How does a Xenomorph mature into its adult form?
Posted Nov-15-2016 5:48 AM
One scene we have never seen in any of the Alien movies is exactly how a Xenomorph is capable of growing from a Chestburster, averaging eighteen inches in length, into a fully grown nine feet tall adult, seemingly within a short period of time. Thankfully though the installments in the franchise so far have given us some clues.
The first thing we know is that during or before its transformation the Xenomorph Chestburster sheds its soft tissue. Even the variant that was born on Fiorina 161, which was born more developed than that of a human-born Chestburster, was shown to have shed its soft tissue before maturing into its adult form. Ironically this piece of "common knowledge" was completely overlooked by most fans (as well as concept artists for Prometheus) when Scified ran its popular design the adult deacon competition, with most interpretations of the deacon shown with adult sized proportions. Some entrants did, however, incorporate the exoskeletal trait previously seen in adult Xenomorphs, suggesting that the Deacon too would have shed its "burster skin" before maturing.
Next, we know that the Xenomorph grows from its Chestbuster form into an adult in a very short time frame, possibly even mere minutes. One would imagine that such a biological process would be violent and painful if kept in line with the design aspect of the creature (more on that later). During this process, one would imagine that the Xenomorphs body would be pliable and soft as it expands and grows exponentially in size. Upon reaching maturation the Xenomorphs skin would then slowly solidify, as evidenced by the possible molting evidenced by various specimens, in which it would appear that the Xenomorph sheds multiple layers of its adult skin before fully maturing. It is also possible that what we have witnessed as molting is instead evidence to an alternate form of maturation we have never even speculated upon (but again, we'll cover that later).
Another element of the Xenomorphs maturation that has been inferred is that the Xenomorph is capable of maturing a second time. The inference is that the Xenomorphs that overwhelmed the Hadley's Hope colony had once had the smooth, translucent carapaces like that of the specimen that terrorized the crew of the Nostromo, but in the interim period before the USS Sulaco arrived the "Drones" shed their crowns and became "Warriors". The critically panned crossover AVPR postulated something similar, claiming that its Pred-Alien was a juvenile Queen or Princess that would somehow later have developed into the more familiar Queen. The Dark Horse comics and many video games have added to this concept even future suggesting that a Warrior caste Xenomorph is capable of maturing yet again into a Praetorian, which can then mature once more into a Queen, giving the Xenomorph multiple possible stages in its lifecycle dependent upon the composition of its brood, or lack thereof.
Returning back to the Chestburster, the most inferred scenario seems to be that upon shedding its soft tissue a Chestburster finds a secluded spot before violently undergoing growth into its adult form. Another possibility, though less likely as it would move away from the nightmarish visage of the creature, would be that to transform from a Chestburster into its adult form a Xenomorph could cocoon itself within a chrysalis a secreted resin, within which it could quickly gestate into its adult form. It is possible that what we have witnessed as molting could the residue from within the cocoon, but having never seen any other evidence of the cocoon this scenario is unlikely. Yet with Sil the antagonist of Species having also been designed by the late H. R. Giger, it is possible that its inspiration could be retconned into the Alien franchise.
Do you have any theories or facts on this unseen aspect of the Xenomorphs lifecycle?