The Nostromo Alien was a lone Alien Drone that was born from Kane when the latter was infected by a Facehugger during the Nostromo crew's investigation on LV-426. It was responsible for wiping out nearly the entire Nostromo crew, leaving Ellen Ripley and the vessel's pet cat, Jonesy as the sole survivors.
In the year 2122, while returning from a job in the Solomons, the Nostromo passed through the Zeta II Reticuli system when the Nostromo's onboard computer, MU-TH-UR, awakened them from hypersleep prematurely (Kane was the first one to awaken). The computer had intercepted a distress beacon originating from a planetoid, LV-426, within close proximity to their ship.
The Nostromo crew responded to the beacon and landed on the planetoid. The weather conditions on the planetoid's surface were extremely violent and the ship suffered extensive damage during landing. Kane was part of a three-person survey crew that explored the planetoid's surface. Along with Captain Dallas and navigator Lambert, they discovered the ruins of a derelict space craft, which had apparently crash landed there many years ago. They determined that it was the ancient S.O.S. beacon from this vessel that their ship had intercepted.
Kane explored the cargo bay of this carrier ship and found a giant nursery filled with thousands of large, bio-organic pods. Drawing his weapon, he examined one of the pods at close range and found that it was actually an egg. His proximity to the egg prompted it to hatch, issuing forth a facehugger which attached itself to Kane's helmet. The Facehugger secreted an acid that melted through his helmet, allowing the organism to attach itself directly to Kane's face and impregnate him with the Alien's embryo.
Kane was brought back to the Nostromo for treatment, but soon recovered and had almost no memory of his experiences on the planetoid. During the crew's dinner, the Alien embryo eventually matured into a chestburster and violently erupted from Kane, killing him in the process. Due to Ash's intervention, the Alien manages to escape and flee further into the Nostromo. When it matured into it's adult form, the Alien began to kill the ship's crew starting with Brett. Hiding within the air ducts, Captain Dallas followed the Alien in an attempt to force it into an airlock. The Alien proved to be more cunning as it outsmarted Dallas, eventually ambushing the captain.
By the time Ripley, Parker and Lambert were the only surviving crew members left, they decided to use the Nostromo's self-destruct system in hopes of killing the Alien and escape together using the shuttle Narcissus. While gathering supplies, the Alien snuck up on Lambert and prepares to kill her. Parker intervened by ambushing the Alien from behind, but proved to be no match for the creature's strength and was over-powered by the Alien almost instantly. After finishing Parker off, the Alien returned its attention to Lambert and killed her by mutilating her.
Ripley failed to stop the Nostromo to self-destruct system, but manages to board the Narcissus in time to escape the blast. Much to Ripley's shock, the Alien had also boarded the shuttle, having wedged itself into a narrow space. Thinking quickly, Ripley dons a spacesuit and uses gas to flush the creature out. The Alien approaches Ripley, but before it can attack, she opens an airlock door, almost blowing the creature into space. It manages to hang on by gripping the frame. Ripley shoots it with a grappling hook, but the gun catches as the airlock door closes, tethering the Alien to the shuttle. It pulls itself into an engine exhaust but Ripley fires the engines, incinerating the Alien and sent it away into the depths of space.
Behind the Scenes
The Alien first appeared in the 1979 film, Alien, serving as the main antagonist of the film. The Alien was portrayed by Bolaji Badejo in his first and only film role. Badejo, who stood 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall and thin build made him the ideal actor for the Alien. In addition, the Alien was also portrayed by veteran stuntmen Eddie Powell and Roy Scammell.
The Alien was designed by H. R. Giger, based on his 1976 lithograph Necronom IV. However, before Giger became involved both Dan O'Bannon and Ron Cobb made some preliminary sketches of Alien's antagonistic creature. Upon being hired, Giger made several conceptual paintings of the adult Xenomorph before crafting a full-size sculpt of the final version, constructed from plasticine and incorporating pieces such as vertebrae from snakes and cooling tubes from a Rolls-Royce. This sculpt was then used to cast the latex suit, which was again embellished with unusual inorganic components, including bottle caps and even macaroni pieces. The highly detailed costume was very restrictive and severely limited Bolaji Badejo's movements when inside.
The creature's head was manufactured separately by Carlo Rambaldi, who had worked on the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Rambaldi followed Giger's designs closely, making some modifications in order to incorporate the moving parts which would animate the creature's jaw and inner mouth. A system of hinges and cables were used to operate the creature's rigid tongue, which protruded from the main mouth and had a second mouth at the tip with its own set of movable jaws. The final head had about nine hundred moving parts and points of articulation. Part of a human skull was used as the "face", hidden under the smooth, translucent cover of the head. It was originally conceived to encase maggots beneath the clear carapace so that the movement could be seen on camera, but the idea was scrapped when the maggots fell asleep beneath the hot studio lights and refused to move. Rambaldi's original Xenomorph jaw is now on display in the Smithsonian Institution, while in April 2007 the original Drone suit was sold at auction. Copious amounts of K-Y Jelly were used to simulate saliva and to give the Alien an overall slimy appearance. The creature's vocalizations were provided by Percy Edwards, a voice artist famous for providing bird sounds for British television throughout the 1960s and 1970s as well as the whale sounds for Orca: Killer Whale (1977).
Prototype translucent suit
The prototype translucent suit was created during pre-production as was one of the first (if not the first) suits to be struck from the original Alien sculpted by Giger. One of their original concepts for the creature was to be almost translucent, allowing viewers to see the eerie internal workings of the body, but the special material was particularly rigid and proved to be too inflexible for the film's requirements and the concept was scrapped in favor of the opaque skin creating the dark, mysterious 'barely seen' look.
Crafted from a special latex, today the suit is in a delicate condition and consists of a torso, left arm and hand as well as a pair of legs and solid translucent resin head. Due to the sheer age of the suit it has begun to display signs of deterioration showing cracks and missing sections that have become detached over the years, most notably the right arm, neck, dome and part of the right side of the skull. It appears that the tail and dorsal tubes were never made for this suit, as neither of the two are seen in any behind the scenes pictures of the suit. To ensure maximum longevity the Prop Store had the suit professionally treated and placed over a perfectly fitted display model using a combination of special adhesive and cream latex, which all help support the suit.
The suit was acquired by the Prop Store from the personal collection of line manage Ivor Powell and the suit was sold by the Prop Store with bespoke base that incorporates the movie title, and the overall ensemble measured over 2m (79“) tall, by approximately 53cm x 85cm (20“ x “33.5). Due to the suit's delicate condition and size a specialist shipping service was required and customers would request a quote before ordering.
- Many fans have given the Alien various nicknames to differentiate it from other Xenomorphs, such as "Big Chap", "Kane's son" (a phrase actually spoken in the movie by Ash) and "Giger's Alien" after it's designer, H.R. Giger.
- "Giger's Alien" is also the name of a book by Giger describing his experiences working on Alien.
- The fully grown Alien in the novelization of the movie is quite different to that in the film. It has an alarming ability to regenerate after sustaining injury, possesses large eyes, and notably does not have an inner jaw, instead using its bare hands to kill its victims.
- While the Alien does not have eyes in the film, it does have human eyesockets in its skull under its domed carapace. While they are difficult to discern in the movie, they are quite visible in production stills of the suit and select merchandise of the creature.
- The Alien seems to show some sadistic tendencies (time willing), an example is when the Alien cornered Lambert it seemed to enjoy every moment of her fear (It is implied that the Alien sodomized Lambert with its tail, though it is questionable). This is also seen when right before it head bites Parker, taking its time and possibly enjoying every moment of his fear.
- According to the book Alien Vault, the Alien originally had a 4 day lifespan and the reason it hid within the Narcissus was because it was looking for a perfect place to die alone.
- The American Film Institute ranked the Alien as the fourteenth best villain in American film history in their list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains.
- Monster Legacy - StarBeast — Part Ia: Alien, the Egg and the Facehugger
- Alien: The Official Poster Magazine of the Year's Most Terrifying Movie No.1
- Ridley Scott, David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett. The Beast Within: The Making of Alien [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Jody Duncan. (2006). The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio. Titan Books, 85.