as seen most emphatically in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. While the operating principle of Nostromo's power generator isn't detailed at any length in canon, presumably it's more like a fission reactor than not, albeit on a much larger scale.
    • Actually, having a self-destruct mechanism on a space ship makes a fair bit of sense: a vessel like the Nostromo could inflict one hell of a Colony Drop attack on some unsuspecting planet or space station if it went out of control and crashed at interstellar speed, so blowing it to flinders could offer a last-ditch way to disperse the impact energy if it can't be diverted off-target.

  • A more prosaic question: The self-destruct mechanism makes a certain amount of sense. And it also makes sense that triggering it would be a very complex procedure. But why make the crew reverse the *ENTIRE* procedure to override the self-destruct, under a tight countdown? That's almost like no override at all. A single button push, or at least a simple code entered on that control pad, should have been sufficient. Really dumb planning there.
    • See previous answer. Since the self-destruct method doesn't involve a purpose-built mechanism (i.e. scuttle charges), but rather relies on driving the ship's power generator far enough outside normal operating parameters that it goes boom, it makes sense that there'd be a "point of no return" past which there'd be no effective way to prevent the destruct.
      Again, this makes sense given the inspiration; not only will depriving a modern fission reactor of coolant eventually result in meltdown, there'll be a point past which restoring the coolant flow won't avert disaster, and can even make things worse by inducing a so-called "cold-water accident".

  • Was the Alien smart enough to know hiding in the escape ship would save it?
    • It was asleep when Ripley found it and accidentally woke it up. The entire Nostromo save the escape ship was full of blaring klaxons, flashing strobe lights, and billowing smoke. It's up to interpretation, but when you think about it, if you're a creature looking for a place to sleep, the escape ship was the only quiet place left.
      • I think the Xenomoprh definitely was aware something bad was about to happen, and that following Ripley and being quiet for a while was the way to survive. I mean, why would he just leave the cat untouched?
      • The cat is probably too small to serve as a host, so after giving it a once over the alien decided it had no interest in the cat.

  • If Mother's singular order is to return the Alien species, why wouldn't it stop its own self-destruct sequence? In fact, it does the opposite—it doesn't allow Ripley to reverse it. Why?
    • Ripley is actually just manually shutting off the engines' access to coolant, essentially overloading them. Ripley can't undo it because by then the damage was irreparable.
    • There is no indication that Mother is a sufficiently sentient AI capable of making decisions on its own. All it really ever did was transmit orders and answer questions.
    • Even if it was fully sentient, Mother can't really do any of that, the computer was simply describing what was going on with the self destruct process. As others have mentioned elsewhere, the self destruct involves manually disabling the coolant of the ship's reactor, a physical procedure the computer quite evidently has no way to influence.

  • Teeny tiny headscratcher for Alien: Were the little drinking birds in the Nostromo's mess hall supposed to be antiques, or is it a given that someone would still be making them decades from now?
    • Maybe it's the same company that makes the '80s-vintage kinetic sculptures seen in Aliens on the empty Sulaco?

  • Why didn't they just freeze him? Ash's job was basically a delivery, and that Facehugger made Kane the perfect container. The crew wouldn't object to keeping him under stasis until they could get him to better trained medical personnel. It really seems like the more logical course of action than letting the thing pop out of the guy's chest, kill off more crew members, and risking exposure of the whole damn operation (which is exactly what happened). Come to think of it, that's almost as a dumb as a mapping guy getting lost in the area he just charted.... I'm beginning to think that Ridley Scott sacrifices common sense just to make a plot.
    • I doubt Ash actually knew how the alien was coming out or exactly what hibernation would do to it. Afterwards... he was probably going to let it kill off the rest of the crew... and hope it'd leave him alone? Mr "Perfect Lifeform" isn't exactly the sanest of all robots.
      • He seemed to know enough about it before hand. The most logical course of action would be the one that contains the life form and keeps the crew unaware of the true nature of the mission. Allowing the thing to become a threat to their lives will lead them to take an obstructive course of action.
    • I rather like the explanation offered by SF Debris. As an android, Ash was programmed never to harm humans or allow humans to become harmed. But he was also given secret orders by Weyland-Yutani to retrieve the Xenomorph, an act which had already allowed Kane to become infected and would almost certainly lead to countless human deaths in the future. These two contradictory orders ("don't harm humans" vs. "retrieve this highly dangerous alien at any cost") were causing Ash to malfunction. This also explains some of his other bizarre behaviors, like why he tried to kill Ripley by shoving a rolled up magazine down her throat instead of just strangling her, and why he went into that weird fit before Parker knocked his head off.
      • The sequel does establish that Ash's model of synthetics was known to be a bit twitchy.
      • However, in Out Of The Shadows, Ash straight up murders somebody—possibly the result of spending 15 years adrift in space with no body?
    • Presumably Ash doesn't want to risk the alien not surviving the freezing process. It's his top priority to bring it back alive and he can't be sure what would happen to an embryo in an artificially-hibernating human host.
    • Even worse, expanded universe materials demonstrate that chestbursters can still mature inside a hibernating host, albeit much more slowly. If Ash knew or suspected that the alien was now incubating inside Kane, he may not have wanted to risk the creature hatching into an empty ship devoid of atmosphere and dying.

  • Jones the cat.
    • What's he doing on the ship in the first place? Does the Company (the same Company that's willing to sacrifice them all in order to investigate a new alien) really care enough about its employees to let them keep a pet? There can't be a rat problem on a ship that has the life support turned off while the crew is in hypersleep, can there?
      • W-Y is a big company. It probably doesn't know, and almost certainly wouldn't care one way or the other if it did. Compared to the operating expenses of a ship the size of Nostromo, even the cost of supporting the crew doesn't add up to much, to say nothing of the cost of supporting a cat; it's almost certain to be literally true that it'd cost more to have someone figure up what the bill should be, than it does to let the odd ship's cat slide.
      • But if you make one exception...then soon all of the Company's ships are carrying pets and the life support and fuel for all of those cats and dogs and parakeets and whatever starts adding up to considerably more than one bill. Perhaps the explanation is that the crew (or possibly just the part of the crew that are genuinely attached to the cat, like Ripley) were paying W-Y for the privilege of bringing Jones along as a mascot.
      • It's still such an utterly minuscule "cost" to the life support and fuel that the company just plain would not even notice it.
      • Minuscule but measurable. Moving anything into space is enormously expensive today (roughly $10,000 per pound). They are probably much more efficient in the future of the film, of course, but taking along a 10-pound cat and the life support he consumes probably still runs into thousands of dollars per trip. I guess the answer depends on how much the bottom line matters to the Company, and whether they believe the psychological benefit to the crew of having a pet is worth the expenditure in life support and fuel costs.
      • There's no way that the life support of a 10 pound cat is comparable to the life support necessary for seven 150-250 lb human passengers, and no way that it'd cost "thousands of dollars per trip" on its own. You're seriously overselling how hard it is to keep a tiny creature alive when you're already keeping alive a half-dozen creatures that are each at least 15 times that tiny creature's size. It's like saying that you have to seriously consider how much fuel you're burning extra because a mouse happened to be in your car on a long trip.
      • No, the expense of a cat is not comparable to the costs of bringing along the crew (they're not passengers), but the crew are a necessary expense for running the ship. Jones is not. Sure he's only a 10-pound cat, but it's also all the air the cat is going to breathe and all the food the cat is going to eat and the water he's going to drink over all the period he's awake, all being boosted to orbit every time the Nostromo takes off from a planet. Plus the costs of dealing with his wastes and its mass. Plus the extra power it takes to keep the cat in hypersleep and the extra mass of Jones and his food and water and air and kitty litter being added to what the FTL drive has to push through space. For more than two years. A couple thousand dollars per round trip from Earth to Thedus and back again is probably not exaggerating. Knowing what we know about the Company, it seems likely that it would want to cut or recoup that expense.
      • The air, water and food that cat is going to consume over the lifetime of the trip really is negligible. Remember, in the Alien universe you go into hypersleep at the beginning of the trip and wake up right at the end. There is no real discernible difference when you're talking about very small life forms. It's even shown that the cat goes into the same chamber as one of the crew. Plus, the Nostromo is pulling an entire refinery behind it, literally millions of tons - how is the addition or subtraction of a cat going to alter the thrust needed by more than an infinitesimal amount? It's likely that if the Company know about the ship pets, they allow one per crew as the psychological benefits most likely outweigh other considerations. Knowing the Company, they might even dock some pay in order to balance the books.
      • But the crew is supposed to be awake only in case of emergency and in very few other occasions. Would they be awake for periods long enough to want to have a pet around? And wouldn't the expense of keeping him around really inflate if Jones was kept in hybernation along with the rest of the crew? Because who's going to feed him and clean after him if everyone else is sleeping?
    • How did he get into the locker that Ripley, Parker, and Brett find him in?
      • Cats tend to get into things. Anyone who has lived with one can attest that if you open a closet, cabinet, suitcase or shipping box in a cat's presence, there is a very good chance that said feline will attempt to go inside. It's possible that one of the crew had opened that locker recently and Jones slipped in.
    • There is a rather long tradition of ships having cats aboard, at first simply to keep the rodent population under control. The British Navy as recently as World War II had official ship cats who were given a rank and official billet. There are even stories of sailors risking their lives to save the ship's cat. Maybe in the future its considered good luck or possibly even for morale.
    • Turning off life support isn't the same as depressurizing the ship. The air won't get replenished and the temperature will drop in places where the Nostromo's own mechanisms aren't generating heat, but there'll still be enough warmth and oxygen for cockroaches if not rodents to survive. Water isn't hard to come by considering how moist some of the compartments were, and food stores or waste bins aren't impregnable to vermin, so yes: there'd be pests for Jones to prey upon.
    • Keeping cats might be a tradition that dates back to before hypersleep was developed. One-man vessels traversing months-long routes within Earth's own solar system may have carried small pets to keep their pilots from going nuts out of loneliness. Having an animal to pet and talk to would also help compensate for being apart from nature for months on end: a problem that Real Life astronauts regularly suffer on long missions. By the time FTL and hypersleep made larger crews and manned interstellar travel feasible, veteran spacers were too fond of their pets not to insist that the privilege continue.

