Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

Posted by Darkness on May 15, 2023 (Updated: 06-Sep-2023)

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

Murphy finds Super Facehugger

The Super Facehugger, or Queen Facehugger, appeared in the 1991 film Alien 3. A Facehugger appeared at the start on the Sulaco. It infects Ripley and later attacks Spike, the dog. In the theatrical version, it clearly looked like a normal Facehugger but in the 2003 Assembly Cut, a reinserted scene was shown showing the Super Facehugger which differed in design.


Super Facehuggers come from Alien Eggs like other Facehuggers but they are a lot larger, have stronger armour and have webbed digits. Usually, when a Facehugger infects one victim with an alien embryo, it dies shortly after. The Super Facehugger doesn’t die after its first victim. It can impregnate two separate victims with Chestburster embryos before it perishes. One of the embryos would grow into a Queen Chestburster while the other would become a normal Chestburster.

Story (Theatrical Version)

About a week after Ripley, Newt and Hicks enter hypersleep in the Sulaco, it appears the Queen laid one last egg before the battle with Ripley. The egg hatches and a Super Facehugger exits which can lay two embryos. It manages to infect Ripley in her stasis tube with a Queen Chestburster but in the chaos, it causes a fire in the Sulaco which causes the ship to eject the survivors in an Emergency Escape Vehicle (E.E.V.).

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

A Facehugger on the E.E.V.

The E.E.V. crash lands on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a planet that contains a maximum security prison inhabited by male prisoners. Ripley survives the crash and the prisoners bring the E.E.V. back to the prison facility. The Facehugger had remained in the E.E.V. and later Murphy’s dog, Spike finds it lurking in there. That’s when the Facehugger attacks Spike. Murphy later finds Spike who has been injured. in the attack. During the ‘funeral’ of Newt and Hicks, the alien bursts out of Spike.

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

The dog finds the Facehugger hiding in the E.E.V..

Story (2003 Assembly Cut)

The E.E.V. crash lands on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a planet that contains a maximum security prison inhabited by male prisoners. The prisoners use oxen to pull the E.E.V. out of the water. It’s at this point, where an ox, nicknamed Babe, is attacked by the Facehugger.  A few hours later, when Murphy and Frank have brought the ox to the slaughterhouse, Murphy finds the dead Super Facehugger nearby. Later, during the ‘funeral’ of Newt and Hicks, the alien bursts out of the dead ox.

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

Murphy finds the Super Facehugger.


When H.R. Giger was asked to come up with some designs for the new Xenomorph, he was also tasked to design a new Aquatic Facehugger. He came up with a design which was based on an old design he had already done. In an early version of the script, the Facehugger was swimming so he visualized how it could move – its fingers would retract so that it would crawl just under the water’s surface. He gave the creature webbing between its digits as he thought it would transform with its environment. It was also big enough so it could fit onto an ox’s head.

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

H.R. Giger’s Aquatic Facehugger

Special effects duo Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff said they based the design of the creature on the Queen Alien, giving it a more armor-plated exoskeleton and also said that it’s the same Facehugger that implanted the embryo inside Ripley in her stasis tube. The Super Facehugger was supposed to have more of a prominent role in Alien 3. The original creature that the Facehugger was going to attack was an ox. A.D.I. built the slaughterhouse set, sculpted the animatronic ox, constructed the Chestburster, and filmed all of the scenes. Given the issues of compositing the puppet, director David Fincher scrapped all the ox scenes as well as the Super Facehugger shot in favour of a dog.

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

Behind-the-Scenes of the Super Facehugger.

 Super Facehugger (Alien 3)

From the Alien 3 Comic Adaptation.

There is quite a few plot holes surrounding the opening scene on the Sulaco in Alien 3. Where did the Alien egg come from? Was there just one Facehugger on the Sulaco? How did it manage to impregnate two victims? The shooting script and the film’s novelization say the Facehugger emerged from an egg and broke Newt’s cryotube, injuring itself at the same time.

The novelization says the Facehugger was impaled on the glass and subsequently died, which caused a fire on the Sulaco. In the shooting script and the Alien 3 comic adaptation, it was attached to Newt and its blood started a fire, which caused the survivors to be ejected in the E.E.V.. After the E.E.V. crashes on Fiorina 161, Newt drowned in her cryotube.

As the alien embryo needed a living host, it crawled out of Newt’s mouth and swam into Ripley’s mouth. Her cryotube had been shattered when the E.E.V. crashed. This also explains why Ripley was complaining of a sore throat. Ripley then washed up on shore before being discovered by the prison population. The opening scene had many rewrites and reshoots and in the theatrical version, Ripley’s stasis tube has varying amounts of damage and she can be seen both clean and muddy.

The Assembly Cut is more faithful to the shooting script but both versions of the film clearly show a normal Facehugger on the Sulaco and the scene showing the embryo entering Ripley’s mouth was not shot. The new scene in the Assembly Cut showing Murphy finding the Super Facehugger should go on for a bit longer. Frank suggests that it’s a jellyfish from the beach and Murphy tosses it away. There is some production stills released showing a better look at the creature and it does feature in a featurette on the media releases of the film.

Murphy finds Super FacehuggerMurphy finds Super FacehuggerMurphy finds Super FacehuggerMurphy finds Super Facehugger

Super Facehuggers in Other Media

The Super Facehugger has appeared in many of the comics including Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species. It’s the same colour as a normal Facehugger but has spines on its back. The alien has appeared as figures – Kenner and NECA both released versions of it. It has appeared as an enemy in the arcade games Alien 3: The Gun and Aliens: Armageddon. The Super Facehugger appeared again in the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows.

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