Aliens: Replacing the human to spore stage
with the alien queen

Leading from

a) Cameron does away with the 'human to spore' stage.
James Cameron decided to do away with the 'human to spore' part of the alien life cycle that had been left out of the original version of Alien.

Ridley's actual idea was that the humans taken away by the alien and cocooned, were actually food being devoured by the alien's young, which went with Dan O'Bannon's idea.

What form the actual young took in this instance is another question but they would eventually grow into the spore casing that contains the facehugger.

b) Cameron's interpretation of the spore.
For some curious reason, Cameron decided that the human's bodily cells were actually metamorphosing into spores rather than being eaten as food by the spore material and this wasn't actually part of the original concept.

If he had based his argument on why he didn't want to use the 'human to spore' stage of the alien's life cycle on the facts behind O'Bannon's original concept, he would not have been able to denounce it as illogical as it appeared to be just inspired by spiders cocooning their prey and various insect young eating their hosts that they've been implanted into while they developed.

c) Spores become eggs that are layed.
In the first film, one would see the thousands of spores in the egg silo covering what seemed like acres and acres of ground, and Cameron was so certain that they had to literally be eggs as in eggs that are layed, but one of them hatches, goes through its life cycle, becomes an adult and is killed.

And so there was no connection between the adult and the future eggs.

Although by the end of the production Ridley had decided that the eggs were the ships cargo, with each presumably collected from somewhere else, Cameron was still following the idea that one creature was supposed to have layed the thousand or so eggs that filled the inside of the derelict ship and he decided that idea was impossible

d) Invention of the Alien Queen.
Cameron thought it was very important to have something going beyond what had been seen in the first film although there were a number of aliens in the new film that displayed a difference in appearance.

They were mainly a reprise of Giger's design, but he took a step in another direction.

These multiple aliens were a part of a hierachical hive structure where the central figure is a giant queen whose role it is to further the species, and so in the film the alien queen would be the revelation about how the aliens' social order would work.

He had been developing a story called Mother that was about a Mother extra-terrestrial monster, that would do anything to defend its young, its offspring.

For Cameron, in Aliens she would be a character more than a thing or an animal

It looked as if Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill were not really bothered about how the alien queen concept might have conflicted with idea behind the creation of the spores from the first movie and were not there to correct any misunderstandings that he might have had about it.  

But as we would see by the development of the third film, when they worked with William Gibson, he found himself writing about the alien spores becoming near enough a fungal spore when the alien reproduced.

Ripley encounters the Alien Queen (Alien Blu-ray)
e) Further questions about the space jockey

For a few not quite happy with what they were told to believe in the film, not happy with Cameron's simplicity that resulted were near enough a bunch of insects with the alien queen laying eggs with an eggsack like a termite queen's, the oddly oversized Alien Queen presented in the film was so big that some might have even wondered if this is the sort of size that a chestburster that erupted from the original spacejockey in Alien might grow into, and if that was so, how did it manage to hibernate for all these thousands of years since the space jockey died.

 Source Quotes
  1.  Q: Did you have the idea of the Queen from the beginning?

    Cameron: I thought it was very important to have something beyond that hadn't been seen before in the first film, even though we have a number of aliens throughout the main body of the film. They're mainly a reprise of Mr Giger's design. I thought it was important to show some new form beyond that. And, I think, there's a lot of revelation going on there, as to how their whole social organization works. I think of the Queen as a character, rather than a thing or an animal.

    Q: Someone raised the point that having the concept of a queen alien was in contradiction to the reproductive life cycle of the alien as it was implied in the first film

    Hurd: Where did the eggs come from then?

    Q: From the humans that had been infected by the alien

    Cameron: But you see, that was never seen at all. Yes, it's in contradiction to the reproductive cycle that was in the original script of the first film. But it's not in contradiction to what you saw in the film. What you saw in the film was a thousand eggs. one of them hatches, one of them goes through its life cycle, becomes an adult, and is killed. There is no connection between the adult and the future eggs. Now in the scene that was apparently shot and cut, and which I never saw, in which Tom Skerrit and Harry Dean Stanton are turning into eggs, that closed the cycle. But, to me, that was completely irrelevant to what you actually saw in the film. 
    Unless you're an ardent fan of the film and studied what was taken out, which to me is irrelevant to the group experience of this movie, it's not a contradiction, it's merely an alternative explanation. And a more plausible one, really.

