While the mechanics of the process are unknown, essentially it involves the Xenomorph cocooning a victim who then serves as a food source for the development of a new Egg containing a Facehugger. Notably, the victim does not need to be alive for this process to be successful — deceased matter is equally viable, as was the case with Brett.
Behind the Scenes
Eggmorphing was originally to be witnessed during the climax of Alien, when Ripley discovers Dallas and Brett cocooned in the Nostromo's hold, both at various stages of being "digested" and turned into an Egg. The entire sequence was cut as director Ridley Scott felt it slowed down the final act of the film. However, the scene did appear in the movie's novelization, and was referenced in the novelizations of the sequel films.
Unlike many deleted scenes from movies, especially from the time period, the lost Eggmorphing scene actually became fairly well known following the film's release, and not just as a result of its inclusion in the novel. The existence of a filmed version of the scene was first confirmed in the behind the scenes book The Book of Alien, published to coincide with the release of the movie. Several other publications from the same year also mentioned the cut sequence, including The Officially Authorized Magazine of the Movie Alien and two articles in the monthly magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland (issues 158 and 159), both of which were produced by Warren Publishing. In 1992, the actual footage of the scene was released to the public for the first time, along with several other deleted scenes from the movie, on the Alien: Special Collector's Edition LaserDisc. The scene was subsequently discussed in numerous sources, including the book Giger's Alien and an issue of Aliens magazine, while the footage went on to appear on various other home video releases, as well as in documentaries on the making of the film, starting with The Alien Legacy. Finally, in 2003, the Eggmorphing scene was reinstated (albeit partially) into the film for its Director's Cut.
With the removal of the Eggmorphing scene, the manner in which the Xenomorph Eggs were originally created was left unclear in Alien. When James Cameron came to make the sequel Aliens, he devised the Queen as a means to fill the Xenomorph's reproductive gap. Even before the release of the Director's Cut of Alien, the Eggmorphing scene was fairly well known, and fans have for many years debated whether the two differing means of Xenomorph reproduction can co-exist, or whether Eggmorphing should be disregarded as a retconned curio, given that it was originally deleted from the first movie. The issue of these differing methods of reproduction has largely been ignored in official sources, the only notable exception being the novelization of Alien3, which states that both forms of reproduction are typical of the species, and that either can be used to create more Xenomorphs, dependant on the situation.
Later appearances and references
Despite its removal from Alien, the process of Eggmorphing appeared in several of the unproduced scripts written for Alien3, most notably Eric Red's unmade script. A similar scene was included in early versions of the final shooting script for the third film, but was again cut from the movie, this time before filming. Several years later, it would go on to make arguably its only official canon appearance in the novel Alien: Prototype. However, the individual Xenomorph that performs the process in the novel is a mutant with unique abilities not found in other Xenomorphs, thus leaving it ambiguous as to whether or not the Eggmorphing ability is a trait shared by the entire species.
Following the release of Alien: Isolation, it was theorized that Eggmorphing may have been responsible for the Eggs seen in the Hive aboard Sevastopol Station. However, the game's developers later confirmed that a Queen was in fact the source of the Eggs, she merely remains unseen in the game.
- It has been suggested that Eggmorphing is the means by which Xenomorphs create a Queen.
- It is sometimes assumed (incorrectly) that the process involves literally transforming the victim into a new Egg. However, the novelization of Alien, along with quotes from Ridley Scott, make it clear that Eggmorphing actually involves the victim serving simply as a source of nutrients for the growing Egg, rather than physically becoming the Egg themselves.
- Concept art of the Aliens: Defiance - Extravehicular Xenomorph label it as an "egg-morphing Praetorian".
- Alien Director's Cut/novel
- Aliens (novel) (mentioned only)
- Alien3 (novel) (mentioned only)
- Alien vs Predator (1993 video game)
- Alien vs Predator (1994 Jaguar video game)
- Alien: Prototype
Behind the scenes
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien3, p. 213 (2014), Titan Books.
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 271 (2014), Titan Books.
- Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien Director's Cut (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- Richard Meyers. The Officially Authorized Magazine of the Movie Alien, p. 53 (1979), Warren Publishing.
- 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.
- Paul Scanlon, Michael Gross. The Book of Alien, p. 97 (1979), Heavy Metal Communications.
- "Weyland-Yutani Archives - Alien: The Special Edition That Never Happened". Retrieved on 2015-09-11.
- Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens, Vol. 2 #18, p. 35 (1993), Dark Horse International.
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien3, p. 213 (2014), Titan Books.
- "AVP Galaxy - Interview with Alien: Isolation Writers Will Porter and Dion Lay". Retrieved on 2015-02-03.
- "Strange Shapes - Egg-Morph". Retrieved on 2014-09-03.