Samuel Elias Brett was the engineering technician aboard the commercial towing vehicle USCSS Nostromo. He was serving on the ship 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.
Brett was the first victim of the fully-grown Alien, and was killed whilst searching for the creature not long after it was born; in the Director's Cut he is later found by Ripley, cocooned in the Nostromo's hold and being transformed into a Xenomorph Egg.
Brett suffered from a violent childhood. After failing to graduate from the Nicholson Public High School in Hawks, West Virginia, he studied at the ICC Engineering Trade School on Earth, where he earned a degree in engineering. Prior to his posting to the Nostromo, Brett was assigned to the USCSS Nonnabo, where he quickly struck up a strong bond with his superior, the vessel's engineer Dennis Parker. Both men later transferred to the Nostromo together in 2120.
Encountering the Alien
- "Shouldn't damage the little bastard, unless its skin is thinner than ours."
- ―Brett, regarding the cattle prods he constructed (from Alien)
When the Nostromo was damaged by dust entering one of the engine intakes while setting down on LV-426 in 2122, it fell to Brett and Parker to repair the ship. When Kane was brought back aboard with a Facehugger attached to his face, Captain Dallas elected to leave the moon immediately, regardless of the fact several non-essential systems had yet to be fixed. When an unsuccessful attempt to remove the Facehugger led to the creature's blood eating through several decks of the Nostromo, Dallas used Brett's pen to inspect the rapidly oxidizing acid, melting the tip, much to Brett's chagrin.
After Kane was killed by the Chestburster implanted inside him, Brett constructed several cattle prods and some sturdy nets to help catch the creature, and with assistance of several motion detectors the crew set about finding it. Brett, Parker and Ripley soon detected a signal, but when they discovered it was merely Jones, the ship's cat, Brett let him go. Ripley and Parker frustratedly pointed out they would now just pick up the cat's signal again later on, and so Brett set off to retrieve Jones. On finding the cat in the Nostromo's hold, he found himself set upon by the now fully-grown Alien. Brett frozen in fear, was unable to move as the creature slowly approached him. Brett lets out a yell as the Alien subsequently punctured his skull with a headbite and continues screaming for a few more seconds before being carried by the creature into the ship's ventilation shafts.
In the Director's Cut of the film, Ripley later discovered that the Alien had taken Brett's corpse into the bowels of the Nostromo, where it cocooned his body to the wall and began transforming it into a new Xenomorph Egg; Dallas, still alive, later suffered the same fate. When Ripley stumbled upon the horrific scene, Dallas begged her to kill him, and she subsequently torched both men with her flamethrower.
Personality and Traits
- "Brett was only listed as an engineering technician. That was a fancy way of saying he was just as smart and knowledgeable as Parker but lacked seniority. The tech was as solemn and phlegmatic in outlook and speech as Parker was voluble and volatile. For him, silence was the cleanest form of communication."
- ―Alien novelization, chapter 1
As the "working class" aboard the Nostromo, Brett and Parker were constantly angling for increased pay and bonuses from Captain Dallas, much to the latter's annoyance (particularly as pay grades were not something he had control over). In addition to being somewhat distant from the more educated "upper class" crew members, he seemed to operate very much in Parker's shadow, and was quite noticeably the quietest and most reserved member of the crew. Furthermore, he had a habit of always agreeing with anything Parker said, backing him up with a simple, "Right."
Being an engineer, Brett was adept with a wide range of tools and mechanical equipment aboard the Nostromo. When the crew began hunting the Alien, Brett constructed several electric prods to "encourage" the creature into their nets, although these devices proved to be of no use against the fully matured creature.
Behind the Scenes
Several scenes cut from the final version of Alien gave Brett a slightly more pro-active and intelligent personality, most notably a scene in which he suggests to the others after Kane's death that he construct some basic cattle prods and nets to help catch the Alien, a plan accepted by the others.
The later scene where Ripley discovers Brett and Dallas in the ship's hold was mainly cut because director Ridley Scott thought it slowed the movie down too much in its final act. However, it was later partially reinstated for the 2003 Director's Cut of the film, minus Ripley's dialogue from the scene. The full sequence was 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.
Brett's cargo pants were custom made for production by Bermans and Nathans for use by Harry Dean Stanton, they are labelled "HARRY DENE STANTON" (sic) "THE ALIENS" (an early working title for the movie). In addition, Stanton's initials H.D.S are written in the back in black pen.
Today, the pants remain in good condition with some production distressing and exhibit traces of studio blood. Many years ago, the right shin pocket was signed by John Hurt (Kane), but this is now extremely faded.
- Brett actor Harry Dean Stanton was already an accomplished supporting character actor by the time of filming. The veteran artist had already made several films since the 50s and had a reputation of being very efficient in his work. Stanton's first words to director Ridley Scott during his audition were, "I don't like science fiction pictures and I don't like monster pictures..." Scott was amused by the actor's sincerity and skill, and he convinced Stanton to take the role after telling him that he felt the same way, but saw potential in this particular script.
- Brett was named after George Brett, a major league baseball player who played for the Kansas City Royals. In early drafts of the film's script, he was known as Cleave Hunter.
- Brett was the first victim of a fully grown Xenomorph in the Alien franchise.
- One of the vessels Brett was assigned to prior to the Nostromo, the USCSS Hurd, is an obvious reference to Gale Anne Hurd, one of the producers on Aliens (and, at the time, wife of Aliens director James Cameron). Several other vessels listed in the Nostromo crew's résumés reference other crew members on Alien and Aliens.
- Brett' s corpse can be found in the Crew Expendable DLC for Alien: Isolation.
- Aliens (photo only)
- Aliens: Original Sin (mentioned only)
- Alien: River of Pain (indirect mention)
- Alien: Isolation (voice only)
- Deep Black (indirect mention)
- Alien: Isolation (novel) (mentioned only)
- Nostromo crew manifest, available as an Easter Egg on Alien Legacy DVD box set
- Brett's actor's (Harry Dean Stanton) height at the time was 5ft 8 (172.7 cm), so that is also how tall Brett would have been.
- 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.
- Nostromo inquest dossier seen in Aliens, available as bonus feature on Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set
- Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 45 (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].
- "Strange Shapes - Writing Alien". Retrieved on 2015-03-06.
- Alien script (first draft) by Dan O'Bannon