The Runner, also known as the Dog Alien, Ox Alien or Scout, is a Xenomorph spawned from a quadrupedal host animal such as a dog. Runners, as their name implies, are fast and agile, and like Drones can spit acid from their mouths. Runners have variously been portrayed as being slightly larger and slightly smaller than typical human-spawned Aliens, differences that no doubt derive from the animal that hosted the creature. However, the Runner in Alien3 is around 7 feet 5 inches tall when standing on its hind legs.
The Runner was first introduced in Alien3 as the main antagonist of the film. It has subsequently appeared in many video games and other expanded universe media.
Runners are physically quite different to human-spawned Xenomorphs due to the species' tendency to "inherit" aspects of its host's DNA. In the case of the Runner, it has most notably taken on its host's quadruped posture, with digitigrade hind legs. Like Drones, Runners have smooth domed carapaces, and they are also one of the few Xenomorphs not to have the distinctive dorsal tubes typical of many other castes. Their skin is tinted brownish-red as opposed to the more usual grey-black.
While capable of standing and walking on their hind legs, Runners typically remain in their typical quadrupedal stance when moving and this makes them among the fastest Xenomorphs. They are equally capable of traversing floors, walls and ceilings at speed on all fours. However, physically Runners are not as tough as Warriors or Drones, relying on their speed and agility to outmaneuver threats rather than strength to overcome them. A Runner also tends to use its tail attack (which stuns the victim) more often than the Drone.
Unlike other Chestbursters, in Alien3 the Runner is shown to be born fully formed and only needs to grow larger. Why this is so is never explicitly stated. However, in the Assembly Cut, where the Alien is spawned from an ox, it is hinted that this could be a result of the Chestburster being unable to escape its host's chest cavity at the typical interval (likely due to its higher structural rigidity), as the ox dies some time before the Chestburster hatches. Furthermore, the Assembly Cut Chestburster is considerably larger than a typical specimen when it finally emerges from the corpse, indicating it had already begun maturing within.
Runners, being weaker and generally fewer in number than other Xenomorph types, utilize stealth in their attacks, and have been known to take advantage of their ability to spit acid some distance, often hanging back from targets and striking from range, perhaps behind the cover of assaulting Warriors, Runners will often wait until their prey is alone before ambushing them, although they have been known to strike at members of larger groups if an opportune target presents itself.
The intelligence of Runners is often debated. In Alien3, instead of gathering live hosts for the soon-to-be-birthed Queen, the creature simply kills its victims outright, sparing none (with exception of Ripley, who is carrying the Queen embryo). This could suggest that Xenomorphs gain intellectual as well as physical traits from their host. However, it is also possible the Runner was simply reducing the size of the human population in order to guarantee the young Queen's safety.
It is not currently known if Runners possess a mature stage, similar to how a Drone evolves into a Warrior, as only one juvenile Runner has been seen on film to date. Some have theorised that the Crushers seen in the video games Aliens: Colonial Marines are in fact highly-evolved, Praetorian-like Xenomorphs that have grown from Runners instead of Warriors, citing the Crusher's quadruped stance as evidence. However, the origins of the Crusher are never explained in the game.
Concept and Credit ControversyEdit
Originally, H. R. Giger was approached on July 28, 1990 by David Fincher and Tim Zinnemann, and was asked to redesign his own creations for Alien3. Giger's new designs included an aquatic Facehugger and a four-legged version of the adult Alien. Giger said in an interview; "I had special ideas to make it more interesting. I designed a new creature, which was much more elegant and beastly, compared to my original. It was a four-legged Alien, more like a lethal feline - a panther or something. It had a kind of skin that was built up from other creatures - much like a symbiosis". However, when Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis of Amalgamated Dynamics told Giger that they had their own design, Giger expressed himself as "very upset" and that the creature he had especially designed was his "baby". Even after the production severed contact, Giger continued to fax suggestions to Fincher because of his enthusiasm for the project, and made full-scale drawings and a sculpt of the Alien, all of which were rejected.
Giger would later be angered by the end credits of the released film presenting him as merely the creator of the original creature, and the fact that ADI personnel gave a series of interviews that minimized Giger's contribution. Fox eventually reimbursed Giger, but only after he refused to be interviewed for the Wreckage and Rage behind the scenes documentary on Alien3.
The Academy Awards overlooked Giger's contribution to Alien3. However, Ridley Scott included Giger's name along with nominees Carlo Rambaldi and Richard Johnson. Fox, at the time Alien3 was released, pointed out that studios are precluded from submitting nominees in the effects category directly to the Academy. This upset Giger so much that at one point he sent Academy president Karl Malden a fax with this closing comment: "I am under the strong impression that my contribution to the visual effects of the nominated movie has been intentionally suppressed", signing the letter with a large black pentagram.
Giger however would comment that he thought the resulting film was "okay" and that the Alien was "better than in the second film."
Behind the ScenesEdit
Originally, the production team planned to use an actual dog, a Whippet, dressed in a Xenomorph suit to portray the Runner in wide shots. However, after initial tests proved completely unsatisfactory (the special effects team themselves admitted the effect was laughably inept) the decision was made to use a scale rod puppet of the creature that was then composited into the film later. For close-up shots, the Runner was portrayed by Tom Woodruff, Jr. in a suit.
As mentioned previously, there is much debate as to the Runner's intellect, given that in Alien3 it seems to kill all of its victims rather than capture them to be hosts for more Xenomorphs. In reality, the plan was originally for the Runner to convert the prison's assembly hall into a Hive where Dillon and Morse would discover several of the creature's victims, including Superintendent Andrews, cocooned and still alive, presumably ready for the Queen to impregnate when she began laying Eggs. The sequence was conceived as an homage to a similar scene cut from Alien where Ripley discovers Dallas and Brett cocooned in the Nostromo's hold (later reinstated in the Director's Cut). However, this entire sequence was cut before it was filmed, although at least two of the cocoons were partially constructed.
- Aliens versus Predator 2
- Aliens vs. Predator (video game, as "Jungle Alien")
- AVP: Evolution
- Crusher - another quadrupedal Xenomorph.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Vincent Ward (writer) and David Fincher (director). Alien3 [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Aliens versus Predator 2 Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- ↑ Vincent Ward (writer) and David Fincher (director). Alien3 Assembly Cut [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger. Wreckage and Rage: The Making of 'Alien3' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ "The Official Website". HR Giger. Retrieved on 2009-03-02.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Alien 3: The Cocoon Sequence". Retrieved on 2013-04-18.