The Queen is the matriarch of a Xenomorph hive. Serving as both the mother and leader of her brood, the Queen is usually nestled deep within the hive, birthing eggs to ensure the expansion of the hive, while her Drones and Soldiers provide protection for her and hunt preys that are brought before her. Unlike her offspring, the Queen is much larger and her physical appearance greatly differs from that of the lesser-castes, most notably her large head crest.
Capable of growing up to 100 feet tall, Queens possess several attributes and characteristics that are unique to their caste, having two pairs of arms, one large and one small. The Queen's head is larger than those of ordinary Xenomorphs and is protected by a large, flat crest, which resembles a crown, somewhat symbolizing her status as a high breed among her kind. Unlike other Xenomorphs, the Queen's external mouth is separately segmented from the rest of her head, allowing her to turn her mouth left and right almost to the point where it is facing perpendicular to the direction of the rest of her head. Unlike other Xenomorphs, the Queen also has high-heel-like protrusions from its feet.
Much like insects found in the real-world, Queens possess an immense Egg sac (ovipositor) on their lower torso to produce more eggs. Unlike insect queens, there appears to be no need for the eggs to be fertilized. These Egg sacs are typically suspended from the ceiling of the Hive by "straps" created from the same secreted resin as the Hive itself. Owing to the size and weight of this sac, the Queen in the laying stage is rendered immobile and thus is dependent on her subordinates for assistance and protection. In the event that the Queen faces imminent danger, she can detach herself from her sac and regrow it again at a later time.
Despite her size ratio compared to other Xenomorphs, the Queen can sustain massive physical trauma while still being able to incapacitate just about anything. Due to this, once outside of her larvae facility, the Queen can destroy most enemies within seconds. Her height will often vary greatly, at times being roughly 15 feet and sometimes being as large as 40 feet.
A Royal facehugger is the primary method of developing a Queen. It is a larger-than-average facehugger with a darker coloration that can implant a normal embryo and a Royal embryo into a host. Once the immature Queen erupts from its host, it will molt, and proceed to reach maturity.
Among the Xenomorph caste, the Queen possesses higher intelligence as there have been instances where they have been shown to be capable of operating man-made machinery. The Queen also appear to fully understand humans actions and behavior, even so far as to be capable to communicate and even "bargain" with humans. This instance is shown when the Acheron Queen ordered her Soldiers to back away from Ripley when she threatened her eggs with a flamethrower, "offering" Ripley a chance to escape her hive without conflict.
The Queen is also shown to be capable of expressing forms of emotions, such as anger and affection beyond any purely instinctual behavior. An example of this is when the Queen showed concerns over her eggs under threat by Ripley and attempted to "negotiate" with her to leave on neutral terms. When Ripley broke their "agreement" and proceeded to incinerate most of her children, the Queen screamed in agony. The Queen then began a murderous, nigh unstoppable rampage in an attempt to kill both Ripley and Newt, even going so far as to hide herself in the landing gear of their dropship and follow them back to the USS Sulaco.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Concept and designEdit
In the initial cut of Alien, the alien possessed a complete life cycle, with the still-living bodies of its victims converted into eggs. However, the scene showing this final stage was cut for reasons of pacing, leaving the ultimate origin of the eggs obscure. This allowed Aliens director James Cameron to introduce a concept he had initially conceived for a spec script called Mother, a massive mother alien which laid the eggs and formed the basis for the aliens' life cycle. Cameron conceived the Queen as a monstrous analogue to Ripley's own maternal role in the film. In that vein, some critics have compared it to Grendel's mother. The design of the queen was created by Cameron in collaboration with special effects artist Stan Winston, based upon an initial painting Cameron had done at the start of the project. The Winston Studio created a test foam core queen before constructing the full hydraulic puppet which was used for most of the scenes involving the large alien. Two people were inside working the twin sets of arms and puppeteers off-screen worked its jaws and head. Although at the end of the film the queen was presented full-body fighting the power-loader, the audience never sees the legs of the queen, save those of the small-scale puppet that appears only briefly. In Aliens, Cameron used very selective camera-angles on the Queen, using the 'less is more' style of photography. Subsequently the movie won an Oscar for Visual Effects. An adult Queen was to reappear in Alien Resurrection. The original mechanical head previously used in Aliens was provided by Bob Burns. It was repainted with a blend of green and brown, giving it a shimmering, insect-like quality.
- Ridley Scott's original idea for how the eggs were created could be how the species create the eggs that contain the Super Facehuggers if a Queen is not around.