- "Building Better Worlds"
- —Company Slogan[src]
Weyland-Yutani is a large conglomerate corporation known as "The Company." It is one of the many mega-corporations that runs the human colonies outside the solar system through the Extrasolar Colonization Administration, has a seat in the Interstellar Commerce Commission's Company Review Board, and also has a large presence on Earth. They hold their main offices in Tokyo, San Francisco, The Sea of Tranquility, and Thedeus.
Weyland-Yutani consistently exhibits the worst aspects of corporate profiteering, willing to sacrifice decency and human life in seemingly the pursuit of profit. The corporation has consistently ordered its employees and agents to attempt to obtain living Xenomorphs so that they can be exploited as a biological weapon, without regard for their obtainers' lives.
At some point in the 21st Century, the British corporation Weyland Corp eventually merged with the Japanese company Yutani Corporation and became the antecedents to the Weyland-Yutani comglomerate corporation.
In 2122, the commercial hauler Nostromo was on its way to Earth from a job in the Solomons, the Nostromo passed through the Zeta II Reticuli system, the Nostromo's onboard computer, "MU-TH-UR" intercepted a distress beacon originating from a planetoid (which later came to be known as Acheron) within close proximity to the ship. The crew members are awakened prematurely from their hypersleep, the crew responded to the beacon and landed the Nostromo on the planetoid. Executive Officer Kane was impregnated by a parasitic life form discovered within an ancient derelict space craft found on the planet's surface. Kane was taken back to the Nostromo for medical treatment, only to die hours later when the creature that was impregnated within him grew and bursts violently out of his chest while being witnessed by the entire crew. Weyland-Yutani gave orders to Science Officer Ash and "MOTHER" to implement Special Order 937 and ensure the survival of the Xenomorph specimen at any cost and deemed the rest of the Nostromo's crew expendable. The Nostromo was destroyed during the incident and all of its crew were killed by the Xenomorph, except for Ellen Ripley who managed to escape on an emergency vessel and to ultimately kill the Xenomorph.
Purchase of Sevastopol
In December of 2137, Weyland-Yutani purchased Sevastopol Station, a decommissioned trading and manufacturing spaceport in the Zeta Reticuli system, formerly owned by the Seegson Corporation. At the time of the purchase, Sevastopol had a small number of Xenomorphs within the bowels of its structure, and the company, aware of this, bought the for-sale station to acquire the specimens located there. Another reason for the purchase was so the company would be able to modify the core programming of Seegson's APOLLO A.I. control system for Sevastopol, uploading Special Order 939, which allowed the A.I. to cut off communications off-station and preserve any alien specimens. On December 11th, 2137, Sevastopol's orbital stabilizers were damaged by an explosion from the nearby Anesidora, causing the station to fall out of orbit and eventually burn up in the atmosphere of gas giant KG348, killing the Xenomorphs remaining on the station.
Investigation on LV-426
57 years later in 2179, Weyland-Yutani representative Carter J. Burke gave orders to Hadley's Hope, a human colony that was established by Weyland-Yutani on Acheron to investigate the ruins of the Derelict spacecraft having learned of its location from Ripley who was rescued after spending the last 57 years adrift in space in hypersleep since her first horrific encounter with the Xenomorph, evidenced from her testimony regarding the Nostromo's destruction. The colonists eventually found the derelict and discovered thousands of Xenomorph eggs in suspended animation. Soon the eggs began to hatch and facehuggers started to impregnate the colonists. The colony was eventually overrun by the Xenomorphs. After the mysterious loss of contact with the colony, Weyland-Yutani sent the USCM to investigate as well as sending Ripley to assist the Marines in the mission and Burke who was given a secret objective to ensure the capture of a Xenomorph specimen. The Colonial Marines eventually came in contact with the Xenomorphs and suffered massive casualties due to the creatures' several advantages, including the element of surprise. The survivors decided to take off and nuke the colony from orbit. They called the drop ship for immediate evacuation; however an alien stowaway on the drop ship killed the pilots causing the drop ship to crash into the processing station causing major damage from which it became unstable and would detonate with the force of a thermonuclear weapon.
