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Vader
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Mon 06 Jan 2020, 00:20

It made it to the screen in Alien.

Ridley Scott talks about the host influencing the creatures characteristics in the Alien Official Movie Magazine from 1979 (page 53).
.
But how? How is this explicitly shown, or told, or even implied on-screen?

You're referring to the "COULD THE ALIEN REALLY EXIST?" feature, I presume. I am pretty sure that's Richard Meyers's writing, not Ridley Scott... IIRC, only Giger and Harry Dean Stanton were actually interviewed for that magazine; Sir Ridley never was.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
S.M
Posts: 104
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Mon 06 Jan 2020, 01:55

It's shown because the Alien is bipedal like a human.

There are quotes from Ridley (and it's the ALIEN SECRETS section).
"The nasty one, the thing that sprung out of the egg - the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it - is the father.  All it does is plant the seed.  And the next generation takes on charactertistics of whatever form it landed on."
 
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Gaddeborg
Posts: 162
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Tue 07 Jan 2020, 21:47

It made it to the screen in Alien.

Ridley Scott talks about the host influencing the creatures characteristics in the Alien Official Movie Magazine from 1979 (page 53).
.
But how? How is this explicitly shown, or told, or even implied on-screen?
I was just watching Alien I (Theatrical version) last night, and I think this was heavily implied by Ash. When Parker said "It walks like a human!" Ash was instantly musing "Kanes son". This after studying the facehugger frenetically, understanding a lot of its biology. In my own Alien lore, it will definitely take the form of the creature the chestburster gestated in. 

Unrelated, something I haven't noticed before, is that the Alien is not eating people, but carrying them away or just leaving them. Instead of eating people, I think it is implied that the crew notices new damage on the ship after the chestburster passed by ("didn´t you fix this section already?"). I interpreted this as the alien absorbing material from the ship into its exoskeleton. Perhaps also nutrients. This is also planted by Ash when he talks about the facehugger cells absorbing silicates. Even in the theatrical version, the alien seems to use other organisms only for ovomorphing or facehugging, even if this is not shown. Making the xenomorph into a very agressive mineralitarian creature (as in vegan, but minerals) ;)

Also, when Ripley finds the xenomorph in the shuttle in the end, it seems to be in some sort of coma or something, very slow to wake up. Is it eating/absorbing hull material from the shuttle? It might explain the pretty long periods of non-activity from the xenomorph. It's not only stalking, but also hiding to eat/absorb. In this state, it is actually vulnerable (Ripley could sneak up on it).  

The xenomorph also ignores Jones, the ships cat. Apparently the cat is not good enough for neither ovomorhing nor facehugging. Probably too small.  

So in my Alien lore, I think I will let the xenomorph come in several different shapes:

-Bipedal and extra smart (from humans) 
-Bipedal and not that smart (from lab monkeys in W-Y labs for example) 
-On four legs, small and fast (from dogs) 
-On four legs and big (from cattle)
-Shark-like (from fish and water-living creatures)
-Winged (from very big birds and the like). 

I would assume that the facehugger also have an upper limit for what creatures to facehug, so no elephant-version.

Also, I think that the xenomorph will have a lot slower to grow big if it is in a environment without all the metals, plastics and stuff surrounding it in a spaceship. The Nostromo, and Hadleys Hope, might just be a mineral buffet for growing big in no time. Isolated on a world with no human buildings and the like, the xenomorphs exoskeleton might also look different since it has to absorb naturally occurring minerals at a much slower pace. 

I would also agree with the person above that said that fire is probably not as good a weapon against the xenomorph as Ash implies. That Ash would willingly give the crew a weapon that could harm the beast he is there to protect seems unlikely. However, it might be scared of fire nontheless. 
 
S.M
Posts: 104
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Wed 08 Jan 2020, 04:28

