- "My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are."
- ―Newt (from Aliens)
Rebecca Jorden, known to most people as "Newt", was the sole survivor from the Hadley's Hope settlement on Acheron following a Xenomorph infestation at the colony. She was the daughter of Russ and Anne Jorden and younger sister to Timmy Jorden. The United States Colonial Marine Corps unit which was dispatched to the moon in 2179 discovered her hiding in the colony's ventilation system. She subsequently became close to Ellen Ripley, acting as a surrogate daughter to her. Ripley would later risk her own life to rescue Newt from the Xenomorph Hive.
Newt was one of four people to survive the infestation on LV-426, along with Ripley, Corporal Hicks and the android Lance Bishop, who was badly damaged. She later died when an EEV carrying her crashed on Fiorina "Fury" 161.
Newt was born on March 15, 2173 in the colony Hadley's Hope on Acheron to Russ and Anne Jorden. She was the couple's second child, after her older brother Timmy, and was the first child to be born at the colony. As such, her birth was the cause of much celebration amongst the Hadley's Hope inhabitants. As a child, Newt enjoyed playing in the ventilation ducts with her brother and the other kids at the colony, despite their mother's threats to "tan their hides" if they did it again.
Living a nightmare
In 2179, Newt's parents were sent to survey a previously unexplored area of the moon's surface, acting on information received from Carter Burke. Newt and her brother went along with their parents for the trip. At the given coordinates, they stumbled across a derelict spacecraft, and Russ and Anne immediately went inside in search of potential salvage that they might lay claim to, leaving Newt and her brother Timothy outside in their Daihotai Tractor. Unbeknownst to the Jorden family, the derelict ship was the same one discovered by the crew of the ill-fated USCSS Nostromo some 57 years previously, and the unprepared prospectors soon stumbled across its cargo of Xenomorph Eggs. After some time alone with her brother, Newt's mother returned, and as she desperately attempted to contact the colony on the radio, Newt noticed her father's body outside with a Facehugger attached to his face.
24 hours later, Newt and her brother Timmy were taken by Timmy's friend Aaron to a spot in the Hadley's Hope ventilation ducts where they could see their father in the medical facility to which he had been quarantined. As they watched in secret, they witnessed Russ' death from the Chestburster inside him.
Later, with the Xenomorphs kidnapping colonists and multiplying in number, Newt and her remaining family were moved to the sub-levels of the complex where several survivors took up refuge in a storeroom. Despite attempts to fortify the room, the Xenomorphs eventually breached it and Newt's mother and brother were killed, while Newt herself barely managed to escape through a vent. While the Xenomorphs continued to attack the colony and take away the few remaining survivors, Newt managed to stay undetected by hiding in the extensive ventilation system, building a den near the operations center.
Survival and rescue
- "We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly."
- ―Newt, regarding the Aliens (from Aliens)
When a team of Colonial Marines aboard the USS Sulaco arrived at the colony to investigate, they quickly detected Newt on their motion trackers. After Private Drake almost accidentally shot her, Ellen Ripley pursued Newt into the ventilation system and eventually calmed her down. She was later given a check-up by the squad's Hospital Corpsman, Corporal Dietrich, who found Newt was malnourished but otherwise physically fine. The young girl was initially mute, but eventually began talking to Ripley, telling her her name.
When the Marines moved to the colony's Atmosphere Processing Plant in search of the other colonists, Newt and Ripley went with them in their APC. After the creatures ambushed the Marines inside the Hive, Newt and the survivors escaped the area and planned to evacuate, but their dropship was destroyed by Xenomorphs and its crew killed, stranding them on the moon. In the aftermath of the crash, Newt told the survivors that the creatures "mostly" came out at night, and that they should return to the relative safety of the operations building.
