This may have been discussed before here or elsewhere, but its a thought that is newly explored for me.
The Short Version:
I am not sure that the xenomorph, proper, was even known to exist at the time that Special Order 937 was established, and I believe that the Company or someone in it was hoping, rather, that the Nostromo would bring back an Engineer.
The Long Version:
We know that when Peter Weyland went to LV-223 with a chosen crew of "professionals/ scientists" (despite their subsequent irrational behavior), that he was looking for Shaw and Halloway's Engineers - in the hope, apparently, of achieving some kind of immortality. He told Shaw that he hoped the Engineers could save him from death.
It seems reasonably clear that Weyland himself was not searching for the Xenomorph (which, arguably, might not have even existed, as we later come to know it, at this point.)
It also seems to me that it is insinuated that the mission of the Prometheus was not a widely publicized event. Most of the scientists on board did not know what the primary objective was until Shaw and Halloway revealed it.
Peter Weyland himself was believed by the crew to be dead, and Peter's hologram even substantiates this belief by saying as much.
This point is further explored in the Fire and Stone comics, in which members of the "salvage" expedition are surprised to learn that Weyland had not died on earth.
Now, enter Alien. It is clear from the existence of Special Order 937 and from the shuffling of the crew (the science officer) of the Nostromo, that someone in the Company is aware of the presence of an alien of some sort in the Calpomos planetary system - indeed, the order itself was to return with a specimen at all costs.
What seems less and less clear, to me at least, is whether the Special Order specifically targeted LV-426 and whether it specifically pertained to bringing back a Xenomorph.
It seems more likely to me that whoever produced the Special Order was looking for an Engineer, just like Peter was.
There are apparently almost 29 years between Prometheus and Alien. If we assume that little was officially known about the intent or the ultimate crew manifest of the Prometheus mission (for instance that Peter was aboard), its possible to assume that 28 1/2 years later the trigger for Special Order 937 could have been A) either the reception of the alien beacon by someone/ something (a probe) in the Company or simple (monetarily inspired) curiosity about the fate of the Prometheus which lead someone to dig into the reason for the mission.
In either case, it could be argued that the Xenomorph was not even something that the company was officially aware of when Special Order 937 was given.
In Aliens, Ripley drifted for 57 years. The better part of an additional 6 decades have passed since the Prometheus was lost. While, I can't find a source for the exact date that Hadley's Hope was established, it appears to have been there for a while - perhaps at least a decade if Newt was born there.
Its safe to assume that the placement of a terraforming colony on LV-426 was not a coincidence, but given that the Nostromo left little evidence behind, I think its still possible that whoever gave the order to have the colony established did not necessarily know about the Xenomorph, and might, again, have simply been attempting to follow up on a vague notion that some kind of Alien/ Alien technology was present on or near LV-426.
This can even be argued in light of Isolation, since the only surviving person to actually see the message of the Nostromo's black box was Amanda, and she wasn't exactly the kind of person that would have reported the details to the Company after the fact.
Burke himself seems to exemplify this haphazard approach to the "Alien" rumors surrounding Calpomos. He has heard Ripley's testimony, which might make him the first to be actively actively aware of information that specifically relates to the Xenomorph, but he seems largely to be acting on his own, for his own benefit, and to be using his Company status to achieve his goals. The Company itself will also benefit, but is it, as a whole, really involved? I will grant that it would have had an interest at the point that the colony stopped responding, but prior to that?
The reason all of this seems interesting to me is that it makes the movie Alien feel tragically ironic in an interesting way, and it brings into question the long term stability and ultimate goal of the assumed "Company Conspiracy,"something that I had never personally questioned before. I just always assumed that the Company knew about the Alien and was working as a complete entity to acquire it all along.
Although there is clearly reason to assume that whatever is to be found on the moons of Calpomos is dangerous - the Prometheus mission is itself proof of this - I don't think that Ash specifically knew that he would be bringing a xenomorph drone on board, and I don't think that his superiors did either. Ash was just following orders in a very literal way when he attempted to ensure that the Xenomorph made it back at the expense of the crew. I really believe that the author of 937, if they had a clue at all, would have assumed that they were collecting an Engineer. Maybe the Engineer would be dangerous and kill everyone, but if it could be captured, it might also be the key to advanced alien technology.