  • Minor one, but in the film's trailer and cover art, the Egg is a lot different than the one we see in the movie and later mediums adapting the franchise. Why is that?
    • I would guess to make it more obvious that it is an egg.
    • Because the film's test shots used chicken eggs for that scene. Once it showed up in the trailer, well....

  • Between the creature's emergence from Kane, and its attack on Brett, the creature grew at least human-sized, and strong enough to carry Brett. Even admitting the creature's "structural perfection," what did the little chestburster eat to acquire so much mass?
    • IIRC, the Chestburster got into ship's rations.

  • It's pretty much accepted that the Space Jockey himself got infected and "gave birth" to a chestburster. Whatever happened to that Xenomorph?
    • It died. The Space Jockey is so old it looks like it's nearly fossilized, and the xenomorphs don't live forever.

  • After the Alien gets Dallas, the four remaining crew members have a meeting; in it Lambert suggests cutting their losses by having everyone flee on the Narcissus shuttle and abandon the Nostromo to the Alien. Ripley notes that the shuttle can't sustain all four of them, so Lambert then says that they could draw straws to see who stays. Ash is quiet throughout the discussion. But why didn't Ash seize the chance right there and then to volunteer to stay? It was a golden opportunity to get rid of the pesky humans practically for free, and have the field clear to take the Nostromo back to Weyland-Yutani and deliver the Alien.
    • Volunteering to stay before Lambert's plan to abandon ship was accepted would probably lead Ripley or Parker to ask him awkward questions of why he was willing to sacrifice himself for the others. If they had adopted Lambert's plan and went on to actually drawing straws he could either volunteer at that point or cheat to be the one staying behind. Unfortunately for Ash, Ripley chose to go and ask Mother inconvenient questions about why he hadn't come up with useful information about the alien instead.
    • But by then, if Ash volunteered, the other three, even if suspecting something, would probably accept his offer to stay behind, considering that they were scared and the fact that Ash wasn't much liked by the rest of the crew. Even if Ash was revealed to be a robot, it would only make it even easier to leave him behind. At any rate, when Ripley takes over control of Mother away from Ash, he/it still had another chance to volunteer and maybe even tell her the truth since Ripley was about to blow his cover anyway. By then, no one had a better alternative to save themselves. And yet once again Ash blows a last chance to volunteer to stay once Ripley discovers Weiland-Yutani's plan, instead he opts to try to kill Ripley: if he had volunteered on this last opportunity, the other survivors would still not have much choice but to accept his offer, since as it happened, after Ash was defeated, Ripley agrees with Lambert's plan to leave on the Narcissus anyway.
    • Ripley agrees to leave only after there are only three of the crew left, which the shuttle can support. Despite not personally liking Ash much, Ripley doesn't seem willing to leave anyone behind (not even the cat). Parker might not agree to let Ash stay behind either, and loudly proclaims he isn't going to draw any straws. In short, Lambert's plan was rejected by Ripley and Parker until the circumstances changed, and since they never got as far as discussing who would stay behind Ash really had no chance to volunteer. He does try to talk to Ripley when she first discovers the special directive, but her emotional reaction to being betrayed seems to confuse him and he changes his mind to just killing her.
    • Note also that the final version of the plan that Ripley agrees to isn't just "abandon the ship", it's "set the ship to self-destruct, and then abandon it". It wouldn't have done Ash much good to stay behind with that plan.

  • Instead of splitting up and letting themselves get picked off one by one, why don't the crew members all just sit in a secured room with their flamethrowers, wait for the Alien to show up, and then blast the ever-loving crap out of it once it does so?
    • Suppose you barricade yourselves in a room and the alien doesn't show up? What then? Sleep and eat in shifts? How long does life support and food last on a ship that is supposed to run with its crew in hypersleep most of the time? It's going to take 10 months to reach Earth. What else might the alien be off doing in the meantime? It might damage the ship enough to kill everyone, or even reproduce. Maybe abandoning ship as quickly as possible is the better plan after all.
    • There's no safety in numbers anyway. After Ash is dealt with it's Parker and Lambert together that are attacked, not Ripley who's off by herself. And it's precisely because they're both there that Parker's flamethrower proves useless, because he's not willing to kill Lambert along with the alien. If Ripley had gone with them would it have turned out any differently? Only if she had been willing to burn Lambert alive to try to save her and Parker.
      • Except that Lambert didn't have a flamethrower. Only Parker did. If all of them had weapons, or the ones that didn't stayed a safe distance from any entrance the Alien might use, then the ones that did have weapons might be able to blast it without worrying about friendly fire.
      • Trusting Lambert with a flamethrower is probably not a good idea. They're not exactly precision weapons.

  • Why, exactly, does the Xenomorph rate as such a "perfect organism" in Ash's opinion? There's nothing innately special or "perfect" about being a deadly predator - even Jones the cat can manage that - and a lack of moral compass doesn't make it any different than the Real Life ichneumon wasps its life cycle was based upon. At that point there's no evidence that it's intelligent, so he can't be impressed by such traits' appearance in a thinking creature. Heck, the creature's status as a parasitoid actually limits its potential, by barring it from reproducing in the absence of suitably-sized prey. By his own professed chain of logic, Ash should be gushing about malaria as much as about the Xeno: they're both fine-tuned for killing people and using them as "hosts" without a shred of remorse.
    • Ash says, "Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility", and only then says he admires (or envies) it's lack of morals. Ash seems to call it "perfect" in that it does what it does extremely well, to the point that he says the crew are incapable of killing it. This is all coming from an android that has obviously failed its mission, and that might feel it failed that mission because of in-built morals he had no part in choosing. It doesn't have to be a logical assessment.

     Aliens 
  • Why would the Weyland-Yutani corporation build atmospheric processing stations so darn close to the off-world colonies? They're mostly reliable, but in the event of catastrophic meltdown if critical systems suffer damage, they'll explode with a blast radius of roughly 30 km.
    • If they go unstable beyond repair, you've only got a measly four hours to evacuate everyone and hope for the best.
    • The temptation is to give the answer "cost", but having already gone to the massive expensive of making this installations light-years from Earth, what is a mere few miles after that?
    • At least build a fallout shelter.
    • It probably makes more sense to put the processing station where someone can get to it and fix it while it's still a small problem, rather than putting it 20+ miles away from everyone. The transit time from the colony to the processing station (by truck, presumably) might make the difference between a small problem and the kind of catastrophic problem seen in the movie.
      • Hadley's Hope was a working colony—the only reason they were there was to help run and maintain the atmosphere processor. So it makes sense to have the living and control areas (the colony) right next door to the place where most of them work. Since it took (probably) some military-grade firepower, plus more military-grade ordnance exploding outside (the dropship) to damage enough systems to cause a meltdown, I'd say the processor was pretty darn safe.
    • Also, this is Weyland-Yutani we're discussing. It's not like they have a long and glorious history of giving much of a shit about the potential risks / harm that their various endeavours might result in.

