Category ArchiveAliens

Aliens Trivia

This section includes both common and little known trivia about Aliens, including outtake information, cast secrets, director quirks, and more:

  1. One of the sets was kept intact after filming. It was later used as the Axis Chemicals set for Batman (1989).
  2. A draft of the script had Gorman being paralyzed by a stinger on the tail of an alien, rather than being clobbered by falling equipment.
  3. Michael Biehn’s character gets bitten on the hand by another character. This happens to him in every James Cameron movie he’s in – The Abyss (1989) and The Terminator (1984).
  4. The “Special Edition” includes extra scenes: Newt’s parents discovering abandoned alien ship on LV-426; scenes of Ripley discussing her daughter; Hudson bragging about his weaponry; robot sentry guns repelling the first alien raid; Hicks and Ripley exchanging first names. Also included is a scene on LV-426 where a child rides a low-slung tricycle similar to one ridden in The Terminator (1984), also directed by James Cameron.
  5. In an early draft of the script, Bishop claims to have been made by “Cyberdyne”, a company from The Terminator (1984).
  6. The mechanism used to make the facehuggers thrash about in the stasis tubes in the science lab came from one of the “flying piranhas” in one of Cameron’s earlier movies Piranha II: The Spawning (1981). It took 9 people to make the facehugger work; one person for each leg and one for the tail.
  7. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) daughter was played by Weaver’s mother.
  8. The APC was modelled after an airplane tug.
  9. “Sulaco” is the name of the town in Joseph Conrad’s “Nostromo”.
  10. Hicks was originally played by James Remar, but Michael Biehn replaced him a few days after principal photography began, due to “artistic differences” between Remar and Cameron.
  11. “She thought they said `illegal aliens’ and signed up…” said Hudson. This line (directed towards Vasquez) was in inside joke amongst the actors. Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez) had gone to the audition thinking the film would be about illegal immigrants. She arrived with waist-long hair and lots of makeup. Everyone else was wearing military fatigues.
  12. Director’s trademark (James Cameron) – Fade: A few minutes into the movie, we see Ripley lying in the cryotube, and then the scene fades to the picture of the Earth; the Earth directly fits into the silhouette of Ripley’s face.
  13. Director’s trademark (James Cameron) – Feet: When the soldiers arrive on LV426 and jump out of the armoured vehicle. Also see The Abyss (1989).
  14. Director’s trademark (James Cameron) – Feet: Close-up of the power-lifter’s feet.
  15. Director’s trademark (James Cameron) – Head/Skull: When Ripley drives the APC, she crushes an alien’s head under one of the wheels. Also see Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
  16. Director’s trademark (James Cameron) – Nuke.
  17. Only six alien suits were used. The appearance of hundreds of aliens is simply clever editing and planning.
  18. During the scene inside the APC preparing for battle, “El riesgo vive siempre!” can be seen scrawled in white across Vasquez’s armor. This is Spanish for “The risky always live!”
  19. The body mounts for Vasquez’s and Drake’s smart guns are taken from Steadicam gear.
  20. The “Pulse Rifles” that the Marines use are made from a Thompson M1A1 machine gun with a Remington 870 shotgun underneath.
  21. Composer James Horner cannibalized some of his scores from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
  22. The preparation for the actors playing Colonial Marines included two weeks’ training with the S.A.S. (Special Air Service, Britain’s elite anti-terrorist force) and reading Robert Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers. Michael Biehn missed the training, as he was a last-minute replacement.
  23. The M-56 smart guns and the sentry guns built for the movie were designed around German MG 42 machine guns.
  24. The helmets the marines wear are modified M-1 ballistic helmets.
  25. There were two versions of the “Bug Stompers” logo designed for the movie, one wearing sneakers, and one wearing combat boots as seen on the drop ship.
  26. The name of the dropship pilot is “Ferro.” “Fero” is Latin for “carry.”
  27. Al Matthews, who plays a Sergeant Apone in the film, was in real life the first black Marine to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in the field during service in Vietnam.

Sources:

  • Internet Movie Database: Aliens (1986).

Aliens Story Synopsis

The Narcissus drifts through the depths of space with it’s only two passengers – Ripley and Jones. The sole survivors of the Nostromo have been silently waiting for rescue since Ripley set the engines of the massive starfreighter to self destruct , then escaped in the lifeboat. Their waiting has come to an end. The Narcissus is picked up by a deep space salvage team looking to claim the ship, and it’s contents, for their own.

Once Ripley is discovered to be alive she is sent to Gateway Station, a space platform orbiting Earth. There she is treated for hypersleep sickness due to her 57 years spent in the cryotube on the Narcissus. She is devastated when Carter Burke, a Weyland-Yutani company representative, tells her she floated through all the core systems and was only picked up by the deep salvage team by fluke. Ripley is plagued by nightmares of her experience with the alien creature aboard the Nostromo, even after she is released from the hospital.

Once healthy, Ripley attends an inquest into the destruction of the Nostromo, with Burke as her liaison. Ripley tries to tell the story of how the alien killed the entire crew, and was ultimately responsible for the destruction of the Nostromo. But, the company denies any interest in the xenomorph alien species, and looks to solely blame Ripley for the destruction of the Nostromo. They say that LV-426 has been inhabited for years by terra formars, without sign of a “hostile alien species”. By the end of the hearing her flight status is revoked.

Ripley finds employment as a power loader operator working the docks and tries to put her life back together, but is still haunted by the images and memories of the Nostromo. Time passes and Ripley is approached by Burke and Lt. Gorman of the the United States Colonial Marine Corps – communication with the colony on LV-426 has been lost. Burke and Gorman try to talk Ripley into accompanying the marine mission to LV-426 as an advisor, and at first she refuses outright, but after more shaking nightmares Ripley realizes she must face her fear to live past it, and agrees to join the mission.

Ripley, Burke, and the USMC platoon travel in cryosleep onboard the Sulaco, a USCMC starship, to LV-426. Shortly before they reach the planet they wake and prepare for the drop to the planet below. Ripley becomes uncomfortable when she discovers that Bishop, a Weyland-Yutani science officer accompanying the mission, is an android. The marines are briefed for what awaits them below, but most of the soldiers are arrogant and shrug off Ripley’s warnings. Once preparations are made, the platoon is flown in a dropship to the colony on LV-426. There they travel in an armored personnel carrier, then on foot into the complex.

Inside they find signs of battle, but no sign of the colonists. Later they find a young girl, nicknamed Newt, who seems to bond with Ripley. Further investigation reveals several captured – live and dead – facehuggers. Hudson eventually tracks the colonists using their personal data transmitters – they’re all under the atmosphere processor . The marines move in, but when they wake the hibernating aliens, they are quickly overpowered. Ripley takes over and rescues the surviving marines with the APC. Outside, Corporal Hicks orders the dropship to evacuate the platoon, but aliens have gotten onboard, and the dropship crashes, destroying the APC. Later, after fortifying the complex, Bishop points out that firing inside the atmosphere processor has ruptured the coolant units, and a 30 megaton explosion will occur within the next 4 hours.

The only option is to send Bishop to patch in with a portable terminal at the transmission dish, and remote pilot the other dropship from the Sulaco. The entire process is estimated at just under three and a half hours to complete – cutting it close.

Meanwhile the rest of the survivors remain alert and prepare for any alien attack. Ripley and Newt catch some sleep but are awakened by noise in their room. Facehuggers are somewhere inside the room. Ripley’s Pulse Rifle has been moved to the room outside and the door is locked. Thinking quickly, Ripley set’s off a fire alarm with a lighter, and the marines are on the way. The marines arrive and quickly take out the facehuggers. Ripley knows immediately it was Burke. She checked the colony log, Burke ordered the colonists to investigate the derelict ship without any warning of danger. Ultimately he is responsible for all the colonist deaths. His next plan was to smuggle two alien embryo’s inside Ripley and Newt, past quarantine, and live rich off the rewards of such a lucrative bio-weapon.

Before the marines can decide what to do next, the aliens cut the power to Operations. Hudson and Vasquez walk the halls with motion trackers. The signals get closer and closer until Hicks and Vasquez move inside Operations, and the door is closed and sealed with a portable welder. Strangely the signals keep getting closer, the aliens are in the ceiling and under the floor! They drop down through the ceiling and attack, but are fought off long enough to give time to fall back and try to escape to Medical.

As Hudson is moving back, the floor opens in front of him and he’s dragged down by an alien. Scared out of his mind, Burke locks the door leading to Medical, stranding the others outside. Newt finds an air duct that they can take to the landing pad were Bishop will bring the dropship down. Burke, meanwhile, is killed by an alien already inside the same room. Newt leads the way through the air duct, closely followed by Ripley. They get too far ahead of the marines to be helpful, and Vasquez and Gorman are caught surrounded by aliens with no ammunition left. Gorman takes their own lives with a grenade, killing the aliens as well.

The blast from the grenade knocks Newt down another air shaft that she, Ripley, and Hicks are trying to cross. Ripley and Hicks try tracking her down with the locator she is wearing, but the aliens take her before they can cut through the floor and get to her. On the way to the dropship Hicks is sprayed with acid blood when he is forced to shoot an alien at point blank range. Ripley helps him to the dropship and Bishop flies them to a safer landing pad. Ripley re-equipes herself to track and rescue Newt, while Bishop and Hicks wait in the dropship.

With 15 minutes before the explosion, Ripley tracks Newt’s location inside the atmosphere processor and extracts her. Along the way they stumble into an egg chamber with a 14 foot alien queen inside. Ripley fights their way out and get’s back to the dropship – but the queen is following them. Bishop takes off just in time to get away from the queen’s grasp. Bishop pilots the dropship into orbit just as the complex explodes.

Back on the Sulaco, Ripley and Bishop are shocked when the queen reappears and tears Bishop in half. She hid herself on the hull of the dropship!. A battle between Ripley in a powerloader, and the queen, ensues. Eventually Ripley manages to knock the queen into the airlock and jetisons her into space. Ripley, Newt, Hicks and what remains of Bishop go into cryosleep and head for Earth.