- "Ripley, this is an order. Open that hatch right now, do you hear me?"
- ―Dallas (from Alien)
Arthur Koblenz Dallas was the captain and owner of the cargo vessel USCSS Tremolino and, later, captain of the commercial towing vehicle USCSS Nostromo. He was in command of the Nostromo during its fateful voyage in 2122 when it encountered a Xenomorph on LV-426, an incident that eventually led to the destruction of the ship and the loss of all but one of its crew.
Dallas was taken by the Alien while attempting to flush the creature from the ship's ventilation shafts and into its main airlock so that it could be expelled into space; in the Director's Cut he is later found by Ripley, cocooned in the Nostromo's hold.
Dallas was born February 27, 2075 in Wolf Point, Montana and grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. He obtained his spaceflight license from Mercerton Flight Academy, after which he served a three-year stint as pilot and navigator aboard the salvage vessel USCSS Snark. Following this, he transferred to the military transport UTX Ganymede, serving under Captain Britten.
Military service and disgrace
With the outbreak of the civil war on Torin Prime in 2106, Dallas was commissioned into the United Americas Outer Rim Defence (UAORD) Fleet and spent the conflict piloting the fast attack vessel UAS Leviathan. Upon the liberation of Torin Prime two years later, Dallas received the Sunburst Medal of Honor for his service, was promoted to Captain and given command of the troop transport UAS Archangel. However, a little more than a year later, the Archangel was destroyed in an ambush during a peace-keeping operation on Thedus with the loss of 15,293 lives. Blame for the disaster was placed on Dallas; he was stripped of his flight license and dishonorably discharged from the UAROD, his once-promising career in ruins.
Return to flight status
Dallas would spend the next few years largely off the grid, before returning to space with the crew of the smuggling ship the Vidar, running weapons and medical supplies into the Solomons. He eventually managed to regain his commercial flight status by taking a job running hazardous materials for Weyland-Yutani. The dangerous but well-paying assignment not only saw him regain his license, but also provided him with sufficient funds to purchase his own cargo vessel, the USCSS Tremolino. Around this time, Dallas became close friends with Ellen Ripley, subsequently inviting her to join the Tremolino's crew when his existing warrant officer retired, although she respectfully declined.
The Termolino was decommissioned in 2119 and the crew disbanded. Dallas subsequently returned to the employ of Weyland-Yutani and was given command of the USCSS Nostromo. Several months into his posting, he once again offered his friend Ripley a place on the ship, and this time she agreed. By the time of the Nostromo's fateful voyage, Dallas was a veteran spacefarer, having spent over a decade travelling among the stars.
- "My usual science officer has been replaced – no reason given. The new guy is more than capable, I'm sure, but only getting two days' notice for this kinda thing is crazy."
- ―Dallas, in his personal log (from Alien: Isolation)
Two days before leaving Thedus on what would prove to be its final voyage, the Nostromo's existing science officer was suddenly replaced with Ash; while Dallas held no ill will towards Ash personally, he considered the sudden and unexplained disruption to his crew unacceptable. Before the crew entered hypersleep for their return to Sol, Dallas transmitted the ship's report packet back to Earth, relaying it through Sevastopol Station.
Landing on LV-426
When MU/TH/UR detected the signal from LV-426 and roused the crew of the Nostromo from hypersleep early, Dallas and Ash pointed out to the reluctant Brett and Parker that Weyland-Yutani orders dictated they had to investigate, despite only being a commercial towing vehicle. Although Dallas fully intended to follow the order, he was clearly annoyed and anxious at the extra risk involved.
After the Nostromo was damaged by dust entering one of its engine intakes while landing on LV-426, Dallas, Lambert and Kane set out to find the source of the signal MU/TH/UR had picked up. They eventually discovered a derelict spacecraft on the moon's surface and the deceased Pilot inside, Dallas taking a particular interest in the latter. When Kane was attacked by a Facehugger while investigating the derelict's cargo hold, Dallas and Lambert built a makeshift stretcher from the equipment they had available and carried him back to the Nostromo. Despite Dallas' orders to the contrary, Ripley initially refused to let them back on board, citing quarantine concerns, but was eventually undermined by Ash. Once on board, Dallas' anger and frustration at how the company-imposed investigation had turned out meant he ordered the Nostromo to leave even though repairs had not been completed.
The air ducts
- "Uh, Lambert, am I clear? I wanna get the hell out of here."
- ―Dallas, in the ventilation shaft (from Alien)
After Kane's Chestburster was born and Brett was killed by the soon fully-grown Alien, Dallas concluded the creature was using the ship's ventilation ducts to move around and proposed a plan to flush it into the main airlock using a flamethrower, at which point it could be jettisoned into space. Although Ripley volunteered, Dallas overruled her as Captain and elected to enter the vents himself while the other crewmembers used the motion detectors designed by Ash to track the Xenomorph. Before carrying out his plan, Dallas accessed MU/TH/UR in an attempt to gain some advice but received none.
Once in the air shafts, Dallas had Ripley close all the air shafts behind him as he moved, preventing the Alien from coming up behind him but also blocking his escape route. A malfunction in the motion detector forced him to pause, and rapidly he began to succumb to the terror of the situation. When the tracker began working again, Lambert picked up the Alien, moving straight towards Dallas. In his panic, he fled down a ladder, despite Lambert's pleas for him to head in the other direction, and was ambushed and taken by the Xenomorph. Parker later recovered Dallas' flamethrower, but found no sign of his body.
