- "I wish you could understand what we're trying to do here. The potential for this species goes way beyond urban pacification. New alloys, new vaccines. Nothing like this we've ever seen on any world before."
- ―Dr. Wren (from Alien Resurrection)
Doctor Mason Wren was head of a seven-man scientific team aboard the United Systems Military vessel USM Auriga that successfully cloned Ellen Ripley in order to recreate the Xenomorph XX121 species.
Wren came close to surviving the outbreak aboard the Auriga, but his continued attempts to betray the other survivors eventually led to his death aboard the Betty.
The cloning project
Wren was in overall charge of the project to recreate the Xenomorph species by cloning Ellen Ripley and, with her, the Xenomorph Queen incubating within her chest at the time of her death on Fiorina "Fury" 161. After 10 years of exhaustive experimentation, 2 of which were conducted aboard the USM Auriga, Wren's team finally succeeded in creating an apparently perfect recreation of Ripley.
Originally, Wren had intended to dispose of the clone, known as Ripley 8, as soon as the Queen inside had been surgically removed, but at the last minuted he relented and had Dr. Sprague close Ripley 8' incisions so that she could be kept alive for further study. When Ripley 8 awoke during the procedure and shattered Sprague's arm, Wren was forced to heavily sedate the clone to end the attack.
While the Auriga's commander, General Peréz, initially disagreed with Wren's decision to spare Ripley 8, he ultimately left the matter in the lead scientist's hands. Even though Wren was attacked during a routine assessment of Ripley 8's physical health, he had become fascinated by the clone and elected not to have her destroyed as a result. Wren also oversaw the growth of the Queen and the impregnation of the kidnapped civilians delivered by the crew of the Betty. Once the Cloned Xenomorphs had matured, he seemed to leave much of the work studying them to Dr. Gediman, Dr. Williamson and Dr. Clauss, focusing himself on observing Ripley 8's development.
Confronting the Betty crew
- "Look. I don't care whether you knew or not! You brought a terrorist on board a military vessel. And as far as I am concerned, you all die with her!"
- ―Wren, to the Betty crew (from Alien Resurrection)
Wren later caught Annalee Call attempting to sabotage the Xenomorph breeding program, and along with his security detail he confronted the Betty crew in the mess hall over the issue. He explained to Frank Elgyn that even if he wasn't aware of Call's true nature, him and his crew still brought a "terrorist" on board the Auriga and thus the entire group was to be executed by Wren's security detail.
However, the smugglers rebelled and killed most of the soldiers accompanying Wren, taking the doctor and surviving soldier Distephano hostage. Moments later, the Xenomorphs escaped their holding cells and quickly overran the ship, leaving Wren and the others stranded. Wren was spared in the hopes that he would be able to help the survivors escape.
Wren later seized a chance to escape, shooting Call and trapping the others in a lift shaft with a Xenomorph Drone. He attempted to make it to the Betty alone, hoping to escape the ship and guide it back to Earth, where his research could continue. However, he was thwarted when Call, revealed to be an Auton, accessed the Auriga's central computer and blocked his access to the Betty.
Wren survived and used an alternative route to reach the Betty. He took Call hostage as a human shield before shooting Larry Purvis in the shoulder. Wren ordered the group to drop their guns, which they refused to do so. After threatening to execute Call if the group doesn't comply, Distephano and Johner finally put their guns on the ground.
Wren then declared his intentions to continue his research on the Xenomorphs. Just then, the Chestburster inside Purvis began to emerge. In agony, Larry stood up and ran at Wren. In response, Wren shot Purvis nearly a dozen times in the chest, but he ignored the shots and viciously attacked Wren, brutally beating him before holding the doctor's head to his chest. The birthing Chestburster consequently punched clean through Wren's skull, erupting from his face and killing him instantly.
Personality and Traits
Even by the standards of the scientific team aboard the Auriga, Wren was an almost totally immoral man, willing to sacrifice innocent civilians and everyone else aboard the Auriga for the furtherance of science without a moment's thought. Wren also seemed to take a degree of sadistic pleasure in his work, as shown when he refused to provide the captured civilians with anesthetics, despite being aware of their impending painful deaths.
Even once the Cloned Xenomorphs had escaped and begun slaughtering people aboard the vessel, he still fully intended to continue the project once the ship reached Earth, despite the quite obvious danger to the planet this represented. He would often fake concern for other people's well-being, when in fact he was willing to betray anyone around him at a moment's notice if he thought it would help him achieve his goals, even if it meant betraying those who might otherwise have helped him survive.
Wren also suffered from an inflated superiority complex, considering himself superior to everyone else aboard the Auriga, even his own science team and the Xenomorphs themselves. This was most obviously manifested in the supremely smug manner he adopted when talking to others, particularly Ripley 8 and the survivors of the Betty. This confidence and faith in the security of the Xenomorph project largely blinded him to the very real dangers involved.
Although kept largely under guard following his capture by the Betty crew, Wren eventually managed to trick Call into giving him her zip gun, which he duly used to shoot her before escaping. Later, when confronting the Betty survivors again aboard their ship, he had armed himself with a standard-issue USM Pistol, which he used to take Call hostage and shoot Purvis until he was attacked by the latter, dropping the gun.
A notable plot hole in the film revolves around Wren informing the survivors that there are twelve Xenomorphs remaining when asked how many more of the creatures exist. However, he could not possibly know this with any certainty at the time he says it. Prior to this point, one Xenomorph is killed by the others to start the breakout, one or possibly two are killed by Dom Vriess in the cargo hold, one is blown up by General Peréz in an escape pod and one is killed by Ripley 8 just before the question is asked. Additionally, other Xenomorphs may have been killed in the initial stages of the breakout, as gunfire can be heard off-screen at the start of the breach. The only one of these Wren could conceivably be aware of is the one killed by Ripley 8, as he was being held in the recreation hall while the other Alien deaths occurred and no one informed the characters there of what was happening.
Assuming Wren took the one Xenomorph killed by Ripley 8 into account when he gave twelve as the remaining number, there must have been thirteen Xenomorphs originally. However, we only see eight kidnapped civilians being delivered by the crew of the Betty, not to mention one of these has to be Larry Purvis, whose Chestburster does not hatch until the end of the movie. This would mean there are only three or possibly even just two Drones (depending on how many Vriess killed) left on board the Auriga when Wren is asked the question. Yet he thinks there are twelve.
Of course, an obvious answer is that there are simply more kidnapped civilians brought on board than the audience ever sees on screen. Indeed, the novelization of the film makes it clear that the Betty crew have to make multiple trips from their ship to the labs to deliver all of the captive cryotubes, and that there are 20 of them in total. However, even this number does not add up, as twenty minus the Xenomorphs we see killed would equal fifteen (or fourteen), not twelve, not to mention Wren cannot possibly be aware of most of these losses. In the novel, Wren simply responds by saying that his team originally bred 20 Xenomorphs, which is a far more sensible (and logical) answer to give.
- Alien Resurrection/novel/comic
- Aliens: Original Sin (appears in dream)
- Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report
- S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 145 (2014), Insight Editions.
- Joss Whedon (writer), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director). Alien Resurrection (1997), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 9 (2014), Insight Editions.
- A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 105 (2015), Titan Books.
- A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 29 (2015), Titan Books.
- A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 12 (2015), Titan Books.