"We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly."
Newt, referring to Warriors (from Aliens)

The Warrior,[2][3] also known as the Soldier,[4] is the primary assault caste of the Xenomorph XX121 species and as such is almost certainly the most numerous caste of Xenomorph in existence. They are fast, reasonably tough, and savage combatants. Even in death, the Warrior is dangerous, as its pressurized bloodstream will cause it to burst apart, drenching nearby enemies in acid blood. Warriors are identified by their ridged heads and stand around 7–8 feet tall on their hind legs. They are about 14–16 feet long, including their tail.


Trco017 w

A Warrior Alien from Aliens: Outbreak.

The most recognizable form of warriors are spawned from human hosts, and are basically bipedal as a result, although they have been known to frequently move on all fours, particularly when climbing walls or ceilings, a task at which they are adept. They are extremely agile, capable of navigating through vents, up walls or across large areas swiftly and nimbly. They also have an astonishing leaping ability. Warriors stand at around 8 feet in height, taller even than a typical Yautja. They are dark in skin color, typically black but sometimes incorporating dark brown or blue tones.

Warriors are seemingly even stronger than Drones, capable of lifting humans clean into the air with little effort, and breaking down metal pressure doors when in groups.[5] During combat, some Warriors have been known to continue fighting or at least trying to fight, even after losing limbs.[6] Their heads are covered in ridges for increased structural strength, allowing them to use their skulls as ramming weapons, often to force their way through doors, vent covers or other physical obstructions. Their segmented tails end in a blade-like tip that can be used to propel the creature swiftly through water.[6] They also feature the dorsal tubes typical of many Xenomorph castes, and some Warriors have been seen to possess blade-like protrusions at the elbows.[7]

When a Warrior is killed by weapons that cause massive physical trauma, its highly pressurized bloodstream causes the creature to explode, showering the surrounding area with molecular acid. This has been seen to cause severe injury and even death to humans caught in such a blast.[7] A similar effect has been seen when a Warrior is set aflame, typically through the use of military-issue flamethrowers; the intense heat from prolonged burning can cause the creature to violently explode, which is most likely due to its already high-pressure circulatory system boiling within its body.[6]


"What do you mean they cut the power? How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"
―Pvt. Hudson, referring to Warriors (from Aliens)

Warriors have been known to employ stealth tactics, and are able to blend into their surrounding environment, particularly within the Hive, before ambushing targets. However, they more often employ direct assaults and swarm attacks, using sheer weight of numbers to overwhelm defenses and subdue their prey. While this behavior often leads to high casualty rates against prepared opponents, it brings with it distinct psychological advantages with regards to enemy morale.[7] It is not clear whether such reckless attacks represent a diminished intelligence and/or survival instinct on the part of the Warrior when compared to the more stealthy Drones, or whether it is a result of influence from the Queen.

Despite this, Warriors clearly possess some ability to plan and adapt; for example, in Aliens they were shown to be capable of cutting power to certain areas of the colony, finding openings in their opponents' defenses, and successfully sneaking up on victims even when they were apparently on guard and at full alert.[7] Warriors display high degrees of aggression and will attack any non-Xenomorph life forms they encounter. In some cases, individual Warriors appear to possess greater intelligence than their brethren and may even act as a "leader" amongst a group of Warriors. Notable examples include Specimen 6.[6]


Warriors are often said to evolve from Drones, although it is unknown at which point this change may occur, or whether there are external factors that can influence it. In the expanded universe, Warriors are shown as being able to further evolve into various other Xenomorph forms, most notably Praetorians and even Queens. The factors influencing these changes are not well understood; it is possible the evolution takes place at the individual's own volition, or it may be instigated by either external factors or direct influence from the Queen. As with most Xenomorphs, Warriors can evolve from exposure to Royal Jelly.

Drone and Warrior

It has long been theorized that ridge-headed Warriors and smooth-headed Drones are in fact the same caste of Xenomorph and that the ridged head structure of the Warrior is simply a sign of aging or maturity in a Drone. Drones and Warriors have never appeared in the same film throughout the Alien franchise; currently, Drones have only been depicted in Alien and Alien vs. Predator, while Warriors appear in Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (the other films of the franchise feature other Xenomorph variations, such as the Runner in Alien3 or the Cloned Xenomorphs in Alien Resurrection). However, several video games have portrayed the two castes working alongside one another. The aging theory is backed up by the fact the Xenomorphs featured in Aliens have been alive for considerably longer than those seen in either Alien or Alien vs. Predator (however, it does not explain the presence of Warriors in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, despite those creatures being only recently born).

