The Alien franchise has been around for almost four decades, and spawned six feature films so far, along with two Alien vs. Predator spinoffs, another planned sequel (Alien: Covenant 2), plus a handful of comics and video games — and a ton of non-storyline related crap, like plush dolls, action figures, and T-shirts. Unfortunately, when your fictional universe gets that large, mistakes usually tend to leak into the canon.
Some mistakes are small and easy to dismiss, while other are much larger and linger as damaging plot holes. There was a big hope that Ridley Scott would help save the franchise from the watered-down sequels when he returned with 2012’s Prometheus and 2017’s Alien: Covenant, but so far it’s only created more confusion. Perhaps he will still be able to answer all these questions and resolve these storylines by the time he’s done.
**Warning: We’re going to SPOIL everything, including the newer movies. You’ve been warned!**
12. Was Meredith Vickers Really a Human?
When the Alien franchise was sneakily rebooted with 2012’s Prometheus, Michael Fassbender was cast as the android David, who was in basically there to make life easier for all the humans on the ship. But what if he wasn’t the only android of the bunch? Charlize Theron also joined the cast as Weyland employee Meredith Vickers. It was her job to oversee the mission and ensure it stayed on course for the benefit of her employer. But was it really that simple?
As the movie progresses, everyone (including the audience) grows suspicious of both her actions and her intentions. When Peter Weyland interjects himself into the situation near the end of the film, Vickers call him “father.” It’s instantly apparent the relationship is not a good one, which could be because androids struggle to understand real human emotion (although they can be programmed to simply display things like anger or sadness). At one point in Prometheus, another character gets so suspicious of Vickers that she flat-out asks if she’s an android or not.
Unfortunately, Vickers is killed by a crashing spaceship and her true origins remain a mystery.
11. What Happened To Morse?
Despite all of the somewhat heroic figures in the Alien franchise, the sole survivor of Alien 3 is a lowly prisoner named Morse. Not even Ripley makes it out alive, sacrificing herself to ensure the Alien inside her also dies (rather than end up in the evil clutches of Weyland-Yutani). In the final shots of the movie, the prison is closed and Morse is being led away (despite being shot in the leg earlier), listening to Ripley’s recording from the first film.
After that? Well, nothing. The franchise picks up 200 years later in Alien: Resurrection, but obviously Morse wouldn’t have survived that long. Still, you have to think that someone who dealt with the Aliens first hand would be of use to the Weyland-Yutani group in some way. In the non-movie Alien media, it’s suggested that Morse wrote a book about his experiences called Space Beast, but it was quickly banned by governments and regulatory agencies. There’s a fan theory that Alien: Resurrection character Call had read the book though, giving her knowledge of both Ripley and the Xenomorph.
10. How Did The Egg Get On The Sulaco in Alien 3?
The ending of Aliens included one final twist, as the Queen Alien ambushes Ripley and her colleagues as they attempt to escape on the ship Sulaco. She is eventually thwarted by Ripley in her iconic yellow exosuit, but not before laying an egg somewhere on the ship — but we wouldn’t learn about it until Alien 3.
When the next film begins, a fire starts on the Sulaco causing the ship’s computer to eject Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and Bishop in the escape pod. The pod lands on Fury 161, a prison planet for violent male offenders. Oh, and scans show that one of the four survivors has a facehugger attached to it. This begs the question — how (and when) did the Queen from Aliens find time to lay an egg while she was in the middle of attacking the ship?
Some fans theorize that Bishop, who was a Weyland android, might have smuggled it aboard in accordance with company orders. This theory loses weight, though, when you consider that a Weyland android would likely be smart enough to put the egg in a secure place, or even cyrostasis. Regardless, it feels like the writers for Alien 3 just decided to gloss over exactly how the egg got there. After all, the movie would kind of suck without an Alien to fight.
9. What Happened To Walter?
Alien: Covenant features the ol’ Michael Fassbender switcheroo. Rather than returning as the android David from the previous movie, Fassbender stars as Walter, a newer version of the same model. We later find out that part of Walter’s “improvements” were to remove aspects of David’s AI, making him a more obedient servant and less likely to question the nature of his role.
