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    Ripley 

Ellen Louise Ripley

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ripley_ellen.jpg
"This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off."
Portrayed By: Sigourney Weaver

"Get away from her, you bitch!"

The primary protagonist and hero—in fact, is ranked #8 on AFI's "Heroes" List—Ripley is probably the most famous character in the franchise aside from the titular xenomorph. Probably the most level-headed member of the crew, demonstrating an impressive amount of bravery and taking a few levels in badass when dealing with the xenomorph. De-facto leader of the crew on the basis of being the most proactive member.

The sole human survivor of the Nostromo Incident and the only constant character in the franchise apart from the Xenomorphs, Ripley is awakened from hypersleep 57 years later. She gets suspended by the Weyland-Yutani company for "questionable judgment" regarding the ship's self-destruction, finds out her daughter died a while ago (well, in the Director's Cut...) and that LV-426, the planet where they encountered the Xenomorphs, is now colonized.

Once the colony predictably loses contact with Earth, Ripley accompanies the Badass Crew of Space Marines as a civilian adviser, and finds herself as de facto leader alongside Corporal Hicks due to unforeseen consequences. In the resulting struggle with the Xenomorphs, Ripley gains more levels in badass and becomes one of the most awesome Action Girls in cinema.

For tropes relating to the Ripley 8 clone, see the character page for Alien: Resurrection.


  • Action Girl: One of the most important and revolutionary in all of cinema.
  • Action Mom: Ripley had a biological daughter, Amanda, who died during the 57-year timeskip between the 1st movie and 2nd, and who is also the protagonist of Alien: Isolation. Ripley later takes Newt in in Aliens... but it doesn't last.
  • Action Survivor: After her tangle with a Drone, Ripley Took a Level in Badass in the sequels.
  • Always Save the Girl: Soldiered into the heart of a Xenomorph hive in Aliens to rescue Newt while it was minutes away from going nuclear.
  • Arch-Enemy: The entire Xenomorph race, which she has vowed to destroy so they can't kill any more people.
  • Badass and Child Duo: With Newt in Aliens.
  • Badass Normal: The original Ripley was only a human but managed to take down a Queen. In the end, it takes herself to finish herself off - a few Xenomorphs come close, but none actually manage it.
  • Bald Women: Due to Fury-161 having "a big problem with lice". It's implied that the carpet needs to match the curtains in this respect as well.
  • Big "NO!": Lets one out during especially traumatic events.
  • Car Fu: Whilst leading a daring rescue attempt in the ATV to evacuate the marines, a xenomorph tries to smash its way through the windshield. Ripley slams on the breaks so the creature goes flying, then punches the accelerator, crushing it to death under the ATV's wheels.
  • Cassandra Truth: When trying to explain the Alien to the likes of Company executives and the prison superintendent at Fury-161, they tend not to believe her warnings of an "eight foot creature with acid for blood".
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ripley learns to make use of whatever weapons she has at hand.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially in Aliens and 3. After surviving her first encounter with the Alien, Ripley's snark seems to skyrocket. She essentially has no more time for anyone's bullshit.
  • Death Seeker: in Alien 3, upon learning she's the host of the next Queen.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Andrews is a little surprised at her offer, but Ripley admits she hasn't had sex in a very long time.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: With this trope, Ripley combined a Pulse Rigle to a Flame Unit into a single weapon, circumventing the decision of whether she should bring just one or the other into The Hadley's Hope Reactor Hive to rescue Newt.
  • Fantastic Racism: Thanks to her negative experience with Ash, she doesn't trust Bishop an inch once she finds out he's an android. She gets over it later.
  • Final Girl: She's the sole survivor of the Nostromo in Alien, as well as of the military expedition in Aliens. Well, technically Hicks and Bishop also survive the second film, though Ripley is the only one to escape without serious injury.
  • Guile Heroine: Ripley fights using her brain... and whatever weapons she can get her hands on.
  • Hate at First Sight: She instantly despises Bishop due to him being an android due to previous bad experience with artificial persons. Though played with in that he later earns her approval/respect and they become friends.
  • The Hero: Ripley is sarcastic and bitter, but she's a good person.
  • The Hero Dies: In Alien³, she gives up her life to destroy the Queen gestating inside her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She throws herself into the prison incinerator to keep the company from getting their hands on a Queen.
  • Honor Before Reason: Hive of monsters? Snarling Alien Queen? Imminent thermonuclear holocaust? Still not gonna stop Ripley from saving Newt.
  • Hot-Blooded: Gets to this point during Aliens.
  • Hypocrite: Noble as her keeping her promise to rescue Newt was, she did not extend the same charity to Doctor Dietritch or Sergeant Apone when they were also webbed to the wall as she was, with plenty more of time to extricate them from exploding in a humiliating and bloody mess, at that, in spite of the latter's entire platoon more than willing to try.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Seems to believe this for a while and asks Dillon to help out.
  • I Gave My Word: "...and hope to die."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can come across as stiff and unlikable in the first movie due to her adherence to the rules, and she can be rather cynical in the sequels. However, there's never any doubt that she's a very heroic and selfless person.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: She liked the Nostromo's cat.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: (Wearily) "You have been in my life for so long, I don't remember anything else."
  • The Lad-ette: Not as butch as most examples, but it's there.
  • Mama Bear: Provides the page image.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Most prominently in Aliens, justified as she has not slept for one second in the 36 hours since landing back on LV-426.
  • Not So Above It All: She's pretty pragmatic, but not so much that she can just abandon her cat when the ship is about to self-destruct.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Initially she comes across as this when she refuses to allow a face-hugged Kane back aboard the Nostromo; company procedure is 24 hours for decontamination. It might seem cold and heartless, but she was doing the right thing trying to institute quarantine.
  • Only Sane Man: In comparison to most of her comrades, she's this.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: She outlived her daughter Amanda, who passed away during the 57-year stasis period Ripley was in between the first and second films. Also, since she was Promoted to Parent in Aliens, Newt's death at the start of the following movie could count.
  • Promoted to Parent: To Newt, in Aliens. Though it doesn't last.
  • Retcon: Her rank changes from film to film: In Alien, she refers to herself as the ship's Third Officer, though being next in line after Dallas and Kane would make her Second Officer. In Aliens, she is referred to as "Warrant Officer Ripley" during the court of enquiry. Everyone in Alien 3 just refers to her as a Lieutenant, having read it off the tag on her underwear.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Burke tries to tell Ripley how much they can profit from bringing in a Xenomorph.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Just like every other adult with spoken lines in the first three films.
  • The Spock: It's most apparent in the first film when she comes across as rather cold-hearted, but she never loses a certain ruthless pragmatism.
  • Survival Mantra: You are my lucky star...lucky, lucky, lucky...
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: She wears a tank top here and there, and she's certainly a pragmatist and a survivor.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Gave birth to Amanda when she was nineteen.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Or, more accurately, levels.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her crewmates are killed by a ravenous alien creature and a psychotic android and she learns the company she works for will stop at nothing to try to acquire said alien creatures for use as bioweapons; she winds up returning to the planet where said alien creature was discovered; her love interest and adopted daughter are killed during cryosleep; she's nearly gang-raped by a bunch of psychopaths; and she learns she's hosting a Queen embryo. Yeah... Ripley's had it rough.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ripley's thawing out leads Burke to contact the colony on LV-426 and get them to check out the grid coordinates where the Xenomorphs might be.
  • You Are in Command Now: Ripley takes control of the military expedition in Aliens and the prison in 3 solely because she has prior experience fighting the Xenomorphs. She is also a Lieutenant in the Merchant Navy and was third in command of the Nostromo (and takes said command after Dallas bites it in the vents while poor Kane was already dead).
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The Aliens