Captured and freed
Despite only being a child, Newt assisted the Marines in fortifying the administration building where she could, helping them carry equipment and move supplies. As the survivors bunkered down to wait until Bishop could remotely pilot a second dropship from the Sulaco to the surface, Ripley and Newt slept in the colony's medical facility. While they were sleeping, Burke freed two live Facehuggers being stored in the med lab, intending for them to impregnate Ripley and Newt and thereby obtain Xenomorph specimens for Weyland-Yutani. While the two were trapped in the room with the creatures, Ripley used her lighter to set off the fire alarm to get the Marines' attention. The Marines arrived and took care of the Facehuggers.
Before Burke could be dealt with for his treachery, the Xenomorphs attacked and overran the operations center. Newt led Ripley and Corporal Hicks, the last surviving Marine, out through the ventilation ducts but was knocked down a shaft into the colony's sewers by an explosion. While Ripley and Hicks attempted to find and rescue her, they arrived too late and Newt was taken back to the Hive.
Newt woke up cocooned inside the Atmosphere Processor. Almost immediately the Egg placed in front of her opened, but as the Facehugger within attempted to pounce it was shot to pieces by Ripley, who had come to save Newt and was drawn by her screams. After freeing Newt from her cocoon, the two were cut off by an explosion and inadvertently strayed into the Queen's chamber. Surrounded, Ripley threatened to incinerate the Queen's Eggs, and in response the Queen called off her Drones. However, when an Egg began to hatch Ripley set the entire chamber alight and left several grenades to kill the Queen before escaping with Newt.
The Queen survived and set off in pursuit, following Ripley and Newt all the way to the landing platform near the top of the Atmosphere Processor. At the last moment they were rescued by Bishop in the second dropship, escaping just before the Atmosphere Processor exploded and destroyed the colony.
Aboard the Sulaco
Upon landing back aboard the Sulaco, the Queen revealed herself to have stowed away in the dropship's landing gear, and after tearing Bishop in two she set upon Newt, who attempted to hide beneath the floor grating in the Sulaco's hangar bay. The Queen eventually cornered Newt, but was fought off by Ripley in a Power Loader and ultimately ejected into space to her death. With the Queen dead, the survivors — Newt, Ripley, a wounded Hicks and the damaged Bishop — entered hypersleep for the trip home.
Although Newt survived the events on Acheron, her hypersleep chamber was later breached by acidic blood from a Facehugger that had stowed away on the Sulaco. A firefight in the cryo chamber between Hicks and several Weyland-Yutani PMCs subsequently started an electrical fire when the Facehugger, now attached to Ripley, was hit by stray gunfire, and as a result of the electrical fire, all four occupied cryotubes were ejected in a Type 337 EEV. Damage caused during the launch resulted in the EEV crash-landing in an ocean on Fiorina "Fury" 161 near the Fiorina 161 Class C Work Correctional Unit; Newt's breached cryo-chamber flooded and she drowned in her sleep.
After her body was recovered, Ripley suspected that Newt may have been carrying a Chestburster and asked the prison colony's resident doctor, Jonathan Clemens, to perform an autopsy, claiming Newt may have had cholera. Clemens, although skeptical, carried out the procedure and found nothing unnatural inside the body, much to Ripley's relief. Newt was later cremated on Fiorina 161, along with the body of Turk (whose corpse was mistaken for Hicks').
Over 200 years after her death, the DNA of Ellen Ripley was used to create several clones by the United Systems Military. One of them, designated Ripley 8, was shown a cartoon-like drawing of a young girl Dunkirk cognitive testing, triggering memories of Newt and a significant emotional response. In that moment, the clone managed to access the memories of the original Ellen Ripley, recalling her quest to save Newt on LV-426 and how Newt had referred to Ripley as "Mommy".
Personality and Traits
Even before the harrowing events on LV-426, Newt was a quiet and restrained girl. Despite her shy nature, she had a good relationship with her parents and was close to her brother, who was the only person who called her by her real name. Newt often joined her brother and his friends in playing in the colony's ventilation shafts, a game at which she would teasingly claim to be the best because she could fit into areas the larger boys could not.
