"Stay away from her you bitch"...erm actually, it is "Get away from her you bitch"! Can you really believe it has been 30 years since James Cameron's Aliens chest-burst into cinemas and gave us one giant face hug? Where as Ridley Scott's seminal horror Alien monopolised "In space no one can hear you scream", 1986 sequel Aliens took the series loudly roaring into the '80s. Quiet suspense and lonesome corridors were swapped with Bill Paxton's hollering, grenade launchers and the introduction of Lance Henricksen's Bishop. Loud, brash, and a curveball of a film, the jury is still out on whether Aliens surpasses its predecessor. News of Neill Blomkamp's proposed fifth Alien film intends on doing away with a messed up timeline and could actually be the sequel to Aliens that we have always hoped for. Whilst we will leave you to chew on that, let's look at what has happened to the cast since they departed LV-426 three decades ago.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
The literal mother of aliens, Ellen Ripley emerged as the unlikely sole survivor of Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien - at the time no one knew what this would do to a young 29-year-old Weaver, inadvertently coining her as the "the Sci-Fi Queen". Seven years after the original, and back on board for the sequel, Weaver kicked ass alongside a team of colonial marines to bring justice to a whole batch of Xenomorph scum. The ultimate 'final girl', Ripley made it to two more sequels after Aliens to become the only star to appear in all four films.
Aside from attacking acid-spitting aliens, Weaver is one of Hollywood's golden girls. Weaver's impressive careers spans blockbusters like Ghostbusters, Avatar and most recently Finding Dory. Never straying far from her sci-fi roots, Weaver has had minor roles in both Futurama and Wall-E, as well as reportedly signing on for Neill Blomkamp's long-mooted Alien 5. It is suggested that Blomkamp's trip to the cosmos will pick up after the events of Aliens, but that it could also be curtains for Weaver's surprisingly hardened Lieutenant. Seeing Ripley dodge death one too many times, we aren't quite convinced that Sigourney is ready to hang up her Reebok Stompers just yet!
Michael Beihn as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks
Becoming the closest thing to a love interest for Ripley, Hicks was one of the few survivors to make it out of Aliens alive. Unfortunately for Michael Beihn, Hicks wasn't long for this world, only to be unceremoniously killed off in the first act of David Fincher's Alien3 - due to the use of his likeness, Beihn demanded nearly his salary from Aliens to be featured in the sequel. The Warriors's James Remar was originally cast as Hicks, but dropped out due to 'creative differences' which were later rumoured to be substance abuse. Beihn was cast a week into filming, hence why he is absent form the military training segment. Two shots of Remar made it into the final film - one as they enter the processing plant, and a second when they first find a cocooned woman on LV-426.
Also a frequent Cameron-cast, Beihn has had parts in both Terminator and Terminator 2, with his role in the sequel absent from the theatrical release, but restored for the special addition. He went on to star in 1989's The Abyss, 2007's Planet Terror and was nearly cast in Cameron's Avatar. Producers worried that having both Beihn and Weaver in the same film could remind people too much of Aliens! Concept art for Blomkamp's film also shows an alive (but heavily) scarred Hicks amidst the action - someone get Beihn's agent on the phone.
Lance Henriksen as Bishop
Alongside the Xenomorphs (and Weaver herself), Lance Henriksen is the franchise's longest-standing member - appearing in Aliens, Alien3 and Alien vs Predator in both human and android form. Playing various members of the Weyland clan, Henriksen entered as the U.S.S. Sulaco's android Bishop during Aliens. After Ian Holms's performance as maniac Ash in Alien, Ripley was wrongly sceptical of Henriksen's humanoid helper. As for the man himself, James Cameron had originally envisioned the Norwegian actor as the titular terminator before the role went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Unlike the rest of the Aliens survivors, Henriksen did make it to David Fincher's sequel, albeit to have a moving goodbye with Ripley after she rescued him from the prison dump. Apart from Bishop, Henriksen is best-known for his starring role in the 1996 series Millennium - a role which was specifically written for him by X-Files creator Chris Carter. In Millennium, Henriksen plays FBI agent Frank Black, a man who possesses the ability to see into the minds of killers. Despite being cancelled just before the year 2000, the three year run did earn Henriksen a People's Choice Award and three consecutive Golden Globe Awards. As well as roles written just for him in Terminator and Millennium, the original role of the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers was created with Henriksen in mind. A figurehead of science fiction, Henriksen does sometimes move away from the drama, such as voicing Kerchak the gorilla in Disney's Tarzan.
Bill Paxton as Pvt. William Hudson
Forming part of the comic relief of Aliens, Paxton stole the show as wisecracking William Hudson. The naive, but Jack-the-lad marine, proved he was in over his head when the acid blood started flying, eventually becoming host to an alien chest-burster.
Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked pal!
First starring as 'punk thug' in Cameron's 1984 Terminator, the pair teamed up again for Aliens. Paxton later reunited with Cameron on nautical blockbuster Titanic, then in real-life, when he actually accompanied Cameron to the wreckage of the Titanic in 2001. Paxton and Cameron both starred in the 2003 documentary about their voyage, Ghosts of the Abyss. Apart from nabbing the lead part in disaster epic Twister, nowadays Bill Paxton is more known for his T.V. work - receiving three Golden Globe nominations for his lead part from 2006-20011 in HBO's Big Love. Paxton then turned to the dark side to play dastardly John Garrett in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, before reliving his Hudson-esque days as a playable character in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, mounting an escape mission against a horde of ravenous zombies.
Jenette Goldstein as Pvt. Jenette Vasquez
If Michelle Rodriguez had only been around in the 80s, she would have got the part, and I already said that Rodriguez could play some distant Vasquez relative in Alien: Covenant! In a pre-Rodriguez world, it was Jenette Goldstein who took up the role of fiery gun-toting Vasquez. Her role was so well received, the actress even bagged herself a 1987 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. Turning up to her audition in a short dress and high heels, Goldstein originally thought Aliens was based on illegal immigration, but got the part nonetheless to become one of the franchises best-loved characters. Due to her lights skin, blonde hair and freckles, Goldstein had to dye her hair black, as well as wear dark makeup and contact lenses.
Dipping in and out of acting, Goldstein's last role was as Nurse Marian in 2008's film Autopsy. Today she is better known as the owner of Jenette Bras, specialising in lingerie for the 'bustier' lady. Although Vasquez never made it off LV-426 alive, her character has gone on to appear in numerous novels, comic books and action figures set in the world of Aliens.
Paul Reiser as Carter Burke
Ripley you fool...never trust the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. A few eyebrows were raised when the established stand-up comedian was cast as Carter Burke, but he brought the right creepy/comedy elements needed to play the film's human adversary. Reiser is best known for his role alongside Helen Hunt in Mad About You, which ran from 1992-1999. Keeping up with the likes of The Big Bang Theory and Friends, the last series of Mad About You pulled in an impressive $1 million per episode for Hunt and Reiser. Unfortunately, his solo career hasn't gone quite as well - The Paul Reiser show served as a mid-season replacement in 2010-2011, but was pulled after only two episodes aired. Luckily nowadays he has his own production company, Nuance Productions, to focus on. You can't win 'em all Paul!
William Hope as Scott Gorman
Looking like a young Wentworth Miller, William Hope actually turned down a role in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket to play snivelling Gorman, eventually leading the marines to an early dirt nap. Shortly after Aliens, Hope was cast in the sequel to Clive Barker's Hellraiser, and has gone on to star alongside the likes of Vin Diesel in xXx, Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes and even cameo with Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger. Hope's more recent work includes playing Matt LeBlanc's agent in mockumentary Episodes and was supposed to provide a voice (not Gorman's) in the Aliens: Colonial Marines game. Randomly, Hope provides many of the voices in the Thomas & Friends animation, which also features other Alien franchise alumni John Hurt!
Al Matthews as Sgt. Al Apone
You heard the man and you know the drill! Assholes and elbows!
The stern but lovable Sergeant Apone was never going to be long for this world as the Marines landed on LV-426. If Captain Dallas taught us anything, the captain always goes down with the ship, and Apone was one of the first to become Xenomorph chow.
Matthews says that he was cast for his previous military service, fighting in the likes of the Vietnam War. Before his days on our screens, Matthews was a bit of a crooner - scoring a No.16 chart hit with his 1975 single "Fool". 28 years after Aliens, he reprised his role as Apone to voice Aliens: Colonial Marines and as a jack-of-all trades, has also been a radio presenter for BBC Radio 1 and Capital FM. As for acting, Matthews had small parts in The Fifth Element and Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as appearing in British school drama, Grange Hill.
Carrie Henn as Rebecca 'Newt' Jordan
Topping the list of child actors we actually don't hate, Newt was the lone survivor of the Hadley's Hope colony. Reportedly over 500 kids auditioned for the role, but many were used to adverts, so smiled after saying their lines. Sour-puss Henn was eventually chosen as Ripley's surrogate daughter and even won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.
Despite her role, Henn said she would never act again and stuck to her word. Apart from appearing in a couple of made-for-TV documentaries on Aliens, Henn has shied away from her time as Newt. Her last official appearance was 10 years ago for the 20th Anniversary screening of Aliens in 2006. After gaining a degree in liberal studies, Carrie Henn is a teacher in Atwater, California. So, with Henn out of Alien 5, it is time to start fan-casting - it looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar is a popular choice!
R.I.P. to all those who lost their lives in Aliens, possibly one of the most quotable films of all time! Aliens definitely provided the most stand-out cast from the franchise thus far (sorry Wynona), with the actors and actresses having some stellar careers. The current concept art for Alien 5 does cast questions about how/when the sequel will be set, so let's hope at least some of them will return. As long as the continuity does away with Alien3 and brings back the Ripley/Hicks/Newt triforce, we aren't too bothered how they do it! Time to start the 'BringBackBeihn' hashtag trending! Whilst we wait for Blomkamp's eventual film, we can look more to more rumoured Ripley family action in Alien: Covenant and there is always time to re watch your Aliens DVD.