So, in a way, Ash bringing the xenomorph on board was all a terrible mistake. He had the wrong "organism," but did not possess enough data to recognize this.
This also puts a new spin on the trope of the Company's conspiracy-to-acquire-an-alien which is seen again and again throughout the films, books, and comics. Sure, ultimately, I think the Company would have been happy to get a Xenomorph (Burke seems to be operating with this in mind), but the "conspiracy" now seems to me to be more of a comedy of errors made by greedy individuals within the Company rather than by the Company itself as an entity.
Its also interesting to me, because I think Covenant and its sequel will address this directly at some point, and I am curious to see if and how.
in the 'weyland files', available on the blu ray extra feature disc, states that the company already knows of the signal on lv426 before the Prometheus sets off. weyland states lv426 holds more treasures but at greater risk. this suggests to me that due to the signal, which may have even have been decoded, indicates intelligent life at a technological level, at least, similar to our own. many scientist have stated the encountering of a space travelling, technologically advanced species would probably mean doom for the human race. of weyland thought the same then this would tie into his file. hes chosen the lesser of 2 evils by going to lv223 first. hes hoping there is something and I believe if they drew a blank on lv223 then he would have instructed david before they left to then take them to 426. I very much doubt there was any idea there would be such a species like the xeno prior to either Prometheus or alien. they were going on the believe there would be a technologically advanced race or at the very least just theyr technology. they have no way of knowing theyd encounter anything like the xeno. 'return of organism' is very generic, is could mean a microbe, planlife or even an engineer. may not even be alive, even dead specimens can wield huge discoveries.
ash did exactly as he was programmed to do so in my opinion there was no wrong organism. crew expendable, all other priorities rescinded throws the quarantine law out the window as far as ash is concerned and the safety of himself along with the crew no longer matters. im sure he has a theory on the consequences of his actions once he starts investigating the hugger' kane. when ripley startles him he switches the monitor off. I think he does this incase ripley sees something which would lead her to come to much the same conclusion he may have. she is focussed on what the hugger has down kanes throat but not at where the embryo is being implanted
So, if Peter Weyland knew there was a signal on LV-426 and that the risk was greater, does this indicate that the bio-mechanical xenomorph pre-existed the Covenant story arc? I had the feeling that we were about to see its "creation" in the Covenant arc- ie, the development of a "new" species, possibly through the tampering of David.
This assumes of course that the murals in Prometheus didn't depict the xenomorph's final form, but I have never really felt sure about that. The mural depicts something xenomorph-like, to be sure, but doesn't seem clear enough to me to indicate an exact match.
I think the mural depicts the xeno creature the engineers know though whether it is biomechanical or not at that stage is up for debate though id prefer that the xeno we know isn't created by david. but given the number of different variants possible due to the number of species that can become infected/ inpregnated, there is so much room for ridley to alter things. the basic/ original xeno concept is, in my opinion, very old and david just creates a variant form or recreates one depicted in the mural.
The Company did not know about the capital 'A' Alien. They had a transmission that warned others to stay away. The Company wanted a sample of whatever was being warned about.
When the Company does know about the capital 'A' Alien and its potential, they sent a specialised team to Fiorina to get one.
"So, in a way, Ash bringing the xenomorph on board was all a terrible mistake. He had the wrong "organism," but did not possess enough data to recognize this.
This also puts a new spin on the trope of the Company's conspiracy-to-acquire-an-alien which is seen again and again throughout the films, books, and comics. Sure, ultimately, I think the Company would have been happy to get a Xenomorph (Burke seems to be operating with this in mind), but the "conspiracy" now seems to me to be more of a comedy of errors made by greedy individuals within the Company rather than by the Company itself as an entity."
