- "Think of all we could learn from it!"
- ―Bishop (from Alien3)
Michael Bishop was an employee of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in the late 22nd century. He notably designed the eponymous Bishop series of androids. He also bore a striking resemblance to Charles Bishop Weyland, co-founder of Weyland Industries.
Michael Bishop was originally employed as a synthetic component designer and engineer for Weyland-Yutani, but by 2179 had assumed a senior position within the company's bio-weapons division. In this role he was responsible for the Origin Facility on LV-426. He was notably dispatched to Fiorina "Fury" 161 to retrieve Ellen Ripley from the Fiorina 161 Class C Work Correctional Unit.
Michael Bishop was born in 2127 in New York, UA. Not much is known about his early life, but what is known is that at sometime prior to 2179, he was employed at Weyland-Yutani as a synthetic component designer. During this time, he designed several synthetics including the eponymous Bishop series, which he modelled on his own appearance.
Capturing Dwayne Hicks
By 2179, Bishop had moved to the company's bio-weapons division and as such became involved in the study of the Xenomorph species. Following the Xenomorph outbreak at Hadley's Hope on LV-426, he was dispatched to the moon to investigate what had happened at the colony, his ultimate goal being the successful acquisition of a Xenomorph specimen, apparently at any cost. Weyland-Yutani PMCs under Bishop's command were notably responsible for the failed attempt at capturing Dwayne Hicks aboard the USS Sulaco.
Retrieval mission and failure
Following Hicks' escape, Bishop was dispatched to Fiorina 161 with a team of scientists and Weyland-Yutani Commandos aboard the Patna to retrieve the Xenomorph specimen that was loose there for the company's bio-weapons division. He was selected for the mission due to the involvement of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley; it was thought that her previous experience with one of Bishop's android creations in the USCM would make him the company's best chance of obtaining her cooperation. He arrived on the planet too late to capture the Xenomorph, which was destroyed by Ripley and the prison's inmates.
However, medical data automatically transmitted following Ripley's scan inside the damaged EEV had told Bishop of the Xenomorph Queen gestating inside her, and consequently Bishop attempted to secure her cooperation as the best remaining means to obtain an Alien specimen. When his attempts to convince Ripley that his team of scientists could safely remove the creature and then destroy it failed, he was assaulted by Francis Aaron with a wrench and suffered serious head injuries; Aaron was shot and killed by Weyland-Yutani commandos for the incident, against Bishop's orders. As Ripley prepared to commit suicide rather than allow the Xenomorph to fall into Weyland-Yutani's hands, Michael let his cover slip and begged her to reconsider, imploring her to think of the biological and technological possibilities should they have the opportunity to study the creature. Ripley refused, and threw herself into the furnace at the foundry, killing the Chestburster along with herself. Bishop's mission was a failure, but he was able to capture Hicks and Samwell Stone, who had arrived at the prison facility at the moment Ripley sacrificed herself. Bishop and his team subsequently left the facility, taking with them their prisoners and the lone survivor of the Fiorina 161 incident, inmate Robert Morse, and the remains of Lance Bishop. Morse was later returned to prison.
Return to LV-426
After the events on Fiorina 161, Bishop returned to LV-426 with Hicks and Stone. He oversaw the interrogation of the two captives aboard the Resolute — although Stone was later executed — as well as the construction of the Origin Facility, which was being hastily assembled around the rediscovered derelict ship. There, under Bishop's overall command, Weyland-Yutani scientists began breeding and studying the Xenomorphs using the Eggs aboard the derelict. Bishop's team would also capture the second Acheron Queen from her Hive in the caves beneath the moon's surface. However, following the arrival of the USS Sephora and subsequent events on the planet, culminating in the destruction of the Origin Facility by Colonial Marines from the Sephora, Bishop fled the moon, leaving behind a synthetic double to buy himself time.
Michael was a synthetic component designer at Weyland-Yutani in the late 22nd century. He was known to have designed at least one line of synthetics after his likeness, the 341-B model. The android Lance Bishop was one of those models.
Personality and Traits
- "Lieutenant Ripley's death: a selfish act. The destruction of the Legato at the hands of some angry little girl: inconvenient. But let us be frank, Corporal — and please, believe me when I say this — there is nothing sacred here. Every resource I have is expendable when it comes to ensuring the further study and development of this organism."
- ―Bishop to Hicks, regarding the Xenomorph (from Stasis Interrupted)
Michael Bishop was a highly intelligent individual, but he was also manipulative and deceitful, qualities that no doubt endeared him to Weyland-Yutani. On Fiorina 161, he openly claimed that he wanted to destroy the Chestburster inside Ellen Ripley and take her home to safety, when his real aim was to capture the Xenomorph specimen at any cost. However, Ripley saw through his claims and ultimately committed suicide to prevent him from obtaining the creature.
Behind the Scenes
Human or android?