  • Why it didn't occur to Ripley to fire directly at the Alien Queen? Would have saved them a lot of grief.
    • The queen was the only one who could understand Ripley's threat: Attack me and I fry all your eggs. The warriors would only stop attacking if the queen ordered them to. So Ripley needed the queen. Later on, she didn't have time to shoot the queen because she was fighting off the warriors, and then ran out of ammo.
    • Yeah, but Ripley has time to fire at least three grenades into the Queen's eggsac. One would have done the job of destroying it; if Ripley had just fired one of those grenades at the Queen's body, she would have at least crippled it to the point it couldn't follow her and fight her on the ship.
      • I don't think Ripley had any reason to believe the Queen could easily detach form the eggsac and survive without bleeding out. Even if it wouldn’t kill the Queen quickly, one would think it would be crippled and in too much pain to do anything.
    • I think Ripley wanted for the Queen to see her children being ripped to pieces and her eggs burning. Also, she DID throw a grenade belt into the room while retreating with Newt, most likely with the intention of killing or at least maiming the Queen. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, as otherwise we would have missed the Power Loader fight), that wasn't the case.
    • Maybe Ripley is just too stressed mentally to think rationally.
    • It's stated fairly implicitly in the movies that Ripley has no idea what she's doing. She is, after all, merely a commercial pilot. Whatever access she may have had to guns at home, it's unlikely to have been anything more than a handgun (which explicitly still exist in that universe), let alone a plasma rifle/grenade launcher/flamethrower. Plus, she's also spent 60 years in deep sleep. Imagine handing a civilian from the WWII era a modern, military grade weapon and telling them to have at it. Odds are, their aim would probably suck after only two hours too.
      • It's stated quite a few times by characters in the first two films at least that Ripley is one tough person. She's the type of person that survives dangerous situations by acting instead of breaking down like Lambert does in Alien. Sometimes the things she does aren't brilliant in hindsight, but they sufficed to keep her and others alive. It's not a long scene in the film, but Hicks does make sure to spend the time to show Ripley how to use their weapons. It's not Marine training, but it's enough to allow her to load/reload and shoot the thing. She also asks to be shown EVERY aspect of the pulse rifle's operation after Hicks tries to gloss over showing her the grenade launcher. She knows it might save her life so she makes sure she knows everything she needs to.
      • It's also strongly hinted, especially in the super extra bonus cut of the movie, that she's suffering from severe PTSD and still struggling with the knowledge that she's a mid-30's woman whose daughter died of old age 2 years prior. Thus her irrational connection to Newt, and sheer, all consuming hatred of Xenomorphs and "Synthetics". That scene is framed as as a cathartic freakout than a deliberate attempt to methodically "neutralise the enemy".
    • I figured the risk of acid blood sprayback was too dangerous at that close of a range, especially with Newt behind her. Considering what happened with Drake...

  • Why are the Power Loaders, well, just loaders? Put some armor around the pilot, add a smart gun and one or two greande launchers, and you've got the perfect infantry support vehicle.
    • Why are cranes in real life just cranes? Why not add machine guns to them? Because some things are designed to do what they do and the power loaders...load things. They weren't military versions designed for combat.
    • I'd like to introduce you to Alice from the PC game Aliens vs. Predator 2.
    • Yeah, if I recall correctly that thing was armed with a laser cannon, flamethrower, rocket launchers, and TWIN miniguns. Plus, it ran pretty damn fast.
    • They did make them armored walkers in the comics, but it has the normal mecha problem—the ground pressure of all that armor, smart gun, grenade launchers, etc. on two feet not much bigger than a human footprint.
      • How is that different from the Power Loader carrying heavy equipment?
      • Because it's not in combat.
      • I don't think the ground cares if the pressure on it is enacted during combat or not. If a Power Loader can move around carrying heavy stuff, it can also carry a machinegun attached to it.
      • The combat loader would be expected to operate everywhere a Marine does: swamps, mountains, forests, jungles and tundra. If the combat loader suffers severe issues with difficult terrain, it's close to useless in combat. The power loader on the other hand would only operate in areas with a specific infrastructure to support it; like space ships.
      • Another major issue with a combat loader is speed. From what we saw, the power loader walked at a fraction of the speed that a normal Marine could and there's no reason to believe a combat loader would be any faster. In the time it took the Marines in the movie to disembark the ship, move two-by-two up to the entrance of the colony, and hack their way through the door, the power loader probably would've moved 20 feet, max. It would only be useful if you replaced the legs with wheels or treads. But once you do that it's not a mecha anymore, just a small tank.
      • The aformentioned combat power armor in the AVP 2 game was lighting fast, though. And so were all the instances of similar machines in the comics. I think the easiest explanation is that combat power armor most likely does exist in the Alien universe, but the Sulaco simply wasn't issued one.
      • Or an even easier explanation: Combat power loaders were not originally a part of the movie canon and were added to the comics/games because they were cool.
      • What exactly does a combat loader bring to the table that a properly equipped Marine team doesn't?
      • More Dakka, basically. In the previously mentioned videogame example, the military loader was loaded with a brutal amount of firepower.
      • The only reason Ripley had any chance against the Queen while in the power loader was because it was only the queen. If you add a single drone, Ripley loses. The power loader wasn't nearly agile enough to do anything against multiple foes, particularly ones as quick as the xenomorphs. Adding a machine gun or two might hold them off for a few moments, but as soon as one gets behind you, you're done.
    • From the Colonial Marines Technical Manual:
    "I never EVER take a powerloader over rough terrain with a full load. Each of those feet are only 500 centimeters square, so with a two ton load you've got a downforce of something like three kilos per square centimeter. That's intense. I've seen too many loaders get hauled of the mud to do anything so dumb myself."

  • In the special edition of Aliens, the remaining Marines set up 4 automated sentry turrets around their barricade. Each one carries 500 rounds, for a total of 2000. Every single shot is fired at the aliens, with likely very few misses due to the tight corridors + horde of aliens. However, there are only a maximum of 160 (157 from the colonists plus the 2 Marines who we know got taken away as hosts and the co-pilot who could have been) aliens on LV-426 (unless a full-sized alien warrior can come from a hamster) so how was there still enough left over to Zerg Rush the Marines little base of operations? Hmm, maybe thats why they cut the scenes with the sentry turrets from the theatrical release.
    • The novelisation expands on this scene, stating that while dozens of aliens did get blown to pieces, the rest eventually backed off. The only explanation is that the xenomorphs move too fast for a tracking computer designed to shoot human troops to accurately track and most of the shots were misses.
    • I always had the impression that between the first ambush, that sentry guns scene, and the scene where they drop from the ceiling, most of the Xenos WERE killed. Notice that the Queen only had a couple of them as guards, and Ripley didn't run into any more while escaping.
    • This would only be an issue if we assume that each shot kills one Alien. This is apparently not the case: The turrets seem to be set to fire at anything that moves. When Vasquez and Hudson test them, they fire a short salvo, rather than a single shot. Since even an alien that has been shot already may continue to move, it's a fair guess that the turrets fire multiple shots at each.
      • This is the typical behavior of fully automatic fire. Several hits per target, scattered all across the body. Watch a few Deadliest Warrior episodes that feature modern rifles (Yakuza vs Mafia, for instance) for a demonstration. Modern computer-guided weapons also fire in multiple-round salvos: observe the behavior of the modern equivalent, the CIWS.
    • After giving this one some thought it can work out barely. The guns seem to fire at least 5 round bursts could easilry be higher, so 200 rounds -10 for the testing -10 left in gun is 1980 rounds. Assume an average of 20 rounds per alien and thats 99 dead aliens. Actual number may be more or less. Add in the on screen kills by the Marines and Riply you're close to 150. Remember at least one colonist died have his face sucker taken off before injestion. Those two aliens with the queen near the end may actually be the only ones left. The only problem is the ones the colonists hit with small arms fire and explosives before the Marines arrived. I think that fight would make a good movie in and of itself.
    • The Aliens are shown to be smarter than they first appear. They wait until the Marines move into the nest before attacking, they cut the power, they bypass the Marines' barricade, etc. It's possible that after the first group went down, the Aliens figured out a way to bait it into wasting ammo (darting across its field of fire or something).
      • They wouldn't even have to expose their main bodies to the turrets. Just swish their very long, tough and spindly tails across the detection zone.
      • As far as the nest I always interpreted them as going into hibernation since they had harvested all the colonists except for Newt. Then cue some hostiles inside their home burning stuff and they wake up angry as well as hungry.
    • Plus, who says the colonists didn't have pets? A hamster won't do for a host, but an average-sized dog might. And if the colonists were raising cattle/pigs/sheep, that would vastly increase the number of potential Aliens.
      • In the comic book adapatation Newt's Tale, there is specific mention given to "missing livestock". Nowhere in the actual movie, granted, but it was noted. Of course, this gives rise to an entirely different issue as to why the drones were all humanoid...
      • Aliens 3 shows that a decently sized dog does in fact work.
      • The ones we see, anyway. Maybe all the xeno-livestock were sent to drain the guns.
    • They're not ray guns. They don't disintegrate the Xenos. They're clearing a hive-mind like species where the survival of the individual is relatively meaningless, all you need is enough motion to keep the guns firing until they're empty, then the survivors in the back push through the corpses of the ones at the front.
    • There's a few ideas that I hold after much thought on this subject over the years. first the camera mounts on the guns seam to show rounds striking the wall (as evident by the white flashes) indicating not every round struck, the guns are set to fire at anything that moves, and in 5 round bursts meaning that they could be striking severed limbs, debris such as wall and ceiling pannels falling etc. Also there is no life found in the colony, suggesting that any livestock on the colony was also changed. Meaning there are probably more than 157 aliens. which would account for the aliens killed by the colonists.
      • On that note, who says the sentry guns' targeting systems are all that robust? It's quite possible they are missing far more than they're hitting.