    In General 

The Aliens / Xenomorphs / Xenomorph XX121

Portrayed By: Bolaji Badejo (Alien), Eddie Powell, Javier Botet, Percy Edwards (Alien, vocal effects), Goran D. Kleut, Carl Toop & Tom Woodruff Jr. (Alien³ to Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem)

"Let me see if I have this correct, Lieutenant. It's an eight-foot creature with acid for blood...and it arrived on your spaceship. It kills on sight and is generally unpleasant."
Harold Andrews

  • Acid Attack: They have extremely corrosive blood. This seems to be a defensive adaptation as anything capable of puncturing them is quickly dissolved, and in a pressurized space like on a spaceship trying to take them out directly could cause catastrophic decompression.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: If there's an air vent that can fit a human-sized being in it, they will use it to move around undetected.
  • Alien Blood: The Xenomorphs have highly corrosive acid for blood, colored a dull greenish-yellow to emphasize its nonhuman nature.
  • All Webbed Up: The Xenomorphs use some kind of unexplained organic resin to cocoon people, leaving them as bait for Facehuggers to impregnate.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Xenomorphs seemingly exist for the sole purpose of killing everything on a planet. However, their "evilness" varies from film to film.
    • In all appearances they are extremely vicious, but it's often debated whether that's mostly due out of predatory instinct or actual malicious intent, as on the surface they seem more akin to wild animals than the typical villainous aliens of science fiction. While the characterization of the Xenomorphs from the second film onwards pinned them as very, very deadly animals, the first movie portrays the sole Alien as actively malicious. It wordlessly mocks and torments the members of the crew for no reason other than it can, most notably in the climax of the first film, where it has Ripley cornered. Any other Alien would have simply bumrushed it, but the Xeno simply takes his time, eager in savoring Ripley's terror.
    • It is also subtly implied that they are indeed intelligent, not just bestial animals, which simply makes them even more terrifying.
    • A regularly mentioned theory, both in- and out-of-universe, is that the Xenomorphs are bioweapons, and thus their malevolence is a deliberately built-in feature; this is ultimately confirmed as true by Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Xenomorphs have a biomechanical appearance, though they're closer to the organic end of the spectrum.
  • Arch-Enemy: The entire species is this to Ellen Ripley, as she has vowed to destroy them so they can't hurt anybody else.
  • Art Evolution: The appearance of the various Xenomorph specimens varies between films — something that the Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report databook not only acknowledges this but tries to provide an in-universe explanation for it.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The Alien's life cycle.
    • The alien grows from a chestburster to a full-grown adult without apparently eating anything (or anyone) in the first film. This is explained in the original script when the crew corner the chestbuster in a supply closet filled with their food supply and lock it in while they try to find a way to deal with it. When they return it has escaped after eating their food and is next seen fully grown. It still stretches belief that it could grow from a small worm into an eight-foot tall monster in only a few hours though.
    • Similarly, in the sequel the there are dozens of fully grown aliens (and a very fully grown queen) along with a giant organic maze in the terraforming facility, despite the fact that there are only some 150 humans to eat. Bishop mentions that the colonists also had livestock, which could serve as hosts/food for the aliens.
    • It's proposed in an in-universe anatomical/zoological report on the Xenomorphs (in the Dark Horse comic series) that the reason for their blood being acidic is that it is in-fact a living battery (which would kinda work, seeing as how they're silicon-based lifeforms), and that they get all the energy needed for their (individually) relatively short lifespans as an adult from this as well as from their host organism and thus do not actually need to feed, nor do they even have digestive systems. This is similar to a lot of butterfly and moth species in real life (the thing with adults not eating... not the thing with bursting out of people's chests(!)), though they emerge from their cocoon as fully-grown adults, while the xenomorphs emerge from their living cocoons as infants, so just how biologically feasible this might actually be is debatable. Additionally, like bees, the Queens feed off of "royal jelly", a substance which (in-universe) is shown to have phenomenal medicinal and performance-boosting properties in humans.
  • Attack Animal: Word of God states that the Xenomorphs began as a bioweapon created using the Engineers' biotechnology before they ran amuck.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: While the Queen audibly breathes in Aliens, it is unknown if they actually need to, as the species has been shown to work just fine in the vacuum of space.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Xenomorphs possess long, segmented tails that resemble spinal columns, tipped by a blade-like stinger that is used to impale prey. A scene deleted from the script of Aliens (but present in the novelization) shows them using this stinger to incapacitate prey before taking it back to the hive to be facehugged, expanded universe materials frequently reference this (most often, video games giving Aliens a low-damage, "stun" type attack utilizing the tail).
  • Big Bad: Goes hand in hand with Villain-Based Franchise.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Alien: Covenant reveals that the Xenomorphs are an end result of the Engineers' Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15. The version that David created — dubbed "Plagiarus praepotens" in the 2018 novel Alien: The Cold Forge — was through hybridization of the Neomorph variants spawned from the native species of Planet 4, including a wasp-like extraterrestrial arthropod.
  • Bioweapon Beast: People keep trying to turn the Xenomorphs into these, and it never ends well. Turns out the Engineers and/or David made them with this trope in mind, and just like everyone else it backfired.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Extremely so, and possibly one of the most famous examples.
  • Bloody Murder: Their blood is a highly corrosive substance that functions like Hollywood Acid when thrown about. Not good to get splashed on anything important. Like your face.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Their sense of morality is basically like that of a colony of ants or bees. In other words, protect the queen and expand the colony.
  • Body Horror: The aliens' parasitical breeding cycle turns you into a living incubator. Cf. certain species of wasp. Nature even on Earth is not always cuddly and fluffy.
  • Breeding Slave: They do this to any species they encounter, specifically humans. By design, the Xenomorphs were created to invoke every possible means and horrific result of rape, including impregnation. As such, those humans they don't kill they typically bring back to and cocoon within their nest, where they will be impregnated by a facehugger. The "birthing" process, however, is fatal.
  • Ceiling Cling: Xenomorphs can cling and move on ceilings with impunity, which also gives them the option of Vertical Kidnapping.
  • Chest Burster: Trope Namer, as their larval stage incubates within a host's torso before violently ejecting itself through the sternum.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Every time the protagonists are confronted with a single Xenomorph drone (in the original and third movies), the beast proves to be unstoppable and whittles the cast down, one by one. When confronted with an entire army of them (like in Aliens and Alien IV), on the other hand, they are usually able to take down several of them, forcing the Xenomorphs to rely on rushing their opponents en-masse. Then again, there is some justification for this: the original movie and Alien 3 involve fighting the beast in a closed space, where it can easily hide or ambush people, and with no available guns to give an edge against them. Not to mention they are on a ship in the first movie, meaning any bleeding from the alien could doom everybody by damaging it. In the two other movies, the protagonists are using guns, are more adapted to fight and are more numerous themselves. Additionally, the Weyland-Yutani Files databook proposes that the drone specimen encountered on the Nostromo was more intelligent than those encountered on LV-426 due to it having to act without direction from a Queen.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Depending on the specific design of whatever movie they're in, their fingers can be terrifyingly long, emphasizing their lack of humanity.
  • Dominant Species Genes: While there will be minor differences based on what species the host is, anything impregnated by a Facehugger will always "give birth" to a Xenomorph, sharing the common traits of an eyeless, elongated head; a biomechanical exoskeleton; corrosive green blood; a telescopic pharyngeal jaw; and a long, segmented tail tipped with a bladed stinger.
  • The Dreaded: They're feared (and with good reason) by everyone who has to face them, and Ripley suffers from Catapult Nightmares as a result of the encounter on the Nostromo and the shuttle.
  • *Drool* Hello: Whenever dripping saliva onto the victim won't signal a Xenomorph's presence, the warm air exhaled onto the victim's neck from behind will. And if that happens, it's already too late to run.
  • Evil Is Bigger:
    • Once the Chestburster grows, they get huge — the shortest credited actor to play the Alien was 6' 2" (1.88 m).
    • This is especially the case with the Queen, who is a whopping 15 feet (4,6 m) tall.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: It's scary how many idiots keep believing they can tame the Aliens and use them as weapons to make profit. Needless to say, it almost always ends with disastrous results, and they usually are the first to pay for it. Especially egregious as they have escaped from their creators' control and killed or harvested them just like everyone else.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The Ovomorph — commonly known as "eggs" — looks much less like a traditional egg and much more like a living creature in its own right... and apparently that's because it is.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Whenever they go against the Predators, though the Predators are usually more heroic than the Xenomorphs, since they only hunt prey equal to them.
  • Evolutionary Retcon: The Xenomorphs from the later films are much more insectile and predatory than the original film's man in a suit version.
  • Eyeless Face: Their iconic, elongated skull lacks eyes. Though in some cases, they have empty, disturbingly human-like eye and nose sockets concealed under their transparent cowl.
  • Explosive Breeder: It doesn't take long at all for a hive of them to form, and they can grow from larva to adults in a matter of hours.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: The Xenomorphs' horrifying life cycle starts with a Facehugger grabbing onto a hapless victim's face to shove a proboscis down their throat to implant a Fetus Terrible within them.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Xenomorphs possess teeth that are roughly human in shape, but much more pointy.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Giving "birth" to a Chestburster. This is highlighted by the iconic plea, "Kill... me!" spoken by impregnated Xenomorph victims.