In the Director's Cut of the film, it is revealed that after his capture, the Alien took Dallas to the ship's cargo hold, where he was cocooned alongside Brett's corpse. The Alien then began transforming the men's bodies into two new Eggs. They were later found by Ripley; Dallas begged her to kill him to spare him the agonizing process and she complied, torching both him and Brett with her flamethrower.
Personality and Traits
Dallas was generally quite laid-back as Captain, although Brett and Parker's continued insistence that they receive higher pay seemed to annoy him. He was also averse to making decisions, a flaw he himself acknowledged and cited as the reason he was merely in charge of a commercial tug as opposed to a more impressive position aboard a space liner. When forced into a decision, Dallas seemed prone to making rushed, unwise choices under pressure, most glaringly when he allowed Kane and the Facehugger back on board the Nostromo in violation of standard quarantine protocols — a move that ultimately doomed the crew. Similarly, he opted to leave LV-426 before the Nostromo was fully repaired, leaving the crew without vital surveillance systems that they could have used to track the Alien.
Despite this, Dallas showed bravery and responsible leadership as the crisis worsened, refusing to let anyone else take his place in the vents to try and flush the Alien into the airlock despite his own fear.
During his time on the surface of LV-426, Dallas carried an RXF-M5 EVA Pistol holstered on his space suit, although he was never seen using it. When he entered the air ducts aboard the Nostromo, he armed himself with a makeshift incinerator unit built by Parker.
Behind the Scenes
- "No blood, no Dallas, nothing..."
- ―Parker, on failing to find Dallas' body
The scene where Dallas is found in the Nostromo's hold was mainly cut because director Ridley Scott thought it slowed the movie down too much in its final act. Although the sequence was partly reinstated for the Director's Cut of the movie, it was still trimmed from its original version — all of Ripley's dialogue from the scene is missing. The full sequence was also included in the novelization of the film. Notably, despite the later novelizations in the series following on from the theatrical film version of Alien (which did not include the cocoon scene), the sequence is still referenced in the novels of both Aliens and Alien3.
- Dallas actor Tom Skerritt was initially reluctant to take part in Alien, but recognized Ridley Scott's name as being attached to the recently-released The Duellists. Having watched that film and been thoroughly impressed by the visual style, he immediately changed his mind and accepted the role in Alien.
- In early drafts of the film's script, Dallas was known as Chaz Standard.
- For Sigourney Weaver's Alien screen test, Dallas was played by actor Ray Hassett. In the test, the actors performed a scene where Ripley and Dallas make love to relieve stress while the Nostromo is stranded on the planetoid; while this scene was in early scripts for Alien, it was later cut and was never filmed as part of principal photography.
- According to Scott's character background notes for the first film, Dallas' name and initials were originally A.J. Dallas. However, none of this background detail appeared on-screen in the first film. Dallas' name was later changed to Arthur Koblenz Dallas by James Cameron for Aliens, although it is incorrectly given as "Arthur, DALLAS Koblenz" on Dallas' file at the inquest into the destruction of the Nostromo, making it appear that his name is Dallas Arthur.
- One of the vessels Dallas was assigned to prior to the Nostromo, the USCSS Shusett, is an obvious reference to Ronald Shusett, one of the writers on Alien. According to behind the scenes notes, Dallas served as a Warrant Officer on the ship, and was employed by the Tyrell Corporation — a reference to the film Blade Runner, which was directed by Ridley Scott, director of Alien. Several other vessels listed in the Nostromo crew's résumés reference other crew members on Alien and Aliens.
- It is stated in the Alien novelization that Dallas had feelings for Ripley, and even planned to tell her once the Alien was killed. It is also said that Ripley had absolutely no clue about Dallas' feelings. This is contradicted in the later novel Alien: River of Pain, in which it is stated that Ripley and Dallas were on-and-off lovers.
- Aliens (photo only)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Original Sin (mentioned only)
- Alien: Out of the Shadows (mentioned only)
- Alien: River of Pain (mentioned only)
- Alien: Isolation (voice only)
- Deep Black (indirect mention)
- Alien: Isolation (novel)
- Nostromo crew manifest, available as an Easter Egg on Alien Legacy DVD box set
- Ian Nathan. Alien Vault: USCSS Nostromo schematic insert (2011), Aurum Press.
- Nostromo inquest dossier seen in Aliens, available as bonus feature on Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set
- Keith R. A. DeCandido. Alien: Isolation, p. 62 (2019), Titan Books.
- Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien (1979), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 135 (2012), Titan Books.
- S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 68 (2014), Insight Editions.
- Richard Meyers. The Officially Authorized Magazine of the Movie Alien, p. 37 (1979), Warren Publishing.
- Alien: Isolation - Nostromo Log 001 - An Initial Report
- Alien: Isolation - Nostromo Log 010 - Nostromo Report Packet
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 45 (2014), Titan Books.
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 105 (2014), Titan Books.
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 170 (2014), Titan Books.
- Ridley Scott, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, H. R. Giger, Ivor Powell. The Alien Legacy (1999), Sharpline Arts [DVD].
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 272 (2014), Titan Books.
- Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 109 (2014), Titan Books.
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien3, p. 157 (2014), Titan Books.
- Mark Kermode, Ridley Scott, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Sigourney Weaver, H. R. Giger. Alien Evolution (Alien re-edit) (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Alien script (first draft) by Dan O'Bannon