Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Alien

Go To

Works with their own trivia pages:

Trivia for the franchise in general:

  • Ascended Fanon:
    • Ron Cobb, who designed the "human" technology for the original Alien film and invented Weyland-Yutani (or as he had it, "Weylan-Yutani"), said that he envisioned Britain, which was going through a very troubled period in its history at the time, would eventually revive, and its monarchy would unify with that of Japan, creating a world power. The name "Weylan-Yutani" was meant to invoke the corporations British Leyland and Toyota. In 2019, science fiction writer Andrew E. C. Gaska, Disney's hired canon welder for the Alien franchise, made that speculation canon for the first time in the Alien RPG, as the Three World Empire.
    • Advertisement:
    • In the same work, Gaska also canonised the Union of Progressive Peoples, a communist superstate invented by William Gibson in his unused script for Alien³, and the monastic order created by Vincent Ward in his original script for the same film.
  • Based on a Dream: Not the film series' premise, but the creatures themselves. Their design is the work of H. R. Giger, who took them from his nightmares.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Czechoslovakia: Intruder
    • Hungary: The Eighth Passenger: Death
    • Slovenia: Eighth Passenger
  • Creator Backlash: Ridley Scott has stated for years that he feels the Xenomorphs have been done to death and that he wants to move the focus of the series away from it. He attempted to start a sister series focusing on the Engineers with Prometheus, but when this backfired he seemingly changed his mind with Alien: Covenant. Following Covenant's lacklustre reception, however, he reiterated his prior opinion regarding the Xenomorphs being "cooked" and expressed interest in having the sequel to Covenant focus more on David instead.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Movies, books, comics, video games, toys, etc. . . Alien is probably only behind Star Wars as 20th Century Fox's one. Directly responsible for the issues that plagued Alien³, as to keep the cash flowing, Fox set out to make a release date, not a movie.
  • Creator Recovery:
    • With the lacklustre-to-negative reception of the third and fourth films and the Alien vs. Predator duology — the plans for the latter of which caused him to quit as the director of the third movie, Ridley Scott stated that he felt the Xenomorph was all played out, which was one of the reasons he went along with Damon Lindelof's rewrite of Prometheus. The fan disappointment of the movie's lack of Xenomorphs — and Scott's own dissatisfaction with how subsequent directors had portrayed the creatures — led to their inclusion in Alien: Covenant, and in interviews Scott lamented ever having left the Alien franchise and expressed the intent to make at least three more Alien films. Following Alien: Covenant's mixed reception, however, he reiterated his previous view that "the beast is cooked" and expressed interest in having the next film center around David and replacing the Xenomorphs with something else.
    • Advertisement:
    • Like Scott and James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver was unimpressed by FOX's decision to make a film based on the Alien vs. Predator crossover series, which contributed to her insistence that Ellen Ripley be killed off in the third movie. While she returned for the fourth movie and cameoed in the Alien: Isolation game, Neill Blomkamp's proposed fifth movie was what reignited her passion for the character and the franchise.
  • Development Hell: Neill Blomkamp's fifth Alien movie was green-lit by Fox but put on hold pending the success of Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott eventually stated that the project has been scrapped by FOX and wasn't much more than an outline to begin with and expressed his intent to retain creative control of the series and make Alien films until he dies; and Blomkamp himself noted in interviews that he was doubtful it would happen.
  • Disowned Adaptation:
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Xenomorph - Used once or twice in the films, among many other words, to describe the aliens in the franchise, this word stuck as the standard term used by fans. It became used to specifically refer to the films' creatures in merchandise like the comics and video-game spinoffs, and was eventually canonized when Xenomorph XX121 became the official name for the creatures in the Out of the Shadows trilogy, the Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, and the Alien: Covenant promotional website.
    • Other names for the species used in spinoff media are "Internecivus Raptus" (Murderous Thief) and "Linguafoeda Acheronsis" (Foul-tongue from Hell, Acheron being also the name of the planet on which the creatures were first encountered in Alien).
