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First Acheron Queen

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"Each one of these things comes from an egg, right? So who's laying these eggs?"
"I'm not sure. It must be something we haven't seen yet."
Ripley and Bishop, theorizing about the First Acheron Queen's existence (from Aliens)
First Acheron Queenn
First Acheron Queen
Biographical information
Date and place of birth

2179, Acheron (LV-426)

Rank

Queen

Physical description
Species

Xenomorph

Gender

Female

Height

15'

Chronological and political information
Era(s)

2170s

Notable Facts

Leader of the Hive on LV-426.

Status

Deceased[1] as of June, 2179.[2]

  [Source]

The First Acheron Queen was a Xenomorph Queen born on Acheron (LV-426) in 2179. She was the original leader of the Hive at the colony of Hadley's Hope, and was later encountered there by a unit of Colonial Marines from the USS Sulaco. She was ultimately killed, when she was flushed into space by Ellen Ripley.

BiographyEdit

EmergenceEdit

During the early stages of the Hadley's Hope Xenomorph infestation, one of the first creatures to emerge from the early hosts grew into a Queen,[3] and subsequently set up a Hive within the colony's Atmosphere Processor. Once she had fully matured, she began to lay her own eggs as her Warriors continued to bring captive colonists to the Hive to act as hosts.

When a squad of Colonial Marines under the command of Lieutenant Gorman and accompanied by Ripley arrived at Hadley's Hope to investigate, they were almost wiped out by Xenomorph Warriors in an ambush inside the Hive, with the few survivors forced to retreat. The Queen herself remained unseen deep within the Hive, although Ripley and the other survivors later theorized as to her existence, reasoning that something had to have laid the Eggs they saw prior to the ambush.

Encounter with RipleyEdit

Ripley finds Queen

Ripley encountering the Queen.

Ripley later came face-to-face with the Queen during her attempt to rescue Newt, the last survivor from the colony, who had been captured by the Xenomorphs and taken to the Hive to be impregnated. Facing the Queen alone and surrounded by Warriors, Ripley reasoned with the creature, threatening to destroy all of her Eggs if she and Newt were attacked. Apparently understanding, the Queen signalled her circling Warriors to let them leave. However, when one of the Eggs hatched, Ripley incinerated the nest with her flamethrower and destroyed the Queen's ovipositor with grenades from her Pulse Rifle before fleeing, believing the Alien dead. Enraged, the Queen detached herself from her Egg sac and pursued the fleeing humans.

The Queen utilized an elevator to follow Ripley and Newt to the top floor landing platform, where she cornered them on the landing pad. However, Ripley and Newt managed to escape in the Colonial Marines' dropship, which arrived before the Queen could close in. During a hasty escape, the dropship collided with the landing pad and collected debris on one of its landing skids, allowing the Queen to stow away in the ship's landing gear, unbeknownst to those on board. Moments after the dropship left, the Atmosphere Processor went critical, vaporizing the Hive and all but destroying Hadley's Hope.

Aboard the SulacoEdit

"Get away from her, you BITCH!"
Ripley to the First Acheron Queen, as she attacked Newt (from Aliens)
Queen being ejected

The Queen being ejected.

A short while later, in the main hangar of the USCM transport ship USS Sulaco orbiting above Acheron, the Queen emerged from her hiding place, ripping the android Bishop in two and setting upon Newt. However, she was foiled by Ripley, who fought her off in a Power Loader and threw her into the Sulaco's hangar airlock. She was subsequently shot out into space, likely burning up as she re-entered LV-426's atmosphere.

After deathEdit

It was later revealed, that the Queen had smuggled a single Egg aboard the Sulaco. This would later spawn a Royal Facehugger that caused the death of Newt and infected Ripley with another Queen embryo.[4] On LV-426, several Xenomorphs survived the Atmosphere Processor's detonation and the Second Acheron Queen soon emerged to create a new Hive.

TraitsEdit

As a fairly young specimen, the first Queen on Acheron was notably smaller than other examples that have been encountered.[5][6] Even so, she still towered over the Warriors around her and was a formidable physical presence, standing some 15' high. While she spent most of her life attached to her enormous ovipositor and therefore immobile, when separated she was a terrifying aggressor with strength sufficient to hold her own against a Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader.

IntelligenceEdit

As with all Queens, the first Queen on LV-426 was endowed with heightened intelligence superior to virtually all other Xenomorphs. She was the unequivocal leader of the Hive on LV-426, overseeing and commanding all of the Warriors there.[1] Judging by her ability to issue orders to her brood, it is possible that the Queen played a part in the Warriors' attacks on the inhabitants and, later, Marines at the colony, orchestrating their assaults in a similar fashion to a military commander.

The Queen was shown to possess adept reasoning and learning skills, able to understand the basic concept of an elevator after seeing it in use only once. It was suggested she may have chosen the Atmosphere Processor for her Hive not just because of its warm atmosphere, but because she was somehow aware locating it amongst the processor's vital safety systems would help prevent its destruction.[7] The Queen even went so far as to directly "negotiate" with Ripley when the two entered a stalemate within the Hive. It is also debated that she may have had a higher understanding of other emotional concepts; for example, during her ferocious pursuit of Newt aboard the USS Sulaco, it is not clear whether the Queen was acting merely on instinct, seeking to secure a host for the beginnings of a new Hive, or whether she was specifically intending to avenge the destruction of her brood.

Behind the ScenesEdit

The Queen in Aliens was portrayed by a combination of a full-size animatronic model and small-scale miniatures.[8] The full-size Queen, constructed by Stan Winston's special effects company, was mounted on a large crane that was kept out of shot through clever editing, and consisted of a hydraulically-operated head and neck, puppeted legs, and a cable-operated face and jaws. The entire construct required 14-16 external crewmembers to operate.[8]

Additionally, two stuntmen were encased within the creature's chest operating the four arms. One of these stuntmen, Nick Gillard, later played a background prisoner character in Alien3.[3] Along with the full-size puppet, miniatures were used for the Queen's fight with the Power Loader, as well as shots of the her enormous ovipositor laying Eggs within the Hive.[8] Despite his disappointment at not being asked to return for the sequel, original Alien designer H. R. Giger was complimentary of the Queen's design, later commenting, "I like the fight at the end very much... The Alien Queen is very complicated, like the way I would have done. I like how she moves, and the scenes with Ripley are very good."[9]

Sculpting the Alien Queen headEdit

ALIENS Behind-the-Scenes Sculpting the Alien Queen Head-002:43

ALIENS Behind-the-Scenes Sculpting the Alien Queen Head-0

Aliens FX artist Shane Mahan giving Stan Winston a videotaped report on the progress of his Alien Queen head sculpture.

When James Cameron re-teamed with The Terminator collaborator, Stan Winston, to take on the creature effects for Aliens, their goal was to stay true to the biomechanical design aesthetic that had been established by H. R. Giger while still finding ways to push it further; the Chestburster would have arms; the Warriors would have bonier skulls and there would be a brand new character to design, the Alien Queen. And her face "had to be perfect."[10]

From sketch to sculptureEdit

Cameron brought several renderings of the Queen Alien to his preliminary design meetings at Stan Winston Studio, featuring a massive 4-armed insectoid body and "an elegant" crown-like head with a retractable face, "packed" with dagger-sized, translucent teeth. From there, he and Winston traded sketches before arriving at a final design, which was then sculpted at 1/4 scale by a team of SWS artists. Winston selected one of his key artists, Shane Mahan to tackle the head.[10]

The Alien Queen grows upEdit

Once Cameron signed off on the maquette, it was time to realize the full-size version. Again, Mahan took the lead on the head, sculpting it in WED clay over a period of several weeks in Stan Winston's Aliens FX workshop which had recently been established at Pinewood Studios, outside of London. Under the art direction of Cameron and Winston, Mahan translated the miniature head and face into full-scale, adding and defining design elements along the way.[10]

AppearancesEdit

GalleryEdit

Concept artEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  2. Aliens: Newt's Tale, Issue 1
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - James Cameron's Responses To Aliens Critics". Retrieved on 2013-07-01.
  4. Vincent Ward (writer) and David Fincher (director). Alien3 Assembly Cut [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  5. Paul W.S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  6.  Aliens vs. Predator [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360]. Rebellion.
  7. Alan Dean Foster (1986). Aliens novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 213. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill, Stan WinstonSuperior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  9. "Strange Shapes - Her Infernal Majesty". Retrieved on 2014-10-24.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/blog/aliens-behind-the-scenes-sculpting-alien-queen
  11. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=627964497236887&set=pb.104664682900207.-2207520000.1382579451.&type=3&theater

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