When the Covenant malfunctions, the crew decides to check out a nearby inhabitable planet as a potential colonization spot. When they last, it’s revealed that David and Shaw from Prometheus had already been there. In fact, David is still there, experimenting with the strange black liquid and accidently creating a new species of Alien. He’s also developed a distrust for humans, believing they are a dying species. He turns on the humans, and on his fellow-android Walter.
In the end, the good guys escape. Or so it seems. The twist ending reveals that it is actually bad android David who makes it off the planet disguised as Walter, but still planning to breed Aliens and wipe out humanity. We’ll have to wait until the next movie to see how that all pans out, but it begs the question: what happened to Walter? Was he destroyed? Disabled? Or simply left alive, now trapped alone on the same planet David was trapped on? If he is alive, will we ever see him again?
8. Why Did The Engineers Invite Humanity To Meet Them in The First Place?
Out of all the Alien movies, Prometheus was definitely the most confusing. They didn’t even admit it was part of the Alien canon at first, despite Ridley Scott coming back to the fold as director. Maybe they were trying to surprise everyone? Anyway, it was a strange chapter of the story, involving the “Engineers,” which are essentially an extraterrestrial race responsible for creating humans (and maybe the Aliens too). Basically, they are God(s).
But Prometheus starts with the Engineers sending out clues (a star map) and basically an invite for humanity to come find them on LV-223. As the movie goes on, it’s revealed the Engineers share some of the same DNA as humans and that Peter Weyland had secretly come on the mission as well, planning to ask the Engineers to prevent his death from old age.
Instead, though, the Engineer they encounter kills Weyland, decapitates David (an android) and kills a bunch of the crew. It appears he plans to release a mysterious black liquid biological weapon on Earth, which will kill of humanity. But why did the Engineers (or maybe just that single rogue Engineer) want to kill off the same race they created? Elisabeth Shaw intended to find out, but the question hasn’t been answered yet.
7. Are the Alien vs. Predator Movies Officially Canon?
We have to admit, the Alien vs. Predator movies are a guilty pleasure around the Goliath offices. Sure, they are dumb and don’t make much sense, but we’re willing to ignore all of that because watching an Alien and a Predator battle to the death is simply cool as f**k. Despite the cheesy action, it appears that the events of the AvP movies are being officially stricken from the record.
When it was pointed out that the events of Prometheus contradicted the story told in the first AvP movie, Ridley Scott willfully decided to simply ignore it. The contradictions continued with Alien: Covenant, meaning the history of Predators coming to Earth in order to engage in epic battles with Xenomorphs as a rite of passage is (probably) officially non-canon.
6. Why Did The Engineers Turn Against The Humans?
When the Alien franchise was rebooted in 2012, director Ridley Scott decided to explore the very origins of both the Alien species and humanity itself. The answer, in both cases, appears to be the Engineers — a species of white, humanoid aliens with immense power to create life. But somewhere along the line, the Engineers apparently grew tired of humans, since they were planning to destroy Earth with that mysterious black liquid weapon. But why?
Some fans have suggested that they moved on to more advanced species (ie, the Aliens). Others have theorized that they were disappointed in humanity and our constant violent fighting. One off-the-wall fan theory even claims the Engineers sent Jesus to help humans fix their problems, but we stupidly crucified him anyway. Ridley Scott even hinted at that last theory being possible, but we still don’t have an official answer as to why the creators of humanity now want everyone dead.
5. Ummm Earth, Anyone?
Obviously a sci-fi movie franchise about spaceships, distant planets, and killer Aliens species should take place primarily in space. After all, the original tagline was “In space, no one can hear you scream.” But the humans in all these movies are very clearly from Earth, so what exactly is going on with our beloved Blue Planet? We never really find out, but there are a few clues sprinkled in.
During Alien 3, Call casually mentions something called the “Lacerta Plague,” implying a massive virus attacked the population. Johner also calls the planet a “s**thole,” which is a little more ambiguous, but may suggest that Earth is more or less in ruins. An alternate (but non-canon) ending to Alien: Resurrection includes Ripley-8 and Call landing on Earth, in a completely ruined version of Paris. And if one of Europe’s major cities is decimated, what does that mean for the rest of the world?
The Alien vs. Predator series do take place on Earth, but as previously discussed, they aren’t really official stories in the Alien universe, so we can count them.
