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Ellen Ripley: Full Profile Of The Alien Survivor

By | Published February 18, 2024

Without a doubt, Ellen Ripley is the most well-known and iconic character from the entire Alien vs. Predator series. Her character, immortalized by Sigourney Weaver, has become a beacon of strength in science fiction. Battling Xenomorphs in four different cinematic encounters, she even managed to have some side adventures. Here is the full profile of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley, including her childhood struggles and final fate as Ripley 8.

Early Life On Luna

A young Ellen Ripley living on Luna

Ellen Ripley's early years were spent on Luna (the Moon), where she was born on January 7, 2092, in the Olympia colony. This period was crucial in shaping her into the formidable character she became. The outbreak of the XMB Virus on Earth's moon led to the colony being quarantined for sixteen years, with Ripley spending her childhood in a lunar quarantine facility. It was here, in the isolated and harsh environment of Luna, that Ripley developed the resilience and survival instincts that would later define her. Her upbringing under such unique and challenging circumstances provided her with a strong foundation of toughness and adaptability. These early experiences set the stage for her later encounters with the unfathomable horrors of deep space.

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Ellen Ripley's Husband And Daughter

Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley

Ripley's personal life, particularly her relationships with her husband Alex and her daughter Amanda Ripley-McClaren, played a significant role in her development as a character. Despite her challenging career in space, Ripley maintained a deep connection with her family. Her marriage to Alex, though it eventually ended in divorce, and her relationship with her daughter, provided a glimpse into Ripley's life beyond her role as a warrant officer. These relationships, especially her bond with Amanda, influenced many of Ripley's decisions and actions throughout her life. The complexity of balancing her family life with her professional duties added depth to her character, showcasing her as not just a fearless fighter but also a devoted mother and wife. The dissolution of her first marriage and the subsequent challenges in her second union with Paul Carter added layers of personal struggle to Ripley's narrative.

The Nostromo Incident

Ellen Ripley with Parker on the Nostromo

The Nostromo incident in 2122 marked the beginning of Ripley's harrowing journey into the unknown. Serving as the third-in-command (as Warrant Officer) aboard the commercial freighter USCSS Nostromo, Ripley faced her first encounter with the deadly Xenomorph species. This event was a turning point in her life, bringing her face-to-face with an unimaginable alien terror. Ripley emerged as the sole human survivor, showcasing her quick thinking, leadership, and survival skills. The destruction of the Nostromo and the loss of her crew deeply impacted Ripley, setting her on a relentless quest against the Xenomorph threat. Ripley was left floating in the Narcissus shuttle together with the ship's cat, Jones, hoping to reach the "frontiner" and be picked up soon after.

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The LV-178 Outbreak

The cover of the audio book for Alien: Out Of The Shadows

Ripley would take a lesser-known detour between Alien and Aliens, as described in the Alien: Out Of The Shadows novel and audiobook. Supposedly, 37 years after Alien (and 20 before Aliens), the Narcissus shuttle reached the planet LV-178 with Ash's AI consciousness uploaded inside the shuttle's computer. A batch of Xenomorphs were discovered hibernating in the planet's mines, triggering another outbreak. On LV-178, Ripley demonstrated her growing expertise in dealing with the Xenomorphs, solidifying her reputation as a survivor and a fighter. In the end, Ripley prevailed, and Ash's surviving brain was destroyed. However, Ripley lost all memory of the incident and went back to hypersleep on the same shuttle, as if this shoehorned incident conveniently never happened.

Recovery And Life On Gateway

Ellen Ripley in the medbay of Gateway Station

In the year 2179 in the Alien timeline, Ripley and Jones were picked up by a deep space salvage team and brought to Gateway station. After being in cryosleep for 57 years and missing the life of her daughter Amanda, she had time to reflect on her past experiences. Weyland-Yutani did not fully believe her story, revoked her flight license, and gave her a psychiatric probation period. It was a period of healing, both physically and mentally (recovering from PTSD), allowing her to gather her strength for the battles ahead. Ripley worked on the Gateway docks, receiving a class M ranking on the Powerloader, which became useful later. However, about 2-3 months after her arrival on Gateway, she was contacted by Carter Burke and Lieutenant Gorman for returning to LV-426, as contact with the colony had been lost.

The LV-426 Incident

Ellen Ripley descents into the hive of the Atmosphere Processor

Ripley's return to LV-426 with the Colonial Marines was not just a revisitation of her nightmares but a crucial battle that showcased her leadership, tactical skills, and depth of commitment to eradicating the alien threat. Her experiences and knowledge of the creatures were invaluable in the fight against the Xenomorph infestation at Hadley's Hope colony. The LV-426 incident highlighted Ripley's courage and her ability to inspire and lead others in the face of extreme danger. Ellen Ripley also "recovered" her daughter in the form of colonist Rebecca "Newt" Jorden, the sole survivor of the Hadley's Hope colony. After defeating the Alien Queen, Ripley went to cryosleep together with Newt, a wounded Corporal Hicks, and the damaged android Bishop, hoping to reach Gateway in a few weeks.

