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Written by Mason Tabor, Alex Sherer
Ellen Louise Ripley
Played by Sigourney Weaver, Ripley serves as the main character for the Alien movies. In Alien, she is the Warrant Officer. When her superiors leave the Nostromo to investigate the source of the alleged distress signal, Ripley assumes authority over the shuttle, but Ash, the Science Officer overrides her when she quarantines the officers outside the ship after Kane is attacked by an alien.
Ripley's story is one of survival, being threatened by the terrifying alien lurking somewhere on board, and also by the corrupt corporate interests of those who run the Nostromo, who seek to capture the alien for their own profit, even if that means Ripley must die.
Captain Dallas Koblenz Arthur
Played by Tom Skerritt, Dallas, along with Lambert and Kane, investigates the distress signal. Dallas' demise comes when he seeks to trap the Alien in an airlock, but he is quickly ambushed by the creature in the narrow labrynth of the air ventilation shafts, making for one of the most effective jump scares in modern cinema.
Science Officer Ash
Ash, played by Ian Holm, represents the scientific endeavor in the midst of the dark and mysterious unknown. He seeks to learn about the alien life form, despite the death and damage that might ensue consequently. He is the Science Officer who opposes Ripley's desire to survive, first by overriding her quarantine when Kane was attacked, and then again when she discovers he is planning to recover the alien at all costs. She confronts him and he attempts to kill her.
Ash is decapitated during the fight and is revealed to be an android. Afterward, the crew turns him back on, as it were, and questions him, confirming that he was on board to ensure the capture of the alien for the corporation. Ash's story is resonant with the character of Shelley's Frankenstein, who is also willing to perform morally condemnable actions in the name of science. Alien's science is further criticized because it renders its scientific authority as a robot designed solely for corporate gain.
Warrant Officer Gilbert Kane
Kane was part of the initial response party who boarded the alien spacecraft. Kane discovered a strange room full of eggs and is attacked by a small facehugger alien that implants an egg in his body. Ripley doesn't want him to board the craft due to this, but Ash overrides her command and Kane is brought aboard by Dallas and Lambert, unconscious. The egg hatches after he has seemingly recovered, erupting from his stomach and escaping into the ship, leaving Kane dead among his shipmates.
Navigator Joan Lambert
Lambert, played by Veronica Cartwright, is the navigator aboard the Nostromo and the only other female crew member alongside Ripley. Lambert becomes increasingly unhinged with the death of each successive crew member at the hands of the alien. She herself is killed by the creature while securing oxygen tanks for the survivors' plan to escape the Nostromo.
Chief Engineer Dennis Parker
Parker, portrayed by Yaphet Kotto, is the chief engineer aboard the Nostromo who handles the repairs to the ship in the film. He adamantly opposes going to investigate the distress signal from LV-426, due to a lack of crew training. Once the alien is loose, Parker is the first to see it and live, and also supports killing it the entire time as opposed to just escaping. He also saves Ripley from Ash by decapitating the android. Parker dies when the alien corners him and Lambert and he is unable to retaliate with a flamethrower for fear of hitting Lambert as well.
Engineering Technician Samuel Brett
Harry Dean Stanton plays Brett, the quiet engineering technician who works under Parker. Once the alien is loose, Brett makes several cattle prods and nets to capture it, with motion detectors to track it. Brett is also the first to be killed by the adult alien, while searching for the cat Jones aboard the ship.
The alien, as it is referred to, or xenomorph, as it is officially called within the franchise, is the driving antagonistic force in the film. It is roughly humanoid, with four limbs and a head atop its shoulders, but also has a devil-like tail and lacks facial features other than long jaws. Its outer jaws open to reveal a smaller mouth, which shoots out to break the skulls of its victims. The alien has no eyes, cannot speak or communicate with humans in any way, and appears to only act out of an instinct to kill. The xenomorph represents the fear of the unknown, the things outside human control, and death.
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