  • My thing about the Sulaco is why (other than for dramatic effect) would it take so long and so much effort to get it send down a drop ship? Given the damage to the APC is almost a certainty in combat and satellite phones are common in the present, why wouldn't the command officer, his immediate subordinate and anybody else they chose have a portable unit to signal the ship? For that matter,why didn't they leave anyone ON the Sulaco in case something happened and they were cut off or pinned down?
    • My best guess for this would be, that the only transmitter was on the APC because 1) the size of the unit (which was basically a laptop and satalite uplink to fly the dropship by remote (if you look at the shots of Bishop's console while he's flying down the dropship you can see what looks like a flight simulator)) which would be a bulky load for a Marine to carry into a cramped built up area (given the weight of armour, combat load and weapon, flashlights, trackers, and other gear they had) it would have seemed like superfluous especially since Gorman stayed on the APC for the most part and Ferro remained with the dropship while Spunkmeyer only left it long enough to run some supplies to Bishop so he could study the facehugger. Given the nature of their enemy they were not expecting anti-armour or anti-aircraft weapons so they couldn't foresee the events that led to the dropship crash, let alone the fact it struck the APC, and given that the second in command Apone was one of the first Marines to die in the nest, even if he had the back up transmitter it wouldn't have been much used to them.
    • They explained this in the movie. Bishop himself said that he is "the only one qualified to remotely fly the dropship anyway". I assume Ferro was also qualified, but she was killed before this point in the movie, causing the said need for the second dropship. As to why they didn't leave anyone on the Sulaco: Who would they have left? They got the Pilot (Ferro), Ripley, The CO, the 2nd in command (Apone), Bishop, Hudson (electronics specialist?), and several grunts. They all had their key roles to play in the mission and it could be that there wasn't enough room to bring anyone else. They were all needed down on the surface, in the mission. So, if Bishop was the only guy who could pilot the thing other than Ferro, why would they want/need more than one, maybe two, transmitters when only two people in the whole mission knew how to even use it?
    • However, there is the issue of the fact that the ship the size of the Sulaco had no command staff of its own, and no personnel that didn't deploy in the ONE combat sortie. It's the Mother Ship to a SINGLE Drop Ship—and that's all? This would be like a modern Wasp-class having a crew of a single, deployable squad.
    • The entire mission was a scrub from the start, lead by a junior officer fresh out of training. It's probable the ship was undermanned. Incidentally, the Colonial Marines Technical Manual has the Conestoga-class capable of carrying four dropships in its bays, and up to 90 crew and passengers, with transport capacity for up to two thousand more in cryo in its bays.
    • One has to remember that Burke was conspiring right off the bat, so he probably pulled strings so the rescue mission was small and led by a rookie officer he could influence (he was already along Gorman very early in the film). His plan was to sabotage the hypersleep chambers of whoever wasn't facehugged, which not only would have been difficult if the Sulaco were carrying several dozen people, but also VERY suspicious and hard to justify once they got home.
    • And with the movie hinting that these Marines aren't exactly disciplined - Drake and Vasquez being confirmed by Word of God to be serving as an alternative to prison - perhaps Gorman was afraid of a crew left on the Sulaco abandoning them?

  • Hudson & Burke are shown in the colony's control room scanning for the colonists' PDTs (Personal Data Transmitters) on the planet. The range is is stated as being 20km. Wouldn't the Marines' landing ship have had the equipment for that? Or for that matter, the Sulaco?
    • Maybe they didn't know the frequencies the PDTs use until they accessed the colony mainframe. Or, alternately, the PDTs might have had to be activated before they transmit—with the code stored in the colony mainframe.
    • And perhaps the PDTs also act as ID tags for each colonist - so when they access the mainframe, they also find out which colonists are where.

  • Nobody seems to be worrying too much about weapons sweep as everybody has their fingers on their triggers at all times and they routinely pass the muzzles across their fellow soldiers' bodies.
    • The movie goes to great pains to show that these Marines are cocky, overconfident, and unprofessional. Recklessness with their weapons is perfectly in character. I mean, after Ripley points out the heat exchange thing, two of them openly violate a direct order from their commanding officer (Lieutenant Gorman) and second in command (Sergeant Apone) and reload.
    • There are hints in the movie that this particular platoon of Marines is not the cream of the corps. Apone specifically says he wants a nice clean sweep this time (one wonders what happened last time). Gorman is an obviously untried commander. Vasquez and Drake's backstories are that they are serving in the Marines as an alternative to prison.
    • Apart from the actors playing Hicks, Ripley, Gorman and Burke all the crew actually underwent military training prior to filming, Michael Biehn only missed it because he replaced the previous actor part the way into filming. (Some of the reactor scenes in the finished film had another guy in Hicks' place.) As for Vasquez and Drake, their weapons (according to the USCM: Technical Manual) have computer targeting systems preventing them firing at friendly IFF transponders (which each soldier has based again on information in the tech manual and the fact the APC screens displayed the Marines' locations on the map). Finally, given the information they had from Ripley they were probably expecting trouble so were ready to shoot at anything that moved. As for Gorman, it's hinted in the film and novel that he was hand picked by Burke to lead the mission. (Frost and Hicks' conversation in the mess hall includes "Looks like the new lieutenant is too good to eat with the rest of us grunts.")
    • The actor who played Apone actually served in the military, and helped with the training for the actors. He was rather forceful about not pointing weapons at other people unless you're intending to shoot them. This training was largely ignored in filming, and as mentioned, makes sense given the overall level of discipline this squad seems to have. James Cameron has gone on record as saying that he apologizes for this portrayal of Marines; he was thinking "Vietnam": chalk full of people who didn't want to be there, probably didn't pay that much attention in training, and all told, would rather just go home.

  • In the extended cut of Aliens, the motion trackers pick up what turn out to be hamsters in a cage. Who's been feeding them to keep them alive all this time? Newt, presumably?
    • One of the colonists is still alive when the Marines reach the reactor station, so it's possible that the "last stand" of the colonists happened within 24 hours of the arrival of the Marines. The hamsters hadn't had time to starve yet.
    • Plus, y'know, hamsters. Fill their dish, come back an hour later, and they've stashed it all under the bedding and will give you dirty looks until you fill their bowl again. If their owner was the least bit gullible, they'd have weeks of food hoarded up.
    • It's the far future; automation is cheap. There may be an automatic feeding and watering system built into the cage.

  • In Aliens, what the hell was Spunkmeyer doing outside the dropship, admiring the lightning-blasted scenery? The unit was in the middle of a recon mission with high probability of deadly combat, the area was not secure, and the mobile command center was the APC, not the dropship. And, to top it off, they already knew there was something seriously wrong just from visual inspection in the first recon, AND they had an eyewitness to all that horror, to boot. So why step out of the ship, unarmed, and then keep the loading bay open when in the middle of an unbelievable hostile situation?
    • Overconfidence. Up until the Marines go to the atmosphere processor, nothing's happening and Gorman et. al. still don't quite believe Ripley's story about how lethal and silent the Aliens are. Also, the dropship's out on a landing pad where you'd normally presume it's hard for a seven-foot-tall alien to sneak up and secrete itself on the ship—and to top it all off, the landing field's at the Colony, not at the atmosphere processor which is a good hike away from the station. Ferro and Spunkmeyer also look to be pretty "couldn't care less" types.
    • He was doing what every soldier does when he steps out of his vehicle for a hot minute: puffing a cigarette. Hear that, smokers? You let the aliens in.
    • In Spunkmeyer's defense, Gorman had declared the area secure before going in himself.
    • Or perhaps he had just been loading something into the ship?
    • It's possible he was making pre-flight checks, looking to see that nothing had bent or dropped off, particularly after the bumpy ride they'd had on the way down. Then again, maybe he just went for a pee...

  • In Aliens, an alien grabs Frost, and then pulls him up... with what? Do they have grappling hooks or something? Are they Batman?
    • With its hands? Aliens are good at climbing. All it had to do was get above and pull.
    • With its tail, obviously.
      • It was Dietrich that was grabbed by the alien, not Frost. Frost was the unfortunate victim of her flamethrower.

