The existence of the Xenomorph egg on the USS Sulaco at the beginning of Alien 3 is one of the biggest mysteries of the Alien franchise. Who or what placed it there is not explained by the movie or the filmmakers and many theories exist for it appearance. In this article, we take a look at most of these theories, including plausible ones and others completely outlandish.
The Mystery Egg
The one mystery egg was located upside down in an undisclosed location on the USS Sulaco. It could have been near the hypersleep chambers, under the flooring of the hanger deck, or even inside the dropship, which is the most likely location. Even though there is an imprint spelling "SULACO" next to the egg, the dropship could have had the same imprint, which was also written on the front side of the APC, indicating the ship which the vehicle belonged to. Only one egg is visible, but Alien 3 featured two different Xenomorphs, so either there were two facehuggers, or a super facehugger (also known as a royal facehugger), which can infect two different hosts. Paradoxically, it would have been better to not show the egg at all, which was also David Fincher's wish, but unfortunately, the shot is there in all versions of Alien 3, including the Special Edition, which is closest to Fincher's vision.
The Queen Laid An Emergency Egg
A plausible explanation for the egg on the Sulaco is that the Alien Queen laid an emergency egg in the dropship. She then either kept it in the dropship landing gear section or stuck it under the floor gratings while Ripley was strapping herself into the power loader. Although the Queen generally needs an egg sack to lay eggs, it's possible that a small egg could still be produced from her abdomen. The egg would have then grown for some days, and when mature enough, produced the facehugger which caused all the trouble on the Colonial Marine ship.
A Xenomorph Drone Carried It
Another explanation is that a Xenomorph drone hitched a ride together with the Alien Queen in the dropship and carried an egg from the hive along with it. The drone would have then hidden in the landing leg section during the final battle and later crept around on the ship, placing the egg near the hypersleep capsules. Xenomorphs have been shown the carry eggs around in the Expanded Universe, and they also set up the water trap with eggs in Alien: Resurrection. Of course, this does not explain why this Xenomorph would have not helped the Queen kill Ripley and why it did not attack them later. Perhaps it was under strict orders from the Queen to protect the final egg at all costs. Xenomorphs infesting the USS Sulaco has been a popular theme in Alien games, including Alien 3: The Gun, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Aliens: Infestation.
Bishop Moved It
A popular theory among Alien fans is that Bishop placed the egg on the Sulaco dropship under a secret order from Carter Burke. This special order would have overwritten any of his "good" programming and he would have forgotten about it or ignored the fact. When Bishop dropped Ripley in the Atmosphere Processor, he had about a 15-minute window to fly to the Derelict Ship, acquire an egg, and fly back. Some things support this theory, including the fact that Hicks was passed out, Xenomorphs and their eggs generally ignore androids, and androids often turn evil in the Alien universe. However, the time window is really short, and Bishop turning out to be villainous just undermines his character.
The Egg Grew Inside Bishop
Another explanation involving Bishop is that while the Queen stabbed the android with her tail, she injected him with Xenomorph spores that started to slowly grow an egg. The egg then matured while Bishop slept peacefully in the hypersleep chamber. This ovomorph had small tentacles underneath, and would slowly "crawl" to the upright position seen in the movie, while either looking for a host or feeling threatened in the capsule. This theory is supported by the unproduced Alien 3 script by William Gibson, which was later turned into a 5-part comic book. The USS Sulaco was then boarded by the communist forces of the UPP (Union of Progressive Peoples) and the story took a much different turn than the events we see in the movie.
The Ship Was Boarded By Weyland-Yutani, Who Placed It There
Instead of the UPP, the Sulaco could have been boarded by another team of Weyland-Yutani biodivision commandos who then placed the egg onboard for nefarious reasons. This theory is partly supported by the events of Aliens: Colonial Marines, but the plot of the game is so convoluted that it is difficult to gather any truth from it. In the game, the commandos invade the ship and set up a research station onboard after the cryotubes are jettisoned in the EEV. However, the egg seems to be already onboard when they enter. Regardless of this controversial game, the commandos could have placed the egg and left, going along a similar plan that Carter Burke envisioned before getting killed.
The Egg Grew From Black Goo Pathogen Spores
Prometheus introduced the concept of the Black Goo Pathogen, a substance with magic-link qualities and no clear rules for its effects. Alien: Covenant took this a step further, with the Pathogen puff spores, that spread through the air and were almost invisible to the eye. These spores could infect any living organism and produced Neomorphs out of two members of the Covenant crew. A similar substance could have spread from the Alien Queen while she was on the dropship and spread throughout the Sulaco. These spores could possibly have formed an egg at a random place in the ship, while upside down. However, although there was an Engineer ship on LV-426, there was no trace of the Black Goo Pathogen in the earlier Alien movies.
The Egg Was There All Along
An interesting theory is that the Xenomorph egg was placed on the Sulaco just before it left Gateway Station. Again, it could have been left there by Weyland-Yutani or any other third party for whatever reason, meaning to cause harm to the Colonial Marines and the outcome of the mission. This theory is supported by the fact that the Sulaco left Gateway in a disorganized state and in a hurry, with the hangar deck littered with gear from the last mission. Furthermore, some members of the rescue team did not even know each other and were not briefed before going to the cryotubes. A third party could have snuck aboard during this confusion and placed a package, which lay in wait for the right moment.
It Was All A Dream
Finally, we have the theory that it was all a hypersleep dream and there was actually no egg at all. Any of the movie's problems could be waved away with this simple (but dumb) explanation. This is often put forward by fans who don't enjoy Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection and would have liked to see the story take another direction, possibly under the guidance of James Cameron himself. Neill Blomkamp was in this camp and proposed an alternate Alien 3 (titled confusingly Alien 5) that would have ignored Alien 3, and continued the adventures of Ellen Ripley, Dwayne Hicks, and Newt several decades after Aliens. Although the story sounded interesting, it would have been better to continue after Alien: Resurrection with Ripley 8 and the other survivors, keeping all the films in the canon.
In conclusion, the mystery Alien egg onboard the Sulaco will continue to confuse new viewers of Alien 3 and spark debates among the fandom. It will not have a definite answer until Alien 3 is either written off from the canon by a new sequel or some kind of clear answer is given by a new work of the Expanded Universe. The likeliest answer is still that the Queen laid the egg, and placed it herself in the dropship or somewhere near the hangar. But perhaps it should remain a mystery because it has become an epitome of Alien 3.