In my own Alien lore, it will definitely take the form of the creature the chestburster gestated in. 
That's been the Alien lore from the beginning.  Alien 3 was it at its most explicit.
Unrelated, something I haven't noticed before, is that the Alien is not eating people, but carrying them away or just leaving them. Instead of eating people, I think it is implied that the crew notices new damage on the ship after the chestburster passed by ("didn´t you fix this section already?"). I interpreted this as the alien absorbing material from the ship into its exoskeleton. Perhaps also nutrients. This is also planted by Ash when he talks about the facehugger cells absorbing silicates. Even in the theatrical version, the alien seems to use other organisms only for ovomorphing or facehugging, even if this is not shown. Making the xenomorph into a very agressive mineralitarian creature (as in vegan, but minerals) 
The Alien was originally supposed to eat like every other living creature.  It ate the crew and until very late in the piece, was cornered in the food locker, eating their supplies, when Dallas flamed it before it escaped into a duct.  Not sure it ate 12 module, but the idea of it eating inorganic material was originally in the first Aliens RPG, and is a pretty cool idea.  Ash says the hugger sheds its cells and 'replaces them with polarised silicon' rather than absorbing silicate.
Also, when Ripley finds the xenomorph in the shuttle in the end, it seems to be in some sort of coma or something, very slow to wake up. Is it eating/absorbing hull material from the shuttle? 
That was more to do with the Alien dying.  It had created the Dallas and Brett eggs so it's cycle was complete.  This concept ultimately wasn't fully realised in the film though.  I think the people who recovered Ripley in Aliens and went over the lifeboat would've noticed absorbed hull material and it would've been mentioned in the inquiry.
 
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Vader
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 17:06

It's shown because the Alien is bipedal like a human.

There are quotes from Ridley (and it's the ALIEN SECRETS section).
"The nasty one, the thing that sprung out of the egg - the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it - is the father.  All it does is plant the seed.  And the next generation takes on charactertistics of whatever form it landed on."
.
it's exactly the other way around, actually -- the idea of the Alien adopting characteristics from the host could justifiably be regarded as a retcon. Sir Ridley had Giger's bipedal design as a starting point, and going on from that point, he thinks that "hey, what if...?"

I believe the full paragraph you were quoting goes as follows -- the second sentence giving the crucial context:
.
FACT: There was much more to the Alien than met the eye. Since Ridley Scott used a painting by Giger as the basis for the adult Alien, he had to work backward to create the first two phases. During this process, the director came to understand the organism completely. "The nasty one," he says, "the thing that sprung out of the egg — the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it — is the father. All it does is plant the seed. And the next generation takes on characteristics of whatever form it landed on." This means that the ALIEN may not always be a biped! It could conceivably be a combination of the original Face Hugger and whatever host it uses!
.
So, the Alien is not made bipedal in the movie because it takes on characteristics from its host -- Sir Ridley muses that it might take on characteristics from its host because the Alien in the movie is bipedal.
Ergo, you can't really say that "the concept made it to the film and is shown on-screen", because it actually went the other way -- the concept is a rationalisation for what is on-screen, not the basis for it.

Which brings me back to square one: going from what is seen on-screen in Alien alone, the idea of the Alien taking on characteristics from its host is one possible rationalisation, but nothing seen or said on-screen mandates it as the only possible rationalisation.


Besides, I feel the whole proposition that "humans are bipedal, the Alien is bipedal -- ergo the Alien must take on characteristics from its host" stems from somewhat faulty logic anyway. Even here on Earth today, humans aren't the only bipedal life form -- and looking back through Earth's history, you'll find they've been quite common at one point or another. After all, it's not an entirely impractical mode of locomotion.
So what's to say the Galaxy isn't teeming with bipeds -- including the Alien?
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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Vader
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Posts: 163
Joined: Fri 15 Nov 2019, 14:11
Location: The Frozen North

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 17:41

I was just watching Alien I (Theatrical version) last night, and I think this was heavily implied by Ash. When Parker said "It walks like a human!" Ash was instantly musing "Kanes son". This after studying the facehugger frenetically, understanding a lot of its biology. In my own Alien lore, it will definitely take the form of the creature the chestburster gestated in. 
.
I believe that may be a bit of a misquote. I seem to recall the lines are more along the lines of:
.
PARKER: This son-of-a-bitch is huge! I mean, it's like a man -- it's big!
ASH: Kane's son.
.
But as I discussed with someone already on page 1 of this thread -- is Ash's comment just the android's philosophical rumination -- in extremely bad taste from a human perspective, as evidenced by the uncomfortable glances it provokes -- over the fact that Kane, physically, "gave birth" to the creature ... similar, albeit slightly more dramatically, to how you might "give birth" to a botfly ... or is it to be interpreted as referring to actual literal genetic relationship ... well, that's up to each of us to decide. Personally, I've always felt the latter would be reading far too much into it.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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Gaddeborg
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue 18 Feb 2014, 17:40

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 21:26

In my own Alien lore, it will definitely take the form of the creature the chestburster gestated in. 
That's been the Alien lore from the beginning.  Alien 3 was it at its most explicit.
Very understandable, I have not delved into Alien lore until I got the RPG two weeks ago. The quote from Ridley with the "preambulatory penis" seems to show that this was the intent (at least when doing the movie). However, in the current RPG it does not say anything about the host affecting the xenomorphs shape in any way (except the "bambi-burster", but not in the later stages). I otherwise think that free league has done a great job of getting the alien lore together in a very good way. 

