The Drone, also known as the Lurker, Scout, Stalker or Worker, is a form of Xenomorph, often said to be the most basic caste. It is a loyal servant for the Queen, but essentially represents the lowliest class of Xenomorph, comparable to a worker ant. Drones construct Alien Hives, using a resin-like secretion that they produce, and collect hosts for impregnation. Drones are easily identified by their smooth head carapaces, among the smoothest of all Xenomorphs, and they are capable of spitting cysts of acidic blood at their enemies. They average around 7–8 feet tall when standing on hind legs, and about 14–15 feet long, tail included.
The Drone first appears in Alien, and as such was the first Xenomorph designed and seen. Drones were also supposed to appear in Aliens, but during pre-production the creature's smooth carapace was removed out of fear the fragile dome would crack during filming, a modification that gave rise to the Warrior caste.
One particular Drone (commonly known as "Giger's Alien" by fans) from LV-426 was responsible for infiltrating the Nostromo and killing virtually all of its crew. The creature was ultimately ejected into space and incinerated in the engines of the shuttle Narcissus by Ellen Ripley.
Drone & WarriorEdit
It has long been theorized that smooth-headed Drones and ridge-headed Warriors are in fact the same caste of Xenomorph, and that the ridged head structure of the Warrior is simply a sign of ageing or maturity in a Drone. Drones and Warriors have never appeared in the same film throughout the Alien franchise. Currently, Drones have only been depicted in Alien and Alien vs. Predator, while Warriors appear in Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (the other films of the franchise feature other Xenomorph variations, such as the Runner in Alien3 or the Genetic Xenomorphs in Alien Resurrection). The aging theory is backed up by the fact the Xenomorphs featured in Aliens have been alive for considerably longer than those seen in either Alien or Alien vs. Predator (however, it does not explain the presence of Warriors in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, despite those creatures being only recently born).
In the cast and crew commentary for Aliens, James Cameron confirms the ageing concept, stating that the Warrior Xenomorphs in his film are indeed intended to be adult Drones. The change in design was originally implemented because Cameron was concerned that the smooth head piece of the original film's design would crack or otherwise be damaged during the increased stunt work required of the Xenomorph suits in Aliens. As a result, he simply removed the smooth cover from the heads, exposing the ridges beneath.
Drones are spawned from human hosts, and as such share their bipedal stature, although they have been known to move on all fours at times. After reaching its adult height, the Drone typically dwarfs its host, standing at least 7 feet tall. They are dark in color, typically black but often with some grey coloration on their smooth heads. They are often said to fulfil a worker role within the Hive, building and tending to the nest, although they are also voracious predators possessing incredible strength, easily capable of restraining or subduing a human male.
Their most distinguishing features are their smooth heads, dorsal tubes and barb-tipped tails, which can be used as a formidable flailing weapon, powerful enough to hurl an average human through the air or even impale and suspend a Predator with little effort. Their ability to spit acid some distance gives them a ranged advantage over many other Xenomorph castes.
When attacking, Drones primarily employ ambush tactics, and are almost never seen working in coordination with other Xenomorphs, even when inside the Hive, preferring instead to operate alone. They are shown to be intelligent and patient, employing stealth in their assaults, often seeking to blend in with their environment and waiting motionless for their prey to come within range before striking. This could mean Drones do not require the leadership of a Queen to function at an intelligent level, unlike Warriors who seem to be primarily driven by the Queen's commands and basic instinctual impulses. Drones often operate as scouts, as one of their alternate names implies, and are capable of making independent decisions in the battlefield.
Additionally, it seems that intelligence and abilities can vary between Drones. As seen in Alien vs. Predator, the Xenomorph known as Grid was capable of single-handedly defeating two Predators through a combination of stealth strikes and traditional combat, an exceptional feat for a lone Alien. Grid also seemed to act as something of a leader amongst the other Drones when they broke the Queen free.
It is unclear at what stage a Drone will evolve into a Warrior, or if this process is influenced by the Drone's environment. In the expanded universe, Drones are shown as being the basis for several other forms as well, specifically Praetorians and even Queens. The conditions that may initiate these changes are not well understood, with situational, environmental and hierarchical factors being quoted in different sources.
Originally, the Drone was given a complete reproductive life cycle that did not require a Queen to lay more Eggs. Rather, the Drone would cocoon a victim in its Hive, and the victim would subsequently be changed by unknown means into a new Egg containing a Facehugger. Footage of this process was shot for Alien, although it was later removed from the final print of the film. The sequence has, however, reappeared in the Director's Cut, suggesting that it may be an alternate means for a Xenomorph to reproduce when a Queen is not present, or possibly even produce a Royal Facehugger.
- The Drones seen in Alien Resurrection are known as the "Genetic Xenomorphs".
- In the 2010 video game Aliens vs. Predator, the Drones make the same sounds as Chestbursters. This is most readily heard when playing as a Predator and a trophy kill is performed on a Drone.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers) and Ridley Scott (director). Alien [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Paul W.S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Vincent Ward (writer) and David Fincher (director). Alien3 [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- ↑ Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers) and Ridley Scott (director). Alien Director's Cut [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.