  • Fetus Terrible: Chestbursters are endoparasites intended to evoke this.
  • Good Lips, Evil Jaws: To make sure everybody knew their monster meant business, the designers gave it two sets of mouths, each with razor-sharp teeth. It does have lips, but they're usually peeled back in a snarl or hiss.
  • Healing Factor: Ash notes how quickly the facehugger heals when they try to cut it off Kane's face. In the 1979 graphic novel adaptation Ash argues against them just shooting the alien because (aside from the acid blood issue) it will quickly repair any injuries. Of course the sequel dropped the Immune to Bullets idea completely.
  • Hermaphrodite: The Xenomorphs, at least according to H. R. Giger, are all hermaphrodites note . Whether he meant it literally or just symbolically is unclear.
  • Hero Killer:
    • Even putting aside Ripley's death, they killed the rest of of the Nostromo crew, the majority of the Marines sent to LV-426, all but one of the prisoners on Fury-161, and several members of the Auriga and Betty crews.
    • Warren Ellis used them in their crossover with Wild CA Ts to kill off many of the Stormwatch characters he wasn't going to carry over to The Authority.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: See, this is the problem with living in a dark Used Future with monsters after you. In Alien, the Alien stows itself in the wall paneling; in Aliens, several Aliens are curled up in alcoves on the wall in the hive, perfectly blending in with the walls. They are even invisible on IR due to the pervasive heat.
  • Hive Caste System: Like eusocial insects, the Xenomorphs are divided into different castes in addition to their gene-assimilation. Most of the Xenomorphs seen are either Drones (smooth heads) or Warriors (ridged heads),note  while the Queen caste (broad, jagged head) lays the eggs.
  • Hive Mind: A bit differently than others. It's made apparent that they can sense one another, like hearing the screams of their Queen, and have some degree of intelligence and intuition, but they're mostly instinctual creatures. Ripley, who's part alien in Resurrection, can sense two of them killing another to escape from their containment.
  • Hollywood Acid:
    • Xenomorph blood easily chews through ship decks, industrial steel floor grates, and body armor. Never mind what it can do to flesh. Notable in that its potency freaks everyone out; one character makes noises about "molecular acid" in the first film, and an executive speaks of "concentrated acid" in a patronizing manner in the second — they're basically saying, "Umm... Acid isn't supposed to do that!"
    • Expanded material posits the theory that the acidic blood in a Xenomorph is similar to the acid in a battery. Essentially, the Xenomorph runs off of energy that is generated by chemical reactions within their bodies, meaning that they don't need sustenance or respiration. This could also explain why various castes of Xenomorph can remain dormant for long periods of time, such as the Ovomorph. It doesn't explain why Xenomorphs and their Neomorph predecessors have been shown eating meat.
  • Horny Devils: Giger designed the aliens to embody the fear of rape. The face-huggers essentially rape their victims and impregnate them. In the first film, it's implied that an adult alien sodomizes Lambert with its tail.
  • Hybrid Monster: Alien: Covenant reveals that beyond assimilating traits of its host species, the first Xenomorphs were created by using Chemical A0-3959X.91 — 15 to hybridize Neomorph specimens spawned from Paradise's native fauna and fungi, the Engineers, and Elizabeth Shaw's corpse.
  • It Can Think: Implied to be smarter than the mindless monsters everyone assumes they are.
    Ripley: (Medical is plunged into darkness) They cut the power...
    Hudson: What do you mean they cut the power? How can they cut the power, man? They're animals!
  • Kill It with Fire: Want to survive fighting the aliens in close quarters? Flamethrowers are the only way to avoid being hit with their acidic blood at close range.
  • Large and in Charge: The Xenomorph foot soldiers or "drones" are already significantly larger than their hosts (usually humans), but the Queen Xenomorph who creates all the others is about the size of a T. Rex.
  • LEGO Genetics: The Xenomorphs, as part of their bioweapon design, can assimilate useful traits from their hosts to better survive in the environment and become stronger, and it often extends to physical appearance. The first two films had human-like Xenos, and the third featured a quadruped Xeno that came from a dog (or a bovine, depending on the version). The video games, comics and toy line take it to greater lengths with flying Xenos with wings like a bird or bat (an alien Queen that burst out of Vampirella), gorilla Xenos with long powerful arms, bull and rhinoceros Xenos, and in the Batman crossover comics the Xenomorphs even had physical similarities to the various villains their DNA was combined with (with the Killer Croc Alien being a gigantic crocodile-like beast). And the most iconic type, the Predalien, a Xenomorph born from a Predator with a shorter skull, mandibles, dreadlocks, and a stockier build than other humanoid Xenos. Interestingly, with few exceptions, the Queen Aliens and other higher castes like the Praetorian do not assimilate traits, keeping the Xenomorph line pure-blooded.
  • Living Weapon: The Xenomorphs are a bioweapon created using the Engineers' A0-3959X.91 – 15 mutagen. David 8 created his version by splicing together and hybridizing a variety of Neomorphs spawned from Paradise's fauna, the Engineers, and Elizabeth Shaw.
  • Mainlining the Monster: Aliens produce Royal Jelly which has the same role for this species as it has for real-life bees. However, it is also an extremely valuable substance in human society, used as a powerful and mind-enhancing drug for wealthy individuals. Since the only source of Royal Jelly is often deep inside an alien hive, collecting it can be very dangerous. The Hive mini-series details such an operation.