  • Hopefully some engineering-types can help me out with this one: What exactly is the advantage of a Power Loader over, say, a forklift? We don't see Power Loaders doing anything a modern-day forklift couldn't do just as well or better (the fight with the Queen doesn't count) and it's (probably) far easier to train someone to drive a forklift than a PL.
    • Because you can't have a finale fight scene with a forklift. If you're looking for an in-universe explanation, the power loader doesn't seem to have a fuel source or at least does not take up much fuel to do what it does. Its ability to "move" is based on the pilot physically lifting the thing with their legs rather than relying on an engine to rotate its wheels. In a future with a severe fuel shortage, any machine that can cut costs that way would be an asset, regardless of any other practicality concerns.
      • You can't have a finale fight scene with a forklift?
      • Wanna bet?
    • The power loader can probably get into areas a forklift would have trouble maneuvering into. Stairs, for instance, wouldn't be a barrier. Because it's humanoid it would be more intuitive to control, so a Marine wouldn't have to spend as much time learning how to operate it. Also it seems to have functions besides moving cargo—it's got a blow torch attachment for instance. It might be more effective at repairing things than a forklift would.
    • The powerloader is likely also not only for use within the loading bay of the Sulaco. A walking loader would work far better than a forklift in an unimproved bivouac site, where the Marines might still need to lift heavy crates of ammo or reload the Dropship.
    • The artificial gravity in the loading bay may normally be switched off when especially heavy cargo is being moved around, to make the work easier. A forklift's wheels would lose traction in zero-G, but big stompy feet will work just fine on a steel floor if they're got electromagnets built in.

  • Speaking of the Dropship, since when do low-rank NCOs (Corporal Ferro) qualify for pilot status? At the very least, she should have been wearing Warrant Officer bars.
    • Oddly enough, Ferro was supposed to be a Sergeant in the film's first treatment that Cameron wrote, but for whatever reason (there is no explanation whatsoever in the director's commentary) he decided to change her rank.
    • In-universe; the explanation is that the Marines of that era are not the same as the Marines of this one, and it is obviously possibly to pilot a dropship without needing to be the same ranks. Out of universe; probably she is a corporal to make Apone stand out more as the lead NCO, so that we care about him more when he is taken.

  • Around the midpoint of Aliens, when Ripley and Newt are trapped in the medlab with the facehuggers, Ripley glances through the window and sees her gun lying on the counter on the other side. The problem is, when she first arrives there, she explicitly lays the gun on top of the bed before crawling under it. How did the gun manage to teleport itself through a window? Did Burke grab it before releasing the facehuggers? If he did, did he leave it there for Ripley to see, just to be even more of a bastard than he was already? If so, why bother, since the plan was obviously for Newt and Ripley to get impregnated in their sleep? For that matter, how did he manage to sneak into the medlab without Ripley or Newt—both undoubtedly high-strung, even if they were fatigued—noticing?
    • It was Burke who moved the rifle, just in case Ripley woke up. He put the gun down outside because he didn't want to explain to the Marines where he'd got it. He snuck into the medlab by being very quiet; as high-strung as they were, Ripley and Newt were still asleep.
    • I doubt he put the rifle there just to dick with them. He probably didn't even think about where he put it so long as it was somewhere Ripley couldn't get to it. The only reason it's in Ripley's line of sight is so the audience knows where it went.
    • Still an amateur move, of course—a real pro would have simply replaced the magazine with an empty one. Nothing like a false sense of security until you notice that the weight is wrong and the ammo counter reads "00" instead of "99"...and much easier for the Marines to explain it to themselves as "rookie civilian mistake, empty gun" than "went to bed with her only means of self defense out of reach in the next room".
      • Well then it's a shame Burke isn't a pro, isn't it? He's just a pencil pusher who's drastically out of his element.
      • I fail to see how switching Ripley's magazine for an empty one would have been any better than just moving the gun. It's not like Ripley would be any more helpless that way. And even an unloaded gun is still useful. If nothing else, Ripley could have used the rifle to smash the facehugger into a gooey smear on the floor (sure the gun would have melted but the facehugger would still be dead). Taking the rifle out of the room left Ripley and Newt completely defenseless.
      • It's also quieter to just take the gun rather than reload it with an empty clip, and leaving the gun right outside the door is still an excusable rookie mistake. Arguably more so, we saw Hicks teaching Ripley how to use the pulse rifle, and Hicks seems a no-nonsense, career military man. He probably drilled "check the ammo counter" into her pretty effectively (and in fact, we see Ripley doing exactly that the first time she actually shoots the thing.) One could easily imagine Hicks smelling something fishy if Ripley had supposedly been caught with an empty gun, whereas her leaving it outside the room would make more sense (her not wanting a deadly weapon within reach of a traumatized child with bad nightmares, for instance.)
    • And after Ripley and Newt were facehugged, there would obviously be suspicions about how it happened. Ripley had been given the gun by Hicks, so if he found her attacked then he would wonder where the gun was - and why she hadn't used it. Leaving the gun outside the room therefore looks like 'she put it down and forgot', and was just unlucky. Ripley only suspected Burke because she had already busted him for the situation.

  • Same troper as above: How did Burke manage to sneak two hatched facehuggers into the medlab in the first place? As strong and aggressive as they are, there's no way he could have avoided being impregnated himself.
    • In their containment tubes. He carried them in then opened the tubes as he closed the door.
    • It also looks like the containment tubes were shattered on the floor. I think the sound of them breaking and the huggers escaping is what woke Ripley. She seems to startle awake.
    • On this line of thought, how was he able to stay gone for so long and no one questioned his whereabouts or even noticed he was missing?
      • While the Colonial Marines are a unit (check out their almost-excessive levels of inter-personal banter before the mission begins), Burke is just some faceless Company asshole to them. He doesn't have any useful knowledge (unlike Ripley) & can't hold his own alongside them (unlike Ripley). Ripley herself even points out that he doesn't outrank Hicks, who is a lowly Corporal. He doesn't have authority, can't give any orders, can't give out any information worth listening to, & is continually pompous & obstructive when he does open his mouth. Likely the Marines were glad to have him out of their hair if they did notice his absence, & they might well not—when he switches the CCTV monitor off during the Facehugger attack, Hicks is right next to him & doesn't notice.
    • There's one part of the film where he's shown helping find food with Newt. So they must assume he's off doing that somewhere.

  • How long after the Colony's "last stand" did Ripley and the Marines arrive? Ripley says that Newt survived longer than "seventeen days" by herself, and her "nest" certainly looks like she's been there for a while, and it must have taken some time after the loss of contact with the colony for the Sulaco to get there (it would have taken the Nostromo 10 months, according to Lambert, but the Sulaco is probably faster). On the other hand, though, when the Marines arrive at the processing station they find a live colonist just in time to watch the chestburster emerge. According to Ripley's testimony the alien in Alien wiped out her whole crew within 24 hours, which means the chestbursters don't take anywhere near 17 days to gestate. In the Special Edition the Marines also find live hamsters in a cage in the colony. Hamsters can't last 17 days on their own either.
    • Not all of the colonists need have been taken all at once. There's pretty fresh evidence of a firefight when the Marines arrive, so it might be that the one they find chestbursting was taken just before they arrived.
      • That raises the Fridge Horror issue of how long the poor woman was cocooned—knowing what was coming—before the aliens had an egg ready for her.
    • And Newt's parents were the first to discover the aliens. So it makes sense that she'd hide as soon as they were killed.
    • Newt's own remarks about how the xenomorphs "mostly come at night ... mostly" tend to imply that the creatures have returned to scour the colony for victims repeatedly. They probably wouldn't go to such extremes just to chase Newt - if they were that relentlessly determined to nab one little girl, they'd have broken into her ventilation tunnels by brute force and caught her long ago - but may have been rooting out scattered survivors for some time.

  • The heroes are trapped in a tight spot. Bishop is sent to get the ship and crawls through some tube to evade aliens. What prevented everyone else or at least civilians Ripley and Newt from leaving the same way?
    • Sure, crawling single-file through a long, dark, and narrow pipeline for a couple hours straight sounds like a very physically and mentally healthy thing for a human (especially a little girl) to do. The only reason Bishop went through was because he was synthetic and didn't have to worry about stuff like fear, discomfort, or boredom when doing monotonous mind-numbing tasks like that. And he was the only one qualified for the task, so anyone coming with him, military or civilian, would've been unnecessary baggage.
    • In the novelization Bishop is briefly attacked while in the pipe through one of the acid holes melted in it during the earlier battle with the colonists, but the alien doing it loses interest when it seems to sense that he's not potential prey. If any of the others had been in the pipe with Bishop things probably would have gotten much worse.

  • What use is a Three-Laws Compliant military android in the event of an exclusively human conflict? How would Bishop resolve watching humans shooting at and killing each other? More applicably, what would he have done if he was there when the Marines opted to waste Burke?
    • For any number of things that are required to be done in a military operation that doesn't involve killing or combat.
    • He's there as a science officer isn't he? They're explicitly looking for the aliens, so isn't it Bishop's job to examine them? And on a more cynical note, if they need to send someone into a danger zone to do something then they can send the android instead of sacrificing a human—which they did.
    • The Technical Manual states that androids are attached to combat squads as advisors and specialists, bringing skills the Marines themselves don't have. Bishop is basically a super science-tech-engineering geek assigned to support the Marines when they aren't actually shooting things. Standard procedure likely would be to keep the android well away from any actual fighting, both because it's a valuable piece of equipment and to keep that "through inaction allow a human to be harmed" thing from screwing with the squad's mission.
    • And perhaps Bishop was put in charge of working with the facehuggers in the med lab because if they attack him, there's no real loss.

