How a Xenomorph Queen is Born

For every terrifying Xenomorph drone or Alien warrior, there is a matriarch guiding the hive. But what sets the Alien Queen apart? And how exactly does one of these powerful monstrosities come to be?

As we all know, the Xenomorphs are a species specifically created to be the “perfect organism”. The drones are incredible killing machines. The warriors even more so. But the Queen is made to be more than just aggressive. She was made to be intelligent. She was made to keep the species alive. There are fail safes and backup plans. And as such, there are multiple methods and means through which a Queen can be born.

What Makes a Queen Different?

The Queen Xenomorph is not some run of the mill drone. Queens are typically twice as large as a regular Xenomorph. They’re usually around 20 feet tall. They have an additional set of arms, that are short like those of a dinosaur. They have a stronger tail and thicker armor, so they are more resilient to damage than any other caste of Xenomorph.

These massive Queens are also often attached to an ovipositor, which creates the Alien eggs. Though this position leaves them vulnerable, they are fully capable of detaching themselves from their ovipositor in intense situations. They also have a much larger braincase to protect their much larger brains.

Queen Xenomorphs are more intelligent than any warrior or even their protectorate Praetorians. In some cases, Queens are said to have an IQ of 175. They’re intelligent enough to use human technology, or at least figure out how to use an elevator while hunting. What really shows their intelligence is the Queen’s ability to reason in difficult situations.

When Ellen Ripley shows the Alien Queen the raw power of her M240 Flamethrower and Pulse Rifle Combo, the Queen takes a quick moment to assess the situation. The Queen decides that the safety of her eggs is significantly more important than anything else, and allows Ripley to leave unperturbed. The Queen even actively calls off one of her drones to make sure that Ripley is not harmed. This ability to reason shows the Queen’s intelligence, but it might also show her compassion. The Queen knows the value of life- especially a child’s life. Letting Ripley go is also a decision to let Newt go safely too.

The Royal Facehugger

Xenomorphs all have a life cycle. They all begin as an egg. From the egg comes a unique and terrifying creature called the Facehugger. These Facehuggers are 8-legged, bony, and slimy parasitoids. They latch on to a human face using their hideous finger-like legs, and wrap their tail around the neck of their soon-to-be host.

Like the Queen, they also have an ovipositor, meant to implant an egg inside the chest of their human host. Nearly immediately after implanting the embryonic Xenomorph into the stomach, the vile creatures retreat and die. They are horrifying enough as is. But once in a while, often before the death of the Queen, she will make a Royal Facehugger to ensure the continuation of the hive.

The Royal Facehuggers function similarly to the rest, but they’re much different. Without a Royal Facehugger, the hive would die out. So a Royal Facehugger is larger than its regular counterpart. Their legs are webbed. They have darker skin, an armored body, and even a bladed tail, similar to a Xenomorph drone, so that they can ward off attackers if necessary.

The biggest difference between a regular Facehugger and a Royal Facehugger, however, is that the Royal Facehuggers lay two eggs before dying: The Queen, and a drone to protect her. Queens usually take more time to develop into their full form, so the drone will make sure that wherever she is born, she will be safe until she is ready to take over as Queen of the hive.


There are some theories that focus on the evolution of these “perfect organisms”. Their species seems to have a contingency plan for everything. And so, there are some who believe that a drone Xenomorph could evolve through the caste system and effectively become the new Queen. These theories are supported by the idea of drones evolving into the more intelligent and deadly Praetorian caste. The Praetorian could then evolve into the Queen. This is a last and worst case scenario.

However, the Xenomorphs have been known to molt.  This, of course, would only happen in extremely dire situations, in which the Queen was already gone, and no Royal Facehugger had been successful. And if there were no Xenomorphs to molt into the Queen, then it is believed that a regular Facehugger could also evolve into a Royal Facehugger. There’s nothing that will stop the Alien Queen from coming back.

Which step in the Alien life cycle is your favorite? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!

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