After she pulled Newt out of the cacoon in Aliens, Ripley had a stand off with the queen Xenomorph. As two Xenomorphs close in, Ripley flares her flamethrower and the queen seems to order the other Xenomorphs to back off so Ripley can leave. As Ripley's backing out of the room she burns all the eggs, shoots the Xenomorphs, and gets pursued by the angry queen.

They already knew the reactor would blow and destroy the hive, so why didn't Ripley just leave? It seems like she could have saved herself a lot of trouble

  • I have had this same question for quite some years!
    – Matt
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:06

4 Answers 4


If memory serves:

  1. Ripley Flares flamethrower
  2. Queen orders Xenomorphs back
  3. Egg opens

It was when the egg opened that Ripley nodded her head as if to say "oh hell no!", and then the shooting began. It seems to me that the queen had no intention of letting Ripley and Newt go, but had every intention to cocoon both. That plan back fired (pardon the pun).

This clip around 2:38 shows the moment in question:

  • 12
    This is the answer. Jun 11, 2018 at 1:37

I can see a couple of reasons, just off the top of my head:

  1. It's not like the aliens were just going to sit back and let her leave. The only reason they hesitated was because Ripley was threatening the eggs, but once she was in the elevator, the queen would obviously have ordered the others to pursue her. Then she'd be stuck in a box which they could probably disable, and they'd have cover as they broke in. By destroying everything, Ripley stops that from happening and (hopefully) creates a distraction to cover her escape. (It's unclear whether or not Ripley knew the queen could give chase on her own, but even so, one alien is better than many.)

  2. Worst case scenario, if she and Newt are caught in their escape, destroying the eggs at least means they can't be implanted themselves - only killed. (This one is somewhat ironic, considering the third movie, but working on information Ripley knew at the time, it holds up.)

  3. To say the least, Ripley has some issues with these aliens. Destroying the eggs probably felt really good just on principle.

  • 11
    This is definitely not the answer. Watch the film. Heck, watch this clip around 2:38 in: As Ripley is leaving, an egg opens, Ripley cocks her head as if to say, “Really?” and then she destroyed the eggs. The point being made is that the Alien Queen had no idea the station would kill them all. Ripley is “cutting a deal” to leave… And then that happens. Jun 11, 2018 at 1:37
  • 2
    @JakeGould Yeah, because, like I said, the queen had no intention of letting her leave, and the aliens would have been on top of Ripley and Newt if she hadn't done that. That may be the trigger that set her (Ripley) off, but I don't see how it contradicts the idea that she knew they'd never let her leave. If anything, it confirms the theory.
    – Steve-O
    Jun 11, 2018 at 13:21
  • 11
    @JakeGould Does the queen get to choose when the eggs open? That's not how it works with any egg laying creature I've heard of. But if Ripley attributes the egg opening to the queen's intent that might explain her behaviour. (Although the queen coulda waited another few seconds 'til Ripley wasn't looking!) Jun 11, 2018 at 14:12
  • 3
    @GrimmTheOpiner You know what? You make a very good point. And I have posted a full question on the Sci-Fi SE site to see if someone with deeper knowledge can address that issue. It’s always been my assumption the Queen has some psychic communication/control over her “minions” (including the eggs) but that’s not based on canon or in-universe logic. Just an assumption based on how the film played out. Jun 11, 2018 at 15:16
  • 3
    @GrimmTheOpiner The egg that attacked Kane in the original movie didn't open until Kane touched the egg, lying dormant presumably decades if not centuries before that. So there is reason to think that the eggs don't open without external stimuli. Jun 11, 2018 at 16:26

The Queen was trying to trick Ripley by attacking her with a face hugger. If you watch the sequence again, you'll notice that, after the Queen orders the drones to back off, there is a shot of an egg starting to open. The Queen is attempting to lull Ripley into a false sense of security, then sic a face hugger on her. That's why Ripley gives her the "Are you kidding me?" look before she torches the eggs.


It's personal.

She has nightmares about these things. She missed all of her now deceased daughter's birthdays, and her new daughter's whole family is dead because of these, along with every other colonist on LV426 and the entire crew of the Nostromo, save one. Every human she set down with on the planet, expect for Hicks, is dead or would be better off that way. Everyone of her friends, family, and coworkers: They're dead. Okay?

The reasons she agreed to come on the journey were promised lies. To destroy them. Not to study. Not to bring back. But to wipe them out. She's only there to do two things, and she's all out of bubble gum. Also, her Uber driver has already been waiting on her for like half an hour. Might as well make the most of it.

TL;DR: They're to blame for her becoming a 96yo extremely pissed off cat lady.

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