Incident On Fury 161 And Death

Ellen Ripley on Fury 161

Unbeknownst to the LV-426 survivors, a lone Xenomorph egg was stoved onboard the Sulaco, most likely deposited there by the Xenomorph Queen. The egg spawned a facehugger, which damaged the Sulaco's electrical systems, caused a fire, and triggered an EEV escape vehicle to be ejected, which crashed and landed on the nearby Fury 161 Prison Colony. Ripley was the sole survivor of the crash, Newt and Hicks died, while Bishop was damaged beyond repair. Stranded on the prison planet Fiorina "Fury" 161, Ripley faced isolation and a new form of the alien threat, a Xenomorph runner, nicknamed The Dragon. Furthermore, Ripley was infected with a Queen chestburster, and had only days to live. With the help of fellow prisoners, most of whom sacrificed their lives, Ripley defeated the Dragon. When the Weyland-Yutani bioweapons division arrived, Lieutenant Ripley sacrificed her life by throwing herself into a lead furnace so the Company would not get their hands on the Xenomorph.

Ripley 8 Cloned On The USM Auriga

Ripley 8 on the USM Auriga

In a controversial turn of events, Ripley was brought back as a clone, known as Ripley 8, on the USM Auriga 200 years later (in 2381). This clone not only inherited Ripley's memories and characteristics but also acquired some of the Xenomorph's traits, such as acid for blood. The creation of Ripley 8 added a complex and intriguing layer to her already multifaceted persona. Ripley 8 was also involved with the birth of the Newborn - a new Xenomorph hybrid that considered Ripley to be her mother. After battling the Cloned Xenomorphs on the USM Auriga and escaping on the Betty, Ripley 8 defeated the Newborn by blowing it through a small gap in the viewport. The Betty, with the crew of Ripley 8, Call, Johner, and Vriess, landed near Paris, which had been devastated by an unknown disaster.

Final Fate Of Ripley 8

Ripley 8 on the cover of Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator

The adventures of Ripley 8 continued in two different pieces of expanded universe lore, the Aliens: Original Sin book, and the Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator comic book. Aliens: Original Sin picked up right after Alien: Resurrection, with the crew of the Betty on the run from the United Systems Military, who came to investigate what happened to the Auriga. They end up on a space station with a giant botanical garden, and a new Xenomorph infestation breaks out, which even ties to the Space Jockey race (now called the Mala'kak). In Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator, Ripley 8 joined a clan of Predators (she even gets blooded) on a hunt of Alien/Terminator hybrids that threaten the whole universe. In the end, she sacrifices her life to kill the last hybrid, mirroring the death of Ellen Ripley in Alien 3.

Ellen Ripley The Android

Ellen Ripley the android from Aliens: Nightmare Asylum

In an intriguing alternate storyline from the Earth War Trilogy comic series, Ellen Ripley's character was reimagined as an android. In the initial version, the comic series continued the adventures of Ellen Ripley, Hicks, and Newt years after Aliens. However, when Alien 3 was released, Dark Horse renamed Hicks to Wilks, and Newt to Billie, while making Ripley an android. Regardless of the version of the comic, the Earth War depicted a Xenomorph invasion of Earth and a subsequent human mission to the Xenomorph homeworld. Ellen Ripley (or her android) played a big part in clearing the Xenomorph infestation, and re-establishing Earth as a human habitat. The concept of Ellen Ripley as an android provided an intriguing twist to her story, opening up new avenues for philosophical and ethical discussions within the Alien universe.

Ellen Ripley The Space Marine

Ellen Ripley the Space Marine

Another alternate narrative from the Aliens: Space Marines comics portrays Ellen Ripley as a hardened space marine, offering a different yet equally compelling view of her character. These Space Marine comics were attached to Kenner Aliens figures, released in the late 80ties and early 90ties before Alien 3 finished the trilogy of films. Some other Colonial Marines from Aliens made a return as well, including Apone and Drake. In this space marine version, Ripley's combat skills, strategic thinking, and leadership qualities are brought to the forefront. The group battled exotic Xenomorph types, including Snake Aliens, flying Aliens, and even a Gorilla Alien. NECA paid tribute to this version of Ellen Ripley by releasing the Ellen Ripley space marine figure.

Behind The Scenes

Ripley and Ash behind the scenes in Alien

In the first draft of Alien by Dan Obannon, Ripley was called Martin Roby. Although most of the crew had no specific gender, Martin was a male. When Ridley Scott came on board, the character was changed to a female, and named Ripley, after "Ripley's Believe It Or Not", and possibly as a nod to Ridley's own name. Ash was not an android in the first draft either, and his fight with Ripley (and the Special Order) was a late addition. Amanda Ripley's picture from Aliens actually depicts Sigourney Weaver's mother, Elizabeth Inglis, and the character from Alien: Isolation is also based on Weaver's mother. Other actresses considered for Ellen Ripley were Meryl Streep and Katharine Ross.


In summary, Ellen Ripley is a key character in the Alien movies, known for her bravery and ability to face scary challenges. Her life story, from growing up on the Moon to fighting dangerous aliens and even becoming a clone, shows how strong and adaptable she is. Ripley is more than just a survivor; she's a leader who fights hard against scary creatures and tough situations. Her story is a big part of science fiction and inspires people with her courage and never-give-up attitude. Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a hero who shows the power of human spirit in fighting against scary and unknown dangers. Unfortunately, with the cancellation of Alien 5, Alien: Resurrection would be the last we would see her on the big screen.

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