In the cast and crew commentary for Aliens, James Cameron confirms the aging concept, stating that the Warrior Xenomorphs in his film are indeed intended to be adult Drones. The change in design was originally implemented because Cameron was concerned that the smooth headpiece of the original film's design would crack or otherwise be damaged during the increased stunt work required of the Xenomorph suits in Aliens. As a result, he simply removed the smooth cover from the heads, exposing the ridges beneath.[7]

Alternate Forms

Standard variant

Warrior model

A standard Warrior (referred to as "Soldiers") from Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Although there is no true "standard" Warrior, the design seen in Aliens is generally considered to be the typical Warrior form. However, the Xenomorph species is highly variable and the creatures are able to adapt their physical form to match any environment. They mostly appear black or black-blue in color, the latter being the case with Specimen 6. Even the Warriors shown in the movie Aliens showed slight variations amongst themselves, including the presence or absence of blades on the forearms; these protrusions can be seen most clearly on the Warrior that takes Newt in the Hadley's Hope sublevels.

In the video games Aliens: Colonial Marines and Aliens vs. Predator, the Warriors encountered in the campaign, which constitute the most numerous of the Xenomorph types, are based on James Cameron's design used in Aliens. However, there are several minor differences between the creatures seen in the film, including longer, thinner dorsal tubes and no arm blades (although as mentioned above, some Warriors in Aliens did not feature blades either). The Warriors in Aliens vs. Predator games also lack the fifth tentacle-like dorsal tube located just below the back of the creature's skull in the films; this was removed to allow the Warriors to look forwards when moving on all fours, which they do with far greater regularity in the game. While the dorsal tube is present in Aliens: Colonial Marines, it is far smaller and tends to glitch through the creature's head when they are moving on all fours, making it hard to see. Also, in Aliens: Colonial Marines, the Warriors were given a green tint to most of the body.

Evolved Warrior


The Prodos Games Evolved Warriors

As a Xenomorph hive grows in size, on occasion, a Warrior will mutate into a unique type of its own. Highly adaptable, these creatures are often mistaken for a standard Warrior until it is too late for their enemies. Some of them are able to spray acid at close range onto multiple enemies at once, others can camouflage their mesoskeleton to blend into their surroundings to leap upon their foes, and some of them are even able to heal the most grievous of wounds almost instantly. Notably, they possess only one pair of dorsal spines instead of the standard two pairs.

Classified as Evolved Warriors, company scientists believe they are an evolutionary dead-end and once their metamorphosis has finished, it will change no more after that. It is theorized that their evolution is due to an immediate need that the hive requires, but not as a long term creation. Whatever the reasoning is behind these monsters, they should be engaged with extreme caution, as each one is different and there is no way to determine what capabilities it has until it has displayed them.[8]

Warrior Carved

Ridged Alien

A Warrior Carved on Earth.

While the Warrior already possesses a ridged skull, a more rugged version called "Warrior Carved"[9] or "Warrior Ridged"[6] is known to exist.[10] Their carved, ridged head gives them an additional bullet resistance over the standard Drone.[9] The only known encounter with the Carved variant was in Gunnison, Colorado, Earth in 2004, but all of them were eradicated when a nuke was dropped on the town.[10]

Warrior Dome


The Warrior Dome.

The Warrior variant called "Warrior Dome" possesses a smooth black head akin to that of the Drone. From this, it can be assumed the type of carapace a Xenomorph has depends on that individual Xenomorph. It is possible that domed warriors are simply infant warriors, indistinguishable from drones until they mature. According to The Hunt Begins, that is exactly the case.[11]

This variation of Warrior appears in Aliens vs. Predator and is often mistakenly referred to as a drone, due to the two castes having smooth heads, however, the term Drone has been used to refer to ridged headed adults as well.[12]

Cystic Infused Warrior


A Cystic Infused Warrior.

Warriors can be made even more dangerous through the use of Cystic Acid on their host before implantation. They are much hardier than their more common brethren, and although indistinguishable from a normal Warrior in infancy, bare a bright reddish stripe dorsally down their cranium upon reaching adulthood.[13]

Onslaught Genome Warrior


An Onslaught Genome Warrior after taking heavy damage.

Very similar to the regenerative variety of Evolved Warriors, when needed, human-hosted Warriors can evolve to become more suitable for heavy assaults. First, they develop hardened chitinous ridges that enable them to penetrate tougher armors. Second, they develop a redundant vascular life support system, enabling them to continue fighting even after sustaining crippling damage including limb loss. Third, they improve their already amazing abilities to regenerate themselves with the added assistance from Hive Nodes. The latter two abilities combine to enable the creature to regenerate lost limbs and return to perfect health fast through sustained healing at the Hive.

