If memory serves, I read somewhere that for the titular 'alien' in Alien, Ridley Scott initially imagined a reproductive cycle where an adult Xenomorph laid what would grow to become an egg in an unfortunate (human) host- or something similar to this- but in any event was very different from the hive structure seen in James Cameron's Aliens- is there any truth to this?

  • Not sure if these ideas are Ridley Scott’s or not, but in the novelization of Alien the xenomorph lays eggs despite it not being a queen. Otherwise there is the same cocooning and conversion of a room in the Nostromo to a hive/nest/lair similar to Aliens. Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 2:58
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    Essentially every film with the xenomorphs has at least a somewhat different conception of their life cycle; sometimes (as with Alien) even different cuts of a single film have very different things to say about xenomorph biology.
    – Buzz
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 3:13
  • @Nu-Daq the screenplay of Alien is by Dan O'Bannon from a story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Director Ridley Scott might have had a lot of input into the script but so also might the producers Gordon Carroll, David Giler, and Walter Hill. I read somewhere that Aliens (diected by James Cameron, screenplay by James Cameron, story by James Cameron, David Giler, and Walter Hill) changed the life cycle of the Xenomorphs from that in Alien. Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 3:37

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An answer to this question

Is the Xenomorph life cycle based on the life cycle of a real world species?

says that the original idea for the Xenomorph life cycle was Dan O'Bannon's and that the alien queen was added for Aliens because they wanted a special xenomorph for Ripley to fight with.

...Writer Dan O'Bannon's original lifecycle was based on a variety of different insects, and was also very similar to parasites like M. ancylivorus....

...Note that the extra "phase" of the Alien Queen was introduced in the sequel, with which O'Bannon had no involvement. James Cameron felt that Ripley needed an "equal" to face in the film's climax, and subsequently designed the giant Queen to fit that need. The Queen concept does, however, stick with the same insect motif.

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