  • Why put an ammo counter in the side of the pulse rifle, instead of placing it in the carrying handle? Such a feature would be useful in the middle of an engagement, but less so if you have to pause and take a look at the side of the gun.
    • Possibly it's placed there so that each Marine can see when his or her wing man's ammo is running low, and give them covering fire while they step back to reload? The one doing the firing can probably feel the weapon getting lighter as it empties and will be keeping a rough track of shots expended in any case, but the soldier to the left is too busy keeping count of his or her own fire and could genuinely benefit from the readout's information.

     Alien
  • Why does the water getting on the alien shatter it at the end. Was it just so badly damaged by the molten metal the slightest force would shatter it?
    • It's the effect of rapid heating and cooling. Try it at home by tipping away your coffee & replacing it in the mug with ice-cold water! Or don't.
    • Also works in reverse—drop an ice cube into scalding hot soup and it'll crack almost instantly.
    • Foreshadowed after the first attempt to capture the alien. When the fires get out of control and the sprinklers are triggered, one of the buckets on the floor cracks wide open. Heat causes matter to expand (and the molecules to vibrate faster, which is what heat is), while cooling causes matter to contract and the molecules to move slower. Rapidly heating or cooling something causes the expansion/contraction and molecular motion to occur at different rates, resulting in things cracking or even exploding.

  • Never mind why Ripley put herself into cold sleep. How in the world could there be an egg on the Sulaco at the end of Aliens anyway? And even if there was some way that could possibly have happened, we're supposed to believe that Ripley didn't give the ship a thorough going-over before bedding down? The entire premise of the third movie is stupid given the ending of the second movie.
    • I suppose you'd have to assume the queen grabbed an undamaged egg and lugged it along with her when she stowed away on the dropship. When they reached the Sulaco the queen jumped off, hid the egg somewhere, then ran back and jumped back onto the dropship again for some reason. All of this in between the time when the dropship arrived on the mothership but before Ripley and the others disembarked.
    • Or she stuck the eggs to the dropship itself. Apparently the dropship had enough room to hide an entire alien queen stowaway! Room for two or more eggs isn't unbelievable.
      • Except IIRC the opening scene just before the Sulaco dumps Ripley onto the prison planet clearly shows a hatched alien egg hidden somewhere on the mothership, not on the dropship.
      • It could have been attached somewhere on the dropship out of view of Ripley, also what's to say the queen didn't lay it when she was stowed away, this could explain why it wasn't seen and if laid on the outside of the dropship it would explain the scene from the third movie where the word "Sulaco" is visible (unless "Sulaco" is written inside the dropship to indicate what ship it was attached to). At least in my opinion.
      • The fact that she ripped off her egg sack says that she didn't lay it on the dropship. Bring it with her? Maybe. Lay it there? Not really possible.
      • The egg sack seems more like an actual insect ovipositor, which is what was shown in the movie. Quite capable of holding and depositing dozens, if not hundreds of eggs. Who's to say that the Queen wasn't still capable of laying eggs elsewhere, in the right conditions...? It is plausible, even without the ovipositor.
    • The problem with the egg scenario is twofold. One, we know that the egg wasn't laid on the dropship, as the establishing shot shows that the egg has been stuck upside-down under (what looks like) a row of seats with the word "Sulaco" in the background. Two, from the time that the Queen exits the dropship, at least one person is looking at her at all times. When she exits, it's Ripley and Newt, then (when she's snooping around trying to pull up the floorgrates) Newt and Bishop, then it's Ripley and Bishop during the fight, and then the Queen goes into the airlock. There's no conceivable way that the Queen deposited an egg (even in the landing bay) when someone was watching her at all times.
      • My interpretation is that Bishop grabbed the eggs. Remember that he was under company orders to return a live alien specimen, or at least the company via Burke. He also had plenty of time to go egg-hunting between the time when he dropped Ripley off to find Newt and the time when he returned to pick her up; maybe the platform wasn't unstable, he was just lying to cover himself. He could have made the trip from the colony to the derelict in time, especially since he was travelling by air. Even taking the three laws into account, it still works if we assume that Bishop didn't see any danger to the survivors; maybe he didn't think the eggs would hatch while they were in hypersleep. In fact, given that he was under Burke's orders, then if this scenario is true, he was simply obeying the second law like a good android. (And that's assuming that the whole three-laws thing is even true; we only have Bishop's word on it, after all, and it's not like Burke would have corrected him.) Of course, this turns Bishop from a good guy into a total rat bastard, but it's not like it's without precedent; remember that Ash had basically the same orders, he just went haywire before he could carry them out.
      • Bishop is bound not to harm a human, or to allow one to come to harm through inaction. That's hardcoded into him. Bringing live eggs onto a ship would violate both of those clauses. When Bishop first mentions it and Burke confirms it, nobody else at the table (including people not in on "the plan") questions it, so it's likely common knowledge. The rest of the marines know Bishop personally; remember the thing about Ash was that he was a new guy, who the rest of the crew didn't know. And if he had brought them on without intending harm, he would have frozen them or sealed them up to eliminate even the possibility of them hatching and infecting the crew.

