|"Queen Facehugger" links here. For the Kenner toy, see Queen Face Hugger (Kenner).|
The Royal Facehugger, also known as the Super Facehugger or Queen Facehugger, is a special variant of Facehugger that is capable of implanting an embryonic Queen. While there is some debate as to how Queen Xenomorphs are created, one possible route involves a Royal Facehugger impregnating a host with a Queen Chestburster. Notably, Royal Facehuggers are capable of implanting more than one embryo into multiple hosts before they die, typically in the form of a second, regular Xenomorph embryo, which it is thought serves to act as a "guard" for the infant Queen.
Royal Facehuggers, like all other Facehuggers, come from Eggs laid by Queens, although they are somewhat larger and possess armor and a bladed tail to help them protect the unborn Queen they carry inside. They also have webbed digits and a dark brown coloration though the one that impregnated Adams was described being lighter in color and only have webbed digits in the front and back digits, size remains larger than normal however  Most notably, a Royal Facehugger is capable of impregnating at least two separate victims with Chestbursters (one with an infant Queen, the other with a typical Xenomorph) and the Facehugger does not die until both of these embryos have been implanted. Exactly how long a Royal Facehugger can survive after impregnating its first host is not known; however, the specimen on Fiorina "Fury" 161 survived for some time between impregnating Ellen Ripley aboard the USS Sulaco and attacking Babe the ox on the planet's surface.
Behind the Scenes
The Royal Facehugger has only appeared once on-screen, and very briefly, in the Special Edition of Alien3; it is only seen for a few seconds on-screen when Murphy finds the dead creature alongside Babe's corpse when the latter is taken to the prison slaughterhouse.
In the special features included on the Alien3 DVD and Blu-ray, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. discuss this "Super Facehugger" and point out that they had taken design inspiration for the creature from the Xenomorph Queen. They also consider it to be the creature that implanted the Queen embryo inside Ripley. The Royal Facehugger model was sculpted by effects artist Chris Halls.
However, when Alien3 was released in cinemas, the scene featuring the Royal Facehugger was completely removed, and a regular Facehugger was used in the film in its stead. This left it unclear how two Xenomorphs came to be on the planet, as only one Egg is seen and traditionally Facehuggers have died as soon as their job of implanting a Xenomorph embryo is complete, and also rendered the canon status of the alternate Facehugger debatable. However, the Royal Facehugger reappeared in the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows, its appearance described as akin to that created for Alien3.
The Queen Facehugger's appearance in the comics is very different to the one in Alien3, likely because the Special Edition of the film featuring the creature had yet to be released. Royal Facehuggers in the comic have the same color as normal Facehuggers but possess spines on their backs and have spots on their air bladders. They have appeared in several comic books including Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species, but all share the same appearance.
- Being a "Super" Facehugger, it is presumably stronger and more resilient than regular Facehuggers, and is likely more intelligent (evidenced by its ability to stay concealed for some time between impregnating hosts in Alien3).
- Royal Facehuggers are able to impregnate at least two hosts, presumably to provide the fledgling Queen with an immediate "bodyguard" in the form of a normal Xenomorph Drone.
- Notably, the Royal Facehugger does not appear in Stasis Interrupted, which recreates the beginning of Alien3, including Ripley being impregnated aboard the Sulaco (by a regular Facehugger).
- In the Aliens novel series and the AvP games, a Drone/Warrior is capable of molting into a Queen if there is no Queen currently alive (examples include Specimen 6). This change has alternately been shown as direct or involving an intermediate Praetorian stage. This method of Queen creation bypasses the need for a Royal Facehugger and Queen embryo altogether. The Predalien in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is also shown molting, however it remains unclear if it was a Drone/Warrior before molting or if it was a Queen from "birth", like the Chestburster inside Ripley in Alien3.
- The book Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report theorizes that, in absence of a Royal Facehugger, a typical Facehugger can instead develop the means to implant a royal embryo.
- The Aliens toyline by Kenner features a Queen Face Hugger, referred to as a Giant Face Hugger Alien in the accompanying mini-comic, Aliens: Terrordome.
- Alien3 Special Edition
- Alien 3: The Gun
- Aliens: Armageddon
- Alien: Sea of Sorrows
- Alien: River of Pain (mentioned only)
- Praetorian Facehugger - another subspecies of Facehugger.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger. Wreckage and Rage: Making Alien3 (2010), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray].
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Vincent Ward (writer), David Fincher (director). Alien3 Special Edition (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens magazine, Vol. 1 #17, p. 28 (1992), Dark Horse International.
- ↑ James A. Moore. Alien: Sea of Sorrows, p. 307 (2014), Titan Books.
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator (2010), Rebellion, SEGA [Microsoft Windows].