The Queen is the mother and leader of a Xenomorph hive. Her appearance differs from that of the lesser-castes, with an extra pair of arms and a large, ornate, head crest.
BiologyEditQueens are significantly larger and stronger than the warriors, approximately 4.5 metres (15 ft) tall. Their body structure differs also, having two pairs of arms, one large and one small, with the smaller pair in the middle of the larger. The Queen's head is larger than other adult Xenomorphs and is protected by a large, ridged, crest, similar to a crown, and they vary from queen to queen. Unlike other Aliens, the Queen also has high-heel-like protrusions from its feet. Its legs are also different, resembling a Tyrannosaurus Rex's more than a human's. This is because Queen Chestbursters or molted queens do not take on DNA of their host.
Egg-laying Queens possess an immense ovipositor on their lower torso, similar to a queen termite's. Unlike insect queens, there appears to be no need for drones to fertilize an Alien Queen's eggs. When attached to its ovipositor, the Queen is supported by a "biomechanical throne" that consists of a lattice of struts resembling massive insect legs. A Queen can disconnect from its egg sack by pulling out its tail during an emergency. The ovipositor will eventually grow back.
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.
The Queen is the most intelligent breed of Xenomorph, as they have been shown to know how to operate machines and somewhat understand humans (actions, not speech) as the Queen "told" her Soldiers to back off when Ripley threatened her eggs. It should be said though that all Xenomorphs have shown intelligence in some respects, namely observation learning, but it is farely obvious that the Queen is superior. The Queen has shown to communicate and "bargain" with humans, and the Queen on LV-426 had her Soldiers back off after Ripley threatens her eggs with a flamethrower, though Ripley later kills the eggs anyway after one opens, either due to the belief that the Queen telepathically opened it or didn't believe a facehugger would be restrained by the Queen and would attack them.
The Queen also displays traits of anger and vengeance beyond any purely instinctual behavior. An example of this is when the Queen saw her nest destroyed by Ripley, but more importantly, when Ripley killed all her children. 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.