        So basically this theory requires disregarding everything we know about Bishop to work.
      • Not necessarily. The whole three-laws thing could be a massive lie by the company; maybe synthetics ("I prefer the term 'artificial person,' myself") aren't Three Laws Compliant, the company just says they are to help their "product" gain people's trust. In other words, maybe Burke doesn't know the truth either. Or he does, but the Marines don't. Also, as I said, maybe Bishop assumed (wrongly) that the eggs wouldn't hatch while the crew were in hypersleep, or he simply didn't have time to seal them away before he had to return to pick up Ripley (and subsequently got ripped in two by the queen).
      • Bishop is a robot, and the science officer. He wouldn't make an "assumption" like that, because he's literally made to analyze data and make decisions based off that. If he had time to go flying all over the place, pick them up, and hide them on the ship so that Ripley wouldn't notice, he had time to seal them away. As I said, the whole theory depends on disregarding everything Bishop said and his characterization in the whole movie.
      • We're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, methinks.
      • "Remember that he was under company orders to return a live alien specimen". No I don't. Last I checked Bishop belonged to the USCM, not the company.
      • He says that Burke ordered the two facehuggers they found in the medlab returned alive. He may be USCM property, but he doesn't seem to have any qualms with following company orders, especially since IIRC the military is essentially a tool of Weyland-Yutani anyway.
      • The problem is that the script as written leaves it open to implication. Discussions about the two facehuggers after Bishop had analysed them amounted to the following.
        Ripley: Bishop, I want these two samples destroyed when you're finished with them, you got that straight?
        Bishop: Mr Burke gave instructions they were to be returned alive to the company labs. (beat) He was very specific about it.
      • After that scene, it cuts straight to Ripley confronting Burke over it, and no other mention of the facehuggers is made. Bishop also isn't present during the discussion about whose jurisdiction the mission is under, and he might not be programmed to make a decision about jurisdiction (thus his uncertainty and reasserting that Burke was very specific about it—that's a machine's way of reading out an error result and going back to a command prompt). On the other hand, I don't think it's clear exactly whether he's Weyland-Y property or USCM property: when Ripley confronts Burke about Bishop's presence on the Sulaco, Burke responds "Well, it's common practice. We always have a synthetic on board." Alan Dean Foster's novelisation goes one step further in that Ripley asks Bishop to come with her to confront Burke, then cancels that instruction, which she takes as reassurance that Bishop is not fully under Burke's sway.
      • Just on the subject of whether Bishop was WY property or the USCM property, the Marines all clearly know and are familiar with Bishop, indicating that he's been with these Marines specifically for a considerable amount of time.
      • Bishop's relationship with the Marines seems very akin to RoboCop's relationship with the Detroit Police Department - he works with them, but ultimately he's the property of, and beholden to, the company who made him.
      • In regards to Bishop taking the eggs theory, you are trying to explain the actions in the film based on a premise of its sequel, from a different director no less. A sequel has to follow the logic and structure of the preceding film, not the other way around. The simple answer is that Alien 3 disregards the original continuity in order to exist, they couldn't come up with a better way to create another plot hook.
      • True enough. I guess it's because, despite all its faults, I don't think Alien 3 is that bad a movie; it's at least more compelling than Alien Resurrection was.
      • Bishop taking the eggs on the orders or Burke and the company doesn't make any sense. If he was following secret objectives than after he'd obtained the alien eggs (eggs which had only been found near the Queen which was only discovered by Ripley trying to save Newt) than he'd have just left Ripley and Newt behind after obtaining him. Company orders state all employees are expendable if it obtains a specimen and Ripley was the biggest threat to that objective so leaving her behind would have been the wisest course of action. Not to mention the fact that it would completely destroy Bishop's character, and make his saving Newt from being blown out the airlock make no sense.
      • To lay all this to rest: whether Bishop had the impetus or directives to grab an egg and stow it is irrelevant: it was physically impossible for him to do it anyway. When he explains his plan to retrieve the second dropship, he estimates a timeline for each step, up to "fifty-minute flight time" from the Sulaco to the colony. Fifty minutes. He couldn't have grabbed an egg during Ripley's rescue mission because she wasn't gone for an hour and forty minutes. He couldn't have grabbed one en route to the transmitter dish or while operating said transmitter because he already had his hands full with repairs and remote-controlling the Sulaco and the dropship. And there were no eggs outside the nest (to speculate otherwise would violate Occam's Razor and smash suspension of disbelief to bits) and "[he] may be synthetic, but [he's] not stupid." He's not going to risk his own existence going into an alien nest unarmed, much less in the extremely tight schedule he has before the colony blows sky high.
    • I think there must have been a few adult aliens following the Queen as she chased Ripley and they were carrying eggs. We never seen behind the Queen as she was too big and they could have taken off to hide the eggs while the Queen attacked Ripley, Bishop and Newt. This would explain both how the eggs got onboard, how they were hidden so well and even how they were opened when there was nobody around to trigger them. It would also give them a chance to do another movie as the remainign aliens would still be on the ship when it gets reclaimed.
      • This is simply not possible. We never see any aliens behind the queen, nor does the film make it appear like something along these lines is possible (it's enough of a stretch that the queen was able to hide on the landing strut without being noticed). The queen may be clever, but considering she was simply sitting at the nest laying eggs even when the processor was melting down, she clearly isn't intelligent enough to work out that a) the atmosphere processor is about to explode; b) Ripley will be going to a ship and c) that ship will enable her to bring eggs along with her. The queen was just chasing Ripley at the end and knew she was on the strange flying thing that came along. Alien 3 as it was filmed was based on an impossibility, because we know Ripley would've checked that ship from bow to stern before she felt comfortable enough to go into hypersleep, knowing an alien queen had been on board.
    • I believe the impossibility of an intact egg being on the Sulaco at the end of Aliens is the best evidence that Alien 3 and Resurrection are simply Ripley's hyperspace nightmares.
    • I was also boggled by it. We saw that Bishop was inside the dropship all of the time during their return to the Sulaco and furthermore if he could've gotten an egg all along, remember that we have Hicks there? Would not a facehugger come out of that egg and facehugged him all the way? Well, let us go forward! How can he be the one to bring it when he HIMSELF WAS TORN INTO TWO?! Also in the battle scene between two Mama Bears, we saw that the Alien Queen herself did NOT even do anything other than to attack, attack, and attack! Also within the final scenes where she was about to fall into space when Ripley pulled down the lever for the air duct to bring the Queen down to space. No eggs were seen in any of the scenes there of and wait! Would not the egg also be sucked out too? Come on! Let us be vigilant! Look here, I hereby state that it is damn impossible for that to happen in any of the scenes there.
    • It's plausible (barely) that the Queen can, indeed, lay eggs without the egg sack. The egg sack seems to be a place for them to mature a bit before actually being laid, and they seem to need to mature a bit afterwards (the freshly-laid eggs are a notably lighter color than the ones we see hatching.) Additionally, the egg sack isn't really a "part" of the Queen, in that she can easily tear away from it. The egg sack is also attached right between her legs at the bottom of her pelvis. So it's pretty obvious the eggs actually come from within the Queen herself. She could have laid two while on the dropship, as part of the species imperative to keep the species overall alive (the Queen cares more about her eggs than her adult aliens, or even herself it seems.) Once she had some eggs set up to start maturing, then she could go about her Roaring Rampage of Revenge and ultimately get smacked down by Ripley and Power Loader. These eggs took quite awhile to mature and hatch, which explains why the Sulaco had traveled some distance before the accident (caused by one of the facehuggers bleeding some acid as it broke into a cryotube) forced the EE Vs out of the ship. Plausible, if unlikely.

     Alien: Resurrection 
  • Why did it take 200 years and cloning Ripley in order to once again gain access to a cache of Xenomorphs? Why not return to LV-426 and take some eggs? The Derelict couldn't have been destroyed by the nuclear explosion, it's pretty obvious that the crash site was quite far from Hadley's Hope (it's literally said that it's "in the middle of nowhere").
    • The (first seen) Alien Queen had the first few warriors bring the eggs to the colony so that she would have immediate access to more warriors rather than waiting to produce them herself (just a guess).
    • The detonation of Hadley's Hope was supposed to be "the size of Nebraska". The derelict must have been close enough to the colony that Newt's family could get back to the colony from the derelict in a big truck cross-country within the time it takes for a chestburster to emerge (otherwise there wouldn't have been any aliens loose in the colony—they would have been outside), which according to Alien is less than a day. The Derelict was probably close enough to be destroyed by the detonation after all.
      • Calling it "the size of Nebraska" is hyperbole. IIRC Bishop accurately calculates the radius when he sees the station's overloading: "...a blast radius of about 30 kilometres, equal to about forty megatons."
      • Keeping in mind the terrain and weather on Acheron, 30 kilometres could be well within the theoretical travel time.
      • Watch the scenes again. Bishop says that the facility is about to "turn into a cloud of vapor the size of Nebraska". The initial blast radius doesn't have to be that big, just the resulting smoke cloud from the smoldering crater. The key point to catch in that hyperbole is that everything in the facility is about to be vaporized.

  • Alien Resurrection: What idiot decided that it was a good idea to store three Xenomorphs - you know, those intelligent deadly creatures that bleed acid - IN THE SAME CELL!? If you don't want them to get out, why make it so easy for them to do just that?
    • Keep in mind that Alien Resurrection is the only time in the entire franchise than an alien has ever killed another of its kind. We've only seen them hurt each other twice and it was to pull this same stunt, so the humans had no way of knowing they'd do that as this was the first time they've ever been in captivity.
      • Still, kind of a stupid idea. The Xenomorphs may be deceptively intelligent but they're still essentially animals. And in the real world, animals sometimes fight and even kill each other. Not an insignificant issue when you're talking about an animal that bleeds incredibly strong acid. The only explanation I can think of is maybe they were studying how the Xenos interact with each other. But if that was the case then they should have done more to prevent the Xenos from escaping exactly the way they did. Like, I don't know, hanging all the cells over a vat of sodium hydroxide.
    • These scientists also believe they can tame the aliens and train them. Yeah they're not the brightest bunch. But remember they had the liquid nitrogen spray to neutralise them if they tried to attack. Gediman was just stunned that they were attacking each other - and he didn't realise that they were planning to escape until it was too late.

  • Also from Resurrection: Why, exactly, is the hybrid's birth treated as such an ominous development? It's smaller and less armored than its parents. It might conceivably have gained a few more IQ points than the normal xenomorphs, but we already know they can think well enough to cut power lines, escape from cells, communicate with their own kind, and comprehend a Mexican stand-off, so that's not going to greatly increase the threat they pose. Worst of all, eliminating the facehugger stage of the life cycle also means getting rid of the scariest thing about the species. So why's it merit so much creepy build-up, if all it does is nerf a critter that used to be bigger, meaner, and breed via Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong?
    • It's ominous because it's unknown. We don't know what will be born or what it will be capable of. We still don't know what it might have become given time since it died so quickly. Granted, it's a major letdown when revealed but it's really more of 'this is how badly they screwed up with the cloning, behold the unnatural abomination' moment.
    • Also, while the Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong is terrifying as all hell, it's also rather conspicuous—the xenomorphs can't colonize somewhere without making a whole bunch of people and animals disappear through that route. When they touch down, people start to go missing in droves, and it ends up being a big, "HEY! INVESTIGATE HERE!" sign, and someone catches on before the problem gets entirely out of hand.