Cystic Infused Onslaught Genome Warrior

A lethal, stronger version of the Onslaught Genome Warrior. These Warriors are created the same way as the Cystic infused Warriors. They also have a large red stripe running down the top of the cranium.


Main article: Palatine
The Queen Mother's chosen protectors[14] or "chosen few"[15] were first encountered on a mission to recover the Queen Mother from the Xenomorph homeworld. Emerging from the five egg-like pods connected to the Queen Mother's central pod, a chosen protector was described as a "Queen-sized Drone" [16] and possessed a pair of fang-tipped protrusions on each side of the head. Faster than the Xenomorphs encountered on Earth, the chosen protector was capable of tearing through the alloyed steel of a Power Loader.[17]

The Smasher.


Main article: Smasher

The Smasher appears to be a special type of a Xenomorph warrior. It's brownish-green, and its carapace has a smooth side, which is lighter colored. Smashers; as their name implies; smash into their foes. They move similarly to any other warrior, just moving bipedally more than quadrupedally like standard warriors.

Razor Claws

Main article: Razor Claws

A Razor Claws

Razor Claws were frighteningly faster, tougher, stronger, bigger type of human born Xenomorph Warrior that was as big if not bigger than Praetorians. The claws on its hand grew to immense proportions and were extremely sharp and damaging, hence its namesake. Their skin wasn't always purple, but the majority of the time they weren't gray.

Behind the Scenes


When it came to filming the sequel to Alien, director James Cameron wanted to update the titular creature's design, reshaping it for war whilst at the same time staying true to the Alien seen in the first film.[18] Of the alterations to the design, special effects designer Stan Winston commented, "We tried to be as true to the original film as we could, without disallowing ourselves a little bit of artistic freedom to do things that we considered — if not improvements — something to keep your head above water, so you're not just doing what was done before."[19] Given that the original creature's designer H. R. Giger was busy working on Poltergeist II, Cameron chose not to pursue him for his input, a decision that upset Giger at the time.[19]

The most obvious design alteration from the first creature was the removal of the domed carapace. Originally, the Warriors were to have domed heads like the original Alien, and an early prototype was built with just such a carapace, but Cameron's fears that the fragile dome would break during filming led to it being removed. Cameron also confessed to preferring the ridged design created by Winston's team, which was originally to be partially concealed beneath the dome.[20] As the removal of the dome meant the Alien's skull would be exposed, the human eye sockets located in the front of the original creature's head — but largely concealed beneath its dome — were also removed, in order to preserve what Winston dubbed "the Alien's eyeless menace".[19] However, not every trace of the sockets was deleted, and upon close inspection, small indentations can be seen in the front of the Warrior's head. Other more subtle changes to the Warrior included longer talons on the hands, altered feet more suited to the creature's new wall-climbing abilities and blade-like protrusions on the creature's elbows.[19]

Suits and puppets

Alien in shadow

Example of how selective lighting and shadow was used to hide the comparatively crude suits used in Aliens

Immediately recognizing the limitations of the suit used in the first movie — in particular, its expense and restricted range of movement — Cameron and special effects designer Stan Winston chose to adopt a far simpler approach. The majority of the Xenomorphs in Aliens were created from flexible latex bodysuits with Xenomorph appliances affixed over the top.[21] This allowed the stuntmen playing the creatures to be far more mobile and aggressive in their movements. Selective camera angles and lighting were then used to hide the relatively crude suits, the emphasis being on merely suggesting the look and shape of the creature rather than over-exposing it. As a result, the dark bodysuit remained hidden in shadow, with only the highlights of the Xenomorphs' mesoskeleton visible in the strobing lights and muzzle flare.[18] Thanks to the new highly mobile outfits, shots of the Xenomorphs bounding along walls and through airshafts — ideas originally planned for Alien but dropped due to the limitations of the film's suit — could be realized in the sequel.[18] Due to budget limitations, the production could only afford to build twelve Warrior suits.[22]

The Warrior suits were crafted and constructed by Tom Woodruff, Jr., John Rosengrant, Julian Caldow, Nigel Booth, Lindsay McGowan, and David Keen.[19] As well as these simple suits, a number of far more detailed plastic and foam rubber examples were created for the shots where the creatures are seen more clearly.[21] For particularly violent scenes of Warriors being blown to pieces by gunfire, static models were used and fitted with pyrotechnic charges that would release chemicals simulating the creatures' acid blood.[21] Lastly, a completely articulated upper torso with mechanical lips, tongue, and jaw was built for close-ups.[23]

The making of a Warrior

Image medium

Behind the scenes image of the articulated Warrior puppet.[19]

In the image to the right, creature creator Stan Winston and his lead FX mechanic, Richard Landon, prepare the hero Alien Warrior puppet for its debut on set at Pinewood Studios.