While the survivors took refuge in the medical station, Ripley (and Newt, a survivor that was rescued by the Marines earlier) fell asleep in the medical laboratory and were attacked by two Facehuggers that Burke had released from their tanks. Ripley was able to alert the marines who rescued them and killed the creatures. Ripley then accused Burke of trying to impregnate her and Newt to get two alien creatures past Earth's quarantine procedures, and also planning to kill the rest of the marines whilst in hypersleep during the return trip back to Earth. The Xenomorphs then cut the electricity and kill most of the survivors, including Burke. Ripley along with the remaining survivors were able to escape the colony via drop ship and escaped moments before the colony was consumed by the nuclear blast caused by the Atmosphere Processor.
Ripley, along with the three other survivors of Hadley's Hope, crashed on Fiorina 161 when all of their hypersleep chambers were ejected from the Sulaco in an EEV after a Facehugger caused an electrical fire on board. All cryochambers crashed on the correctional facility. Unfortunately, Hicks was impaled by debris in the EEV due to the impact and died. Newt crashed into the ocean and drowned in her hypersleep chamber and Bishop was damaged further whereupon he was placed on a scrap heap by the prisoners on the colony. A Facehugger emerged from the ruins of the EEV and impregnated the prison's dog, Spike. The Xenomorph embryo violently emerged from Spike and began to mature within the correctional facility's ventilation ducts. The Alien began a killing spree in the correctional facility, causing mass hysteria. Ripley rallied the inmates and proposed they pour highly flammable toxic waste, which is stored at the facility, into the ventilation system and ignite it to flush out the creature. An explosion is caused by the Runner's premature intervention, resulting in several deaths.
Weyland-Yutani sent a group of researchers led by Michael Bishop and an elite special forces unit to Fiorina 161 after the company was contacted by Francis Aaron regarding the presence of the Xenomorph. Michael tries to convince Ripley to surrender so that they can extract the Queen embryo within her. Ripley chooses to sacrifice herself in order to keep the company from getting their hands on the Xenomorph and jumps into the molten lead. Aaron was killed after assaulting Michael, Morse was relocated and Weyland-Yutani terminated the prison's contract. The remaining functional lead works apparatus was scrapped and the Fiorina 161 Correctional Unit was closed for an indefinite period.
Operation on LV-426
Despite having to fail in retrieving the Queen embryo from Ripley, Michael decided to board the USS Sulaco to figure out its previous destination in hopes of locating the Xenomorph hive on LV-426. Michael and his research team manage to locate the hive within the ruins of the Hadley's Hope colony and established a research facility to begin to capture Xenomorph specimens for research purposes.
200 Years later
200 years later, USM researcher Mason Wren stated that Weyland-Yutani had been bought out by Wal-Mart decades ago. His comment, ’fortunes of war’ suggests a serious conflict between the United Americas and the Third World Empire, as evidenced by the devastated Paris. Consequently an interstellar military force called "United Systems Military" now controls all the weapons and R&D interests previously held by Weyland-Yutani.
The Bio-Weapons Division was a special department of the Weyland-Yutani corporation which dealt with the research and development of biological and viral weapons. One of their primary goals was to obtain a Facehugger, mature Xenomorph, or a Chestburster (which were preferred in some cases because they were easier to sneak past quarantine within their hosts). Their attempts to get one frequently involved lying or putting lives at risk just for their goals. Ellen Ripley would inevitably become a threat to this division after foiling every single one of the attempts to acquire a Xenomorph. The work of this division was still carried out by the United Systems Military after the corporation's demise, and would later fall foul of Ripley 8, a clone of the original Ellen Ripley.
Other Divisions and Relationship to the Military
Weyland-Yutani held other divisions of interests devoted to such areas as media. Weyland-Yutani's involvement with the Extrasolar Colonial Administration (ECA) hints at a heavy influence with not only the United Americas Aerospace Command, (but also the Third World Empire Combined Service) as they sent a Conestoga-class battleship carrying a contingent of British Marine Commandos to retrieve Lt. Ripley on Fiorina 161. The Commandos were then seen with a couple of heavily-suited men carrying Pulse Rifles; it’s clear that those troops were not USCM as they spoke with an English accent. Additionally, Weyland-Yutani co-financed Hadley's Hope with the Colonial Administration (a group which seems to be involved in all Colonial activities and, thus, the Colonial Marines), which may imply that there was some sort of connection between the two groups. If Weyland-Yutani doesn't have actual ownership of the Corps itself, the company at least owns stock and/or finances it (allowing them to basically make the Corps available for their own personal use).
Behind the Scenes
The Weyland-Yutani corporation was originally named Weylan-Yutani, the original name was created by Ron Cobb, one of the designers of the Nostromo and its crew's uniforms
- "One of the things I enjoyed most about Alien was its subtle satirical content. Science fiction films offer golden opportunities to throw in little scraps of information that suggest enormous changes in the world. There's a certain potency in those kinds of remarks. Weylan Yutani for instance is almost a joke, but not quite. I wanted to imply that poor old England is back on its feet and has united with the Japanese, who have taken over the building of spaceships the same way they have now with cars and supertankers. In coming up with a strange company name I thought of British Leyland and Toyota, but we couldn't use "Leyland-Toyota" in the film. Changing one letter gave me "Weylan," and "Yutani" was a Japanese neighbor of mine."
—Ron Cobb, "The Authorized Portfolio of Crew Insignias from The United States Commercial Spaceship Nostromo Designs and Realizations" by John Mollo and Ron Cobb
The original spelling of the Company's name was Weylan Yutani (note that there was no D in the name). At no time in Alien nor in the portfolio was the name of the Company spelled with a D. This was changed to "Weyland-Yutani" in Aliens.
When James Cameron was assigned to write and direct the sequel, the role and significance of Weyland-Yutani increased greatly, becoming an indispensable element in Alien lore. The original Weyland-Yutani logo was an Egyptian winged-sun emblem; it was modified to its current corporo-industrial interlocked W/Y for Aliens.
It can be viewed in various places, most prominently on the front of a big-wheel tricycle in a scene from the director's cut.
In Alien³, Weyland-Yutani's name appears on screen several times written in Japanese. It appears once on a box of supplies as ウェイランド湯谷. The first six Kana of this are part of the Japanese syllabary Katakana which is used to spell foreign words, and here they spell weirando (Weyland). The second part is the Japanese name Yutani written with two kanji, which literally means "hot-water valley" in English. The corporation's name also appears in a newspaper headline where the last four kanji read Kabushiki kaisha which means "joint stock corporation," and the company logo can be seen stenciled across the shirts, prison jackets and caps worn by various characters in the film, including Ripley.
- Weyland-Yutani's possible affiliation with the Colonial Marines can go back further to James Cameron's Aliens in which Burke accompanied the Marines on their mission to Hadley's Hope to which Cameron clarified that this was meant to invoke the conspiracy of America's involvement in Vietnam being for purely corporate interests.
- In the menus for the Alien Collector's Edition sets revealed more information on Weyland-Yutani, such as their divisions and office branches.
- Weyland-Yutani was referenced in the TV series Angel in the episode "Harm's Way" where it is revealed the corporation is a client of evil interdimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart. As co-creator Joss Whedon had written the original draft to Alien Resurrection, this was most likely an in-joke aimed at Whedon himself.
- Also in Joss Whedon's short-lived space western Firefly, the pilot episode sees main character Mal Reynolds using a turret gun in a flashback sequence which contains a targeting system with, at the top, a Weyland-Yutani logo can be spotted on it. The turret gun itself is also listed as a UA 571-D Ground Sentry, a reference to the UA 571-C Remote Sentry automated guns from the special edition of Aliens.