At the climax of Paul, as the protagonists wait for Paul's people to arrive and pick him up, a helicopter arrives carrying the film's main villain, the Big Guy (actually a woman, played by Sigourney Weaver). As she steps off the helicopter, she remarks,

Small world.

This implies that she's met the protagonists before, but this is the first time she's appeared in person in the film. My first thought was that she was the café owner from near the start of the film, but that's Jane Lynch's character. My current thought is that it's a reference to something, but TV Tropes doesn't include it in the film's list of Shout Outs.

Why does the Big Guy say "Small world" when she first arrives?

  • 2
    Then again, Sigourney Weaver herself has pretty much become a personified shout out in the scifi/alien genre.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 12:21
  • While I can only speculate as I have nor can find insight into the specifics of the writing I would agree with Napoleon. She is the quintessential human contact in the film literally titled 'Alien', which she continues to battle for the next 18 years (to such an extent she requires an extra life 3/4 of the way through their relationship). When her cameo character eventually comes into contact with Paul, as the alien of the piece she seems to be acknowledging the fact that despite the universe being infinite she has once again run into the first ET representative. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 19:02
  • I think big guy said those words to Paul. not the two human guys he has been partnered with. Paul was running away from the Big Guy, she finally catches up, and what those words are mate, intended as mockery..
    – Vishwa
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


"The Big Guy" is probably talking to Paul. They know each other and it's also implied when you watch the scene.

First the script:

      PAUL (CONT'D)
      Oh shit.
      Behind them, the HELICOPTER powers down. The door opens.

      Well, whaddya know? Small world.

Here's the video:

As you can see, Paul identifies "The Big Guy" and while you can't see him when "The Big Guy" comes closer, he is still closest to her, just obscured by the humans standing behind him. And when he turns to Zoil, you can see that he directly faced "The Big Guy".

It also makes sense - they are there to contact Paul's mothership when instead "The Big Guy" appears, whom he was running from all the time.

Fun fact: "Well whaddya know? Small world." is said three times, by Pat, Jake and "The Big Guy".

  • 1
    I think the "fun fact" is actually quite an important thing to note, it explains why that phrasing was chosen by the writers (as a call-back to the earlier uses). But in-universe, I think I get it now - she's intercepted Paul and is saying it to mock him. Glad to finally have this cleared up!
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 18:56

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