There has been much debate among fans over whether Michael Bishop is a human, or simply another android like the Bishop he created, albeit a more advanced model. This debate has been fueled by the fact that no official, definitive answer has been given either way since the release of Alien3, although several hints from various other sources seem to imply he is human. During production of the film, Bishop was always intended to be human — in fact, Bishop was originally supposed to die as a result of Aaron's attack, although this was later changed when it was deemed an anti-climax — but the fact it is never explicitly stated in the film has led some to argue he is in fact a synthetic.
Evidence for being human:
- Bishop II claims he is human to Ripley.
- He bleeds red blood.
- He shows emotion in response to Ripley's decision to kill herself along with the Queen embryo.
- The novelization of Alien3 makes it clear that Bishop bleeds "real blood" when injured by Aaron.
- In the final scenes of Aliens: Colonial Marines, the character (under the name Michael Weyland) is introduced and shown to be an android. However, Dwayne Hicks subsequently points out that the android was not the real Michael Weyland (whom he had met) because he was not visibly breathing, implying the character from Alien3 is human.
Evidence for being an android:
- Bishop survived a wound that would likely have killed, or at least immediately crippled, a normal human.
- The cast list in the credits gives him no actual name; he is listed simply as "Bishop II".
- Although he claims he is human, he displayed a propensity for lying to Ripley on other issues.
- His red blood could be colored circulation fluid or a blood substitute.
- The emotions he displayed could simply be as a result of more advanced programming; in Aliens, Lance Bishop was shown to be capable of rudimentary simulation of emotions (albeit with frequent "glitches").
- Numerous other android Bishops and Weylands have appeared posing as humans in the expanded universe (e.g. Karl Bishop Weyland).
- Some have cited the existence of Charles Bishop Weyland in Alien vs. Predator as evidence that Michael Bishop is unlikely to also be human.
To further confuse the issue, since the film's release Lance Henriksen himself has gone on record with conflicting opinions on the status of his character; at various points, he has claimed he personally believes Bishop II was human, while at others, he has stated that the character was an "advanced model" android.
It is worth noting that the extended Special Edition of the movie, while still not giving a definitive answer, makes it more clear that Michael Bishop is human. For example, he desperately screams, "I'm not a droid!" after being wounded by Aaron, and is shown to be bleeding profusely and in extreme pain as a result of his wounds. He also shows a greater depth of emotion, becoming more distressed when Aaron is executed by one of the commandos accompanying him, and becoming angry when one of the scientists on his team attempts to film events. In a 1992 interview, Henriksen complained about the removal of this additional footage from the theatrical release, noting how the changes made his character seem impervious to pain and therefore more ambiguous. The various script drafts for the film also make it clear Bishop was intended as a human; some of these drafts even had the character die.
- Bishop actor Lance Henriksen is almost certainly the most prolific figure in the Alien franchise. As well as Michael Bishop, he portrayed Lance Bishop in Aliens and Charles Bishop Weyland in Alien vs. Predator, and also lent his voice and likeness to the characters of Karl Bishop Weyland and another Bishop android in the video games Aliens vs. Predator and Aliens: Colonial Marines, respectively.
- Furthermore, Henriksen appeared as Detective Hal Vukovich in The Terminator, which was written and directed by Aliens director James Cameron. In the film, his character is killed by the titular cyborg; this, combined with his deaths in Aliens and Alien vs. Predator, makes Henriksen one of two actors who have been killed on-screen by an Alien, a Predator and a Terminator, a dubious honor he shares with fellow Aliens actor Bill Paxton.
- In the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines and its expansion Stasis Interrupted, Bishop's name is said to be Michael Weyland. However, this contradicts several other sources (including Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report), which give his surname as Bishop.
- Henriksen was initially reluctant to appear in Alien3 (beyond providing the voice of the damaged Bishop), but did so as a favour to producer Gordon Carroll. He would go on to say that he had "a lot of fun" making the movie.
- The prosthetic head piece used to show Bishop's injuries was built around an ear originally made for Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film Batman.
- Since the release of Alien vs. Predator in 2004, the Michael Bishop character has come to be considered by some a direct descendant of Charles Bishop Weyland.
- In the arcade game Alien3: The Gun, a character with a very similar appearance and role to Bishop appears, known as "An Unidentified Man". He is the final boss of the game and is killed by the player(s).
- Aliens: Nightmare Asylum (indirect mention)
- Aliens versus Predator 2 (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines/Stasis Interrupted
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 139 (2014), Insight Editions.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013), Gearbox Software, SEGA [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360].
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Vincent Ward (writer), David Fincher (director). Alien3 (1992), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Alien3 Collectible CardArt — 70. Bishop II (1992), Star Pics.
- ↑ Paul W. S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator (2004), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Stasis Interrupted (2013), Gearbox Software, SEGA [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360].
- ↑ Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 146 (1995), Boxtree Ltd..
- ↑ A. C. Crispin. Alien Resurrection, p. 99 (1997), Warner Aspect.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "Strange Shapes - Debate: Bishop II, Man or Machine?". Retrieved on 2014-01-15.
- ↑ Alan Dean Foster. Alien3, p. 247 (1992), Warner Books.
- ↑ Lance Henriksen. Lance Henriksen Returns in Style (2010), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray].