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15 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization’
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization Cover

Before the extended “Special Edition” of Aliens was released on LaserDisc and VHS in 1992, Alan Dean Foster‘s Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization gave fans of James Cameron’s 1986 film their first look at scenes that didn’t make the final cut.

Titan Books recently reissued Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization, as well as Foster’s adaptation of Alien and Alien 3. After re-reading Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization, I thought it would be fun to explore some of the differences between the book and the film and how unused elements from the screenplay were recycled for subsequent Alien films and Ridley Scott’s 2012 prequel, Prometheus.

Continue below for 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization.

The scenes added to Aliens for the extended special edition are included in the novelization, as they weren’t cut until just before theatrical release. This includes the pre-infestation scenes at Hadley’s Hope with Newt’s family, Hudson’s cocky bragging before the marines arrive on LV-426, and the sentry gun sequence.

In addition to Foster’s novelizations, Titan Books is also publishing brand new Alien adventures from authors Tim Lebbon (Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Into the Void), Christopher Golden (Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire), and James A. Moore (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds).

15) On Gateway Station, Ripley wakes up in a tropical rain forest. It’s actually a hologram projected from inside her hospital room. Later, At her tribunal, she accuses the Company (Weyland-Yutani) of tampering with the Nostromo’s black box, erasing all evidence of the Alien.

14) In the film, Newt is around 10 years old. In the novel, she’s only six! Can you imagine a six-year-old kid crawling through air shafts and hiding in floor grates to escape from Xenomorphs?

13) In the novel, Bishop doesn’t sleep – he oversees operations on the USS Sulaco while the marines are in hypersleep. This concept was revisited in Prometheus with Michael Fassbender’s David.

11) Instead of being a humanoid exoskeleton, the Power Loader is a four-legged vehicle that resembles an elephant. It’s hard to imagine the “Get away from her you bitch!” scene in the film being as iconic without Ripley inside the humanoid exo-suit.

10) Burke and Gorman expect to find Xenomorphs at the colony on Acheron (LV-426). Later it’s confirmed that Burke arranged for the inexperienced Gorman to be placed in charge of the mission, ensuring its failure.

9) The United States Colonial Marine Corps (USCM) armor is more high-tech, like power armor from Starship Troopers or the battle suits from Edge of Tomorrow. Additionally, the conditions on LV-426 are cold and harsh, forcing colonists and civilians like Burke and Ripley to wear environmental suits.

8) The ambush in the Hive is quite difference. For one thing, the confiscated pulse rifle ammo doesn’t explode. Instead of being killed by the explosion, Crowe is dragged away alive to be a host. Sgt. Apone is killed and Gorman is attacked by a Xenomorph clinging to the outside of the APC. What’s interesting about the aliens in Foster’s novel is that they are able to sting and paralyze victims with their tails.

7) Bishop compares the Xenomorph hierarchy to an ant or termite hive and assumes there must be an egg-laying Queen. In the extended special edition, this theory is suggested by Hudson. Additionally, Bishop proposes Royal Jelly may play a part in creating a Queen at the egg stage. The Royal Jelly idea is a call back to the deleted scene from Alien where Dallas and Brett are apparently being turned into eggs.

6) When Hudson is pulled through the floor, Hicks fires a burst of gunfire into the hole in the hopes of killing Hudson rather than letting him be taken as a host. In the film, Hicks grabs Hudson and tries to pull him up, but an advancing Xenomorph forces him to let go.

5) As he crawls through the conduit towards the colony’s uplink, Bishop sees a Xenomorph through a hole in the side of the shaft. While it initially lunges at him, the Xenomorph quickly loses interest. This scene is reminiscent of Ripley’s encounter with the Alien in Alien 3, which ignores her once it realizes she is carrying a Queen. Bishop theorizes that the Xenomorph is able to detect human prey through some unknown facet of human biology.

4) While searching for Newt, Ripley finds Burke cocooned and impregnated with a Chestburster. This scene was filmed but cut from all versions of the movie. It is included as a deleted scene in the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set.

3) In the novelization, the Queen is attended to by small, albino Xenomorphs called Drones. These creatures move the Eggs to the Hive once the Queen has laid them. The Drones completely ignore Ripley and Newt as they go about their duties.

2) When cornered by the Queen on the landing pad, Ripley climbs over the railings, intending to jump to her death, along with Newt, rather than be ripped to pieces by the Queen.

1) The final showdown on the Sulaco plays out differently. The Queen defeats Ripley in the four-legged Power Loader, destroying the machine. As she climbs the wreckage to get to finish Ripley, the Queen falls into an open drop bay, dragging the Power Loader in with her.

Crushed by the Power Loader, the Queen’s acidic blood eats through the drop bay hatch. Ripley escapes as the hangar begins venting, sealing the inner door and watching as the Queen is sucked out into space. Instead of spiraling into space, the Queen plummets back to the surface of LV-426.

Published by Titan Books, Alien: The Official Movie Novelization, Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization and Alien 3: The Official Movie Novelization are currently available online and in stores.


  1. very cool breakdown of the differences. I enjoyed it :-)

    Comment by Ataricade — July 7, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

  2. I read all 3 of the Alan Dean Foster novelizations a few decades ago and was a huge fan. Can’t wait to get them again.

    Comment by Yolanda Anne Brown — July 16, 2014 @ 11:11 am

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