    • None of the life cycle stages (i.e. Facehugger, Chestburster, Drone) were ever officially named on-film. They were given Fan Nicknames which simply stuck and wound up being used in some of the expanded universe material and even eventually by the production staff themselves.
  • Flip-Flop of God:
    • Whether the 3rd and 4th films are canon. In 2014, the Alien: Out of the Shadows trilogy of novels was officially recognized by Fox as canon to the Continuity Reboot of the franchise, but when the author of the second novel was going to disregard 3 and Resurrection, they made him include references to them. In a 2016 interview Sigourney Weaver said that Alien 5 would be set in an Alternate Universe that "[runs] parallel" to the 3rd and 4th films, where Newt and Hicks survived.
    • The origins of the Xenomorphs are a muddied mess even in official material. Are they a naturally-evolved species like in the Dark Horse comics and Alien vs. Predator crossovers? Are they a bioweapon created by the Space Jockeys/Engineers, like in the Fire and Stone comics, script for Alien Engineers, and the novelization of Alien: Covenant? Or are they a bioweapon created by David-8 as seen in the film version of Alien Covenant? The official Alien tabletop RPG muddies things even further by acknowledging all three origins as canon.
    • The original 1988 Aliens comic series has flirted with this. Originally set as a comic sequel to Aliens, with a story that takes place several years after the events of the film and follows Ripley, Hicks and a teenaged Newt, the series swapped the latter two characters' names to Billie and Wilks after Hicks and Newt's deaths in the third film. The revised character names stood until 2018, when the original versions of the stories were republished for the first time in color during the 30th anniversary of the franchise, with a subsequent re-release retaining Hicks and Newt's names.
  • The Foreign Subtitle:
    • Various: Alien: The Eighth Passenger
    • Germany: Alien: The Creepy Creature from an Alien World
    • Greece: Alien, the Space Passenger
  • Franchise Killer: Not everyone was very happy about how 3 or Resurrection turned out, and mashing it up with Predator hasn't done much to restore faith in the series. The games tended to do better than the films. Sigourney Weaver felt this way about the series. She didn't want to do another one after Aliens so she could move on to other projects. Ripley's death at the end of the third movie was included at her insistence, to make any further sequels starring her impossible. After that the writers had to resort to cloning the character, but she agreed to reprise the role again when Fox offered her an additional producer credit that would give her an 11 million dollar salary (which was more than the entire budget of the first filmnote ), and because she thought the Alien vs. Predator concept which was pitched around at the time sounded awful. They later made this spin-off as well anyway, and an even more awful sequel. Said crossover franchise has had a healthy life in video games, though. She finally signed back on with Alien: Isolation because she thought it genuinely added something new to the franchise.
  • God Never Said That: After Neill Blomkamp and Sigourney Weaver made ambiguous comments about the fifth film being a followup to the second movie in early 2015, sites began reporting that that the fifth movie was going to finally decanonize the controversial 3 and Resurrection-—long regarded as Fanon Discontinuity by many fans. Blomkamp eventually clarified that his statements had been taken out of context, and that the 3rd and 4th films were still canon, but concept art of an adult Newt makes the validity of that statement questionable - though Sigorney Weaver's statement that the fifth film would take place in an alternate timeline clears the issue.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: As everybody knows, Weyland-Yutani is a combination of motoring conglomerate British Leyland and generic Japanese. Ah, British Leyland, that pride of the nation, a household name for decades and trailblazer for the world, such an unstoppable industrial force would surely spread its Mega-Corp tentacles across the galaxy for sci-fi centuries to come. Thing is, this film was released in 1979 and British Leyland went bankrupt in 1975. For Britons, the fall of a once proud company was the ultimate symbol of Britain's postwar decline—at least, if you're old enough to have heard of the company in the first place. For Americans, two words—General Motors. Oh, and Japan tanked in the '90s too. But the Asian half of the equation is fine. In 2009, the shattered remnants of British Leyland went bankrupt one last time—and were bought out by the Chinese.
  • Image Source: This franchise provides the page image for (those for the other films are listed on their respective Trivia pages):
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The "Aliens" Mod for Quake was killed by Fox lawyers (creating the term "Foxed" for that situation), but of course that didn't stop it from being available online for many years afterwards.
  • Life Imitates Art: The Alien being inspired by parasitic wasps becomes incredibly funny when a new species of said parasitic wasp was named after the Xenomorph due to physical resemblance, and its especially brutal method of reproduction.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The franchise has had various special edition releases with unique items over the years, including a "Facehugger" VHS boxset in 1993 (which had copies of the first two films and The Making of Alien 3, pins, a t-shirt and a pass to the Alien War UK attraction), the "Alien Legacy" boxset in the late 90's (which had special collector cards and a mail-in offer for a bonus DVD), the "Alien Quadrilogy", which included the then-newly restored Assembly Cut for the third film and a boatload of extras, and the "Alien Anthology", which includes almost all the extras from all the preceding special edition boxset releases - with an optional collector's edition packaged in a model case designed by Sideshow Collectibles.
  • The Merch: Kenner, McFarlane Toys, and NECA all did figures based on this, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator. In Kenner's case, there was Misaimed Marketing going on as their figures are aimed at kids.
  • Quote Source: Space Isolation Horror
  • Trope Namer: These movies named the following tropes:
  • What Could Have Been: See the franchise's page.
  • The Wiki Rule:

Trivia for the first film:

  • Ability over Appearance: The script was written so that any character could be played by either a woman or man. The filmmakers originally wanted a guy for Ripley, but Sigourney Weaver owns the role.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: According to Sigourney Weaver, Lambert in the original script was the Deadpan Snarker of the group and also the Only Sane Man - who wouldn't crack up until the end. Veronica Cartwright made her into more of a Woobie, to give the audience someone to sympathise with.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Approval of God: On the 25th of March 2019, the North Bergen High School drama club of New Jersey staged a stage-play adaptation of Alien, with a total cast and crew of 16 students and 3 teachers working off a budget of $3500. The teachers and students admitted to have cobbled the sets and space-suits out of "essentially trash" (with the Alien itself made out of a clearance-shop skeleton dolled up with machine parts, not unlike the original Alien). The stage-play became a viral sensation on Twitter and social media, even going as far as earning the approval and respect of Sigourney Weaver, screenwriter Dan O'Bannon and Ridley Scott themselves. The latter even offered to fund future matinees, such was the demand for an encore performance.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Tom Skerrit was approached for the role of Dallas twice. The first time, before Ridley Scott had been hired as director, the budget was four million dollars. Skerrit thought the script had potential, but four million wasn't going to realize that potential, and passed. The second time, Scott was directing, the budget had been doubled, and now Tom Skerrit knew this was a film he wanted to be involved in.
  • Billing Displacement: Tom Skeritt (Dallas) is billed above Sigourney Weaver in the credits, as Ridley Scott did not want to spoil the fact that Ripley was going to be the lone survivor of the Nostromo. Of course, the existence of the sequels make this impossible now. Skeritt was also the biggest name in the film at the time of its release, while Sigourney Weaver was an unknown with a handful of minor credits.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Sigourney Weaver was originally cast as Lambert, while Veronica Cartwright was going to play Ripley. At the last minute, their roles were switched. Cartwright didn't find out until she went to a costume fitting.
  • Darkhorse Casting: Prior to this, Sigourney Weaver had only minor parts in a couple of films and primarily acted onstage.
  • Defictionalization: To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film, Reebok introduced a limited edition "Alien Stomper" boot based on the shoes that Ripley wears.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • From near the end of the film, as Ripley comes across Dallas while setting up the ship's destruction, going through the process of being turned into another egg and finishing the explanation of the aliens' life cycle. Ridley Scott loved the idea, but found that the scene was too much of a speed bump in the middle of the climax.
    • One where the alien sneaks up on Lambert as she cleans some machinery, deleted because the "crab walk" Belaji Bedejo did for it looked ridiculous in the Alien suit.
    • Many others, most (including the "Ripley finds the nest" scene) restored in the "Director's Cut".