That is an excellent observation regarding Burke and he potentially being the first to "recognize" the value of Ripley's information based on pre-Alien: Covenant interpretations ifox.
No one else seemed to be directing Burke while he sent out coordinates for the Jordans to investigate, below.
Once Advent came out, I was sure the Company knew quite a bit about the xenomorph and the Engineers by 2122 when going to LV-426.
Advent Special Orders Shown:
Special Order 754 - Surgical Investigation Experimental Trials
Special Order 899 - Rituals and Customs. Psychological Testing
Special Order 931 - Xenomorphic Entity Advanced Weapons Research
Special Order 937 - Priority one; Insure return of organism for analysis. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable.
I think you nailed it ali81 with:
"the basic/ original xeno concept is, in my opinion, very old and david just creates a variant form or recreates one depicted in the mural."
That is a very astute observation made before Alien: Covenant came out. Great analysis.
"It seems reasonably clear that Weyland himself was not searching for the Xenomorph (which, arguably, might not have even existed, as we later come to know it, at this point.)"
I agree, he seemed to be interested in getting more life and we know how that turned out.
"I don't think that Ash specifically knew that he would be bringing a xenomorph drone on board, and I don't think that his superiors did either."
He said to Ripley like "… you heard it, bring back life-form all other priorities resented "
No matter of that was his intent or not, what became the result is what counts. The company could be searching for anything they are in it for profit and could probably care less if they will find a Xeno, urns or what ever. Ash is just following orders since he is an android but I do not think that he chose the wrong organism per se.
Bring back an Engineer? The Engineers were not thought of back then so how would that be possible?
As far as comics are concerned I only care about what the movies say. To me everything else is like expanded universe.
"… now seems to me to be more of a comedy of errors made by greedy individuals within the Company rather than by the Company itself as an entity."
Companies are hierarchical so maybe those high up in the hierarchy knew about that and many just followed orders like it usually is. The company is still dangerous
When faced with Ripley’s discovery of Special Order 937, Ash cheerfully voiced “There is an explanation for this, you know”.
He didn’t get a chance to expand on this, as Ripley didn’t want to hear, and it wasn’t long after that Ash went all doolally, resulting in his demise.
I’m intrigued to know what possible explanation he could have given, if he’d had the chance. The truth of the matter would certainly not have been gratefully received by any crew member. So I believe Ash was preparing to outright lie and concoct some story to win Ripley over. Since ‘crew expendable’ was part of the directive, the pretence would have to convince Ripley et al that martyrdom was worth it.
Maybe I’m not devious enough, but I’m struggling to find any kind of explanation that would appease the crew of the Nostromo.
Special Order 937 would surely be a Follow up to what ever David had been up to, were at the Point this was Issued it would have to be that the Derelict is the ONLY source related to the Xenomorph.
This can play out with either a David Created it or David Created his own Version Plot.
If we go for the David Does-Not Create it PLOT then i feel those who were UP IN ARMS of the David Creator Plot Can-Not have their Cake and Eat it.
By that having David Revealed to make a Cheap Knock Off!
There must be some Element to Davids Xenomorph that has Advantages, such as being able to be CONTROLLED!
Then we need to have Davids Xenomorphs Destroyed... the Company Discover the Engineers had similar on LV-426 but their Hubris is thinking they could CONTROL these or Reverse Engineer them to become Controlled like how David's could.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
I prefer to think thatWeyland-Yutani is interesting in obtaining a specimen of the Xenomorph not to use them as attack dogs but for something more wider-reaching - the nano-particles of radical AI, that makes up the black pathogen and likely too, the Xenomorph.
The technology of a biomechanical, programmable viral agent would be not only highly coveted and lucrative (we are essentially talking alchemy here), but would be worth billions, and would also be perfectly suited to developing biological weaponry.
Yes, this is taking Advent and aligning it with Weyland-Yutanis designs on acquiring the Alien as seen in the first three movies, but I feel it's a more plausible direction to take than Weyland-Yutani wanting to tame a biomechanical killing machine that has shown repeatedly that it cannot be tamed.
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