    Q: Obviously, you've given this point a lot of thought. This change was not made lightly

    Cameron: Yes, it was a conscious decision. Had the first film appeared in its complete form, then I would have had to take a different approach to the story. But I felt only a responsibility to what people saw within the first film, not the intentions of various people behind it

    Hurd: Few people knew this anyway. Most people we spoke to assumed the alien was a shape changer

    Cameron: No, I don't think that's quite true either. Some people might have been misled, but I don't think everybody was. I never bought it was a shape changer. (L'Ecran Fantastique #73, October 1986/ Bloody Best of Fangoria v6, 1987/ Science Fiction Film Making In The 1980s)
  2. Cameron: They've seen the eggs, they've seen the parasite that emerges from the eggs, they've seen the embryo layed by the parasite emerge from a host person, and they've seen the embryo grow up into a supposedly adult form. But the adult form - one of them anyway - couldn't possibly  have layed the thousand or so eggs that filled the inside of the derelect ship. (Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer)
  3. Cameron: In my story, the eggs come from somewhere else. At last that was my theory. So working from that theory - acres and acres of these quite large eggs, two and a half to three feet tall - I began to focus on the idea of a hierarchical hive structure where the central figure is a giant queen whose role it is to further the species. (Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer)
  4. StarburstHaven't you messed around with the alien life-cycle in Aliens?

    James Cameron: Only in respect of Dan O'Bannon's original concept. It doesn't violate anything that audiences saw within the final act of Aliens as the cocoon scene was removed. If you follow Dan's original concept, the closure of the original cycle was the human host turning back into a cocoon. I never found that to be very satisfying as it showed, when one had the facehugger attached, the embryo implanted, and when it burst out it killed that person. There was nothing going on with John Hurt in that respect. So there was a different version of it when the alien grabbed Harry Dean Stanton and presumably put him into a cocoon. It's certainly no great logical detour to assume that it might have used him as another host but I think it would be a bit odd that he turned into an egg. That's something that would have been hard for the audience to swallow because it involved the transformation of the human host and although one can assume the alien can metamorphose,  to have its biological properties take up residence in a human being and change it was going beyond the ground rules they set themselves. One of Alien's great attributes was that it set up a very weird biological process but it has a basis in science fact all the way through like the cycle of a digger wasp which paralyses its prey and injects an egg into the living body to mature. There's a validity in all of that but I dispensed with it because we never saw that in the film anyway. Had it appeared in the film I wouldn't have violated any logic turbulence. (Starburst 98, October 1996, interview with James Cameron by Alan Jones)
  5. James Cameron: I think it's strange to think about further victims becoming hosts. It would be somewhat difficult for audiences to swallow because it requires the transformation  of the human host. You can accept the fact the alien transforms but to have its biological properties take up residence in a human being was a direct violation of logic. You can't suspend belief that way; it's too absurd. (Skeleton Crew, August 1990, p22)
  6. James Cameron: I had a story I was developing called Mother that was about a Mother extra-terrestrial - monster, basically, that would do anything to defend its young, its offspring. And I thought, "Well, what is ALIEN all about? It's about eggs. Well, who lays the eggs? Where did all those damn eggs come from? Don't we want to meet her?" So it was actually a fairly simple progression of ideas and it all happened very fast. (Famous Monsters of Filmland (Jul/Aug 2016)
  7. James Cameron: They've seen the eggs, they've seen the parasite that emerges from the eggs, they've seen the embryo laid by that parasite emerge from the host person, and they've seen the embryo grow into that supposedly adult form. But that adult form - one of them anyway - couldn't possibly have laid the thousand or so eggs that filled the inside of the derelict ship. At least that was my theory. So working from that image - acres and acres of these quite large eggs - I began to focus on the idea of a hierarchical hive structure where the central figure is a giant queen whose role it is to further the species. (The Winston Effect, p78-79.)
  8. Hurd: Where did the eggs come from then?
    Q: From the humans that had been infected by the alien
    Cameron: But you see, that was never seen at all. Yes, it's in contradiction to the reproductive cycle that was in the original script of the first film. But it's not in contradiction to what you saw in the film. What you saw in the film was a thousand eggs. one of them hatches, one of them goes through its life cycle, becomes an adult, and is killed. There is no connection between the adult and the future eggs. Now in the scene that was apparently shot and cut, and which I never saw, in which Tom Skerrit and Harry Dean Stanton are turning into eggs, that closed the cycle. But, to me, that was completely irrelevant to what you actually saw in the film. (L'Ecran Fantastique #73, October 1986/ Bloody Best of Fangoria v6, 1987/ Science Fiction Film Making In The 1980s

1 comment:

  1. The way I look at it is that the colonists were irradiated to a slight degree due to their proximity to the Terra-forming plant, which in turn mutated their cell structure enough that when Newt's father was impregnated, the resulting embryo came out altered from the smooth headed Alien into the Alien Queen, which in turn produced lesser versions of the original Alien (hence the bones on the head and their more straight-forward and less intelligent approach to dealing with the marines).

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