To make the cable-actuated Xenomorph puppet more maneuverable, the SWS crew loaded the cables and controllers onto a wagon so they could quickly reposition the cable-controlled Alien to perform wherever director James Cameron wanted it to.

Unlike the slow-moving horror of the original Alien from Alien as established by Ridley Scott, James Cameron created a film in which the Xenomorphs would be fast, active & dynamic.

To achieve the range of action and mobility required by Cameron's vision, the Stan Winston Studio team created many different versions of the Aliens depending on whatever the shot called for: hero insert puppets with articulated upper torso, mechanical lips, tongue and jaw for closeups; lightweight black "Alien" leotards covered in polyfoam for stunt performers to wear in action shots; and poseable alien warrior figures for blowing up, setting on fire, running over & for stunts too dangerous for stuntmen to perform.

In the final film, even though Stan Winston and his team only built 12 Warrior suits, James Cameron managed to create the illusion of "an entire army", and make FX history, by "using every trick in the book."[24]


The Warriors' apparent lack of self-preservation instincts in Aliens, particularly when compared the Alien's intelligence in the first movie, has led to criticism from some that director James Cameron made the Xenomorphs seem stupid, weak and easily killable in the second movie.[25] However, Cameron himself responded that the changed behavior was an intelligent response to the differing prey the Xenomorphs faced in the two films; the USCSS Nostromo crew had no military training and were armed only with homemade flamethrowers, whereas the Colonial Marines in Aliens are hardened combat veterans with superior equipment. The stealth tactics employed by the Drone in Alien would not have been a viable solution in Aliens. Even if the creatures had initially succeeded in capturing or eliminating a few humans, the remaining military personnel would have quickly adjusted their tactics so that stealth attacks would have been completely ineffective. As Cameron himself put it, "One crazed man with a knife can be the most terrifying thing you can imagine if you happen to be unarmed and locked in a house alone with him. If you're with ten armed police officers, it's a different story."[25] As a result, the Xenomorphs in Aliens employed their strength in superior numbers to overcome their prey.


  • The Ravager is a massive alien that closely resembles the warrior. However, it spawns from the Praetorian line.
  • The Warriors in Aliens: Colonial Marines (referred to as the "Soldier" in-game) has a golden brown tint as well as a glossy carapace. It's also worth noting that while they are not the largest in body, soldiers have the largest canine teeth of Colonial Marines' humanoid Xenomorphs.
  • A Warrior is the Xenomorph depicted on the cover of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
  • A Warrior was part of the first cinematic crossover between the Alien and Predator franchises when a Warrior's skull appeared in the trophy cabinet aboard the Mother Ship near the end of Predator 2. The skull was included at the suggestion of effects artists John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan, both of whom had worked on Aliens as well as Predator 2. They proposed the idea as something of a joke, and also as a nod to the original Aliens vs. Predator comic book series, which had been published earlier in the year.[26]


Behind the scenes



  1. 1.0 1.1 Weyland-Yutani Archives (2008), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray]
  2. Alien Legacy trading cards — 69. The "Aliens" Warrior (1998), Inkworks.
  3. AVP: Evolution (2013), Angry Mob Games, Fox Mobile Entertainment [Mobile].
  4. Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013), Gearbox Software, SEGA [Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360].
  5. James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens Special Edition (1991), 20th Century Fox [LaserDisc].
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Aliens vs. Predator (2010), Rebellion, SEGA [Microsoft Windows].
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens (1986), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  8. "Alien Evolved Warriors UniCast".
  9. 9.0 9.1 AVP: Evolution
  10. 10.0 10.1 Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
  11. Amazon - Infant Warriors
  12. Aliens versus Predator 2
  13. Aliens versus Predator: Extinction (2003), EA Games, Fox Interactive.
  14. Aliens: The Female War
  15. Aliens: Female War
  16. "A queen-sized drone, bigger than any Wilks had ever seen..." p. 143 Aliens: The Female War
  17. Aliens: Female War
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Strange Shapes - Biomechanoids". Retrieved on 2014-10-24.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 "Monster Legacy - StarBeast — Aliens". Retrieved on 2015-02-24.
  20. James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Stan WinstonAliens audio commentary (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Gale Anne Hurd, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Stan Winston, John RichardsonSuperior Firepower: Making Aliens (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  22. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 85 (2006), Titan Books.
  23. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 88 (2006), Titan Books.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Weyland-Yutani Archives - James Cameron's Responses To Aliens Critics". Retrieved on 2013-07-01.
  26. Jody Duncan. The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 120 (2006), Titan Books.
  27. Alien Anthology - The Anthology Archives - Aliens - Production - Photography - Stan Winston's Workshop
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