Following the destruction of the colony by Xenomorphs, Newt showed great resourcefulness in hiding in the vents she knew so well from playing with the other children. She collected basic food and bedding to help her survive alone until help arrived, her only companionship being her favorite doll, Casey, reduced to just a dismembered head by this point. When help did arrive, she quickly developed a strong bond with Ellen Ripley, eventually entering a surrogate mother/daughter relationship with her, both of them having lost their respective families. Despite her young age, Newt showed courage and maturity above even some of the hardened Marines sent to Hadley's Hope, staying calm when several of the military personnel around her were cracking up and never failing to give what limited assistance she could offer. Of all the Marines, Newt became closest to Hicks, who was the only one to really accept Newt into the group, treating her more as an equal than an abandoned child and showing respect for her survival.
Behind the Scenes
Comic book appearances
Following Aliens, the character of Newt went on to appear in a series of Aliens comic book published by Dark Horse Comics from 1988-1990 that continued her story after the film, alongside Hicks. In these comics, Hicks and Newt travel to the Xenomorph home world in order to combat an infestation that has taken over the entire Earth, before again teaming up with Ripley to destroy the Aliens.
However, following the release of Alien3 in 1992, in which Newt perished, the character's name in these stories was altered to Billie — this change first appeared in the novel Aliens: Earth Hive, an adaptation of the comic series Aliens: Outbreak released several months after Alien3. Similarly, Hicks became David Wilks, while Ellen Ripley became a synthetic version of herself. Subsequent reprints of the early comics also used these altered names, thereby keeping the stories congruous with the film franchise. However, despite their new identities, the characters' back stories were not altered (beyond the names of people and places), and so Newt and Billie both share remarkably similar experiences — both were the sole surviving inhabitants of a colony overrun by the Xenomorphs, and both were rescued as part of a disastrous Colonial Marine mission to the planet.
More recently, Dark Horse has begun reissuing the original, unedited versions of the early Aliens comics, thereby reinstating the character of Newt in these stories and restoring the comic series as alternative sequels to Aliens.
- For many of the scenes where Ripley carries Newt around the Hive in Aliens, a simple lightweight dummy was used; as the audience only ever sees the back of the Newt's head, it did not need to be an accurate double.
- The comic book Aliens: Newt's Tale, which adapts Aliens, is told entirely from Newt's point of view.
- In the Aliens arcade game from Konami, Newt is a minor non-playable character. In the first level, she can be seen crawling out of the air ducts and walking away as Ripley or Hicks fights the Aliens. Two driving segments also involve driving to rescue Newt. The first driving segment will end with a winged Alien taking her away while trying to reach the player.
- In the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines, Newt can be heard in an audio message recorded by her mother, Anne, found in the ruins of Hadley's Hope. Newt is also heard in an audio log found aboard the Sulaco in the expansion pack Stasis Interrupted, in a message she records for Hicks while he is on the radio trying to contact Earth.
- Newt features in a deleted scene from The Predator, in which she was portrayed by Breanna Watkins. In the scene, an alternate ending for the film, Newt was to be revealed inside the Predator pod in the final scene. Her face would have been covered by a Weyland-Yutani breather mask, although the readouts inside the pod would have revealed her name.
- In the comic book adaptation of Alien III, it was revealed that Newt was originally the one who was impregnated with the embryo of the Xenomorph Queen, but after Newt ended up drowning in her cryotube, the Queen transferred hosts to Ripley. There is also strong evidence to suggest that Newt may have been carrying the Queen for longer than initially suspected, suggesting she may have been impregnated on LV4-26, and that the Queen's gestation period took longer due to Newt being in cryosleep. This theory also attributes to the existence of two Xenomorphs on Fury 161, despite there being only one egg and one Facehugger seen.
- Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual (mentioned only)
- Alien: Resurrection (novel) (appears in flashback)
- Alien Resurrection Special Edition (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Original Sin (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Colonial Marines/Stasis Interrupted (voice only)
- Alien: River of Pain/audio drama
- Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report
- Deep Black (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Outbreak
- Aliens: Nightmare Asylum
- Aliens: Female War
- Aliens (arcade game)
- Aliens Adventure Game (mentioned only)
- Aliens: Newt's Tale
- Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay
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