  • Metamorphosis Monster: The Xenomorphs' life cycle parallels that of insects, going from the serpentine larval "Chestburster" stage to the adult stage in a number of hours. Furthermore, the ridged-headed Warriors seen in Aliens are speculated to be the mature form of the smooth-headed Drones seen in Alien and Alien: Resurrection.note  In some continuities, like the Alien vs. Predator expanded universe, Warriors can further metamorphose into Praetorians — immature Queens — though this caste has not appeared in the films or canon novels, the latter of which feature an immature Queen and essentially renders the Praetorian caste Canon Discontinuity.
  • Monogender Monsters: Xenomorphs are canonicaly all-female. One deleted scene showed that the average drone can lay eggs when separated from the Hive.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Aliens have a lot of fang-like teeth in each of their Nested Mouths.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The origins of the Xenomorphs are a mess of contradictory accounts, with three primary origins being put forth by different iterations of the franchise.
    • The Dark Horse comics and Alien vs. Predator crossover franchise establish that the Xenomorphs are silicon-based apex predators that evolved on a hellish planet colloquially known as "Xenomorph Prime", and were discovered by the Space Jockeys — who used them as bioweapons — and the Predators — who viewed them as the ultimate prey. Ridley Scott — who detested the Alien vs. Predator franchise — went out of his way to decanonize this with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
    • The Fire and Stone comics and the novelization of Alien: Covenant — drawing from Alien: Engineers, the original script for what became Prometheus — establish that the Xenomorphs were bioweapons created by the Engineers to commit planetary genocide; and that David was attempting to replicate them by hybridizing different strains of Neomorphs.
    • The film version of Alien: Covenant establishes that the Xenomorphs were created by David through the hybridization of different strains of Neomorphs.note  The Xenomorph variant seen in the film — dubbed "Praetomorphs" by the official Alien Tabletop RPG — lacks a biomechanical exoskeleton and was intended to represent an intermediary stage between the Neomorphs and the biomechanical Xenomorphs from the main series; with the Advent short film having him declare his intent to perfect his creations using the Covenant's crew and colonists.
  • Nested Mouths: Aliens have a set of telescopic pharyngeal jaws within their main ones. Probably the most iconic case.
  • No Name Given: The species is not given an actual name in any of the movies, with "xenomorph" being a generic term for any sort of unidentified alien organism. However, the term was adopted first by fans and then by official merchandise to refer to them specifically because they're never called anything else and other living alien species don't appear in the main series. However, in the 2014 book Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report it is officially classified as Xenomorph XX121.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: They are like animals, they kill and face-rape because it's how they survive and reproduce. Most especially in Aliens, where they are hunting for food and hosts, and trying to protect their nest and eggs. This is averted to hell and back by the Drone in the first movie, which likes to curiously toy with the fears of its prey, like a rapist in the dark. Thankfully, however, it's played straight in the other movies.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: The Xenomorphs have no genitalia. We hope.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: A large part of what made them so frightening was because of how subtle they were, especially in the mechanical/industrial backgrounds the movie took place in. Their manipulation of the environment allowed them to blend in with the dark corridors, making for ever a Jump Scare moment of Paranoia Fuel for both the characters and the audience.
  • Parasites Are Evil: This particular parasitoid is so vile that genocide is considered a worthwhile alternate to letting them roam free, while in Superman/Aliens II: God War, Superman himself states that the Xenomorphs are a disease that has no right to exist and lives only to annihilate.
  • Phlegmings: Every time the aliens appear.
  • Rule of Scary: They live and breathe this trope. None of their biology makes any sense at all (how do they grow seven feet tall from a little worm in less than a day, how can they survive in outer space, how can they impregnate and take on the likeness of any host no matter the biochemical differences, how can their blood be so acidic, how do they navigate without apparent eyes, ears, or nostrils etc.), but it all certainly helped make them one of the scariest and most iconic movie monsters of all time.
  • Sculpted Physique: The Alien, which is not surprising considering artist H. R. Giger's other works, is a biomechanical monster with a metallic exoskeleton. This use of the trope actually makes sense production wise since the alien's black and tube-like exterior made it blend in on the spacecraft. This is so effective in the first film, that the first time we see the adult Alien, it's hanging in full view of the camera and you probably mistook it for piping!note 
  • Skeleton Motif: The Xenomorphs' exoskeletons are skeletal in appearance, with exposed ribs and pronounced vertebrae.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Their tails, claws, dorsal tubes, and the headdresses of the Queens and Praetorians.
