OK, I'm watching "Aliens" for the umpteenth time, and it just now hits me - why does Ripley attack the Queen alien?

Ripley has the kid, and the Queen just let her pass in return for not torching the eggs. Ripley could have just left at that point. After all, she knows the facility is going "BooM" in a few minutes. Why start anything?

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    I just re-watched it and after the egg opens (I never noticed that before), Ripley makes a face at the Queen as if to say "Seriously?" and then she starts burning everything.
    – user50914
    Aug 21, 2015 at 3:24
  • @WadCheber, what answer are you referring to? Your comment is on the question, so it's hard to tell. Aug 21, 2015 at 14:39
  • @DangerZone - That was the automatically generated text that appears when someone votes to close an answer as "not an answer". The answer was closed and converted to a comment, and the auto text became a comment as well. If you had a bit more rep, you would see a couple of deleted answers at the bottom of this page. What is now a comment on the question was originally auto text on one of the deleted answers.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 21, 2015 at 17:40
  • @DangerZone - Incidentally, the auto text shouldn't have become a comment. The mod who deleted the answer hit the wrong button.
    – Wad Cheber
    Aug 21, 2015 at 17:43

3 Answers 3


The two "attendant" xenomorphs back off at the Queen's command, but then we see one of the eggs open up as Ripley and Newt are leaving. The implication is that the Queen is not bargaining in good faith. That is when Ripley burns the eggs and launches grenades at the Queen.

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    It is this action in poor faith that leads Ripley to assume the queen had no intention of keeping her tacit agreement to allow them to leave. Ripley simply decided to not let the affront go unpunished. It was the right decision. Aug 3, 2014 at 2:46
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    I'll accept this one, as it sounds more plausible. I imagine the egg opening reminds Ripley that she's dealing with an alien animal, not having a mother-to-mother moment.
    – Joe L.
    Aug 3, 2014 at 11:21
  • Although I stand by my answer as plausible, this one does sound a bit more like the intent of the scene. Aug 3, 2014 at 22:57
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    The only reason that the egg hatched is because its in its "nature" to "hatch" Not because it was signalled by the queen, when Ripley saw this she came to a conclusion of "revenge" pure and simple and the fact that these things could wipe out the entire universe she wanted to simply take part in wiping "them" out.
    – user31666
    Aug 14, 2014 at 12:50
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    @user31666 I disagree. With that tilt of her head, Ripley is clearly saying "Did you seriously think I wouldn't SEE that? I'm standing right here!" Aug 14, 2014 at 18:38

To get back to the ship, Ripley would have to exit the queen's chamber. Away from the chamber, Ripley would pose no further threat to the eggs, and the minions could easily capture her then.

Ripley's only solution would be to blast away the eggs, creating pandemonium that would occupy the queen and minions long enough to give Ripley time to reach the ship.


Because she had little choice.

An egg had opened up randomly right in front of her. We all know facehuggers can leap pretty far and the opened egg was surely about to provide a leaping facehugger aimed at Ripley and Newt. If the egg hadn't opened, Ripley would most likely have quietly left the chamber in the uneasy "truce" situation with the Queen. But since she had to kill that impending facehugger, and the chances were the Queen would retaliate, she went all-out and torched the nest.

Ripley didn't want to start conflict while surrounded. She wanted to get out with Newt alive, because she knew the entire facility was going up in a nuke explosion anyway. But it was better to torch the nearest eggs once the first shot was fired, so to speak, and then to cause enough mayhem to occupy the queen and the warriors. But there's also an element of the basic struggle and hostility (total war) between the two species here; Ripley knows the aliens have no mercy in their struggle for survival, so she has none in her heart to have any for them in return.

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