Alien: Out of the Shadows is a 2016 audio drama adaptation of the novel of the same name, directed by Dirk Maggs and starring Matthew Lewis, Laurel Lefkow, Corey Johnson and Rutger Hauer. It was published by Audible Studios on April 26, 2016, to coincide with Alien Day.
As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then, on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell — and trimonite, the hardest material known to man.
When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating and waiting for suitable prey. Hoop and his associates uncover a nest of Xenomorphs, and hell takes on a new meaning. Quickly they discover that their only hope lies with the unlikeliest of saviors...
- Hooper .... Corey Johnson
- Baxter .... Matthew Lewis
- Sneddon .... Kathryn Drysdale
- Lachance .... Mac McDonald
- Kasyanov .... Andrea Deck
- Welford .... Nathan Osgood
- Powell .... Abdul Salis
- Garcia .... Regina Brandolino
- Jordan .... Barbara Barnes
- Vic .... Tom Alexander
- The Computers .... Tom Alexander
- Ripley .... Laurel Lefkow
- Ash .... Rutger Hauer
Differences from the Novel
- The audio drama starts with a brief added scene before Ripley enters hypersleep on the Narcissus (following the destruction of the Nostromo). In it, she records a message to her daughter Amanda explaining what has happened to her ship and crew.
- The Marion's computer frequently makes audio announcements throughout the story, such as to deliver important news, issue warnings or welcome people when they enter a new area of the ship. This leads to several humorous exchanges between the nonchalant computer and the exasperated crew as the disaster unfolds, as well as an additional moment of horror when the Xenomorph loose aboard the ship triggers one of the welcome messages nearby. In the original book, it is never indicated that the ship's computer can speak.
- In the audio drama, Ripley mentions that Ash joined the crew of the Nostromo just before they left the Solomons for the last leg of their trip; in Alien it instead stated that Ash joined the crew on Thedus.
- In the novel, the Xenomorphs aboard the Samson initially spare its pilot Vic Jones for seemingly no reason, only to kill him later. In the audio drama, they leave him alone because he has a Chestburster inside him — only after it emerges and kills him do the other creatures drag him away.
- When the Marion's crew prepare to clear the Samson, Ash remotely opens the shuttle's hatch prematurely, unleashing the Xenomorphs within before the survivors are ready.
- After one of the Aliens gets loose aboard the Marion, the survivors frequently hear it moving around in the vents nearby, much like in Alien: Isolation.
- When the crew discover the small Hive aboard the Samson, Ripley immediately knows what it is, going on to state "that's how the Nostromo began to look". This would imply the audiobook follows the continuity of the Alien Director's Cut.
- Ash is already aware of the existence of Xenomorph Queens despite the subject never being brought up in Alien, nor with any apparent evidence to lead him to this conclusion.
- Ash surreptitiously assists the survivors when they reach the mine, opening locked doors for them. However, he also disables the mine's security cameras so that Baxter cannot remotely check their surroundings on his tablet; in the novel, there simply aren't any cameras outside of the surface dome.
- Sneddon records an audio log documenting the interior of the derelict ship (the obvious purpose of which is to help the listener visualise the area) as well as taking photos as in the novel.
- When the group finds the dead miners cocooned to the walls inside the derelict, Baxter and Sneddon go on to describe in some detail how exactly the Facehugger/Chestburster process works, despite there being no way they could know this with such certainty.
- Ash becomes aware of Sneddon's condition much sooner than in the novel. In the audio drama, he discovers it while the group is still in the mines; in the novel, he does not find out until they are back on the Marion.
- Ash discovers Ripley's message to her daughter in the Narcissus' memory banks and duly begins searching for Amanda.
- Once they escape the ruins back into the mine, the survivors seal a pressure to door to hold the pursuing Xenomorphs at bay. However, Ash remotely opens the door again, unleashing them.
- In the process of tracking down Amanda, Ash learns of her trip to Sevastopol Station aboard the Torrens. However, he fails to learn of her current whereabouts.
- Perhaps the most significant change in the audio drama concerns the fates of Sneddon and the final Alien aboard the Marion, both of whom survive longer than in the novel. Instead of Sneddon blowing the creature up with the cache of charge thumper bolts as soon as she chases it into Hold 2, she passes out from the pain of the Chestburster moving inside her and the Xenomorph slips back out into the ship. It goes on the hunt for the other survivors, cornering Hoop on the bridge — although it does not see him — and the two play a game of cat and mouse around the various consoles in the room in a sequence highly reminiscent of Alien: Isolation. When the creature fails to find him it slips back into the ventilation system. Hoop then heads to Hold 2, hoping to lure the Xenomorph back there and trigger the charge thumper bolts himself, but sees that it has beaten him there. Inside, he reunites with Sneddon, who has come round again, the birth of her Chestburster imminent. The Xenomorph confronts them both but does not attack, and Hoop asks Sneddon to blow the charges and kill them all. She refuses, instead telling Hoop to escape, threatening to kill her herself — and the Chestburster within her — with a plasma torch in order to distract and confuse the adult while he flees. With her dying breath, she creams at Hoop to run, and he barely escapes before she detonates the bolts, killing herself, the Xenomorph and the Chestburster emerging from her.
- Instead of simply cutting Kasyanov's throat inside the medpod, Ash vivisects her with multiple laser scalpels.
- After Hoop sends Ripley on her way, Ash taunts him via the Marion's audio system, pointing out that he still infests the Marion and the Samson. As a result, Hoop purges the shuttle's computer just like he did the Narcissus before he departs.
- Aside from the direct references, the audio drama makes several allusions to Alien: Isolation, with characters mentioning both the Seegson Corporation and its Working Joe line of androids.
- Ripley actress Laurel Lefkow previously voiced Katya in the video game Aliens vs. Predator.
- The casting of Rutger Hauer as Ash was likely a deliberate choice, as Hauer famously played replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner; like Ash, Batty was an artificial human, and like Alien, Blade Runner was directed by Ridley Scott.
- The audio drama utilizes sound effects from Alien: Isolation, such as several Xenomorph shrieks derived from the ones the game's Drone makes.
- Ripley repeatedly displays an improbable degree of knowledge regarding Xenomorph biology. For example, she knows that the adult creatures have acidic blood, despite never seeing any evidence of this beyond the Facehugger stage in Alien. She also is somehow aware of their use of an inner jaw as a weapon.