The Queen is the largest form in the Xenomorph species and serves as the creator of Xenomorphs and the leader of an Alien hive. Generally, Queens stay in one place as when laying eggs, the Queen uses an ovipositor which makes them stationary. The Queen is the most intelligent of the Xenomorph species and has been seen to solve complex problems and issue commands to other Xenomorph species.
The Queen has appeared in 1986’s Aliens, 1997’s Alien Resurrection and 2004’s Alien vs Predator. She has also appeared in many of the comics, novels and games in the expanded universe.
The Queen Alien is usually black or black-blue in colour, just like normal Xenomorphs. They are usually about 4.5 meters tall with an extremely powerful tail that is equal in length to the Queen’s height. It possesses a large cranial crown which extends two meters behind the back of its head. It is thought the crown allows the Queen to detect bioelectrical signals and communicate with its offspring. The Queen’s head is kept hidden in its cranium until awakened at which time the front portion of the head will emerge, similar to how a turtle can withdraw into its shell.
Her jaws are filled with sharp transparent teeth while the secondary jaws of the Queen are similar to the Adult Xenomorph’s secondary jaws, except they’re proportionately larger with a length of roughly thirty-six inches. The Queen possesses two arms but there is a second set of smaller arms extending from their chest. Queens have double-jointed legs and two sets of dorsal tubes, 6-digit hands with the third finger much longer than the others.
The Queen’s exoskeleton is extremely tough capable of shielding her from gunfire. However, armour-piercing ammunition seems to be more effective at penetrating it. The Queen is very resilient and once free of her eggsack, she can easily kill any prey in the vicinity. She managed to tear a synthetic in two just using her bare hands.
Just like Xenomorphs, Queens have acid for blood. They are able to live very long lives, sometimes many thousands of years. In very cold conditions like the Queen in Antarctica, she is able to hibernate, extending her life even further. There can only be one Queen for each Alien hive. It’s speculated that if two or more Queens came into contact with each other, there would be conflict.
A mature Queen who is laying eggs has an ovipositor that extends from under her tail and can reach a length of eight meters. The ovipositor is suspended from the roof of a hive by thick strands of resin. From the end of the ovipositor, an egg is set down on the floor of the hive. Due to the size and weight of the ovipositor, the Queen cannot move and is dependent on other Xenomorphs for protection.
Although it can be very painful, the Queen can detach herself from it in a desperate situation. It’s unknown whether or not she would be able to reattach it in that scenario. Despite this, a Queen can grow a new ovipositor in a short space of time. A Queen can produce around 15 eggs an hour.
Alien Queens are the most intelligent of the Xenomorph species. They have extremely good observational skills and can learn actions quickly. When the Queen on LV-426 saw that Ripley was going to destroy her eggs, she was able to understand what Ripley was going to do. The Queen ordered her Drone Aliens to back off from Ripley. It’s not entirely clear how a Queen is able to communicate with other Xenomorphs. It’s possible she uses screeches and snarls to communicate but pheromones may also be possible.
One other theory is that the entire hive is connected as one consciousness and the Queen communicates through bioelectrics. The feeling of revenge is also seen. When Ripley sets fire to her eggs, this sends the Queen into a rage and pursues Ripley and Newt relentlessly. The Queen was able to operate machinery in her pursuit and hide within the landing gear of the dropship until she reached the Sulaco.
It is still unclear how Queens are initially formed. It was always left somewhat ambiguous as to how there was a Queen Chestburster inside of Ripley on Fiorina 161. In the theatrical cut, a normal Facehugger was able to implant a Queen embryo inside of Ripley and then go on to infect a dog. This, of course, doesn’t fit in with the life cycle of a normal Facehugger as one dies immediately after the first implantation and the embryo was never a Queen embryo.
In the Assembly Cut of Alien 3, they attempted to address the problems with the idea of a Super Facehugger. A dead Super Facehugger was seen in the slaughterhouse and it was larger, had webbing between its fingers and was more regal in appearance. The question then becomes how can a Super Facehugger be created? It’s theorised that the Queen somehow laid a special egg as a last resort when she was hiding in the landing gear of the dropship and the creature inside turned out to be a Super Facehugger.
In the expanded universe, Praetorians are the Queen’s Royal Guards and can transform into a Queen if the existing Queen dies. The concept of Praetorians has never been seen in any of the films. Another method of creation seen in the comics and novels is Royal Jelly. It was first mentioned by Bishop in the Aliens novelization. He theorised that if Royal Jelly is used at the Egg stage, it will lead to the creation of a Queen. Royal Jelly does have a similar effect as the black liquid where it transforms and mutates organisms.
Alien Queen in the Movies
- Aliens (1986)
- Alien Resurrection (1997)
- Alien vs Predator (2004)