  • Starfish Alien: They are biomechanical carnivorous endoparasites with green corrosive blood that assimilate the genetic material of their hosts.
  • Super Strength: Not to a great degree, but they can leap around pretty well and effortlessly disembowel humans.
  • Super Toughness: The Xenomorphs manage to be both this and Made of Explodium at the same time. Their shells are very durable and can shrug off a fair amount of damage, including the vaporizing heat (though not pain) of open flames up to and including that of starship engines and molten metal. Their exoskeleton is also roughly as effective as class III body armor against ballistic threats. Unless you're using at least a rifle, you won't even make a dent in its armor-like exoskeleton, as demonstrated by the Warrior who all but ignored the 9mm rounds from Gorman's pistol that struck its face at point blank range. This is carried over to Isolation where the Aliens are effectively invincible because the only weapons available on the station are either police-issue (pistols rounds, buckshot) or improvised (bolt guns, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, flamethrowers, batons...). However, once their crunchy shell is breached, they're very gooey, flinging gore around like it's going out of style. And, as mentioned above, their blood is corrosive, so being in splatter range isn't a good thing.
  • Suspiciously Stealthy Predator: The xenomorphs. They nest in warm, humid places which help mask their infrared profile, their bodies blend in well with darkness and pipes, and they can remain completely motionless. It is almost as though they are perfectly adapted to concealing themselves in an obviously artificial environment.
  • The Reveal: The Xenomorphs were created from the Engineers' Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15. While Alien: Covenant implies David created them, this is implausible since there were Xenomorph eggs, long before David, aboard the Engineers' Derelict ship on LV-426.
  • To Serve Man: The Xenomorphs feed off the deceased bodies of their hosts, and whatever else they catch. Humans seem to be one of their preferred hosts, though this varies from film to film, with most victims being either just killed, or abducted for incubation.
  • Transformation at the Speed of Plot: The gestation period of Xenomorph correlates to the precise moment when it will be most dramatic or convenient for an alien to pop out of someone's chest. Hatching can occur almost immediately after the facehugger falls off, or it can take nearly a day. How important said person is to the plot usually determines if it's the former or the latter. Xenomorphs also mature as fast as is convenient.
  • Ultimate Life Form:
    • The Xenomorphs exist to kill or impregnate whatever they encounter, and they are extremely good at it. Ash outright calls them "the perfect organism".
    • Trying to fight them on their own terms simply doesn't work — they're stronger, faster and hardier than any human alive. The best you can do is escape or go completely scorched earth.
      Henry Marlow: You don't beat this thing, Ripley. You can't. All you can do is refuse to engage. You've got to wipe out every trace. Destroy any clue. Stop its infection from spreading. Make sure there's no chance of the human race ever making contact with it again. Because the moment it makes contact, it's won.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: The Aliens are fond of doing this. Famous last words include "Maybe they don't show up on infrared at all..." and "This is rumor control, here are the FACTS."
  • Villain-Based Franchise: They're the titular "alien" — despite Ridley Scott's desire to shift the franchise away from them.
  • Wall Crawl: They can cling to walls and ceilings, enabling them to rapidly get around.
  • Weak to Fire: While spinoffs depict them as being weak to fire, this is averted in the films and Alien: Isolation. The Xenomorphs have an aversion to fire, but are ultimately immune to its harmful effects. Even though it is painful to be hit by open flames, even the atomizing heat of starship engines (as demonstrated in Alien, Alien: Isolation and Alien: Covenant) at worst give Adult-Aliens a nasty singe, but leaves them ultimately unharmed. The most horrifying testament to the strength of their carapace is demonstrated in Alien 3, wherein The Dragon survives being drowned in tonnes of molten hot lead, perfectly alive, unharmed and furiously angry. Nevertheless, flamethrowers prove to be the best weapons against them in close quarters since although it won't kill them, the threat of pain from being hit by one can keep them at bay and buy your team much-needed breathing space to regroup. Furthermore, it largely avoids spilling the creature's blood, which is dangerously corrosive. Thankfully for humanity, the Alien immunity to fire is not shared by its comparatively vulnerable Egg, Facehugger and Chestburster forms.
  • Xeno Nucleic Acid: As a result of being spawned from the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 mutagen, Xenomorphs have what's called a "DNA Reflex", which is apparently why they end up looking similar to their host species. This is further elaborated on in novels and guides, such as The Weyland-Yutani Report. The Chestburster functions much like a cancer, being built from the body's own cells and integrating 10-15% of its DNA in order to prevent an immune response. This causes the Xenomorph to develop similar physical traits, possibly mental ones as well, such as a specific gait or physical features. The reverse is also true; the host has some of the Xenomorph's genetic material integrated into its body during the Chestburster's incubation.
  • You Are Number 6: According to the 2014 Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report databook and Out of Shadows trilogy of novels, which 20th Century Fox oversaw and has recognized as canon, "Xenomorph XX121" is Weyland-Yutani's official designation for the species.