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • The scene where the chestburster erupts from Kane's chest at dinner. The actors knew in theory what was about to happen but had not been told any specifics. For example, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood; her horrified "Oh, God!" is completely genuine. The blood was also not fake. This is all confirmed on the Collector's Edition release of the DVD. This Guardian article has some of the cast and crew reminiscing about the filming of the scene.
      • It's slightly more nuanced than that: the actors (except for John Hurt) only found out on the day what was going to happen, and it actually took two false starts to get the creature to burst through the fabric of Kane's shirt, so by the time they got the shot, they were on the third take and they all knew that the creature was going to burst out of his chest. There were also visible tubs of gore and guts all over the set, so it was pretty obvious that they were going to be a part of it too. What they weren't prepared for was the sheer volume of blood that was going to be sprayed; Veronica Cartwright happened to be unlucky enough to be standing directly in the track of one of the blood hoses, and got a load of it in the face, hence her reaction. So it was part acting, and part genuine disgust and horror. The scene was shot over one full day; once the cast got the convulsing Kane on the table, there was a cut, and everyone but John Hurt was told to break for lunch (since John Hurt was needed to be glued into the rig for the effect shot). Tom Skerrit decided to stick around and watch the effects guys work, so he had a better idea than the rest of the cast exactly what was going to happen and how it would be done, but even he wasn't entirely aware of all the details.
    • Veronica Cartwright really slapped Sigourney Weaver. That wasn't just a sound effect, and Weaver's recoil and look of shock is genuine. According to the actress in the DVD commentary, she was fed up with Sigourney, who at that point had acted only on the stage and so was not used to pretending to get hit, instinctively flinching away from the slap and so, after numerous failed takes, was given the direction to "really hit her", and so aimed for Sigourney, anticipating the flinch, and Sigourney flinched right into the backswing. Cartwright didn't intend to make contact with force that resulted.
    • Ridley Scott placed a veiled cage with a German Shepherd in front of Jones the Cat, and unveiled it when he shouted "Action!!" Hence when The Alien rose up behind Brett like a phallic gargoyle, the menacing hissing of fear from the poor kitty cat was real.
    • In a lesser known example, Ridley Scott made sure that Bolaji Badejo (the man who played the Alien in most of the scenes) did not take tea or lunch breaks with the rest of the cast so their fear of the alien would be more genuine.
    • Yaphet Kotto did a lot of improv acting. Scott played along with it, and advised him to antagonize Sigourney Weaver, so their conflict later in the film would be more believable. When Ripley yells at Parker to "SHUT UP!" after Dallas' death, Weaver already had to listen to Kotto talking over her dialogue dozens of times. Having come mostly from stage, Weaver wasn't used to improv at all, and Kotto (at Scott's insistence) pushed her into actually asserting authority over the remaining cast.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • According to the audio commentary, Ash as a character did not exist in the original concept at all, and was added during production. This annoyed Dan O'Bannon, thinking it an unnecessary and distracting diversion from the main plot, though Ron Shusett and Ridley Scott thought it a good twist. This is especially noticeable in the commentary (spliced together from several seperately-recorded commentaries) where Scott and Shusett are very complimentary of the idea, adding a new dimension to the story and basically creating the rest of the franchise (to the point where Weyland-Yutani doing something stupid to try and get or study the Xenomorphs is almost painfully cliche), where the nicest thing O'Bannon can say about it is that "it's a bad twist done well."
    • Another big one was Ridley Scott wanting the final scene where Ripley was giving the last report of the ship and her crew to be the alien using Ripley's voice. The suits really had to fight him on that one.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Space Jockey—the alien pilot aboard the derelict ship—extended to the rest of his race, as well. Derived from a name used by the film crew; in the canon, it's never named. In Prometheus they're called the "Engineers".
    • The adult creature is sometimes dubbed "Kane's Son", after a line used by Ash.
  • Follow the Leader: Ridley Scott cited 2001: A Space Odyssey and A New Hope as inspiration for the film's depicition of space, while The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) inspired the horror element.
  • Looping Lines: To cut around a lengthy deleted subplot involving a second attempt to flush the alien out the airlock and Dallas's missing access card, there's a bad dub moment where Sigourney Weaver says "I have access to MOTHER now and I'll get my own answers" over an absolutely riveting shot of her forehead and the back of Ash's head.
  • No Budget: Subverted. When the film was initially greenlit, the budget was set at around 4.4 million dollars (on the low side of respectable at the time). Ridley Scott was attached to direct, and as is his habit, storyboarded the whole film from beginning to end. Seeing Ridley's storyboards, Fox immediately doubled the budget, knowing they had a director who could not only deliver a powerfully visual film if given the right resources, but also knew and understood exactly the movie he wanted to make (meaning money wouldn't be wasted on "figuring things out").
  • Orphaned Reference:
    • Lambert's line pondering the fate of the Derelict crew would've been answered in the film's finale, when it is revealed the creature mutates its victims into eggs. Thus, the eggs in the Derelict's cargo hold are the crew. But the infamous "eggmorphing" scene was deleted from the theatrical cut and its canonicity is doubtful, orphaning her unintentional foreshadowing and leaving a gap in the creature's lifecycle that wouldn't be filled until the sequel.
    • In the director's cut, Ripley asks Lambert if she had sex with Ash, to which she replies that she didn't think he'd be interested. This was leftover from the original script where the crew had casual sex with each other (a sex scene between Ripley and Dallas was cut from the script).
  • The Other Marty: Jon Finch had been cast in the role of Kane, but had fallen very ill with pneumonia due to his diabetes and was replaced by John Hurt, who was Ridley Scott's first choice for the role before he was attached to Zulu Dawn, only to become available again due to a Role-Ending Misdemeanor he endured at South African customs over his name being similar to that of an American anti-apartheid activist.
  • Referenced by...:
  • Shoot the Money: Averted. The huge Space Jockey in its "pilot chair" was built by artist H. R. Giger for a lot of money and was used only in one scene. Then again, 30 years later it inspired a film of its own. The studio actually wanted to cut the scene for precisely this reason, it being a big, expensive set that would only be shot once, but Ridley convinced them to keep it, arguing that it elevated the film beyond just a monster terrorizing a bunch of people.
  • Star-Making Role: For Sigourney Weaver.
  • Throw It In!: There is a long-shot late in the film during the confrontation between Ash and Ripley where the camera tracks with Ash. The camera actually knocks into some of the chimes hanging from the ceiling before Ash passes by them, and the sound and visible swinging of them is clear in the final cut. That take gives a sense of Ash projecting menace beyond the confines of his own body.
  • Troubled Production:
    • It had a smoother production than most of its sequels, but not an entirely trouble-free one. Most of the problems that did occur were in pre-production, firstly when the producers were having trouble finding a studio to back the film, and then when looking for a director. They were initially keen to hire Robert Aldrich, but when they actually met him, they were dismayed to find that he didn't give a shit at all about their vision and was just looking for a quick paycheck. Several more directors passed on the project, and producer Walter Hill considered directing it himself before a sample of Ridley Scott's work just happened to pass his desk.
    • Production itself was relatively smooth, the main problems being friction between the producers and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon (who didn't like that Hill had rewritten the screenplay to have more gritty and realistic dialogue), and the visual effects team being sorely under-funded and under-equipped, which resulted in cinematographer Derek Vanlint having to gather up all his lighting equipment and lend it to the VFX team at the end of each day. Additionally, Jerry Goldsmith composed a substantial amount of music for the film, only for Scott to throw most of it out and have the finished product largely unscored while replacing some of the music with a Howard Hanson composition and tracking in Goldsmith's music from Freud, enraging Goldsmith and resulting in the two not working together again until Legend (1985) (where the music was also screwed with).
  • What Could Have Been: See the franchise's page again.
  • Word of God: Ridley Scott mentions on the DVD Commentary that Ash is a Replicant.
  • Working Title: The film was known as Star Beast in its earliest stages. When the writer went through the script he saw characters constantly referring to the Alien, and then the title came out at him, noting that it is both a noun and an adjective.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: