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What would the definitive Xenomorph look like?

What would the definitive Xenomorph look like?

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Jul-10-2016 4:37 AM

In the seven movies of which it has made an appearance (not counting the skull in Predator 2) the Xenomorph has been shown to evolve and adapt by assimilating genetic traits from its various host's that prove beneficial to its survival. Using its first appearance in Alien as the archetype the deadly creature has since lost (and then regained) its carapace, gained (and then lost) scythe-like appendages on its forearms, evolved from an anatomical plantigrade posture to an anatomical digitigrade posture, lost (and then regained) its dorsal tubes and (mystery) dorsal appendage, evolved an ever-increasingly larger tip to its tail, and gradually lost the majority of the "mechanical" aspects of its skin, becoming more tainted with the flesh of its hosts with each new generation.

Recently Netherrealm Studios' latest Mortal Kombat game has reminded us of the Xenomorphs ability to assimilate features and traits from its hosts with the iconic characters inclusion in the games DLC, with the Xenomorph assimilating the trademark Tarkatan retractable blades on its forearms (pictured above). Of course, the once popular line of toys developed by Kenner explored many of the possibilities that the "genetic assimilation" could offer with many notorious traits included in their toy line-up, some of which are pictured in the collection below.

It is my belief that the best onscreen interpretations of the Xenomorph, to date, have been in the first two movies and the Deacons brief appearance in the closing moments of 2012's Prometheus. In my opinion, it was while ADI was in charge of the creature from Alien 3 up until AVP:R that the Xenomorph became with each iteration another step away from what made the creature so visually appealing, which was only made worse with the consistent requirement that ADI co-founder Tom Woodruff Jr. be inside the "hero" suit. Looking at Giger's drawings that inspired the Xenomorphs original design (such as "Necronomicon V", pictured below) I have always held that the Alien should be portrayed by a tall, slender woman in the suit rather than an average built man of average height. A feminine posture, stance, and gait would lend the Xenomorph a more fluid and nuanced performance's tenure. I also believe that the Xenomorphs head should be built around the actors head, not atop of it as I have always found the latter design lends the creature an unsightly thick neck.

While I may have my own ideas on what features I would like to see expressed in the "definitive" rendition of the Xenomorph, and with Alien: Covenant likely giving us a new generation of Xenomorph I am curious as to what elements of the creatures design other fans have preferred or would prefer to see. Should the Xenomorph have a Plantigrade or a Digitigrade stance? Should the original barb design for the tails tip return? Should the Carapace remain or not?

11 Responses to What would the definitive Xenomorph look like?


Jul-10-2016 9:19 AM

Though there is no actual "definitive Xenomorph"

I'm all up for the Digitigrade stance because it gives a factor of eeriness to the Alien's movement. (Which I think ALIEN: ISOLATION's xenomorph had.)

And I think films should bring back the barbed tail tips! For me, its more disturbing because to kill with a barb tip, the ALIEN has to rely on brute strength rather than the blade's sharpness. (Like Lambert's death in ALIEN.)

The head carapace should remain but with the under-skull slightly visible.

But I must respectfully disagree, although the ALIEN xenomorph is the most realistic one, I think the ALIEN3 xenomorph is the best one overall. It's sheer speed, ferocity, and animal sensuality really make it a true killing machine, which is closer to Giger's original concepts.

As Tom Woodruff said, "Its a Jaguar crossed with a train."


Jul-10-2016 9:28 AM

I don't think that there is something like the definitive Xenomorph. One thing about it is that there have been different versions of it (with better and worse result) which hints that it is unknown in a way except for that the Engineers have something to do with its creation. The unknown origin should remain IMO even though we might know some about it after the Prometheus films are done (Alien Covenant included).

Necronom 4

Jul-10-2016 10:59 AM

I don't think this will come has a surprise..But, it has got to be the original alien surely. Giger put so much love and attention into every aspect of its design!

I'm sure every other filmmaker after; Cameron, Fincher, the French bloke and whomever settled on the particular designs for each, thought that theirs would be something special.

However, Giger and Ridley had that design nailed in the original. I love the fact that it's very mechanical in appearance, more so than the others. It makes the viewer think, WTF! Due to the fact that we have to find logic in everything.

Has humans, we feel it necessary to find logic in things that are surreal. We feel the need to try to figure out how something which appears to be organic (the facehugger) can breed with something else which is organic and that the result appears to be a machine in humanoid form.

The way it moves is very creepy and reminiscent of Nosfaratu. Obviously the way it was shown by Ridley, not really showing it off even though it begged to be shown in all it's glory, was a master stroke!

So for me, it has to be the original alien! 

The poster was good though!



Jul-10-2016 2:40 PM

As others have said, there is no definitive Alien.  Each one is a mix of Alien and host.


Jul-10-2016 2:47 PM

I'm with Necronom on this, though I'd split it between Alien and Alien 3.  Both were designed, at least in part, by Giger.  (Giger's design for A:3 was rejected, but he strongly influenced the outcome.) There can be no "definitive" without Giger, at least for me.  It's his nightmare, or vision, depending upon your point of view.


The other forms, however, again will depend upon the artist.  The facehugger is Giger's, not the "super-facehugger" from the A:3 outtakes.  The Queen is Cameron's unique vision.  The chestburster belongs to Roger Dicken: even Giger couldn't figure out how to satisfyingly portray it.  And the egg is Giger's.

Newborn you say?  I don't know what you're talking about.


As far as I'm concerned, you can't argue that Cameron's Alien is superior to the design in Alien. It was designed for texture and easy identification due to the low-lighting Cameron wanted to use.  They felt the reflective dome wouldn't work as well and they needed to simplify the suits for use by the performers.  There's no biological reason (per S.M.) that they needed to look different.  And that same thing applies to Alien Resurrection, where the digigrade legs and swimming tail were inexplicable and (imo) dumb.

So in review:

Warrior:  Giger

Dog: Giger

Facehugger: Giger/O'Bannon

Chestburster: Dicken

Queen: Cameron

Egg: Giger

Newborn: Doesn't exist


Jul-10-2016 3:33 PM

I would say, the definitive Xenomorph are the cells which make up the Black Goo / Bio-former.


Jul-10-2016 8:13 PM

For me it's original Giger all the way and the addition of the incredible tall and slender Balango took away any of the man in suit spoiler for me. Giger's original design for Alien 3 as well is magnificent, beautiful and terrible all at once. The Xenomorph should never look bestial..... Just Alien.


Jul-10-2016 8:19 PM

"Facehugger: Giger/O'Bannon"

The facehugger was designed by committee with Dicken executing the final version.


Jul-13-2016 9:17 AM

Definitive for me would mean going right back to the Giger drawing board. The alien with translucent skin and it's metal teeth.

Giger's creature was and still is elegant, beautiful, yet terrifying. It is perfect!

I would love to see his winged Alien Monster IV realised one day too!



"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger


Jul-13-2016 9:57 AM

I think the 1979 Alien as far as the design concept... a remake of this with the latest Technology as far as advances in making suits/props would be Amazing.

I would like to see Necronom 4 brought to life however.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


Jul-13-2016 12:01 PM

Necronom IV would be way awesome!

Let's hope the clapperboards are a pointer to it making an appearance! 


"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

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