I have just finished the 1982 film "The Thing" and it left me feeling very confused.

How many "Things" were there in the film? As far as I understand it the filmmakers tried to explain it as a virus that spreads but that doesn't make sense as it also seems to be a living organism. In that case does that mean every person imitated by the thing was a self-reproduced creature of the same species.

Or was it the same creature throughout the film? I don't understand this either as it is killed multiple times.


1 Answer 1


In that case does that mean every person imitated by the thing was a self-reproduced creature of the same species.

Yes...this precisely.

As you state, there are multiple instances of a creature being destroyed.

Each instance of the "Thing" is independent of the others but that's not to say they don't function together or in concert to achieve their goal.

From the script

                     Watching Norris in there... gave me 
                     the idea that maybe every part of 
                     you bastards is a whole. Every piece 
                     of you is self-sufficient, an animal 
                     unto itself. When a man bleeds it's 
                     just tissue. But blood from one of 
                     you Things won't obey. It's a newly 
                     formed individual with a built-in 
                     desire to protect its own life. When 
                     attacked, your blood will try and 
                     survive -- and crawl away from a hot 
                     needle say.
  • 3
    To get slightly more precise...each individual cell is it's own creature that can work in cohort with other cells as a single or multicelled individual. This is one of the reasons why the creature has such unfathomable control of it's self and replicating abilities. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 20:02
  • Does that mean disparate bits of Thing could re-merge into a single creature?
    – Stephen R
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 4:37
  • @StephenR that is not explored in the movie, so we don't have a way to know. But if it reproduces when a bit separates then it's an offspring, and offsprings usually don't merge back with the mother (in nature at least) - I might be wrong.
    – Luciano
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 10:27
  • @Luciano True. I was thinking it might work as a sort of “hive” creature, like the Borg. Each cell is a distinct entity, but they all collectively constitute a single entity with multiple bodies. Depends on how you define “entity”, but we’re talking an alien here. Not contradicting the answer above, just expanding and theorizing
    – Stephen R
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 16:51
  • It seems it might be a hive mind. Millions of cellular creatures working as a whole
    – Stephen R
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 16:54

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