      Now, imagine if the Xenomorphs had the ability to procreate without doing that. Thousands of the damn things breeding and multiplying in secret.
    • The facehugger reproduction of the xenomorph is a chaotic aspect of the species, which, yes, makes them terrifying. But the Newborn is also chaotically terrifying because it seems to be able to act independently of the xenomorph hierarchy. After all, it kills the Queen, the apex of any hive-oriented organisms. So far, the xenomorphs seem to act based on survival, both of themselves and of their social groups. The Newborn appears to have desires that transcend that (i.e. trying to find and be comforted by a mother figure), behaviours that are rather human. The horror of the Newborn is that it blends the innocent impulses of an unrestrained child with the monstrous abilities/form of a xenomorph.
    • There's also the simple fact that the aliens usually need human hosts to breed. As terrifying as that is, it also limits their range to cause mayhem. And in this future they have technology to remove aliens that have been implanted inside the humans. Now that the Queen is able to give birth to the Newborn—without having to lay eggs—things just got a whole lot more terrifying. If the aliens can reproduce on their own without human hosts, there would be no stopping them. Granted the Newborn undermines this by killing its mother almost immediately but still.
    • The scientists were just trying to replace the Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong cycle with a "natural" human reproductive cycle, which makes sense if they want marketable weapons. Can't ask potential buyers "Oh, hey, you want ten thousand units? Just supply me with ten thousand people you'd like to see dead and we'll get started." Breeding Xenomorphs without needing hosts would be a big boost. What makes the Newborn so horrific is that not only is it a fantastic, visceral case of Gone Horribly Wrong, but it's something completely different. It's not human, but it seems to have some human intellect and impulses. It's not an alien, but it seems to have some of their terrible physical advantages. It's a completely new, completely unprecedented creature with no known checks on its behavior. And it's apparently a complete sociopath to boot.
    • Also for the aliens to reproduce, they needed a queen to be bred first which also adds extra time. If the newborn can reproduce on its own, that increases their chances to mobilise.
    • On top of all that, remember that this isn't a Company get-rich-quick scheme anymore: it's a military research project. Presumably there's some degree of accountability to the civilian side of the government in this, and the fact that they had to cut a secret deal with pirates to get their initial batch of facehugger-hosts suggests it's not the sort of government that get away with openly handing people over to be fatally experimented on. They're going to need something that's palatable to the higher-ups - i.e. Xenos that can breed without killing - before their program can be expanded upon, or turned to purposes other than weaponry.

  • Are the 'synthetics' robots, cyborgs or artificial humans? They behave like humans, whatever their allegiance, and seem to be composed of squishy, organic materials. Surely, with her enhanced predator senses, the Ripley clone in Alien Resurrection would have noticed if Call was completely mechanical. However, they talk about being 'programmed', are described as 'robots' by other characters and can directly interface with computers. Of the three options, cyborgs leaning towards artificial humans seem the most likely, but then other characters mention them being made of 'plastic' and you are back to scratching your head ...
    • They are androids, essentially robots but based on human anatomy with electroactive polymer musculature, composite bones, electronic brains and wet power cells. Robots don't have to be made of metal or be mechanical. In Alien/s they have no live biological tissues so they are not cyborgs, and they are humanoid so they are not robots in most common sense. Artificial humans, androids, or synthetic persons, take your pick.
    • Some of the Expanded Universe information (and I believe the novel) that synthetics are basically grown (at least Call's generation of synthetics) also there is very little evidence of mechanical parts (looks more like artificial muscle and such) making basically a synthetic human with a programmable brain. Also given the large amount of machinery around, the other people and other such things to distract Ripley or otherwise cover any odd sounds/smells etc. it's possible that Ripley never noticed as the only time she was alone with Call prior to them finding out the truth was when Call tried to kill her at which point she was still confused so probably didn't know what this strange smelling creature was before her and just assumed it was another human at least that's the only way I can work it out.
    • Call in particular may have been purpose-built to have no detectable metal components, specifically so she could pass unnoticed among humans and not be exposed by security systems. It's implied that synthetics building synthetics is illegal or at least highly discouraged, so her "parent(s)" would have known she might be deactivated if ever discovered.

  • In Alien: Resurrection how exactly did station security miss the auton? You would think that since they're guarding creatures most famous for implanting their young into other creatures the guards would have some fairly rigorous exams for anyone entering or leaving the station. Did they just decide "eh, screw the human race"?
    • If I remember right, androids were rare that far into the future, or Call was otherwise special in that regard. They might not have seriously expected to see anything of the sort (and she was a new arrival to the crew, the rest having been on such excursions for the same general before). They probably don't check anyone coming into the ship, but do check them leaving. We never get to see that part.
    • Call was part of Captain Elgyn's crew. If General Perez trusted Elgyn enough to hire him for such a sketchy job, then he probably trusted Elgyn enough to let him vouch for Call. When the mercs boarded the Auriga they were carrying normal uninfected humans in stasis, so no need to examine them on the way in. And if everything had gone to plan the mercs would have left the ship a few days later without ever coming into contact with the xenos, so no need to examine them on the way out.
    • Or maybe Call is programmed or designed in such a way that she can't be easily picked up by metal detectors? Or the detectors were there to pick up weapons, and so smaller forms of metal (wiring inside Call for instance, jewellery any of the others could be wearing) just might not show up. Perez is just anxious about weapons that would actually cause damage to the hull - like guns or explosives.

  • Why did the military scientists decide to use kidnapped humans to create more aliens? wouldn't it have been easier to use animals like dogs or chimpanzees? The 3rd film had a facehugger impregnate a dog that led to it giving birth to the Runner alien, so the Aliens weren't picky about what host they chose to birth their offspring. It wouldn't have made much difference since aliens born from any organism were still dangerous, so why not go with something that wouldn't attract so much attention? This also applies to the BG-386 research facility in the video game Alien Vs Predator. Even if they didn't fully understand what would happen with non-human hosts, they could at least assume that any alien bursting out would presumably be less intelligent, and thus easier to control, than ones derived from human DNA.
    • Actually, if anything I'd think the Xenomorphs born from animals might be harder to control than the human derived ones, as they would seem more likely to keep single-mindedly trying to break their way out, which would complicate matters for the scientists. At any rate, it would seem that Xenomorphs are extremely dangerous no matter what they birth from and honestly, it's hard to tell if the Runner from the third movie was actually less intelligent than it's common brethren. (Killing prisoners instead of cocooning them does not indicate a lack of intelligence: it seemed smarter than the Warriors from Aliens, who just threw themselves into machine gun fire.) So really, no matter which host is used to gestate them, the Xenomorphs would likely have broken free regardless. As for why they use humans: keep in mind that humans are the main species from Earth that engage in space travel, so even if they brought in animals to use, humans would still outnumber them and therefore are already available as test subjects. Humans are the cheapest resource for Weyland-Yutani and United Systems Military; you can always get more of them for free.
    • Well the only time an alien hatches from an animal host is in the third film—and no one is around to see it. For all we know, the Company's records imply that only a human host can work. They must have simply assumed that one of the prisoners was the host for the alien there. The scientists are just sticking to what they definitely know—that the aliens gestate inside a human host.
    • Judging from the state of Earth in the film, humans might have been the easiest animals to obtain. Maybe there aren't any more chimps or even dogs by that point.
      • There were dogs as recently as the third film, and we know cats and dogs came into space with humans.
      • Yes, but that was 200 years before Resurrection. A lot can happen in 200 years.
    • If they're ever planning to use the Xenos as weapons against humans, the military needs to learn how to control Xenos that gestated inside human hosts. Even if they did use livestock to generate the first-wave attack's batch of trained Xenos, that first batch would swiftly claim enemy troops as victims and produce a new wave of human-spawned ones. (The possibility of creating Xenos that wouldn't require hosts to breed didn't arise until after the new Queen's first brood of young had matured.) Sooner or later, they were going to have to work with human-hosted Xenos, and doing so at the very beginning of the project when it's still small-scale is easier to keep secret than once they've enlarged their operation.

  • What was the point of filling the ship with Marines if they're just going to evacuate at the first sign of trouble?
    • What are you talking about?
      • In Resurrection, they're on a military base. |The base is staffed with armed soldiers. This seems like a good idea when breeding xenomorphs, except as soon as the xenomorphs escape the alarm sounds and the Marines all run to the escape pods and leave instead of getting suited up and fighting back, like would make sense. So what was the point of even having them around?
    • Well the Marines are probably trained to deal with human threats. And they've just realised that there are creatures on the loose with acid for blood—and therefore will likely burn a hole in the hull and doom them all. So they opt to get off the ship and cut off any chances of the aliens reproducing (they need human hosts, right?). And the Marines were probably envisioned as having to deal with one or two rowdy aliens. But all twelve running loose on the ship? Evacuation seemed like the best idea.
    • The Marines are there to guard the experiments from prying eyes and sticky fingers. For all we know, they were evacuating to go and get reinforcements.
    • The troops are also there to prevent the aliens' hosts from escaping, which would be a problem if they did so before implantation and a disaster-in-the-making if they got out with a Xeno embryo inside them.
    • The protocol for a mass Xeno escape was probably for the humans to get to safety and then flood the ship with that freezing gas, compartment by compartment. The sooner the humans clear out, the sooner they can trigger the gas-sprayers and drive the Xenos back into holding pens. Too bad the breakout happened in the middle of a dispute with the pirates, when the troops and scientists were scattered all over the ship instead of at their posts, convenient to the escape pod and other airtight safe rooms...

     Blomkamp's Film 
  • Regarding Blomkamp's new film... his Twitter comments reveal that "[Fox] didn't really even know I was working on it" and that he started it because "Fox never said no." If he didn't even ask for permission before writing the script, how set-in-stone are his statements regarding rendering the last two films non-canon? Especially given that just last year, 20th Century Fox didn't let the author of the Alien: Sea of Sorrows novel—which they practically co-wrote and recognized as not only canon but part of a Continuity Reboot—decanonize 3 and Resurrection.
    • Never mind: Blomkamp himself debunked the rumours of Alien 5 decanonizing the last two films.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Headscratchers/Alien