For reasons too convoluted to go into* April 26 is officially Alien Day. But whatever the reason, we’ll take any excuse to rave about Ellen Ripley, the hero of Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi masterpiece and its sequels. The movies may take their title from the slimy xenomorphs that cause all the trouble, but the queen of the Alien series is, of course, Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, the greatest action hero of them all. Here are ten ways she rocks our world.
* The planet in the first two movies is called LV-426. 4/26 in the American calendar is today. Nope, us neither, really.
She invented the badass action heroine
The script for the first ‘Alien’ didn’t specify genders for any of the characters – and it was a bold move on the part of director Ridley Scott to cast a woman (and a newcomer) in the role.
But Ripley isn't afraid to show her softer side
Call her kind or call her crazy, but for all her spikiness Ripley does risk her life to save the ship’s cat, Jones. Not that he ever seems particularly grateful…
She plays by the rules…
In the first film Ripley is the voice of reason, quoting company protocols that could have saved everyone on board from being chewed to bits. If only they’d listened to her.
…But she isn’t afraid to break ‘em
Not content with blowing up a multi-million dollar spacecraft in the first film, in ‘Aliens’ Ripley goes one better and nukes an entire planetary settlement. Well, it’s the only way to be sure.
She isn't afraid to speak her mind
From telling Harry Dean Stanton to ‘just fuck off’ in the first movie to suggesting robotic Winona Ryder was ‘programmed to be an asshole’ in ‘Alien Resurrection’. Ripley is never a woman to mince words.
She's the smartest person in the room…
There’s a reason Ripley survives four alien encounters while her co-stars get knocked off left, right and centre: she always keeps a head on her shoulders.
…But she's never averse to learning a new survival skill
Whether it’s operating a flamethrower, rocking a pneumatic load-lifter or getting Corporal Hicks to school her in the ways of a pulse rifle, Ripley is always looking for new ways to defend herself (and kill aliens).
She's the baddest mother in space (literally)
With ‘Aliens’, James Cameron redefined Ripley’s character. We learn she had a daughter who died of old age while Ripley was drifting in space, then watch her play fierce surrogate to lost orphan Newt.
She isn't afraid to rock a new look
‘Alien 3’ finds Ripley stranded on a planet populated by bald, grimy prisoner monks – and if you can’t beat 'em, join em. The skinhead look remains iconic (as spotted on Charlize Theron in last year’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’).
She never stops being a badass, even when the movies start to suck
The final film, ‘Alien Resurrection’, may be the weakest of the bunch, but Ripley is still thunderously cool. There’s no CGI in this shot – Sigourney Weaver actually sinks the basketball without looking.