    Drone/Warrior 

The Drones & Warriors

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drone_7.jpg
Portrayed By: Bolaji Badejo, Percy Edwards, Tom Woodruff Jr.

"You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."
Ash

An adult form of Xenomorph XX121 spawned from humans, and the first and most common of said species' many forms to be encountered in the franchise.


  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Every time the protagonists are confronted with a single Xenomorph drone (in the original and third movies), the beast prove basically unstoppable and murders them all one after the other. When confronted with an entire army of them (like in Aliens and Alien IV), on the other hand, they are usually able to take down several of them, forcing the Xenomorphs to rely on Zerg Rush. Then again, there are justification for this: the original movie and Alien 3 involve fighting the beast in a closed space, where it can easily hide itself or ambush people, and with no available guns to give an edge against them. Not to mention they are in a ship in the first movie, meaning any bleeding from the alien could doom everybody by damaging it. In the two other movies, the protagonists are using guns, are more adapted to fight and are more numerous themselves.
    • Defied in Alien: Isolation. The Xenomorph is completely unstoppable and invincible, and you only ever encounter one at a time. Turns out, there's a hive on-board, and presumably several of the creatures running around. It is possible to encounter more than one at a time, but only on the higher difficulties, and even then it's rare (outside of a scripted encounter at the very end where they pose no real threat to you). The defying part is that even in groups, they're still invincible.
  • Dark Is Evil: They spend most of the first movie hiding in the shadows, and they have a black exoskeleton that only enhances their frighting appearance.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The Drone spawned from Kane in Alien — dubbed "Big Chap" by merchandising — is noted by the Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report databook to be superior to the specimens encountered in Aliens, with the lack of a Queen being speculated to be the cause.
    • The Drones with ridged cowls, which first appeared in Aliens, are aptly referred to as Warriors in the Expanded Universe and director commentary, and are often treated as being stronger and more combat-oriented than the smooth-headed Drones.
  • Metamorphosis Monster: In some versions of the continuity — namely the Dark Horse comics, video-games, and official tabletop RPG — the ridged-cowled Warriors seen in the Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem are the mature form of the smooth-cowled Drones seen in Alien, Alien: Resurrection, and Alien vs. Predator. In the expanded universe, some Warriors are able to metamorphose further into the Praetorians, who resemble (and are) miniature Queens.
  • The Nth Doctor: The Drone/Warrior caste has a remarkable degree of phenotypical variation — for example, whether their heads are smooth or ridged, their number of fingers, whether their legs are plantigrade or digitigrade, and the shape and size of their tail segments and blades — across the series, to the point where the comics and games tend to separate the two main designs into the smooth-headed Drones and the ridged-headed Warriors. No reason for this variation is given in the films themselves, though the Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report databook and official Alien tabletop RPG offer contradictory in-universe explanations.
  • Skull for a Head: Downplayed, but the face of the design in the original film did include a skull-like face.
  • Super Toughness: Just because the adult Alien does not like being burned by fire does not mean that it actually harms the bastards. As shown in Alien and Alien: Covenant, the heat of a firing spaceship engine is only enough to push back the beast, and not cause it any visible bodily harm. Its Runner counterpart, if anything, is even more horrifyingly tough, as it survives having being drowned by tonnes of molten-fucking-lead. Thankfully (for humanity), this toughness and immunity to fires and extreme head is not shared by the Eggs, Facehugger and Chestburster. Also, like its Queen Mother, is VERY much alive after being dumped into the vacuum of space.

    Queen 
See Aliens

    "The Dragon" AKA "The Runner" 
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Weyland-Yutani Corporation

    Weyland-Yutani Corporation 

Weyland-Yutani Corporation, AKA The Company

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/weylandyu.png
"Building Better Worlds"
Company slogan

The collective human antagonist of the franchise. Powerful mega-conglomerate that deals in technological advances and facilitating the human colonization of space. Concerns itself with obtaining samples of the Xenomorph for their Bio-Weapons Division in the hopes of finding a profitable use, often with repeated schemes that involve intentionally causing Xenomorph infestations at the risk of human populations.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: It's very rare to find a high-level employee who isn't one of these these.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: In addition to wanting to make money, they seem to want to use the Xenomorphs as their secret weapon to conquer the rest of the galaxy.
  • Evil, Inc.: Weyland-Yutani and/or its surrogates are in the continuous habit of forcing ill-prepared humans into encounters with the insanely dangerous Xenomorphs, all in the hopes of somehow using the aliens for profit.
  • Mega-Corp: Famously evil enough to sacrifice squads of Colonial Marines, entire colonies, and the security of the Earth in its attempt to weaponize the eponymous alien critters. Has enough pull to commandeer said Colonial Marines and put them on missions in the interests of the company. Produces everything from androids to atmosphere processors to military weaponry to soda drinks, and also administers prisons like Fury-161.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: After falling into disrepute and collapsing before the events of Alien: Resurrection, Weyland-Yutani enjoys a resurgence and renewed public approval after the company reverses ecological damage to the Earth.

The Engineers

    The Engineers 

The Engineers (Homo Genitornote )

The creators of humankind and several other species throughout the cosmos. Worshipped as gods by many, the Engineers are a hyper-advanced, space-faring race believed to be billions of years old. For reasons unknown, they now seek to commit genocide against humans as a whole using the virulent Chemical A0-3959X. 91 – 15, which they also used to seed life on barren worlds. Some speculate that they are responsible for creating the Xenomorphs for use in biological warfare, although the jury’s still out on that one.