4. What’s the Deal With Corporal Hicks’ Death?
After narrowly surviving at the end of Aliens, Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn) goes on to triumphantly… die in the opening scenes of Alien 3 when an escape pod crashes into the prison planet of Fury 161. His body is quickly cremated and that’s the end of Hicks. What a shame.
However, if you played he video game Alien: Colonial Marines, you’ll know there’s a different version of Hicks story. In a story that takes place between Aliens and Alien 3, it’s revealed that it wasn’t really Hicks in that escape pod — it was another wounded man who was assumed to be Hicks in a case of mistaken identity.
The “real” Hicks ends up battling the unethical Weyland-Yutani corporation, although he is eventually captured and tortured for information before being saved by some allies. The good guys kill the Alien and even stop Michael Weyland too — except he is revealed to only be an android copy. Hicks survives the events of the game and vows to continue fighting Weyland-Yutani, but basically hasn’t been heard from since in the Alien universe. When Neil Blomkamp (District 9) was reportedly proposing an Alien 5, there were preliminary plans to have Hicks involved. Now that Ridley Scott is back making Alien prequels, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll get this answer anytime soon.
3. Was Bishop II An Android?
Actor Lance Henriksen plays the android character Bishop in the first sequel, acting as the executive officer aboard the ship Saluco. In the climax of the film, poor Bishop is torn in half by the Alien queen before Ripley saves the day (as she usually does). With the Alien threat seemingly gone, Bishop and the survivors enter hypersleep as they return to Earth. Obviously, Alien 3 happened and they never quite made it.
In the third movie, Henriksen spends most of the movie simply providing voice over work for the badly damaged android remains of Bishop. It’s only at the very end of the movie that Bishop returns, but this time claiming to be the very real human creator of the dead android version. This new Bishop bleeds red blood and appears capable of emotion, but the character is credited as “Bishop II.” Maybe it’s just a more advanced model of the original, with some emotional and cybernetic upgrades to make it appear more human? Furthermore, Bishop II definitely has the best interests of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in mind, meaning he could just be lying about his humanity in an attempt to fool Ripley. We never really find out.
2. What Happened to Ripley-8?
At the end of Alien 3, it appeared that Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character Ellen Ripley was gone for good. That’s what happens when you commit suicide by self-cremation while an Alien queen bursts out of your chest. She thought she was exterminating the dangerous Alien race for good, and at the same time preventing the Weyland-Yutani corporation from obtaining valuable Alien specimens to make biological weapons out of.
However, Ripley returned in Alien: Resurrection, which was set 200 years later. Because this series is science fiction, the writers just had Weaver return as a clone of her former human self — thus, Ripley 8 (this also posits that there were seven previous versions). In this movie, the United Systems Military is attempting to breed and study Aliens for its own strategic uses. Ripley 8 even has some Alien DNA spliced into her own, giving her acidic blood, incredible strength, and heightened senses.
Naturally, Ripley 8 managed to eliminate the Alien threat, but the movie ends with her drifting above Earth on a spaceship called Betty, pondering her next move. There’s also an alternate ending features her landing in a ruined version of Paris. But she’s definitely still alive. A non-canonical novel called Alien: Original Sin attempted to continue the story of Ripley 8, but it’s not the official version of events.
1. Why Did The Engineers and Their Base Fall?
The Engineers have been presented as Gods in the Alien prequels, and quite literally are the God of humanity when it’s revealed they created human life on Earth. While we’ve already asked the question of why the Engineers turned on their creation and attempted to destroy all humans, we have another one about the mysterious, powerful alien race.
When the Prometheus lands on LV-223, the crew finds an abandoned Engineer base, leading them to believe the race is actually extinct. They later find a sole survivor, who reacts with hostility towards the humans. But what happened to the rest of them?
The mysterious black liquid seems to be the answer. It’s exact properties are unknown, but it appears to help in the creation of life. Perhaps the Engineers were experimenting with it and things went wrong. It’s possible that they inadvertently created the Xenomorphs while toying with the stuff, which led to the destruction of their base. But we don’t know for sure.
It also begs the question: are the Engineers actually extinct? Or do they still exist, perhaps on a home planet that hasn’t been explored by humans yet? Maybe we’ll find out some day.