.
But as I discussed with someone already on page 1 of this thread -- is Ash's comment just the android's philosophical rumination -- in extremely bad taste from a human perspective, as evidenced by the uncomfortable glances it provokes -- over the fact that Kane, physically, "gave birth" to the creature ... similar, albeit slightly more dramatically, to how you might "give birth" to a botfly ... or is it to be interpreted as referring to actual literal genetic relationship ... well, that's up to each of us to decide. Personally, I've always felt the latter would be reading far too much into it.
I understand your position, and also found your personal alien lore you wrote about above inspiring. But is it not more space horror if the really nasty aliens has to be bred from humans? Otherwise, W-Y has no need to kidnap unwitting colonists and present them to facehuggers. They can just breed their xeno army from pigs or something. 
 
S.M
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat 14 Dec 2019, 06:58

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 22:05

It's shown because the Alien is bipedal like a human.

There are quotes from Ridley (and it's the ALIEN SECRETS section).
"The nasty one, the thing that sprung out of the egg - the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it - is the father.  All it does is plant the seed.  And the next generation takes on charactertistics of whatever form it landed on."
.
it's exactly the other way around, actually -- the idea of the Alien adopting characteristics from the host could justifiably be regarded as a retcon. Sir Ridley had Giger's bipedal design as a starting point, and going on from that point, he thinks that "hey, what if...?"

I believe the full paragraph you were quoting goes as follows -- the second sentence giving the crucial context:
.
FACT: There was much more to the Alien than met the eye. Since Ridley Scott used a painting by Giger as the basis for the adult Alien, he had to work backward to create the first two phases. During this process, the director came to understand the organism completely. "The nasty one," he says, "the thing that sprung out of the egg — the 'perambulatory penis' as we used to call it — is the father. All it does is plant the seed. And the next generation takes on characteristics of whatever form it landed on." This means that the ALIEN may not always be a biped! It could conceivably be a combination of the original Face Hugger and whatever host it uses!
.
So, the Alien is not made bipedal in the movie because it takes on characteristics from its host -- Sir Ridley muses that it might take on characteristics from its host because the Alien in the movie is bipedal.
Ergo, you can't really say that "the concept made it to the film and is shown on-screen", because it actually went the other way -- the concept is a rationalisation for what is on-screen, not the basis for it.

Which brings me back to square one: going from what is seen on-screen in Alien alone, the idea of the Alien taking on characteristics from its host is one possible rationalisation, but nothing seen or said on-screen mandates it as the only possible rationalisation.


Besides, I feel the whole proposition that "humans are bipedal, the Alien is bipedal -- ergo the Alien must take on characteristics from its host" stems from somewhat faulty logic anyway. Even here on Earth today, humans aren't the only bipedal life form -- and looking back through Earth's history, you'll find they've been quite common at one point or another. After all, it's not an entirely impractical mode of locomotion.
So what's to say the Galaxy isn't teeming with bipeds -- including the Alien?
My point was 'Alien takes on characteristics of the host was a thing since they conceived the monster for the first film; not something made up for Alien 3'.

How they arrived at that point when making Alien is irrelevant.
 
S.M
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat 14 Dec 2019, 06:58

Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 22:13

However, in the current RPG it does not say anything about the host affecting the xenomorphs shape in any way (except the "bambi-burster", but not in the later stages). 
I've not read into the different stages in detail, but I find all the myriad different types a bit video gamey.
 
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The1TrueFredrix
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Re: Trying to make sense of "Xenomorphs"

Thu 09 Jan 2020, 22:29

Andrew Gaska has tried to be a completest, listing Aliens from books as well as films. I agree they turn out to be very videogamey, but the beauty is you can choose which bits of lore you will have in your version of the world. In any games I play for example, the perfect life form will have just one life cycle, no Alien Queen even, but the final form of the creature may we’ll be influenced by its host. 
Effekt - A fan podcast celebrating Swedish RPGs including, but not limited to: Alien; Coriolis; Forbidden Lands; Symbaroum; and Tales from the Loop. Featuring discussion magazine episodes and Actual Play recordings. https://effektpodcast.org/
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