  • Alien Blood: Their blood seems to be light green colour.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Engineers and humanity seemed to be on good terms with one another until something made the former change their minds about humans in 93 CE. Word of God says that when Engineers seed a planet with life, they periodically visit it to check on their creations. If their creations proved to be a disappointment, they would eradicate entire species using Chemical A0-3959X. 91 – 15 and start all over again.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Every individual member of the race seems to have a deep-seated hatred of and act hostile towards humans or other species.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Throughout several millennia, the Engineers visited Earth and influenced basic features of human development, such as culture, learning and technology.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: According to Alien: The Roleplaying Game, an Engineer can survive for an hour in a vacuum without needing to breathe. This explains why the Last Engineer could walk about on LV-223 without dying from the planet’s toxic atmosphere.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Early drafts of Prometheus and interviews with Ridley Scott imply that Jesus was an Engineer envoy who got sent to Earth with the intent of to elevating mankind above their war-like ways. His crucifixion by the Romans may go a long way to explain why the Engineers have such a massive hate boner for us.
  • Bio-Armor: Their bio-organic elephantine outfits act as glorified power armour/HAZMAT suits that protect their wearers from hazardous environments thanks to trunklike air-hoses and projectiles via energy shields.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Have ink-black lifeless eyes with pupils shaped like oblong crosses and are a race of genocidal bastards to boot.
  • Cruel Elephant: The Engineer’s biosuits have a distinct resemblance to elephants, and as a whole, they’re hellbent on annihilating humanity at large. Alien: The Roleplaying Game suggests that they might have modelled these biomechanical suits after similar creatures that they encountered at some stage.
    • In the now non-canonical Dark Horse’s Aliens comic series, a living Engineer dubbed the “Collector” is depicted as possessing an elephant-like trunk, short curved tusks and thick, wrinkled skin. Said Collector also has the insidious agenda of subjecting Earth to terraforming, rendering it uninhabitable for humans.
  • Evil Is Bigger: These guys tower over Yautja and humans alike, though their size tends to fluctuate a lot between media.
  • Genius Bruiser: The genius part is obvious, but they’re also very dangerous hand-to-hand combatants who can throw down with the likes of Yautja and Xenomorph Queens.
  • Human Aliens: Engineers bear a striking resemblance to humans with the expectation of having smooth hairless pale skin and lifeless eyes. Justified as we share 100% of our DNA with them due to an Engineer using Chemical A0-3959X. 91 – 15 to create life on Earth at the cost of his own life and aeons of convergent evolution.
  • I Have Many Names: Despite lacking an official name during the pre-Prometheus era, production staff labelled the species with nicknames including the “Pilot” and “Big Dental Patient,” but the one that stuck was “Space Jockey”. Stories set in the EU dubbed them Ossians or Mala’kak with the binomial nomenclature of Mundus gubernavi (“Universal Pilot”). From Prometheus onwards, they’re called “Engineers” alongside a new scientific name: Homo Genitor (“Father of Man”).
  • Indo-European Alien Language: Inverted. The Engineers taught our ancestors how to speak Proto-Indo-European, a hypothesised proto-language that became the ancestor of countless languages spoken across the Eurasian continent, both living and extinct. Anil Biltoo, a linguist who created the Engineer language for Prometheus remarked that it's not “pure PIE”.
  • Made of Iron: Holy shit, yes. It takes an awful lot to bring one of these guys down as the Last Engineer survived getting shot and his ship's crash-landing until the Trilobite impregnated him. Fire And Stone sees another Engineer overpower an experienced Yautja blow in a one-on-one fight that where it tank a shot from the Yautja's Plasmacaster, impalement and blasts from his Energy Rifle before the Yautja kills the Engineer with its Self-Destruct Device.
    • Cranked up to eleven in ''Life And Death'' which shows one of two Engineers endure a full barrage of automatic gunfire and dying only when a full belt of grenades goes off in his face. The second walks off its ship self-destructing, impalement from a Xenomorph Queen's tail and kicks the bucket when his biosuit's shielding gets compromised by Chemical A0-3959X. 91 – 15, leading him to be pumped full of lead.
  • Makerof Monsters: The movies and Expanded Universe heavily imply, if not outright state, that the Engineers created the Xenomorphs as bioweapons, or at the very least had a hand in their creation via the same hyper-advanced biotechnology they used to seed terrestrial life throughout the universe.
  • Mesopotamian Monstrosity: Long before descending into misanthropy, the Engineers influenced the development of and were worshipped by many human cultures in antiquity. Mesopotamia was one such civilisation, and it is implied that cuneiform derives from the Engineers' writing system.
  • Mysterious Past: Almost nothing is known about the species, their origins and why they even want to exterminate humanity. Most of what we know about them comes from Scott and tie-in media like novelisations, tabletop games and comic books.
  • Organic Technology: Everything they build seems to be at least partially alive. The elephantine spacesuits that Engineers sometimes wear seem to be made from bone. Buttons on their ship's control panels appear to be some kind of fatty nodule, and their architecture has plenty of rib-like ornamentation.
  • Super Strength: Possess utterly massive frames and insane strength, allowing them to rip off heads and break Yautja limbs like matchsticks.
  • Your Size May Vary: The species height tends to be somewhat... inconsistent at best. The Pilot’s corpse measures around 15 feet tall heightwise, yet the Engineers from Prometheus and Alien: Covenant stand around roughly 9 to 10 feet on average. Are we supposed to believe that fancy armour accounts for a third of the Pilot's height?
  • Übermensch: All the Engineers we see could count, being over eight feet tall, long-lived, technologically advanced and seemingly in peak physical shape.

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