- "I haven't seen one exactly like this before, it moves... differently."
- —Ripley, regarding the Dragon[src]
The Runner is an adult form of the Xenomorph species created as a result of the embryo gestating within non-human hosts. A Runner was first encountered on Fiorina 161 by Ellen Ripley and the staff and inmates of the Class C Work Correctional Unit
Characteristics & AbilitiesEdit
Runners are physically quite different to human-spawned Xenomorphs due to the species' tendency to "inherit" aspects of its host's physiology through the DNA Reflex. In the case of the Runner, the adult's body form has most notably taken a quadrupedal posture, with digitigrade hind legs. Like Drones, Runners have smooth domed carapaces, and they are also one of the few Xenomorphs not to have the distinctive dorsal tubes typical of many other castes. Their skin is tinted brownish-red as opposed to the more usual grey-black.
While capable of standing and walking on their hind legs, Runners typically remain in their typical quadrupedal stance when moving. They are equally capable of traversing floors, walls and ceilings at speed on all fours. However, physically Runners are not as tough as Soldiers or Drones, relying on their speed and agility to outmaneuver threats rather than strength to overcome them. A Runner also tends to use its tail attack (which stuns the victim) more often than the Drone.
Unlike other Chestbursters, the Runner is shown to be born fully formed and only needs to grow larger. Why this is so is never explicitly stated. However, in the Assembly Cut, where the Alien is spawned from an ox, it is hinted that this could be a result of the Chestburster being unable to escape its host's chest cavity at the typical interval (likely due to its higher structural rigidity), as the ox dies some time before the Chestburster hatches. Furthermore, the Assembly Cut Chestburster is considerably larger than a typical specimen when it finally emerges from the corpse, indicating it had already begun maturing within.
Runners, being weaker and generally fewer in number than other Xenomorph types, utilize stealth in their attacks, and have been known to take advantage of their ability to spit acid some distance, often hanging back from targets and striking from range, perhaps behind the cover of assaulting Warriors, Runners will often wait until their prey is alone before ambushing them, although they have been known to strike at members of larger groups if an opportune target presents itself.
The intelligence of Runners is often debated. On Fiorina 161, instead of gathering live hosts to herald the soon-to-be-birthed Queen, a Runner displayed a tendency to kill its victims outright, sparing none, with exception of Ripley, who was spared twice due to the Queen embryo gestating within her (although it seemed to have decided to try and kill her during its last encounter with her). It has therefore be theorized that Xenomorphs gain intellectual/mental as well as physical traits from their host, and that this may influence the adult creature's level of intelligence and instinctual behavior.
Runners, as their name implies, are fast and agile, and like Drones are capable of spitting acid from the mouths. This ability, while mostly shown as a defensive/offensive mechanism (possible to make up for the reduced strength due to it being physically weaker than a fighting Soldier), can have practical purposes.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Concept and credit controversyEdit
Originally, H. R. Giger was approached on July 28, 1990 by David Fincher and Fred Zinnemann, and was asked to redesign his own creations for Alien 3. Giger's new designs included an aquatic facehugger and a four-legged version of the adult Alien. Giger said in an interview; "I had special ideas to make it more interesting. I designed a new creature, which was much more elegant and beastly, compared to my original. It was a four-legged Alien, more like a lethal feline - a panther or something. It had a kind of skin that was built up from other creatures - much like a symbiosis." However, when Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis of Amalgamated Dynamics told Giger that they had their own design, Giger expressed himself as "very upset" and that the creature he had especially designed was his "baby". Even after the production severed contact, Giger continued to fax suggestions to Fincher because of his enthusiasm for the project, and made full-scale drawings and a sculpt of the Alien, all of which were rejected. Giger stated,"David Fincher neglected to inform me that Woodruff and Gillis were also contracted to take care of the redesign of the Alien - I found out much later... I thought I had the job and that Woodruff and Gillis would work from my plans. On their side, they were convinced that it was their job and accepted my 'suggestions' with pleasure. They believed that all my effort was based on a huge love for the matter, because I worked hard even after my contract was over." Giger would later be angered by the end credits of the released film presenting him as merely the creator of the original creature, and the fact that ADI personnel gave a series of interviews that minimized Giger's contribution. Fox eventually reimbursed Giger, but only after he refused to be interviewed for their behind-the-scenes documentary of Alien 3.
The Academy Awards overlooked Giger's contribution to Alien 3. However, Ridley Scott included Giger's name along with nominees Carlo Rambaldi and Richard Johnson in the 1980 Academy Awards. Fox, at the time Alien 3 was released, pointed out that studios are precluded from submitting nominees in the effects category directly to the Academy. This upset Giger so much that at one point he sent Academy president Karl Malden a fax with this closing comment: "I am under the strong impression that my contribution to the visual effects of the nominated movie has been intentionally suppressed", signing the letter with a large black pentagram.
Giger however would comment that he thought the resulting film was "okay" and that the Alien was "better than in the second film."